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Thursday, April 7, 2022


"And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 'What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.' 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Be silent, and come out of him!' 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, 'What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.' 28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee. '"
Mark 1:21-28

One definition of true faith is to do what God commands, exactly the way He commands, just because He commands it.  How important is it to do what Jesus, the Son of God, commands, exactly the way He commands, just because He commands it? Jesus is Lord and King. What is the nature of His lordship? Let us consider what the Scriptures teach about the authority of the Son of God.

In Mark 1:21-39, we can easily observe the King’s authority, our Lord Jesus Christ.    Jesus the King and Lord is the beginning of the Good News that the Prophet Isaiah prophesied.  Jesus is the righteous servant in whom God delights.  He successfully defeated Satan.   Jesus’ teaching is authoritative, and we see it in Mark 1:21-22 as He enters the synagogue and teaches on the Sabbath.  But His teaching is different.  His teaching was so different and unusual that it astonished the people in the synagogue.  Jesus was not a fancy speaker.  The people were astonished because Jesus “taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.”  

You see, the teachers of that time quoted the elders and the rabbis. The Jewish religious experts did not care about and value originality. They passed down the authoritative “tradition of the elders.” But Jesus spoke with the authority of God.  He did not repeat the tradition of men!  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught with authority when He said,  

“You have heard that it was said of old, but I say to you.” 

Jesus taught about the Father, saying, 
“Because I said so.” 

When Jesus spoke, His words were God’s authoritative words. He was the Author of the Scriptures.  Jesus did not quote a Scripture for authority or appeal for authority outside Himself. He taught as someone who possessed great authority like no one else on earth.  His words were unique, for they were authoritative.  His authoritative words must rule our lives, for He is King, and we must do what He commands.  We must allow Jesus’ words to be the authority over our lives.

Today, many denominations and so-called churches of Christ practice things without the authority of God, though they think they’re doing the will of God.  When one challenges and questions their practices, they immediately get defensive and call us names.  For example, 

  • There are differences in how the church treasury is used.
  • Differences in belief about salvation and the use of mechanical instruments in worship.
  • Differences in divorce and remarriage.
  • Differences in supporting social institutions such as orphanages, nursing homes, daycare centers, Bible schools, and the such where they use the church treasury. 

I must stress that before any church does anything in our worship and service to God, there must be authority from God.  It will be wise to ask ourselves one very critical question.  By what authority are we doing these things?

We cannot know God’s authority in everything we do or say if we are not seeking His will through reading the Scriptures.  It will be impossible to know the difference if we are ignorant of God’s Word.  Ignorance of God’s Word weakens and tosses us by every wind of doctrine.  But if we dig deeper into the Scriptures as the Bereans did, we will be able to follow God’s authority as taught in His Word (Acts 17).


  • What Is Our Standard of Authority? 

Our only standard for determining what can and cannot be done by the Lord's authority is His Word.  The Word of God explicitly authorizes via direct statements and examples. Thus whatever we do in word or deed must be done by the authority of Jesus Christ (Col. 3:17).  The Bible, the Word of God, teaches and authorizes by implication.  It is sometimes difficult to understand God’s implications because understanding involves proper and sound reasoning to draw the conclusion that God expects us to draw.  Since God made us in His image, and He is all-wise, He expects us to use the wisdom He has given us to study His Word and draw conclusions from His explicit statements in the Bible.  We must stress again that Truth via implication is authoritative. God also authorizes what is expedient within the confines of that which is lawful.  Though God gives us laws, rules, and obligations, He doesn't always specify all the details to fulfill those duties, so we must weigh the available choices to determine which choice is the most advantageous to accomplish such general obligations. That is, we must seek the most expedient way to carry out the Lord’s will.  Let me give you a few  examples:

    • Noah And The Ark:  (Genesis 6:13-16)

