By Whose Authority ?

 

authority

 

 

 

Do You Have God’s Authority ?

 

One day while Jesus was teaching the people in the temple, the Jewish chief priests and scribes and elders came to Him and said,  “Tell us by what authority you are doing these things?”   Luke 20:8   We all recognize that in establishing a teaching or doctrine, or in other words in establishing “rules”, we must have the authority to do so.

 

Jesus said, in  Mathew 28:18,   “ALL authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”  God the Father, has given ALL authority to Jesus the Son.  That means that whatever teachings and rules that Jesus has established, are binding upon us.  He has that authority!  I just viewed a very good bible lesson from a preacher about the subject of having authority for everything that we do in religion, and even in everything that we believe.  That’s a very interesting thought isn’t it?  To realize that we must have the authority of Jesus, even for what we believe.

 

Actually, it’s a very sobering thought!  Take for instance, your belief concerning what church you attend.  Do you have the authority from Jesus Christ, to be a part of the particular church that you attend and worship in?  Jesus did say without a doubt, that some people worship in VAIN.

 

Jesus said, in  Mathew 15:9,   “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.  But in vain they worship Me, teaching for doctrines, the precepts of men.”   In other words, they CLAIM to be worshipping Jesus, but in reality, their hearts are far from Him because they’re worshipping according to the teachings of men, instead of the teachings of Jesus.  And consequently, their worship is vain!

 

 

why-so-many-churches
Exactly who authorized all these churches?

 

 

So the question is..   Do you have the authority of Jesus for what you believe, and for how you worship, and for the particular religious group that you associate yourself with?

 

Jesus asked His apostles, in  Mathew 16:15,  “But who do you say that I am?”  And Peter answered and said in  V-16,   “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  That is the most important FACT that has ever been declared by God or man, that Jesus is the Christ!   That’s why Jesus replied with these words,  “Upon this “rock” I will build My church!”   V-18.   Jesus compared that “truth”, that he is the Christ, to a “rock” upon which His body of believers would be “built”. 

 

So Jesus promised to build “My Church”, which really means, “My congregation”, or “My assembly”.  We call it His “church”  And Jesus did establish His body of believers on the day of Pentecost, in approximately 33 AD.    We’re told in  Colossians 1:18,   “He is also the head of the body, the church.”  And we learn from  Ephesians 4:4,   “There is ONE body.”

 

Interestingly though, you can’t “join” that body, you have to be “added” to it.  On that day of Pentecost, when the ONE church that Jesus died for, was established, the apostle Peter preached to a great multitude of people about that great “truth”, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.”   And many people believed Peter’s preaching, and they came to understand their guilt, for having had a part in the crucifixion of Jesus.  So they asked the apostles,  “Brethren, what should we do?”   Acts 2;37

 

Peter replied and said,  “Repent and let each one of you be baptized by the authority of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins..”   V-38.   Then we’re told in  V-41,   “So then those who had received his word, WERE baptized, and there were ADDED that day, about 3,000 souls.”   Then we read in  V-47,   “And the LORD WAS ADDING to the congregation, day by day, those who were being saved.” 

 

baptism
Another soul added to His body!

 

 

Not one soul has ever “joined” the church that Jesus died for and  “purchased with His own blood”  (Acts 20:28)   But EVERY soul that has ever been saved, has been “added” to His church, by God Himself.  And the very first people who “the Lord added”, had been told to “repent and be baptized”.  And after they “had received his word” which obviously means that they obeyed his word, the LORD did the adding. 

 

I think that’s a GREAT system!  God knows who has “received” His word.  He knows if we’ve repented and if we’ve been baptized.  Jesus Himself said in  Mark 16:16,   “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved!”  And God knows where He wants to “place” those that He saves.  Jesus suffered and bled and died, so that we could be saved.  And He built His church, so the saved could be added to it.

 

Jesus died for, and built ONE church!  We have His authority to “receive” His word.  We have His authority to believe His word, to repent of our sins, and to be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins.  And we have His authority to “belong” to His congregation, which is His body.  BUT, the scriptures give us NO authority whatsoever, for having a “multiplicity” of churches.

 

How many churches exist today?  Just in the United States alone, how many different churches are there?   How about world wide?  My guess would be that there are literally thousands, maybe tens of thousands.    But we only have the authority from Jesus, to belong to ONE of them!

