DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

                 Index

 
Authority
 

(Confidence, Control, Leadership)

1. Self-Centered Authority

What happens when people think they know best?

Judges 21:13-25
13 Then the whole assembly sent an offer of peace to the Benjamites at the rock of Rimmon.
14 So the Benjamites returned at that time and were given the women of Jabesh Gilead who had been spared. But there were not enough for all of them.
15 The people grieved for Benjamin, because the LORD had made a gap in the tribes of Israel.
16 And the elders of the assembly said, "With the women of Benjamin destroyed, how shall we provide wives for the men who are left?
17 The Benjamite survivors must have heirs," they said, "so that a tribe of Israel will not be wiped out.
18 We can't give them our daughters as wives, since we Israelites have taken this oath: 'Cursed be anyone who gives a wife to a Benjamite.'
19 But look, there is the annual festival of the LORD in Shiloh, to the north of Bethel, and east of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem, and to the south of Lebonah."
20 So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, "Go and hide in the vineyards
21 and watch. When the girls of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, then rush from the vineyards and each of you seize a wife from the girls of Shiloh and go to the land of Benjamin.
22 When their fathers or brothers complain to us, we will say to them, 'Do us a kindness by helping them, because we did not get wives for them during the war, and you are innocent, since you did not give your daughters to them.'"
23 So that is what the Benjamites did. While the girls were dancing, each man caught one and carried her off to be his wife. Then they returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the towns and settled in them.
24 At that time the Israelites left that place and went home to their tribes and clans, each to his own inheritance.
25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.


KEY BIBLE VERSE: In those days Israel had no king, so the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. (Judges 21:25)

Self-centered authority defies God. During the time of the judges, the people of Israel experienced trouble because everyone became his own authority and acted on his own opinions of right and wrong. This produced horrendous results. Our world is similar. Individuals, groups, and societies have made themselves the final authorities without reference to God. It is the ultimate heroic act to submit all our plans, desires, and motives to God. When people selfishly seek to satisfy their personal desires at all costs, everyone pays the price.

2. God-Centered Authority

How does God affirm his authority in people?

1 Samuel 3:1-21
1 The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.
2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place.
3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.
4 Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, "Here I am."
5 And he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." But Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down." So he went and lay down.
6 Again the LORD called, "Samuel!" And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." "My son," Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down."
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
8 The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy.
9 So Eli told Samuel, "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."
11 And the LORD said to Samuel: "See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.
12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family--from beginning to end.
13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them.
14 Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, 'The guilt of Eli's house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.'"
15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the LORD. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision,
16 but Eli called him and said, "Samuel, my son." Samuel answered, "Here I am."
17 "What was it he said to you?" Eli asked. "Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you."
18 So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, "He is the LORD; let him do what is good in his eyes."
19 The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground.
20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the LORD.
21 The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.


KEY BIBLE VERSE: Now the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel jumped up and ran to Eli. "Here I am," he said. "What do you need?" Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. (1 Samuel 3:8)

God doesn't always work in ways we would expect. One would naturally expect an audible message from God to be given to the priest Eli and not to the child Samuel. Eli was older and more experienced, and he held the proper position. But God's chain of command is based on faith. His view of authority is not based on age or position. In finding faithful followers, God may use unexpected channels. Be prepared for the Lord to work at any place, at any time, and through anyone he chooses.

CHRIST'S AUTHORITY

What made Jesus more than a great teacher?

Matthew 7:21-29
21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'
23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching,
29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.


KEY BIBLE VERSE: After Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught as one who had real authority-quite unlike the teachers of religious law. (Matthew 7:28-29)

Jesus spoke with authority. The scribes (religious scholars) often cited traditions and quoted authorities to support their arguments and interpretations. But Jesus spoke with a new authority-his own. He didn't need to quote anyone because he was the original Word (John 1:1).

Colossians 1:15-20
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.


KEY BIBLE VERSE: Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see-kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through him and for him. (Col. 1:16)

Jesus is the source of all authority. This is one of the strongest statements about the divine nature of Christ found anywhere in the Bible. Jesus is not only equal to God (Phil. 2:6), he is God (John 10:30, 38; John 12:45; John 14:1-11).

Philippians 2:6
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

John 10:30,38
I and the Father are one."

John 12:45
When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.

John 14:1-11
1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
4 You know the way to the place where I am going."
5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
8 Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."
9 Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
10 Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.


He not only reflects God, but he reveals God to us (John 1:18; John 14:9).

John 1:18
No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

John 14:9
Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?

He came from heaven, not from the dust of the ground (1 Cor. 15:47), and is Lord of all (Romans 9:5; 10:11-13; Rev. 1:5; Rev. 17:14).

1 Corinthians 15:47
The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven.

Romans 9:5
Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

Romans 10:11-13
11 As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,
13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."


Revelation 1:5
and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,

Revelation 17:14
They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings--and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."

He is completely holy (Hebrews 7:26-28; 1 Peter 1:19; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5), and he has authority to judge the world (Romans 2:16; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:1).

Hebrews 7:26-28
26 Such a high priest meets our need--one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.
27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
28 For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.


1 Peter 1:19
but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

1 Peter 2:22
"He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."

1 John 3:5
But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.

Romans 2:16
This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

2 Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

2 Timothy 4:1
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:

Therefore, he is supreme over all creation, including the spirit world. We, like the Colossian believers, must believe that Jesus is God or our Christian faith is hollow and meaningless.