God specified "gopher wood" for the construction of the ark (Gen. 6:14). By faith, Noah did all that God commanded him to do (Gen. 6:22; Cf. Heb. 11:7). {God was also very specific about the Passover sacrifice. It had to be a blemish-free male lamb of the first year (Ex. 12:5).}  God was very specific in His instructions to Noah.  He explicitly told Noah what kind of wood to use.  Expediency in human wisdom requires the right of choice within the realm of those things that God has authorized.  And though Noah could have chosen another wood similar to gopher, whether small or large logs, he still had to obey God and use gopher wood{The Israelites could have chosen which blemish-free male lamb of the first year to be offered, but to obey God, they had to offer such an animal.} 

To go beyond what is specified, or offer a substitute, is to add to what God has already said rather than obeying His Word. So if God had not been specific with Noah, Noah could have used any other type of wood he wanted, right?  Yes!  If God had said to use “wood” to make the ark, Noah would have had God's authority (by expediency) to use another wood such as oak, pine, birch, or any other kind of wood that might serve his purpose.  However, God never gave Noah that choice, for He was very specific when He authorized gopher wood!  God commanded Noah to use gopher wood and nothing else.  You see, God does not have to prohibit everything He does not want.  Why?  Because all He needs to do is to authorize what He wants us to do, and we must never go beyond His authority!

Think for a moment. 

If God had to specifically prohibit everything He did not want us to do or say, our Bibles would have to be very big.  It would surely be impossible to carry our Bibles!  Hence we must respect the silence of the Scriptures and determine to say and do only those things that God has authorized. That is what Colossians 3:17 teaches!  It would be a big mistake to justify anything that God has not authorized by simply stating that the Bible does not explicitly prohibit such. Instead of looking within ourselves to determine whether we should do or say a certain thing, we should look to what God wants us to do. We must ask ourselves, "Where has God authorized it?" It is not enough to claim that the New Testament does not condemn a certain activity, for that type of thinking does not work! What works for God is to show that He has authorized a particular thing by direct statement, example, or implication. Within these three expressions of authority, we must also consider the most expedient way to carry out God’s will.

So, the question at stake is. 

Did Noah have to use any human judgment when he built the ark?  

Well, not in the matter of which wood to use because God was very specific about it.  And though God was very specific about the building of the ark, He still allowed Noah to use his human judgment in many ways to fulfill the obligation of building the ark.  Human judgment is involved in all obligations that God has given us.  For example, did God specify where to build the ark? There is no indication that He did. Noah could have built the ark in his backyard, on top of a hill, or anywhere else large enough to build it.  God gave Noah the obligation to build the ark, and, to fulfill that obligation, he had to choose an appropriate location to build the ark. Now, under the circumstances, I doubt it would have been expedient for Noah to build the ark on top of a hill because he would have been required to haul a lot of wood up there. And that brings me to another question.

Where was Noah supposed to get the wood?  

The Bible does not tell us where God specified Noah to get the wood. He probably had to go out and cut the wood. Now that brings up other matters for human judgment

How was Noah to cut the wood?  
Was he supposed to use a hand saw or chainsaw?  

Of course, Noah did not have a chain saw.  The point is that even when God was very specific, Noah had to make some decisions concerning the construction of the ark.  I don't doubt that Noah chose the options that were most expedient or advantageous for him. Of course, all the choices he made had to be in harmony with the will of God and the general and specific obligations that He had placed on him. Noah did not go beyond that which God had authorized him to do.

"Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did."  (Genesis 6:22)

God authorizes by expediency where man must make human judgments to fulfill his obligations.  However, we must understand that if God specifies how an obligation is to be carried out, then the method is just as binding as the obligation itself.  If God had told Noah where to get the wood, how to cut it, and where and when to build the ark, then none of these things would have been matters of expediency. But sometimes, as in the case of Noah, God gives obligations to fulfill to please Him.  However, there are times when we will have to use common sense to make our choices.  So, before we can say or do something, we must first have the authority from God to say or do it!  

