This message was presented on January 12, 2014 as the second part of the State of the Church message.
Two weeks ago, we began looking at the most fundamental issue in the Christian’s life. (See part one, which is essential to understand this message.) It is something that is also under the greatest attack by the world and often within God’s church. What is the issue? The issue is God’s authority. Does God have the right to have authority in life? Moses said, “Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.” (Deuteronomy 4:39)
Why did God establish authority? We looked at three principles.
1) God established authority in the Godhead Eph. 3:8-16
2) God established authority with man Gen. 2:15-17
3) God established authority in the church 1 Pet. 5:1-5
What is the authority at Grace? Our constitution is.
What happens when order is lacking? People get off track and can even be put out of the church (1 Tim. 1:18-20).
There is maximum freedom and the presence of His joy under God’s authority, ( Heb. 13:17)
We saw the main point as:
God’s authority gives you maximum freedom from disaster!
The question is – where does that authority come from to determine authority?
Turn to 2 Timothy 3:1-7. Paul wrote,
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Tim. 3:1-7 NKJ)
Are we in the last days? Are we? Why are people are learning, but do not come to a knowledge of the truth? Why? They do not submit to God’s authority. God’s authority, His Word, gives you maximum freedom in life. Where does the authority come from to determine authority? Remember it was Jesus who said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32 NKJ)
4) God established authority in His Word 2 Tim. 3:16-17
14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:14-17 NKJ)
Timothy did not have a father who led him spiritually. His mother Eunice and grandmother Lois were instrumental in establishing God’s authority, which became profitable in helping him stay on track. The world around Timothy, however, had rejected the fundamental nature of God’s Word, its authority. God-breathed it into His Word, not people. Submission to God’s Word makes you complete, equipped for every good work.
Why do people not accept God’s Word? Paul explained that in our 2 Timothy 3 passage,
8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. (2 Tim. 3:8-9 NKJ)
Jannes and Jambres resisted the authority God established in Moses. Moses was God’s man to lead Israel out of slavery to freedom. If they had submitted to this authority, they would have gone from Egypt to the Promised Land in a few months. Instead it took them 40 years. They resisted God’s authority.
There has been a fundamental shift in our society. It is relativism. This theory claims that a person can do what he likes and answers to no one as long as most of those around him don’t feel threatened. People who believe this start with man’s word and make choices. Those who follow God’s Word use that Word to decide instead. We judge what people say based on what God’s Word says – not the word of finite, fallible man.
What about those who resist God’s Word? Today, many have bought into evolution and the belief that the earth is millions of years old, even some Christians. I love what Ken Ham says to them, “Well, if you are a product of chance, your brain is also a product of chance. Therefore, the thought patterns that determine your logic are also products of chance. If your logic is the result of chance processes, you can’t be sure it evolved properly. You can’t be sure you’re even asking the right question because you can’t trust your own logic.” But man still wants to reject God. Do you trust man’s logic?
The problem is people have rejected God and therefore His Word. Paul wrote,
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Rom 1:18-21 NKJ)
They had truth available, but they suppressed it, because they wanted to be their own authority. They wanted to be in control. When you want to be in control, you will not understand. Paul is clear in Romans 3,
There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. (Rom. 3:11 NKJ)
In fact, when people do not seek after God, they will never come to faith, because they will not hear,
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom. 10:17 NKJ)
But maybe they just hadn’t had enough of the truth, you say. Maybe they heard it and were distracted. Peter addresses this,
3 …knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. (2 Pet. 3:3-6 NKJ)
Those who scoff rejected God’s authority and how was that seen? Verse five, they willfully forget or pass over the truth. If someone does that, what happens? They push the truth away from them and become futile in their thinking.
What is the result of people rejecting God’s Word? Let’s look at just one small aspect of God’s Word. How do you look at the creation account of Genesis 1-2? There are three ways to consider the creation account. First, it describes six literal 24 hour days of creation, which is the natural reading of the text. Secondly, you can modify Scripture in a variety of ways to incorporate what many men have falsely tried to teach regarding evidence that everyone can see. Or thirdly, you can declare Genesis 1-2 as not true, or a myth as something God did to make a clever way to give a beginning to a story.
What is the natural reading of God’s Word? The natural reading is six literal days. Six times you see the phrase, “So the evening and the morning were the first day.” Six times with successive days.
Now, if you distort the beginning, that is Genesis one and two, you open everything to interpretation. But, many will say, “Doesn’t science say there were millions of years for the earth to evolve? What about the evidence?” When you reject the God of truth, what do you get? You get the god of lies. When you reject the light, you get darkness. For many do not want to see the truth. They refuse to hear the correct Biblical interpretation. Because they reject God’s authority, they follow man’s opinions not only on origins, but they also follow man’s opinions on morality, marriage, family and modesty. David said, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Ps. 11:3 NKJ) If you destroy the foundations of anything, the structure will collapse.
