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Our Need For God's Authority

John Gentry

Greetings Butler County. I pray that this week’s article finds you all doing well. Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is John R. Gentry. In July of 2002, I, along with my family (wife Stacy and 1 year old daughter Sarah), moved to Butler County to become the evangelist working with the Eastside church of Christ in Morgantown on the corner of Main and Cemetery. Lord willing, this is the first of regular weekly articles dealing with various topics from God’s Holy Word.

In our daily lives we all recognize the need for authority. We see this need in our homes, jobs, schools and nation. This need for authority does not escape religion or our Christian lives. God is our source for authority in religion and our daily Christian lives. In the same way that we recognize the need to respect authority in our homes, jobs, schools and nation, we need to respect God’s authority. The title above is taken from the first part of 1 Peter 4.11, which states, “Whoever speaks, [is to do so] as one who is speaking the utterances of God.” This passage simply means that the things we say are to come from God’s sayings or, in other words, by His authority. The first part of Colossians 3.17 states, “Whatever you do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” “In the name of the Lord Jesus” means in accordance with His will or by His authority. In the words of commentator R.C.H. Lenksi, “absolutely everything is to be done in the light of the revelation of our Lord and harmonize with that revelation.”

In Matthew 21.23-27 we see the chief priests and elders of the Jews recognized the need for authority in religion. Jesus came into the temple courtyard teaching the people; no doubt teaching them concerning the “gospel of the Kingdom” (cf. Matthew 4.23). Upon seeing this the chief priests and elders asked Jesus, “By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?” They obviously recognized the need for authority in religion and that this authority must come from one who has the right or power to grant such authority. In answer to their questions, Jesus asks them a question; “The baptism of John was from what [source], from heaven or from men?”. Jesus’ answer shows that there are only two sources for authority in religion; heaven (God) or men. This is still true today!

Unfortunately, many people today deny that we need authority from God for everything we say and do in religion. These people either look to themselves or to other men as their source for authority concerning certain things in religion (cf. Jeremiah 10.23; Proverbs 14.12; Matthew 15.9 and Colossians 2.20-22). As a result of this attitude, many people today are participating in religious activities that are not authorized by God. Indeed we have the ability to choose whether or not we are going to act with God’s authority or without it (thereby acting by authority from men). We must all recognize that participating in things not authorized by God means that we are going beyond God’s teaching and have gone too far. Sadly, people who do such are not abiding in Christ and God and they have no fellowship with the Heavenly Father (cf. 2 John 9-11 and 1 John 1.6-7).

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