    • Nadab and Abihu:

In Leviticus 10:1-3, we have the story of Nadab and Abihu.  They were offering God fire on the altar of incense that was supposed to be taken from a particular altar, the altar of burnt offering. But notice what happened next.

“Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. 2 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. 3 Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’  And Aaron held his peace.’”  

So what is the problem? 

Nadab and Abihu used an unauthorized, unholy, and profane fire.  They used something different than what God had commanded. They thought it would not matter to God.  But it did matter to God!  We cannot worship God using our own wisdom and not His.  We must not rely on what others say.  It was presumptuous for Nadab and Abihu to offer profane fire (their way) rather than the sanctified fire to God (Lev. 10). And though Nadab and Abihu offered worship to God, they were still not acceptable because they did not worship God the way He had commanded. God expected the priests to obey the Law completely. His silence toward all prohibited worship does not authorize a practice or activity that might be offered as worship to God (Lev. 10).  

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus said, 

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.’”

Did Jesus say that all authority had been given to men to design worship that would please others?  

All authority is from God and no one else.  We must not look to others to determine if any practice is lawful before God.  We must not rely on men, magazines, or scholarly works such as commentaries to determine the authority of God on any given practice.  We cannot please God and follow men and their creeds.  They will be wrong!  We must search the Word of God for answers about everything we do or say.  Period!  

    • Uzzah And Ahio:

When the sons of Abinadab, Uzzah and Ahio, were bringing the Ark back, they put the Ark on an ox cart. This was their first mistake.  They did not follow the instructions given by the LORD about handling the Ark.  Apparently, they had forgotten.  This mistake ended in tragedy.  As they were bringing the Ark back, Ahio was walking ahead of it.  David and his house celebrated and rendered worship to the LORD with all kinds of instruments: lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals.  When they reached the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and perhaps the Ark wobbled, so Uzzah, a non-Levite, reached out to take hold of the Ark.  That was the second mistake.  Uzzah was immediately struck down by God, dying beside the Ark because of his lack of reverence.  

“So they set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill, accompanying the ark of God; and Ahio went before the ark. Then David and all the house of Israel played music before the LORD on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals. And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God.”  (2 Samuel 6:3-7)

Do you not believe that what Uzzah did was a good deed?  

He reached up to the Ark to stop it from falling when the oxen stumbled.  But here is the problem.  
  1. God’s Law commanded the Israelites not to touch the Ark. 
  2. Only the priests from the family of Kohath were allowed to carry the Ark by using the poles specially designed to fit inside rings on each side of the Ark.  
  3. And though Uzzah had good intentions, it was not okay with God.   
  4. Uzzah died for his error. 

Some say that if it is a good deed, it cannot be wrong.  
  1. They justify doing a particular practice, declaring that it is a good deed.  
  2. They often make this argument when we talk to them about misusing the church funds to support orphan homes and other social institutions that help those in need. 
  3. Of course, it is good to help the helpless, but no one denies that these things are good works. 
But is it okay with God, or does He authorize the church to use the treasury to sponsor man-made institutions such as hospitals or homeless shelters, just because it seems a good thing that they do?  What do you think?   

We are given many other examples.  Again we must stress that when an action, fact, or teaching is commanded in the Bible without being explicitly specified or stated, you can rest assured that such an action, fact, or teaching is a matter of implication. The New Testament authorizes and prohibits certain things by implication.  Hence, God in the New Testament, the Law of Christ, authorizes via direct statements, examples, and undeniable implications.

"And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus..."  (Col. 3:17)


Any local church must ask the question, 

Do we have God’s authority for what we do in worship?  

In 1 John 3:4, we are told that sin is lawlessness. We must do everything within God’s Law. Otherwise, we sin. The disciples had to determine if there was any authority for the Gentiles to be baptized to be saved. Again, we must stress the use of direct command, necessary inference, and approved examples to discover the authority of God.  In Acts 15, we have a great example of these three principles in action to determine what God authorizes. 