 

Did you “join” the church that you attend?  Or did God add you to it?  If you joined it, then you don’t belong to Christ’s church.  That may be a bold statement, but that’s exactly what the bible teaches.  There is absolutely NO WAY, revealed in the bible, to “join” a church.  God must “add” you to His church.  And God DOES add everyone who is saved, to His church.  Many people believe that you can be saved without belonging to ANY church.  But when we read the bible, we see that’s IMPOSSIBLE.    The very same things that save us, are the very things that add us to His church.

 

Mark 8:36-37
Mark 8:36-37

There is nothing in this world, that’s more important than your soul!  And because of that fact, We MUST be sure that the church we belong to, is the church Jesus died for, because that’s the only church where salvation can be found.   And we must also be sure that the things we believe and teach and practice, are the things that Jesus has given us the AUTHORITY to believe and teach and practice.

 

 

As the scriptures point out, Jesus established His church on the day of Pentecost, in approximately 33 AD.  However, very shortly afterwards, men began to depart from the teachings of Christ, and they formed small “splinter” groups, “denominating” themselves with the names of their “leaders”.  One such group was the “Nicholaitans” mentioned in  Revelation 2:15.   Jesus said that He had “something against” the congregation in the city of Pergamum.  (A city in what is now Turkey)  Jesus said specifically,  “Thus you have some who in the same way, hold the teachings of the Nicholaitans.”  The Nicholaitans were obviously teaching a “different” doctrine from Christ’s doctrine.  Secular history identifies many other groups as well.  Some of these groups were still in existence in the second and third centuries.  But then in the fourth century, a denomination of a much grander scale was formed by the Roman emperor Constantine.

 

Formerly, the Roman empire was the greatest persecutor of Christians that the world had ever known.  They had demanded “Emperor Worship”, but when Christians wouldn’t bow down and worship the emperor, they were put to death in some of the most inhumane ways.  But then in the year 313 AD, the emperor Constantine officially declared that Christianity would be “tolerated” as one of the empire’s many religions.  And in a Roman council meeting in the year 325, the “Nicene Creed” was adopted, and that creed went on to become  the first “confession of faith”, of the newly formed denomination that came to be called, the Roman Catholic church.  The word “catholic” really simply means “universal”, and so this religious belief became “universal” throughout the roman empire.  But this “Roman” denomination didn’t adhere to the teachings of the bible, because the emperor Constantine wanted to make this religion more “acceptable” to the majority of people.  And so when you try to please people instead of pleasing God, you have to make some changes.  Within a relatively short period of time, the only thing the Roman Catholic church had in common with the church that Jesus died for and established,  was that it “claimed” to believe in Christ.

 

The changes continued until, as the centuries went by, men began to “protest” the teachings and practices of this “Roman” denomination.   And soon afterwards, “protestant” denominations were established.  While it was “right” to protest the teachings of the Roman Catholic church, since they had departed from the teachings of Christ, and had so grossly perverted “Christianity”, it was “wrong” to simply form MORE man-made denominations.  People should have simply returned to the teachings of Christ and of the bible, and returned to His church.

 

denominationBut instead of doing what would have been “right”, men established their OWN denominations, teaching their OWN doctrines.  These new denominations were typically named after the men who established them or after some particular doctrine which was prominent to their own peculiar belief.  And so we see the establishment of the “Lutheran” church, the “Wesleyan” church, the “Baptist” church, the “Methodist” church, the “Mormon” church, the “Mennonite” church, the “Presbyterian” church, the church of “Prophecy”,  the “Witnesses” , the “Adventists”,  the “Pentecostals”, the “Unitarians”,  the “community” churches, and we could go on and on.

 

Do you know what God calls His church?  Remember that “man” began using the word “church”.  The original Greek word is “ekklesia” which means “to call out”, or “the called out”.    We are called out of the world, to be set apart in God’s “congregation”.  That’s why when God saves us, He “adds” us to His congregation.   Another proper rendering of the word “ekklesia” would be His “assembly”.  The body of Christ, is the assembly and the congregation of Christ.  It “belongs” to Christ.  And since it belongs to Christ, it belongs to God!  It’s the congregation of God, and the congregation of Christ.  It’s the assembly of Christ and of God.  It’s the spiritual “body of Christ”.   Colossians 1:18   and also  Ephesians 1:22-23.  

