It Is No Accident That Jesus Claims To Have All Authority: - "in heaven and on earth" (Matt. 28:18). His Father in His declaration openly endorses the inherent nature of His authority. "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him" (Matt. 17:5). This expresses Jesus' right to exercise His power and thus, His authority must be obeyed. His power manifested during His earthly ministry caused amazement in the disciples "for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes" (Matt. 7:27,28), but now it is consummate in heaven and earth. Jesus did not assume this authority, but God, His Father, gave it to Him.
Two words used in the New Testament rendered power or authority (exousia and
dunamis) must not be used to mean the same. Exousia is "the power of authority
(influence) and of right"..."the power of rule...the power of him
whose will and commands must be submitted to by others;" and dunamis means
"strength, ability, power" (Thayer, pp, 159, 225). One might possess
the strength to do something while
not having the authority to do so. And one might act in a local church as he pleases by forcing his way, but does not have Bible authority to do it; if the Lord does not teach it -- no one may rightfully do it.
During Jesus' earthly ministry He had a mission: "To do the Will of Him that sent Me" (Jno. 5:19,30) and, never in any way under any circumstances did He violate His Father's Will. He ever sought to please His Father in doing the things the Father taught Him (Jno. 8:28,29).
When Jesus ascended to the Ancient of Days He was "given dominion, glory and a kingdom" (Dan. 7:13,14). Prior to the Holy Spirit being given (at Pentecost, Acts 2) Jesus had to be glorified (Jno. 7:39) which happened when He was "Taken up in glory" (1 Tim. 3:16). God then "raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named...and He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all" (Eph. 1:20-23). So, the Father made Jesus the authoritative voice/head of the church/kingdom of God; He now reigns with absolute authority over His church.
A Warning To Us: -- How dangerous it is for Christians to act without the teaching
of Christ to legitimatize the action. Doing what makes one feel good or happy
merely on the grounds the end justifies the means is not acceptable with the
Lord. What causes one to think that his likes are better for
him and others than what the Lord likes, that he must have his way in serving the Lord? King Saul felt this way and was informed that it is "better to obey than sacrifice" (1 Sam. 15: 22). Naaman the leper expressed his opinion when Elisha told him to "go and wash seven times in the Jordan," saying,
"Are not Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel" (2 Kgs. 5:8-14)? but he wasn't cleansed of his leprosy until he obeyed "according to the word of the man of God." He could have dipped in Abanah or Pharpar, not Jordan that God specified, and it would have been by his own opinion and not by divine authority. His wish for substitution in what God said would have changed completely the Lord's specified requirements; God said "Jordan" and Naaman wanted some other body of water!
Inasmuch as Jesus is Head absolute of His chruch, Head over all things to it (Eph. 1:22), that leaves no one with rights to act for God without the teaching of Jesus. When God does not speak on a matter one must not assume the silence gives liberty for action. This is a great fault seen in a number of churches of Christ today. Self-assumed forms to express religious piety in public worship are not necessarily acceptable to God.
It appears the leadership roles in the separations from old churches and the formation of so-called churches of Christ are on the shoulders of aspiring inexperienced younger people who, with agenda, feign rightful authority to so treat the church and do as they please. Actions without Bible authority then become bolder in granting privileges for which God has said nothing. Instrumental music in worship and women speaking in the public assemblies before men are just two divisive issues now facing the churches that tolerate service without authority.
Religious reform and church restructure are not changes we need, but we do need humility and complete trust in the living God based ofn the Living Word.
By Earl. E. Robertson in Biblical Insights, Vol. 7, No. 5, May 2007.
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