THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 9-22-02

LESSON TITLE: AUTHORITY IN RELIGION: "THE BASIS FOR RELIGIOUS AUTHORITY"

WELCOME

Welcome to the Living Word Program on this wondrous Lord' Day morning. We thank God that you have chosen to be with us today, as we commit this time to our wondrous Creator. What a great privilege we have today to join in this opportunity to praise our God and glorify our Savior. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.

(Prayer)

What a wonderful privilege we have as Christians to lift up our voices in praise to God. Furthermore, what a sweet smelling savor the fruit of our lips is to our Creator. So, this morning won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together our first hymn of the morning. The name of the song "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!"

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

I often think about how spoiled we are today. We generally forget just how easy we have it. You don't have to look very far back in history to see those who struggled, sacrificed, suffered and died so that you and I could have the freedoms we do today. For the most part, it seems like younger generations today just don't seem to realize or understand the great sacrifice that was made by others so that they could enjoy the blessings of today.

Isn't it the same when we talk about religious things? Think about it for a moment. Throughout religious history many have also struggled, sacrificed, suffered and died. But why? For the very same reasons, so that you and I could have the freedom and blessings in Christ which we do today.

Whenever we start talking about sacrifice, the obvious one is the great event when Jesus went to the cross. It is only because of this the greatest of sacrifices, that we are able to be in Christ today. Without the shedding of Christ's blood we would not have an opportunity to be saved, nor could we receive forgiveness of sins. In Colossians 1:14, we read, "in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." Once again we see that the blood of Christ is the cleansing agent! How often do we remember the great sacrifice that Christ has made for all men.

Besides Christ, we have so many during Bible times and since, who have been willing to pay the necessary price to bring us to today. One event that sticks out in my mind is found in 1 Corinthians 11:24-28. Notice what Paul said there, "From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness; besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches."

How many of us would even accept one of these trials or persecutions and still stand strong for God. Brethren, let's always remember the great sacrifice and love that has been demonstrated time and time again, by those who love God enough to prove it through actions. Let's thank God for those examples that we have that give us the abilities and freedoms we have today to be able to serve God in peaceful times. We need to all count our many blessings.

Today we will begin a new series of study to benefit our Christian walk for God. We will be considering a series on our "Authority in Religion." How important it is that we understand now only that their is a God, but that we also understand our authority from Him to serve Him as He has commanded! Our specific topic this morning is "The Basis for Bible Authority." So please continue with us this morning and after our next song I will return with this lesson from God's Word. It's now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Nothing But The Blood."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thanks for continuing with us this morning as we again have a chance to look to God's Word and begin a new series of study. I'm excited about it because we do all need to know more about the authority that God has given to us and thus this morning we want to look at the authority that really has been established by our God. Where does it come from? And I think that through this study together we might ourselves be better equipped to not only understand what God has said but how we need to really interpret it so that we might do exactly what He wants us to by really not adding to or taking away and really be pleasing to Him in every way possible.

You might remember in the very beginning in Genesis chapter 1 and verse 1 that we read there that "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Think of the great power, the force, the great magnificence that really is suggested there in the Creator of all things, the power and the might that we read about from our God and our Father in heaven.

In fact, other writers in the Bible tell us the very same thing. I'm thinking this time about specifically David in chapter 9 of one of his psalms. We read there in verse 1, "I will praise you, oh Lord, with my whole heart. I will tell you of all your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in you. I will sing praises to your name, the most high. He goes on in the following verses to talk about how he's thankful because God is his refuge and He cares for him and on down he continues to say that "I will praise and sing to you. You're merciful and great and all your creations are wondrous." On and on and on he praises God as you and I must also do.

There's probably no question this morning as we see from the beginning of time as was recorded for us in the Bible that through all of those early writers such as Moses and then even all of the prophets that we read about, and then all of those great men of God who served and sometimes at that most difficult of times. There's no question that again God, the Father, is the one that we must look to, that He is having all power, all authority, that He is the greatest being that has ever been or will ever be. He is eternal, all powerful, all knowing, that there really is not enough that we can say about such a great, mighty and an awesome God. That's where we start this morning in our concepts of Biblical authority. We must start at the very same place that everyone else would start, and that is the fact that God, the Father, is authoritative. If God said it, we listen. If God has told us, then it is something that we know to be true.

I often think of a commercial that I used to see about a man named E.F. Hutton. I didn't know much about him but I remember the commercial because everybody used to listen when E.F. Hutton talked. Well, when God speaks, that's the type of authority that He also has. When He speaks and He tells us what to do or what we should not do, when he guides us, He has the authority. He has the authority that we should well respect.