This image shows the fortress of those who believe in millions of year, or evolution, and the fortress of those who believe in creationism. All the soldiers on the millions of years fortress are firing their canons at the foundation of Christianity. Those who are in the Christianity fortress, who believe in creationism are doing a variety of things. The guy at the top is sleeping. The guy on the left top is shooting at one of the causes of humanism. He’s the only one doing any good. One guy is not doing anything, or is he shooting at his own brother? One guy on the right is shooting into the distance, but feels good that he is shooting. Then one guy is shooting at his own foundation. That’s the person who compromises the Scriptures by trying to force man’s opinion into Scripture. If you want to destroy any building, you are guaranteed early success if you destroy the foundation.
If you teach that the Bible’s account of history in Genesis is not true, you will erode the authority of God’s Word. If you undermine in any way the Biblical doctrine of origins, the rest of the Bible will be compromised. Please understand that every Biblical doctrine of theology, directly or indirectly, has its basis in the book of Genesis, either directly or indirectly.
How does the downward spiral away from God’s Word continue? Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. (2 Thes. 2:15) People let go of what they have been taught. Doctrine isn’t very important to them or what God says in Genesis isn’t very important.
It is not a matter of opinion; it is matter of what God says. The more people reject God’s Word as the absolute authority, the more they will begin rejecting morality based on the Bible, and increase moral relativism—which is what we see today. If I tell children they can accept the world’s teachings concerning origins in geology, biology and astronomy, and use these to reinterpret God’s Word, then the door is open to accept the world’s teaching in every area, including morality. God’s Word has never been proven wrong!
This image demonstrates that if you start with God’s Word, you’ll end up with just laws, purity and a respect for the sanctity of life. If you start with a foundation of man’s opinion, you’ll end up with lawlessness, pornography and abortion.
Where do you put your faith? Do you put it in the words of men who are fallible (they make mistakes), who don’t know everything, are subject to error and who were not there at the time of creation? Or do you trust Words of the God who is perfect, who knows everything, and who WAS there? I love this cartoon,
This is a picture of two men discussing whether they could believe in six literal days and one person ask the scoffer, “How do you know, were you there?” And Jesus is pictured in a manger with the caption, “Yes, I was there!”
God’s Word must be communicated to the culture. We no longer live in a culture that is knowledgeable of the foundation of God’s Word. In Acts 2, Peter spoke to people who understood God and sin.
Peter’s audience understood there was a God of creation and they understood sin and death. They just needed to hear about Jesus and accepting that He was their substitute. That is in contrast to Paul’s audience in Acts 17.
To this audience, Paul had to establish a foundation for them to build their understanding of God and Jesus. Then they could make a decision to trust in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross for them. That is the culture in which we live today. Why did we get there in our culture?
7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Tim. 3:7 NKJ)
There are several more principles listed that I cannot cover in this entry, so I encourage you to discuss as a family, or couple or group the different areas of life in which God established authority. (I have filled in the blanks for you).
5) God established authority in marriage Eph. 5:22-28
6) God established authority in the family Eph. 6:1-4
7) God established authority in the country Rom. 13:1-7
Here’s the key principlel men and women:
God’s authoritative Word gives you freedom
for living the Joy of His presence.
- Authority gives us tremendous freedom in God’s will. The train under the authority of the tracks enjoys great freedom. Off the track, the train is stopped.
- Abusive authority will always exist until we get to heaven. Sin hinders godly authority. That means we have to be doubly wise about how to submit to authority to honor God and yet not stay in the abuse. Yet those who grumble or buck authority are grumbling against God and bucking God, so be very humble and wise.
- Discernment for submission is important; Jesus is always the issue. It was unjust what Jesus went through in life. It was not fair that He was tortured, persecuted and crucified for sins. He could have spoken a word and prevented any pain in His humanity. He went through the pain for you. “…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:2 NKJ) Which authority (or authorities) do you need to show greater honor and respect to in order to reverence and honor God?
What should Christians do?
Message Based Discussion Questions
1) What actions of those in authority do you appreciate the most?
2) If mankind has a sin nature, is it possible for there to be a good authority in the human race? ___________ How is it possible? What kinds of Biblical principles must be true?
3) Who are some of those in authority in the state and country? _________________ ______________ Read Romans 13: 1-7. How do they have authority and for what is that authority to be used?
4) Read Revelation 13:1-12. To whom is given authority? _______________ How does he use that authority? Has that kind of authority been seen in life? How? When?
Making application from the Message:
5) How would you identify someone with good authority?
6) How can/should you learn to handle authority in a godly way?
7) How would you disciple a person to learn how to handle authority well?