  1. In Acts 15:7-11, Peter describes what happened to him in Acts 10. In verse 8, he says that the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit just as the apostles did, making no distinction. You see, Peter made a necessary inference to show that God cleansed the hearts of the Gentiles by faith and did not place the yoke of the Law of Moses on their necks.  
  2. In Acts 15:12, Paul and Barnabas declared the many miracles and wonders God had performed through them among the Gentiles. Here we see the use of an approved example
  3. In Acts 15:13-19James quotes Amos 9:11-12 to relate the direct command of God, to show that Gentiles could be saved. James declares that the things that took place were previously spoken by God. You see, the apostles discovered the authority of God this way, and it is the way we must use to find God’s authority today.

  • The Authority For Benevolence: The Individual And The Local Church:
God has authorized individuals to show benevolence toward Christians and unbelievers. Notice 1 John 3:17,

“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” 

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10
    1. In 1 Timothy 6:17-19, the rich are commanded to be rich in good works, do good, be ready to give, and willing to share. 
    2. In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus says that what we do toward our brethren in physical things is what we are doing toward Him. The parable of the good samaritan ends with Jesus saying, “Go and do likewise.” 
    3. As individuals, God commands us to do good to all. 
    4. We must be rich in good works.  

God has also given the local church the authority to use its funds for benevolence. However, there are restrictions about the use of each local church treasury. The local church has limited authority from God. 
    1. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2,  the apostle Paul commands the church to take up a collection for the saints and “store it up”, that is, in a common treasury. 
    2. On the first day of the week, each person must lay something aside
    3. But notice in verse 1 that the collection is “for the saints.” 
    4. Carefully notice that we are not told the collection is “of the saints” or “given by the saints,” which is sometimes how many misunderstand this passage. 
    5. The money collected is for the saints!  
    6. The money used for benevolence out of a local church treasury was always for the needy saints.  

In Romans 15:25-26, we read, 

“But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints who are in Jerusalem.” 
 Who was the contribution for? 

For the poor saints in Jerusalem. 
    1. In Acts 11:27-30, we are told that a famine was taking place everywhere.  
    2. In verse 29, we read, “Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea.” 
    3. Again we can see that the money was sent only to the saints. 
    4. In Acts 4:32-37, we read of “the multitude of those who believed” had all things in common. 
    5. The saints sold their possessions, and the goods were distributed to each one who had need.
    6.  From the very beginning, we see this same situation (Acts 2:44-45). We read, “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” 
    7. Who are those in need? All who believed. 
    8. We can prove this even further in Acts 3
    9. Notice that the possessions and goods were sold and laid at the apostles’ feet to distribute to needy saints.
    10. In Acts 3:1-6, Peter and John encountered a lame man on the way to the temple. 
    11. In verse 3, the lame man asks for alms. 
    12. In verse 6, Peter says, “Silver and gold I do not have…” 
    13. Is Peter lying? 
    14. We know Peter had plenty of money and goods available from the selling of the saints’ possessions that took place seven verses earlier. 
    15. Peter was not lying. 
    16. From this passage, we infer that the local church must not use its funds for all the needy of the world. 
    17. The funds must be used for needy saints only.

You may ask, what about James 1:27

Many argue that James 1:27 authorizes the local church to use its funds for the orphans and widows in this world.  The question is, 

Is James 1:27 addressed to a local church or individuals? 

It is not that difficult to understand and determine the correct answer.  
    1. We must first look at the context of the passage. 
    2. We must read the earlier verses of this text to find the nearest reference for this command.
    3.  Verse 26 says,  "If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless." 
    4. James is talking about the religion of a person, for he says  “he,” “his tongue,” “his own heart,” and “one’s religion.” 
    5. Our text is clearly talking about what each individual must do.  
    6. Even in verse 19, we see the discussion of what individuals must do. “Let every man…” 
    7. James 1:27 commands and gives authority to individuals to take care of widows and orphans.
    8. Therefore, when it comes to the work of benevolence, the treasury of the local church is limited to needy saints only.  

