The Issue of Heaven and Earth -- AUTHORITY

By Pastor Al Hughes

  Everyone should be interested in authority. Everyone is under authority and many are in a position of authority. The Bible is about authority from beginning to end. Authority is what all the hoopla is about-- Woman?s rights; gay rights; children?s rights; animal rights; civil rights. The ground of authority has been the battlefield for over 6000 years. The first sin (and all subsequent sins) was a rebellion against authority (Isa. 14:12-14). Therefore, rebellion is a Satanic principle (1 Sam. 15:22).
  God is a God of ORDER and authority (1 Cor. 14:40). When God is ignored, anarchy results (Jud. 21:25). When God and the Bible were removed from the public schools in the early 1960's, students were left with the awful assumption that man is the highest authority-- Man is a law unto himself. Now humanism reigns supreme.

I. WHAT IS AUTHORITY

  When we talk about authority, what are talking about? We're talking about POWER. We're talking about "Who gets to run whom?" (Mt. 8:9; 21:23-27). "Who gets to arrest, imprison, release, and appeal? Who's in charge? Who has the final say-so? Authority the subject of newscasts; newspapers; TV "talk-shows"; sporting games, etc. Newspapers are simply one endless list of competitors seeking "top place."
  Authority is about GOVERNMENT. The issue is a THRONE, a KING (2,000 times in the Bible), and a KINGDOM!  Government is: The act or process of governing and controlling; rule.
  There are SEVEN major forms of government:

  Authority is the imparted right  to bring the power of another into operation. One stands at the crossing of two great intersections. Crowds of people are surging by; multitudes of high-powered automobiles rush along. A man in a uniform raises a hand. Instantly the traffic ceases. He beckons to the waiting hosts on the cross street, and they flow across. What is the explanation? The traffic officer has very little physical "power." His most strenuous efforts could not avail to hold back one of those passing cars. But he has something far better. He is vested with the "authority" of the state whose servant he is. The moving crowds recognize the authority and obey it. Authority, then, is DELEGATED POWER.  Its value depends upon the force behind the user.

II. THE SOURCE OF AUTHORITY

  All authority comes from God who is the final authority. The Bible says that God removes kings and He sets up kings (Dan. 2:21). When Jesus was brought before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, Pilate asked Him, "Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power "authority" to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?"  However, Jesus answered, "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above" (John 19:10-11). Daniel 4:17 says, "The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men."
  The only authority anyone possesses is whatever authority that has been delegated by God. God is the only real authority. He has merely deputized us to do business for Him. Even the state is not sovereign. Only God is sovereign. "Jesus is the Lord." The only authority that the state has is was has been delegated of God. When any delegated authority loses sight of the Source of it?s authority corruption and abuses will follow.

III. THE PURPOSE OF AUTHORITY

  Authority is to be used (1) to serve and please the one who gave you your authority and (2) to protect those under your authority. It is given for the purpose of fulfilling the agenda of the one who delegated the authority.  When authority is used to serve selfish purposes, it is an abuse of authority and corruption results (e.g. David's misuse of authority in the case of Bathsheba and Uriah the Hittite).

  This is the difference between fundamentalism and a cult. In the case of Jim Jones, he used authority to get people to make poison Kool-aid and drink it. In fundamentalism, no leader has the authority to command people to do that. The authority we have, we received from God via His written Word. There were no Bibles in Jonestown. Jim Jones was the authority. The authority of a Bible believer is delegated authority predicated upon the Word of God (the FINAL AUTHORITY in all matters of faith and practice). How can a preacher command his people to tithe? Win souls? Attend church? Get baptized? Because it is in the Bible. A fundamental preacher must always ask himself: Do I have Biblical authority to say that? Where in the Bible is it?