But as we move away from the concept of knowing that surely that God has that authority, how He moved throughout Bible times and we see that everyone spoke to God and prayed to God and that God would speak to them in visions and would communicate with His servants. We see that God the Father was very much involved and that He was one that was really there for His people. It's still the same and true today as we read also in His Word.

In fact, I might look with you if you will turn to the book of Hebrews to chapter 1 and verse 1. The Hebrew writer helps us to understand that surely God the Father has always been involved, but now He provides for us even a greater opportunity in the day in which we live. It says there in verse 1, "God who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets." We see there that he clarifies that the Father was speaking to His servants, the prophets specifically mentioned here. But we can talk about Adam and Eve and Abraham and Moses and so on and so forth. We can talk about all of His servants of old. God spoke to them often directly, but then as He began later in the period of Moses and the Kings and the judges to speak to the people through maybe a representative during those times. He actually is clarifying there that this is how He did it.

But then in verse 2 it says, "As in these last days spoke to us by His Son." Now this leads us really into another category, another category of understanding that the Father has somehow given and transferred authority to the Son. That's so important to understand because God the Father has given us today His understanding, His Will through the Son, that is His only begotten Son as mentioned in John 3:16.

I might just mention a few other verses as we continue on because here as we look at Christ, we see that Christ Himself also clarified very much so that what He did was according to the Will of His Father in heaven and was not His own Will or His own desires or His own thought or His own Words. He says, "What I have brought to you or the things that I tell you are from my Father." So when we talk about authority that the Father gave to the Son, what are we really talking about? We're really talking about authority that really was His because what He did was according to the Will of the Father. You see how that works? When you and I have authority in God it is because we do what God has said, that again is the Father. The reason Jesus' authority was complete was because He did the Will of His Father that has sent Him.

How can we clarify that? There are many verses in John that help us to understand that. In John chapter 8 in fact and verse 48 we read there where the Jews were questioning Him on who He was and Jesus said to them in verse 49, "I do not have a demon but I honor my Father and you dishonor Me." He says, "I do not seek my own glory. There is one who seeks and judges." You see? He says, "I am not here to glorify or somehow lift up myself. I am here to glorify the Father. It's His Will again that I do.

If you'll look also over in chapter 10, the same book, the gospel according to John. IN chapter 10 and verse 24, we see a similar type of discussion there as they were really doubting who He was and they said, "Tell us plainly who we are." Then in verse 25, Jesus said, "I have told you and you don't believe." He says, "The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness of me." He says, "What I do in the name of my Father, by His authority, according to His Will, bears witness of who I am."

Go on down to verse 49 there of chapter 10. He says, "As my Father who has given them to me is greater than all and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand." You see there He again gives glory and credit and honor to the Father in whom it was due. Jesus didn't say, "Follow me because I'm great, I'm wondrous." He says, "Follow me because I follow the Father and I am the avenue that leads you to the Father." In fact, the verse there, verse 30, in the same opening goes on to tell us where Jesus says, "I and my Father are one." You see, when we love the Son and when we love His authority and we do it, we do it and thus we love the Father. Why? Because the Son's work and really the Will that He presents and the Words that He spoke are from the very same source, the Father, our God and Father in heaven.

In chapter 12 if you'll look over there again in the book of John, we find there in verse 49 that here again Jesus well clarifies and He says that "I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me gave me command what I should say and what I should speak." He says, "What I am saying and speaking is not from myself but again from the Father." Therefore, He said, "Believe because what I tell you is from the Father."

"Therefore," He went on in verse 50 to say that, "and I know that His command is everlasting life, therefore whatever I speak just as the Father has told me, so I speak." He says, "The Will of the Father is eternal life. It's not something that really I gave you, or that I offer you." He says, "It's something I give you because of who? The Father." In fact, in that verse there He really clarifies. He says, "What I speak is from the Father."

So, what we're trying to understand here is the fact that yes, as we read in Matthew 28:18, Jesus says, "All power and authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth." What's He talking about? He's saying that the Father gave Him the authority, why? Because what the Son did was according to the Will of the Father. And thus He knew when the Son came to the earth, as we read in John chapter 1 about Him coming to the earth and then in fact, if you look in verse 14 it says there that "the Word became flesh." When Jesus came and dwelt on the earth among men, we know clearly that He came not according to His own Will again or His own Words or His own actions but according to what the Father needed Him to do. Thus, when we say that "I follow the authority of Christ," we know clearly that we are following the authority of God the Father. Why again? Because they're one. They're individuals, beings if you will, personalities, that we can surely have confidence in and Jesus understood this from even a very young age, even as a teenager. What did He tell His mother as He was left in Jerusalem? "I am about my Father's business." Not "my" business or what I am all about, but about what the Father's all about.