  • The Church Limits Upon Helping Needy Saints:

“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  (1 Tim. 5:8)

“For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”  (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

    1. God has placed further limits on the local church even on which needy Christians she may help.  
    2. The local church cannot immediately step in and help just any needy saint (2 Thessalonians 3:10).  

In 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Paul says, 
“For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” 

This same principle is given in 1 Timothy 5:8
“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 

If an individual is unwilling to work, a local church has no responsibility to help and must not help until that person is ready to take a job.

“But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.”  (1 Timothy 5:4)

Each individual must be willing to work before the local church can help.  The family must help before the local church helps him.   

A widow was not allowed to be on the role unless the family options were exhausted. The children and grandchildren were responsible for taking care of them, not the local church. The family is expected to contribute before the local church does. 

In 1 Timothy 5:16, Paul says that the church must not be burdened. 

This is an important principle. 

    1. Imagine if each local church were to use its funds to help all the poor in the world, it would run out of money and not accomplish the task the Lord has given each local church. 
    2. Each local church must not use its funds in a way that God has not authorized. 

My question is, 

Did the apostles set up shelters, orphanages, nursing homes, daycare centers, foster homes, or other institutions to take care of the needy? 

And though it might be noble to accomplish such a task, it leaves each local church without funds to do the work God has given it to do in evangelism, edification, and benevolence toward the needy saints.  

    1. In Acts 11 and 2 Corinthians 8-9, we read that a local church was unable to meet the needs of the saints.  
    2. So other local churches sent money to aid those needy saints. 
    3. Here is the only example we have of one local church sending money to another local church.
    4. The money was not sent nor used for any other reason. 
    5. Nor do we see these receiving churches sending it to other churches. 
    6. The saints did not set up a benevolent society to help all needy people in the world. 
    7. Nor did they use a local church as an agency to give aid to all needy people. 
    8. There is no authority anywhere in the New Testament for establishing a controlling local church to be in charge of all the needy in each location.  
    9. If there’s one, I would like to know it!  
    10. The needy Christians were the only ones receiving this kind of help.  
    11. Take heed!

  • No Authority For Supporting Earthly Organizations:
Many teach that a local church must use its funds to support all of today’s charities and needs. 
    1. They want to use the treasury of the local church to send funds to nursing homes, daycares, orphanages, hospitals, shelters, the Red Cross, United Way, or any other charitable organization.
    2. There is no authority for the funds of a local church to be used for such things.  
    3. Nowhere do we find a command, a necessary inference, nor do we see an example of any local church supporting such human organizations. 
    4. We do not find any authority for a local church to give its funds to those who are not needy saints.
    5. Again, let us remember that in Acts 3Peter and John did not give the lame man, who sat at the gate of the temple, any money. They said they could not give him money. 
    6. Why not? Because the inference is that the money must not be used for anyone other than needy saints in dire economic need (Acts 11:27-30 and 2 Corinthians 8-9).  

  • The Primary Work of Each Local Church is Spiritual:  

    1. God did not authorize the local church to become a welfare system or an agency to meet the physical needs of others. 
    2. The local church must meet spiritual needs
    3. Peter and John gave the lame man something more important than gold and silver. They healed him so that he and others would believe in Jesus Christ. 
    4. Our faith is the more important thing we can give to people.  
    5. We are not authorized to use the funds of a local church to support institutions.  
    6. When the  Lord commanded us to do good to all and visit the widows and orphans, He was not talking about giving them a check from the church treasury, He was talking about making an effort to help individually. 
    7. It is an individual responsibility. 

Remember Galatians 6:10
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” 

We must help others individually when the opportunity is presented.  Each one of us has been commanded to help believers and non-believers in the area of benevolence. It is up to each of us to determine how we are going to help.

Thus the right question to ask is:  

By what authority are we doing these things?  

