AUTHORITY AND THE CHRISTIAN
We’ve talked about what authority is – the power to command and to act. We know that God has all authority, that He gave it to Jesus, Matthew 28:18, and that Jesus gave authority to His apostles. We also have stated that the authority of the apostles was within the limits of what God had already established, Matthew 16:19. In other words, the apostles had boundaries.
What does that mean for us as Christians today? Have we been given authority? Do we need authority for what we do as Christians? The answer is a resounding yes. In Colossians 3:17, Paul says, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Whatever means anything. In anything and everything you do, do it in the name of Jesus, which we have already said means by the authority of Jesus. What does this mean? It means, quite simply, that everything we do must be within the limits of the authority we have been given. We cannot command or do anything unless it is within the authority given us by God.
How do we know what that authority is? There must be a source where we can go to find what is within our authority and what is without. Absolutely. It is the Bible. The Bible holds everything we need to know regarding the authority we have been given, the power to command and to act that we have been given. For example, if I want to know about when the brethren came together for collective worship, we can find it in the Bible, Acts 20:7. We know, therefore, that we have the authority to gather on the first day of the week. What if the church wanted to hold a poker tournament? Would that be within the limits of authority given us by God? Can such a thing be found in the scriptures? Is there anywhere where such a thing is commanded, or can such an example be found? The work of the church does not consist of entertainment or such fund-raising. The Bible does not give us such authority.
As Christians, we must act. The Bible tells us how we must act. It gives us the limits of our authority. Anything that goes beyond those limits is outside the bounds of our authority and is, therefore, not of the will of God. Look around at what the religious world is doing and see if those actions can be found in scripture. Are they within the authority we have from God or not? If they are not, then they go beyond what is written, 1 Corinthians 4:6, and should be avoided.