By What Authority Doest Thou These?

Read Matthew 21:23-27

 

 Every thinking person realizes that authority play a very significant role in each of our lives.  On our jobs authority is meted out to each as our job requires.  It would be nothing short of chaos for us to try to operate outside the job scope of my authority.

 

 If I were in advertising, my authority lies in advertising, not in buying. Can you imagine what would happen inside a company if all its employees decided they wanted to be the general manager?

 

The vital place which authority plays in every phase of our lives is seen no matter in which direction we may look. Before we may drive a car we must have the authority of a license. Even to marry that wonderful lady that we have fallen for, we must have a license from the County Court Clerk.

 

A doctor must have a diploma from a reputable medical school authorizing him to practice medicine. A policeman must have a badge which authorizes him to carry out the laws of the state and county..  Travel from one nation to another is possible only when we have the authority of a passport.

 

Authority comes from many sources and is of many kinds, but there is little that we can do in life without proper authorization.  Is it not reasonable to believe that in the realm of religion man must have proper authority for all he does?

 

Religion is personal surrender to God in loving obedience through which one receives blessings and salvation. Surely in religion and in worship to God we must have authority for all that we do.  

 

From our text  late in the earthly ministry of our Lord we read

Matthew 21:23

 

23And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

 

Jesus demonstrated His authority came from God in many ways….. In John 10:37 we read:

 

37If Ido not the works of my Father, believe me not.38But if I do, though ye believe not me,believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, andI in him.

 

The miracles which He worked constantly was an unanswerable evidence to His authority.  But the question the chief priest and elders asked of Jesus is a good one, and should be asked in our time.

 

By what authority doest thou these things? And who gave thee this authority?

 

This is one of the most fundamental questions in the realm of religion, and should be welcomed by every Christian, and every religion group. We should be willing and ready to demonstrate authority for what we believe. What is our authority.

 

The Bible is the only safe guide as authority. n Psalm119:128

 

128Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.

 

The Bible is not nearly right, but right on every subject that it touches. If the Bible mentions science, what it says is right. When the Bible speaks of the origins of things, what is says is right. What the Bible says about marriage is absolute, and what is speaks concerning sin is right.

 

I don't believe that it is an accident that the longest chapter in the Bible is one that exalts the word of God. Someone has said that Psalm 119 is not only the longest chapter, but it falls in the middle of the Bible.

 

We must be guided by truth, and God's word alone is that standard.

 

There are many who listen the words of the pope as authority, he may speak but he is no authority… Many listen to their conscience as a safe guide.. but is it?

 

There was a time when Saul of Tarsus believed in this kind of authority, at least in part. As he stood before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem he said:

1Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. Acts 23:1

 

Later he further stated:   Acts 26:9-10

9I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.10Which thing I also did

 

He was referring to the very earnest, sincere feelings which led him to be the foremost persecutor of Christians. In spite of his honestly, and zeal for right, HE WAS WRONG.. and spent the remainder of his life trying to undo the things he had HONESTLY but MISTAKENLY done. Our conscience is a creature of education, and therefore may be defiled by the wrong kind of training.

 

In the past I have had some say to me:   "I just know that I am all right with the Lord, I feel it right here" Placing his hand over his chest covering his heart. He was wrong in two ways, first the physical heart he pointed to is a muscle that pumps blood, it neither thinks nor feels. He should have been pointing to the brain, but even the brain, like Saul can be wrong.

 

The diversity of religious doctrines in our modern times has largely grown out of different opinions and feelings of men. We do not question the integrity or sincerity, of people who have led to the establishment of the various churches with their varying creeds and doctrines.

 

But we do point out that Good did not intend for His church to be so divided. In 1 Cor1:10-13

 

10Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.12Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.13Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

 

It is man's opinions and preferences that has taken the religious world into the deeply disturbing abyss of division.