We must understand that the church is not a physical benevolent society to feed and clothe or meet the physical needs of the worldly poor. As designed by God, the primary function of the church is to meet man’s spiritual needs.  
    1. The church is not a social club for secular parties, potlucks, entertainment, and music. 
    2. The church is for spiritual worship and spiritual music.  
    3. The church is not a political action force to shape society and culture through public protest.
    4. The church is non-political, and her God-ordained function only is to protest against spiritual things like sin and lawlessness.  
    5. The church is not a  fundraising organization whose primary goal is to collect money or invest money through bake sales, raffles, bingos, business ventures, secular real-estate investments, and speculation in the stock market. 
    6. The church that Jesus purchased with His blood raises money from free-will donations from Christians every first day of the week, Sunday.  

Take heed and don’t abuse God’s ordained design for the church that His Son purchased with His own blood!


In Mark 11:28, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders ask Jesus.

 “And they said to Him, ‘By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority to do these things?’”

These Jewish leaders asked Jesus by whose authority was He doing these things.  Notice Jesus’ answer in the following verse.  

“But Jesus answered and said to them, ‘I also will ask you one question; then answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things: the baptism of John, was it from heaven or from men? Answer me.’”

Wow, what a remarkable answer from the lips of Jesus!

Jesus did not turn to the Pharisees and authoritatively exclaim He did not need any authority to do what He was doing.  He did not say how stupid and irrelevant was their question.  Jesus’ response was to compel them to see and accept that His authority was straight from God in heaven.  Furthermore,  Jesus wanted them to accept that He was God and thus had all authority.   And though the question was foolish, it had some validity to it.  The question they asked Jesus about His authority for doing the things He was doing is the same valid question we must ask every time we do anything.  We must acknowledge that all our practices, whether our service and worship to God, must have His authority.    And this is precisely where Nadab and Abihu failed when they offered an unauthorized fire. They did not care about what God asked or commanded them to do.   

Sadly, we often ask the wrong questions with some of our practices of worship and service to God.  We are driven by our feelings or emotionsWe rely more on what others say about a specific practice or issue than doing what God authorizes.  We rationalize everything as a good work or cause, and thus, it cannot be wrong.  We dare to say that God does not care if we do this or not.  We must start acknowledging God’s authority for everything we do or say.  We must ask the question:  

Where is our authority for doing it?  
Does God authorize us to participate in a particular practice or work? 

When the church and its members fail to ask the question, 

“By What Authority?” 

We encounter many problems. Problems such as differences, divisions, and splits.  

How do you suppose we have so many different denominations with different beliefs and practices?  

Because they don’t care and ask the right question:  

By whose or what authority?  

When they fail to ask the right question, serious problems arise—problems about using the church treasury for social things such as building Bible schools, hospitals, and orphanages.  So the question is not whether it is a good work or not, what others practiced in the past, or whether or not God really cares.  

The valid question is,
Do we have authority from God? 

But when we do things our way, not God’s, we have no authority.

You see, there are many divisions over the use of mechanical instruments in our worship to enhance the beauty of our music.  

The valid question again is,  

Do we have authority from God to play instruments of music in worship to God? 

And if we don’t have God’s authority, we must not do it.  Period!  

Others teach that we are saved just by believing and accepting the Lord in our hearts.  Once again, the issue is, we must not do what others say about our salvation, or trust in scholarly books, commentators, and preachers. 

The valid question is, 
Do we have authority from God? 

If we don’t accept God’s authority to baptize for the remission of sins, we are not obeying His authority. (Acts 2:38)

There is much danger when we ignore God’s authority and fail to ask the question,

”By What authority.”  

When we refuse to obey God’s authority in everything we practice, we are standing on dangerous ground.  Jesus plainly said in Mark 7:6-9

“He answered and said to them, ‘Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’  'For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men–the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.’ He said to them, ‘All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.’”