So after we understand the Father having that authority and giving it to the Son there in Matthew 28:18, so that He might again come and show us all things, then we need to continue on to understand where that authority goes and how that the Father Himself did acknowledge the Son. But then what did the Son do?

I might remind you also of another illustration at this point in our lesson, of the Mount of Transfiguration. You might recall there that when we read about the Mount of Transfiguration that Jesus shone brightly there with Moses and Elijah and those disciples who were with Him wanted to build tabernacles or really a type of altar to all of them and to honor them all, but God the Father said, "This is my Son. Hear ye Him." He said, "This is the one you follow. This is the one who has authority today. Not Moses. Not Elijah. No one else but the Son."

But then when the Son came and lived on the earth and He became a man, what was the first thing He did in accordance to the Will of the Father? We remember that He chose disciples. In fact, in several of the gospel accounts we are reminded that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ went about and chose men who could represent Him. In fact, in Matthew chapter 10, we have a list of those men who were chosen, those men who were chosen to carry out the Will of also the Son. But now let me also ask you a question again. The Will of the Son was actually the Will of the Father. So when we say that the apostles were actually servants of the Son, followers of the Son, they were followers of God the Father. So we see that the authority that Christ had, He began to teach to and train His apostles. In fact, we can even see clearly that when He was talking about building His church in Matthew chapter 16 that He tells us there specifically that the part that His disciples would play. In fact, He mentions there in verse 17, "Upon the confession that Peter made that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God," he said there that "you have been revealed these things..." (notice) "... from my Father in heaven. No one else could have told you," Jesus said. But then in verse 18 he says, "And I also will say that upon that rock I will build my church." But then go on to verse 19, and He says, "I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind there on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you lose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Why is it here that it seems that the Father giving the power to the Son, the Son choosing 12 and establishing His church and then saying, "Now, I will give you the authority. Whatever you bind, whatever you lose will be committed and founded, accepted, that is in the heavens, also.

Well, if you'll remember what it was that the Son said. He actually told His disciples that something was going to happen in John chapter 16. In fact, in John chapter 16 again the gospel according to John. We see there in verse 13 that "there was something coming." Notice with me in verse 13. "However when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you in all truth for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears, He will speak and He will tell you the things to come." You see here Jesus says, "The reason you bind or lose will be bound in heaven is because who He was sending to guide them notice "in all things." What does the word "all" leave out? Well nothing is left out. "In all things," it says, "He will guide. Whatever the Spirit tells you, He received from..." who? Not Himself. Not Jesus. But who? The Father. You see the plan was the Father sent the Son who had all authority, then the Son gave the authority to the apostles clearly through the gift of the Holy Spirit because they would be guided into all things and know exactly what they should follow.

And then what about today? What about today? Those apostles. What is it that they gave us today that really stands out. Primarily, what did they write for us? The Word of God. There are verses that we could look at that really show us today that the chain of authority and power has come through the Word of God. In fact, one familiar verse to us is in 2 Timothy 3:16 and 17 says that "all scripture is from God." It tells us that it completely furnishes us unto all good works. It gives us everything that we need.

There in the book of Peter, 2 Peter chapter 1 and verse 3, it says that "God has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness." All leaves nothing out. He has given us everything. In the same chapter He says there in verses 20 and 21 that "He guided holy men, not according to their own interpretation but according to the interpretation of the Father so that they could record for us the things that we believe today."

James called the Bible "the perfect law of liberty," James 1 and 25.

You see, we do today have that which is from the Father. From Him as was given through the Son and then through the apostles and today written down and recorded for us and something that is complete and furnishes us unto all things that pertain to life and godliness. That is the Word of God that is able to teach us and give us all that we have need of in order that we might know our God and follow His Will.

The question is today, when we consider Bible authority. When we stand on it and be strong? Will we know that it is from God and will we do what God has asked us and will it be pleasing in His sight?

(SONG # 3 - "Take My Life And Let It Be!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.

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Isn't it great to know that God has providentially provided for us everything we need to know and follow His will today? May we all strive more and more every day to stand with Him, on His authority and not our own.

(Program closing)