-(Adapted from outline by R. J. Stevens)
PRINCIPLES OF AUTHORITY IN RELIGION
1. Emphasis on Bible authority is growing less & less as we approach 21st century. Factors include rise of humanism, breakup of the home & abuses of authority by those who have it.
a. Authority: "The power to give commands, enforce obedience, take action, or make final decisions"... Freedom of action, right of choice.
b. Matt. 21:23-27 - Only two available sources of authority: Heaven or men.
2. Renew commitment to our need for divine authority in all we do, strengthen our faith that Christ possesses it, & assure us that we have access to heaven's authority in our lives.
I. MAN NEEDS HEAVEN'S AUTHORITY IN HIS LIFE.
A. The Incapability Of Man To Adequately Direct His Life - Jer. 10:23; Prov. 16:25; Isa. 53:6. -Because:
1. Finite beings (limited power, knowledge, wisdom).
2. Creature, not the Creator - Gen. 1:26-27.
3. Sin - Alienates, separates - Eccl. 7:29; Isa. 59:2.
B. The Wisdom Of Yielding To Heaven's Authority - Prov. 3:8.
1. Prov. 28:26 - Foolish to trust in our own heart.
2. What other competent authority exists to trust our souls to?
II. CHRIST POSSESSES HEAVEN'S AUTHORITY.
A. Jesus Has All Authority.
1. Matt. 17:1-5 - To be heard over law & prophets.
2. Acts 3:22-23 - Hearken to him in all things.
3. Eph. 1:20-23 - Place, preeminence, power (Col. 1:18).
4. Acts 4:10-12 (7) - Power of salvation in none other.
5. Matt. 28:18 - All authority!
B. Consider Our Approach To His Authority:
-Hear / Hearken / Get into His body / His salvation / submit.
C. Christ's Exclusive Authority Is Found In His Word - Lk. 6:46; Jno. 6:63, 67-68; 8:31-32.
1. We will not be judged by:
-Feelings, opinions, think-so's
-Pastors, preachers, teachers
-Churches, synods, councils, assemblies, associations, conferences
-Creeds, catechisms, manuals, disciplines
-Parents, family, friends, loved ones
2. We will be judged by the words of Christ - Jno. 12:48-50.
a. Authority is essential to a well-ordered life.
b. The only reliable authority to direct us to heaven is the authority that has come to us from heaven - Jesus Christ & His divine word.
III. THE BIBLE REVEALS HEAVEN'S AUTHORITY.
A. Christ Gave His All-Authoritative Word To His Apostles - Jno. 17:6-8, 14, 17-18.
1. By personal teaching - Jno. 14:25.
2. By the work of the Holy Spirit - Jno. 14:16-17, 26.
a. Teach all things / Remember all things He said.
b. Jno. 15:26-27 - Bear witness of Christ.
c. Jno. 16:12-14 - Guide into all truth (what Jesus wanted said).
d. Matt. 10:16-20 - Holy Spirit would speak through them.
B. We Must Hear The Apostles' Words - Lk. 10:16; 1 Cor. 14:37
C. The Bible Will Meet Every Need Of Man Pertaining To Spiritual Matters - 2 Pet. 1:2-3; 2 Tim. 3:16-17 (Jude 3).
1. We can place our trust & confidence in the written word & know that it is what God intends for us to live by so we will walk the path that leads to heaven.
2. Isa. 55:10-11 - God's word will accomplish its purpose (Matt. 24:35).
1. Col. 3:17 - We must do all things according to the authority of Christ.
2. His words are spirit & life (Jno. 6:63) -- The words (creeds, doctrines, teachings) of men will not save our souls!