When we disobey the authority of God, what we do is vain, and thus, our hearts are far from God.  A heart far from God is lost, for such a heart rejects God’s commands, His authority.  The danger is evident, for we are led into error.  When we fail to ask if what we do is by God’s authority, we will be led into error. Why? Because we will be easy prey for those who teach error and false doctrine.  When we stop asking the question, by what authority, we will be led into false teaching. Why? Because we will follow men’s doctrines and reject God’s.  We will accept and fall for anything just because it sounds good, not because it is the truth.  We must not accept anything just because it sounds good or because we esteem the teacher highly!   That is very dangerous, and that is exactly what Jude was stressing in Jude 8.

“Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties.” 

Also, we find this warning in 2 Peter 2:9-10

“Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.”

Knowing that punishment is reserved for those who reject God’s authority, we must be careful and reject error and false teaching.  Error and false teaching paralyze us. We should never do anything “new” or “different.” Examine the context of what Jesus is saying in Mark 7. 

The Pharisees accused Jesus and His disciples of not washing their hands according to the tradition of the elders. Honestly, was washing the hands commanded by God? No, for it was a tradition handed down, not found in the Scriptures.  However, the Pharisees made this a command of God and accused Jesus’ disciples of violating God’s Law for not doing it. It is the same thing we see happening today in the religious world.  We must not allow men’s traditions and expedients to become law where God has not made law in our worship to Him.

Therefore, we must teach the authority of God in our worship and service to Him.  

Is it authorized?  
Has God specifically given us the authority to do these things? 

We must obey God’s authority in everything we do or say.  Otherwise, we are undermining God’s Word and authority because we are doing it our way.  When we do things our way, we are hypocrites, and God will judge us (Mark 7:6-9).  

Soundness is doing what God authorizes and not what sounds good to us.  Soundness is not holding to the traditions of men as the commands of God. Jesus said it was foolish and vain to lay aside the commands of God. When we do what God has told us to do, we are seeking God’s authority. We are reflecting soundness in His word.  God has already spoken.  He has commanded that we not add to His words nor take away from His words.  

  • We must not turn to the right hand nor the left, nor should we do less or more than what God has taught and authorized.  
  • We must do just what He specifies.  
  • We must use only generic options found in His given specific commands or statements.  
  • We have no right and are not authorized to declare something to be expedient to carry out some specific command that does not exist.  
  • We must not make a law out of a true expedient.  
  • We must acknowledge that what God specifies must not change and must be followed.  God’s specific instructions do not change with culture and centuries of time.  Take heed!  

God’s instructions are the same today as they were in the first century.  And though many had tried to change God’s specific instructions, they have not changed at all.  Whatever options, choices, expedients, or generic decisions we make must come from what God has authorized in the timeless written Word.  We cannot have God’s approval while we are teaching error and man-made doctrines.  Doctrinal error is to abandon the reliability and authority of God as revealed in His Sacred Word.  

Therefore, we must search the Scriptures to find out what God has authorized, not men.  We must seek His will and authority to learn what God has commanded us to do.  There is no other way to be sound in God’s Word and come to a knowledge of God’s will.  We must not allow ourselves to be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine!   We must diligently study the Scriptures as the Bereans to examine if everything taught by others are the words of God and not men (Acts 17).  We must do what God has said and obey His authority alone.  

Jesus gives life to whom He will (John 5:21).  He gives life abundantly to those who do His will, hear and believe Him (John 5:24).  God the Father has given to the Son all judgment (John 5:22). Thus, whoever dishonors Jesus also dishonors the Father (John 5:23). Do you honor the King?  The only way to honor the King is to bow our knees and submit to His authority alone. We honor the King by worshiping Him. We honor the King by praising Him, for He is worthy of all praise and honor.  We honor the King by doing what He commands.  Since Jesus is God, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, we must submit to Him and God the Father with fear and trembling. 

May we honor our King and Lord and submit to His Lordship with fear and trembling.  May we honor our King and do what He commands, for He is worthy of all praise and honor.  May we place His Holy Word above the words of men.  


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