ONE'S ATTITUDE TOWARD AUTHORITY IN RELIGION.
1. Men do not want to accept a common authority in religious matters.
2. This is the basic cause of all religious division and dissension.
3. Religion is about the only realm wherein this is so.
4. Politically, a man should have the privilege to believe anything or nothing at all religiously.
5. But scripturally, man have no right to believe anything except what God has said in Holy Writ.
6. The belief of religious error will condemn men, not save them. Gal. 1:6-10; 2 Thes. 2:1-12.
7. Only the truth of God, as it appears in the New Testament, will make men free from sin and condemnation. Jno. 1:17; 8:32; 17:17.
8, There are many false bases of authority in religious matters. Shortly, we will examine some of these.
9. Jesus was questioned about His authority. Mt. 21:23.
10. But in His teaching, He taught as one having authority. Mt. 7:29.
11. The New Testament tells us that Jesus has all authority. Mt. 28:18.
12. The apostles taught by authority that was already established in heaven. Mt. 16:19; 18:18, NASV..."Shall have been bound..."
13. We are to go to God's law and to His testimony for authority. Isa. 8:20. KJV - "No light in them.", ASV - "No morning for them." e.i. will not see the light of day.
14. Scriptural authority is established in three ways:
A. Direct command. Acts 10:48.
B. Approved example. Acts 20:7.
C. Necessary inference. Heb. 10:25, a place to meet implied, etc.
15. There are two types of authority: Generic, "Go Teach" and Specific "The Gospel>"
16. How to establish scriptural authority with regard to the Lord's Supper:
A. Express command - "This do in remembrance of me." 1 Cor. 11: 23,24.
B. Approved apostolic example - "Upon the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread..." Acts 20:7.
C. Necessary inference - Every first day of the week. Compare the keeping of the sabbath day holy. Exo. 20:8.
17. The expediency involved in this matter is, the hour of the first day and the containers for distributing the one cup in the Lord's Supper
18. Unless we find a thing taught in the Bible in one or more of the ways mentioned here, we certainly do not have authority to practice or teach such.
19. Now let us note some of the false bases of authority presented by men in religious matters:
I. PERSONAL DESIRE AND TASTE:
A. People do what they like to do in religion.
B. They think that the voice of the people is the voice of God. Acts 12: 21,22.
C. Every man does what is right in his own eyes.
1. When he does, anarchy reigns. Jdgs. 17:6; 21:25.
D. Paul tells of such a case in Rom. 10:1-3.
E. "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Prov. 16:25.
F. Men cannot be saved, they cannot please God, by doing what THEY want to do and like to do. Jer. 10:23; Isa. 55:7-9.
1. Neither can a man believe what he wants to believe and still please God. Jno. 8:24; Eph. 4:5; Jude 3.
2. There are at least 350 differing religions in this country alone and each has its own belief.
A. Many are the religious traditions believed and practiced in religion which have no basis in the New Testament..
1. For example: All religious holidays (the Catholics have about 45 of these). Tithing. Burning incense. Sprinkling or pouring water upon a person for baptism. Baptizing babies. Religious titles such as Father, Holy Father, Reverend, etc. The use of mechanical instruments of music in worship. Prayers offered for the dead. Clergy and Laity. The wearing of special clothing. Customs that go to make up a religious holiday.
B. Let us read a little bit of what Jesus says about traditions of men: Mk. 7:1-13.
C. If God's word does not authorize a belief or practice in religion, it is of no value, no matter how long it has been believed or practiced.
1. Some of my own brethren are so wed to traditions of the past that they don't want any type of variation from such tradition. Two songs a prayer, another song and then the sermon. The Lord's Supper always after the sermon not before, etc. This way is good and right but it is not the only way that worship can be conducted scripturally.
A. Look at what Paul says in Acts 23:1; 24:16.
B. Yet, in good consceince Paul had killed Christians, put them in prison, and persecuted them from city unto city. 1 Tim. 1:12-16; Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-3; 26:9-11.
C. So, people can believe error, worship vainly, and sin against God -- all in good consicience. Mt. 15:9; 7:15-23.
D. Our conscience cannot be our guide when it is not taught the truth.
A. Most people have an inherited religion.
B. They know little or nothing of God's word, nor of their parent's religion.
C. They have simply inherited a religious name and practice. Jos. 24: 14-16
D. There would have been no nation of Israel, no Savior, no apostles of Jesus, no Christians, had men always believed what parents believed and followed what they followed.
V. HUMAN LEADERSHIP.
A. Blindly following men has caused many to fall into the pit. Mt. 15:14 1. David Karesh in Waco, Texas. .
VI. FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS OF THE HEART.
A. Naaman said, "Behold I thought." 2 Kgs. 5:11.
1. "The heart is deceitful above all things..." Jer. 17:9.
B. Paul said, "I verily thought within myself..." Acts 26:;9
VII. DREAMS AND VISIONS.
1. People try to establish what they are doing or teaching by dreams or by visions they claim to have had. Deut. 13:1-5; Eccl. 5:7; Jer. 23: 23-32; Jude 8.
VIII. RELIGIOUS COUNCILS AND SYNODS.
A. People are prone to want to put religious authority into the hands of a group of men. Prov. 12:5; Mt. 27:1,2.
IX. THE MAJORITY.
A. What if Noah had followed the majority? Exo. 23:1,2.
B. Usually, in matters religious, the majority prove wrong. Mt. 7:13,14.
1. There is only one basis of religious authority.
2. That basis is the Word of God. 1 Pet. 4:11; Mt. 17:5; Heb. 1:1,2.
3. Other scriptues that need to be read just here are: Mt. 3:16,17; 1 Cor 1:10-13; 2:9-13; 4:1-6; 2 Pet. 1:3,4, 20,21; 2 Tim. 3:16,17; Jno. 1:17 8:21, 24,32; 17:17.
4. Only by learning, believing and obeying the Word of God can men please God and be saved. Heb. 11:6.
5. Only when men everywhere accept the Word of God alone as the sole basis of all religious teaching and practice, will men be united as Jesus prayed for them to be. Jno. 17:20,21.
6. Why not begin now by rendering obedience to His Will?
7. What is your attitude toward religious authority?
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