FOLLOWING CHRIST'S AUTHORITY IN THE LOCAL CHURCH
1. Questions arise concerning the authority & autonomy of the local church. Practical & pertinent.
2. How do we deal w/ situations of supposed sin, possible false teaching, etc. How do we act using Christ's authority?
I. WE MUST UNDERSTAND AUTHORITY.
A. This Subject Is Preaching Christ - Matt. 21:23-27.
1. EXOUSIA - "Freedom of action, right to act" (Vine); "...the power of authority (influence) & of right..." (Thayer, 225)
2. Heaven or men: Crucial issue! - Col. 3:17
3. Important in society...Important in religion!
4. Bible is our standard - 2 Tim. 3:16-17
B. Scriptural Methods Of Establishing Authority.
1. Jesus taught using three methods:
-Direct command - Mk. 16:15; Apostolic approved example - Phil. 4:9; Necessary inference - Matt. 22:32.
2. Apostles did, too - Acts 15:6-18.
3. Some now say exam. & necessary inferences aren't binding!
II. WE MUST KNOW WHAT COLLECTIVE ACTION IS AUTHORIZED IN THE New Testament
A. Work Of The Local Church:
1. Evangelism (preach) - 1 Ths. 1:8; Phil. 1:5.
2. Edify members - Eph. 4:11-16. Spiritual development through worship, teaching, oversight & discipline.
3. Benevolence (help needy saints) - Acts 6:1-6; 1 Tim. 5:16.
B. These Authorized Works Are Carried Out By Using Aids / Expediencies. (The role of aids:)
1. "Aids" help us obey Christ's will without not changing the action of the commandment (Baptismal vs. lake).
a. Church uses many aids to expedite obedience to Christ.
b. Proper aids are authorized - 1 Cor. 10: 23; Noah's tools.
III. PRACTICAL ISSUES WHICH ARISE IN THE WORK OF A LOCAL CHURCH.
A. Issues Of Doctrine: What Will We Accept?
1. Gal. 1:6-10 - Only the approved gospel.
2. cf. Acts 20:28-32 - Work of elders; Ever vigilant against departures.
3. Jude 3-4 - We must be careful to not allow error to creep in.
B. Issues 0f Fellowship: Who Will We Accept &/or Encourage?
1. Membership: Open or controlled (by the word of truth)?
a. Acts 9:26 - "Not believing he was a disciple." The church had reason to be suspicious (8:3; 9:1).
b. Was Saul abiding in the apostles doctrine
(Acts 2:42)?...Had he repented of his sins?
Was he now following Jesus?
c. Acts 9:27-28 - Corroborating testimony.
d. cf. Today - Have the right & responsibility to investigate whether one is following Jesus before we establish fellowship with them! (1 Jno. 1:3-7)
2. Preachers And Teachers - 2 Jno. 9-11.
a. Brethren told not to have fellowship with those teaching error - 2 Cor.11:3-4.
b. Will likely involve questioning the teacher to be able to make an assessment & decision.
3. Sin in the lives of members - Jas. 5:19-20.
a. Heard, but not confirmed. What do we do? ASK! cf. 1 Cor. 1:11; Matt. 18:15-17
b. "God Squad?" / Private investigators / "Watchdogs" - No; concern for lost souls & for the purity of the church - 1 Cor. 5:2, 6.
c. Otherwise, we must conclude that sin in the church is of no consequence to God or us! (Acts 5:1-11; 2 Jno. 10-11)
IV. HELPFUL HINTS:
A. Love For Truth & Real Commitment To Divine Authority - Prov. 23:23; Col. 3:17.
B. Courage To Do The Right Thing - Acts 4:29; 5:29 (2 Pet. 1:5).
C. Patience & Forbearance While Dealing With Difficult Situations - Rom. 12:12.
D. Diligence To Abide In Truth - l Cor. 15:58
The local church has been given a work it can fulfill by respecting the authority of Christ. We must zealously do the work God has given us!