 

We do need to be aware though, that there are denominations out there that have scriptural names.  An example would be “Assembly of God”.  That’s a very scriptural name, but you will find that the beliefs and practices of that religious group, don’t match up with the bible.  We are admonished in  1 John 4:1,   “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”   God lays the responsibility upon us, to “test” everything that we hear preached, against the word of God.  That’s why I’m diligent to give you the verses of scripture to prove everything that I say on this website.  If the preaching is exactly according to His word, then it’s from God.  But if it isn’t exactly according to the bible, then we’re obligated to reject it!

 

The changing of just one word can make the difference between spiritual life and spiritual death.  God told Adam in  Genesis 2:17,   “But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat.  For in the day that you eat from it, you shall surely die.”  But then in  Genesis 3:4,   the spirit of evil, which is satan, said to Eve,  “You surely shall NOT die.”  Just one word was added, but it made the difference between life and death.  And God’s word of course proved right.  In the very day that Adam and Eve ate from the one tree that was forbidden to them, they surely DID die spiritually!

 

Jesus died for “HIS” ccongregation!  Who died for the one you belong to?  Can you find the “church” that you are putting your faith in, within the pages of the bible?  Can you find the practices of “your church” in the pages of the bible?  And most important of all;  Can you find salvation, in a “church” that has been started by men, named after men, governed by men, and that are teaching man’s doctrines?

 

“Now I exhort you brethren, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and that there be NO divisions among you, but that you be made complete, in the same mind, and in the same judgment.”   1 Cor 1:10

“Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying;  I am of Paul, and I am of Apollos, and I am of Cephas, and I am of Christ.  Has Christ been divided?  Paul was not crucified for you, was he?  Or have you been baptized in the name of Paul?”   1 Cor 1:12-13

 

NO, Christ has NOT been divided, and neither should we!  Those who have been added to Christ’s body, urge you ALL, to be of the same mind and of the same judgment, and that we all might believe and practice exactly what the bible says.  No more, and no less.  There’s a couple of sayings that are worth repeating..  “Let us speak where the bible speaks, and be silent where the bible is silent”.  Let’s call bible things by bible names, and let’s do bible things in bible ways.”  How can we go wrong if we just stick to the bible?

 

“Anyone who goes too far, and does not abide in the teachings of Christ, does NOT have God!  The one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.”   2 John 9

 

Please, tell me how you feel about what the bible says concerning the authority of Christ, or any other bible subject as well.  Isn’t it possible to all believe the bible alike?  God says it’s possible!  Jesus prayed for our unity!  (John chapter 17)  And since it IS possible, and Jesus prayed for it, it’s up to us to MAKE it happen.  May God bless you in the study of His word.

 

 

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This article has 6 Comments

  1. “By who’s authority” is certainly the right question. Your answer leads me conclude that it resides in the Church of Christ to correctly interpret scripture and that other interpretations are subject to error. If I understand correctly, that is a very bold presumption.
    I turned to your website when I received the postcard invitation. So I looked up Church of Christ on the internet to see what your foundational beliefs are and it appears that sola scriptura and individual interpretation are foremost as with many protestant denominations. Your authority seems to be self-proclaimed and contrary to the teaching of Christ.

    1. Hello Mike. I do appreciate your comments. I’m bit confused over your conclusion though. Why would you think that the fact that we need God’s authority for what we do and what we believe, has any bearing on interpreting the scriptures? It’s a simple matter of God being in complete control, and requiring us to do only what He says. Do you think that the fundamental idea of God requiring us to obey the rules that He has established, is a matter of interpretation? I realize that some people don’t believe that the bible is the word of God, and therefore what it says doesn’t matter. But assuming that you DO believe the bible is God’s word, and seeing how it clearly states that Jesus has been given ALL authority, isn’t it simply a matter of common sense that we need to obey what He says? The whole point of the article about needing authority for everything we do and for everything we believe, is that none of us has any right at all, to add to His word, or leave out parts of His word, or change it in any way! It’s not up to US to dictate God’s will. God has already done that. It’s up to us to recognize that what He has said is binding upon us. That’s why, since God desires us all to be united in believing the bible and in practicing what it says, we have no right to divide ourselves into different groups, each one teaching and practicing different things. It’s simply up to us all to be willing to study together and to discus His word, so that we CAN see it alike. It’s the responsibility of each and every one of us to “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who needs not to be ashamed, correctly discerning the word of truth.” 2 Tim 2:15.