 

In following their own feelings people as Joseph Smith, Ellen G. White, and Mary Baker Eddy have claimed special revelations from God. To see the error of leaning upon our feelings, we need only to simply ask: "Does God say one thing to Joseph Smith and yet something different to White and Eddy"? 33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace   1 Cor 14:33 —Confusion comes from the fallible minds and feelings of men.

23OLORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

 

And so the Psalmist says: Psalm 119:128

128Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.

 

Is it not obvious that God, the object of our worship, should be the one to determine what we should offer by way of worship?  All authority rests with God the Father.    In 1 Corinthians 11:3 a very easy but misunderstood passage—

 

3But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

 

There was a time when delegated this authority to Christ. This is borne out of His statements from the Sermon on the Mount.  In Matthew chapter 5: several times Christ stated:

21Yehave heard that it was said by them of old time…..22But I say untoyou— In each of these cases, Christ stated apart of the Mosaic Law, then modified them.. When Christ came down from the mountain at the conclusion of this sermon there is this significant statement;

Matt 7:28-29

28And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:29For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

 

And at the end of His earthly ministry, just before ascending to the Father, Jesus said:

 

All power [ejxousiva authority]is given unto me in heaven and in earth.19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20Teachingthem to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

 

The next step of authority occurred when Christ left the earth and announced that He would send the Holy Spirit In John 16:13-15

 

13Howbeitwhen he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.14He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.15All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.

 

A careful study of the scriptures indicates that authority has always rested with Divinity, God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Never did it rest with men.

 

Early in His ministry, Jesus speaking to His disciples stated

 

19Butwhen they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for itshall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.20For it isnot ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh inyou.

 

Christ told Peter in Matthew chapter 16 just after that grand confession

 

19AndI will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thoushalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose onearth shall be loosed in heaven.

 

Christ was not telling Peter, that he had the authority to bind and loose anything. What He was saying was "Whatsoever you bind, it shall have been bound." He would be speaking by the authority of the Holy Spirit.  Christ would deliver the same message to all the disciples.

Matthew 18:18 Christ was saying that Peter and all the disciples would be guided to speak things already established in Heaven.

 

This interpretation runs parallel to all the other passages on this subject. It is worthy to note that when the church began on Pentecost Day a record of which is found in Acts chapter 2.. A very significant verse Acts2;4

 

4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 

This is what Christ had promised, this is exactly what happened. The apostles were God's messengers declaring God's will, by inspiration, speaking as the Spirit gave them utterance.  They had no authority resting within themselves.

 

Back to our text: Matthews 221:23-27

 

23And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?24And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.25The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?26But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.27Andthey answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

 

The Pharisees asked a question about authority. They had not mentioned John's baptism. But Christ brought it up in relation to their question “I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.25The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men”?

 

John’s baptism and John's authority were related as indicated by the reaction of the Pharisees. They saw that if they recognized the authority of John they would be forced to accept his baptism.. It was not possible to accept John as a prophet and his message as divine, and reject his baptism. They realized it was either accept both or neither.

 

Is it not significant that when Christ gave the Great Commission — He said:

 

All power [ejxousiva authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth.19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

 

The authority of Christ and His baptism are joined together. When He claimed ALL AUTHORITY, He commanded baptism. The authority of Christ and His baptism are tied together just as John's authority and his baptism.  It was impossible for them to claim John without submitting to his baptism. Likewise it is impossible for one to claim to be under the authority of Christ and reject His baptism. Yet many claim to have Christ today, without His baptism.

 

By What Authority Doest Thou These Things?

Our relationship to God is the most important consideration in life. Let us become Christians by submitting to the authority of God's word. Let us worship as Christians worshipped in New Testament times. Let us follow the New Testament Then we are on SOLID GROUND.  

 

By What Authority Doest Thou These Things?

 

The only authority one can afford to hear concerning his soul's eternal salvation is the Word of God.

 

Believe on the Lord Jesus, John 8:24, Repent on our sins Luke 13:5, Confess His name, Matthew10:32-33 and be buried in baptism for the remission of sins. Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:38

 

contact:: Ron Cope minister

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658