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Understanding Authority

1.  Centurion’s servant near death.  Sent Jewish elders to Jesus to ask Him to save his servant.  Jesus went, but centurion sent his friends to Jesus, asking Him to just say the word & servant would be healed (Lk. 7:6-7).

  a.  He understood authority (Matt. 8:9).

  b.  “Great faith” (Matt. 8:10); Servant healed (Matt. 8:13).

2.  Contrast the faith of the centurion & the “sons of the kingdom” (8:10-12):

  a.  8:10 – Great faith, but not in Israel.

  b.  8:11 – Gentile inclusion into the kingdom due to faith.

  c.  8:12 – Sons of the kingdom (Jews) cast out for lack of faith.

3.  Proper understanding & submission to God’s authority is crucial to faith; it is that which defined & distinguished centurion's faith:  He understood authority!


I.  THE RIGHTS OF AUTHORITY, Matt. 8:8-9 (Lk. 7:7-8); Matt. 28:18.

  (“From the meaning of leave or permission, or liberty of doing as one pleases, it passed to that of the ability or strength with which one is endued, then to that of the power of authority, the right to exercise power...or the power of rule or government, the power of one whose will and commands must be obeyed by others” –Vine, 45).    -JESUS-

  A.  The One with Authority has the Right to Rule, 8:9; Psa. 2:6-7, 10-12; Eph. 1:21-23.

  B.  The One with Authority has the Right to Bless, 8:8 (Rom. 13:3-4); Jno. 17:2.

  C.  The One with Authority has the Right to Judge, 8:9; (Jno. 19:10); Jno. 5:26-29.

Lesson:  Our faith must acknowledge Christ possesses the right (power) to rule, to bless & to judge our submission to Him (His will).


II.  SUBMISSION TO AUTHORITY, Matt. 8:8-9; Lk. 7:7-8.

  A.  Some are not Willing to Yield to Authority.

    1.  Naaman2 Kgs. 5:1, 9-14 (finally persuaded).

    2.  King Saul1 Sam. 15:13-14, 19 – Argued he had obeyed, yet he had not (15:22-23).  [Both cases, pride the obstacle to submissive obedience.]

    3.  IsraelIsa. 30:8-11 – Would not hear the law of the Lord.

  B.  Some Willingly Yield to Authority.

    1.  Matt. 8:8Humility before authority is essential for faith – “not worthy” (not sufficient, footnote, ASV). 

    2.  Jno. 9:6-7; Acts 26:19 – Humble trust to obey Christ (one with authority) results in the blessings of faith.

Lesson:  We will receive the blessings of faith from the authoritative one (Christ) only by submitting to His authority, Matt. 8:8, 13; 28:18-20; 7:21.



  A.  Living by Faith is Respecting & Obeying Divine Authority:

    1.  Christ’s authority is only communicated through His word, Jno. 12:48-50.

    2.  Faith comes only through His word, Rom. 10:17 (8).

    3.  Therefore, faith that does not obey Christ's authority will not save

      a.  Jas. 2:14-26 (“Works”):  Who defines works of faith? – God does, in inspired scripture, 2 Tim. 3:16-17.

      b.  Col. 3:17:  A call to faith & faithfulness.

*  4.  Impatience with & weariness over the subject of Bible authority displays a lack of faith!

  B.  Shall we be Faithless or Believing Matt. 8:12-13

    1.  God’s plan of salvation (H-B-R-C-B-F).

    2.  True worship (Jno. 4:24) [cf. Lord’s Supper; singing without instrument].

    3.  Church organization (independent, autonomous vs. sponsoring church).

    4.  Church work (preach, edify, relieve saints vs. social; $ to human organ.)

    5.  Doctrinal purity?  Gal. 1:6-9 (2 Jno. 9)

    6.  Moral purity?  Phil. 4:8

Lesson:  Living by faith is really a question of whether we will submit to the authority of Christ in all things!  (Col. 3:17; Matt. 7:21-23)



1. Jesus said great faith involves trust that regards & submits to His authority.

2. How great is your faith?  How well are you yielding to the authority of Christ?  (Col. 3:17; Matt. 7:21)