      I’m curious as to what postcard invitation you received? Are you referring to an invitation from the congregation in Buffalo, Wy.? Are you referring to a “House to House, Heart to Heart” publication? I’m sure that anyone is always welcome to visit any congregation at all, at any time.

      I don’t know what type of information you might have found on the internet, but I can assure you that the only authority that any congregation has, no matter where in the world they’re located, is to follow Christ precisely. The whole point is that we have absolutely NO right to do anything except what God has authorized. And if everyone would live by that standard, then we would all be in agreement. The religious world is so “out of agreement” now, because people don’t WANT to stick to only what God has authorized. People want to do things THEIR way. You’ll find that this entire website is based on the fact that nothing matters except what God says. Our opinions make no difference at all. We don’t have to agree with the way God has chosen to do things. But we do have to obey what He has said, because we have no authority to do anything other than that.

      Please let me know how you feel about this. I hope that I have at least clarified the fact that having authority for what we do is simply a basic bible principle that has been around since the beginning of time. And no GROUP of people has the authority to interpret scripture for anyone else. We all as individuals have the same responsibility to correctly interpret the scriptures for ourselves. And the way we do that is to STUDY, so that we can know God’s word, and as He says, “reason together with God”. Isaiah 1:18.

  2. In my experience as a Christian, it is very possible for us all to believe the bible alike . This is something we can do in a healthy and positive way. He said in his word He is coming back and the Spirit will reveal all truth 1 John 2:20. Joining the Church always felt odd but so does being a proud Christian when the word is against the proud. Still I must forgive others if I want to be forgiven. Keep up the good work. The love of God be with you.

    1. Hello brother. Thanks for your comments. Yes we CAN all agree, but only if we agree with God’s word! The scripture that teaches that God’s Spirit will lead the apostles into all truth is John 16:13. “But when He the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth: For He will not speak of His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak, and He will disclose to you what is to come.” Now this promise of the work of the Spirit in revealing what He has heard from the Father, was a promise to the apostles, not to everyone. The apostles then wrote down in letters, what was disclosed to them. And of course those letters, when all assembled together, became the bible. That verse in 1 John 2:20, that says. “But you have an anointing from the Holy one..”, means that all of us who believe His word are “chosen”, and thus “anointed” by God to receive His promise of eternal life.

      As far as our pride goes.. “But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14.

      Joining ourselves to a local congregation of believers should not make us feel odd at all. If we have already been added to His congregation (His church), then we should feel obligated to join ourselves to the local body of those who are “of like precious faith”. 2 Peter 1:1. Then we can all “boast in the cross” together, which is the way God meant it to be.

      Thanks again for your comments and I pray that you’ll keep reading from this site and keep giving God the glory.

  3. The point you make sir is an important and profound one. I as well am dismayed by the fact that we have so many denominations and the HOLY SPIRIT pointed me not to accept this as the choice of man to divide into sections but he pointed me back to the words of the New Testament Ephesians 4:5 There is one Lord, One Baptism , One faith ” and other scriptures like Jude 1:3 .Please read down to the rest of this this chapter.

    God shows us that he gave us 12 Apostles and his son JESUS CHRIST. They are the only Brand of CHRIST. So anything else is a counterfeit. As Jude says in the above passage that these people have wormed their way into our churches…. We must defend the faith. That was Jude ‘s message as well as many other Apostles at the beginning of this race. But we continue today to warn others of the counterfeit church that leads people away from God. This is a very strong message that you send sir thank you!
    It is also very deep. I have to go back and read it again to absorb it all. Thank you!

    1. Hello to you sir. I’m very glad that you’ve taken the time to comment. The concept of ONE church is difficult for people to understand, isn’t it? But if everyone would just stop and think about it, Jesus died for ONE church. And His word condemns division. So what else is there that makes any sense at all, except for us to do everything we can to be united in the word of God, without anything else added to it? Please let me know if you have any questions that I could help you with. And your comments are always welcome. May God bless you sir.

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