Sermon Illustrations

There’s a difference between power and authority.

Let’s look at a policeman. He has both. He has a uniform and badge. That badge might cause you to behave right – if you respect authority. Those are symbols of the authority that has been entrusted to him by the local government. On the other hand if you’re a criminal, it won’t stop you at all. But the policeman has something else too. There, at his side, is a 9mm Glock automatic service pistol. He may also be carrying a little beauty called a Tazer. Either of those are for him to use to enforce his authority if he needs to. That’s called power. Bad guys may have a gun too, but they don’t have the right to use it. They both have power, but one will get arrested if he uses it, and the other will even get into trouble if he uses it wrongly. So what gives a policeman the right to use that power in certain situations, but not the criminal? The answer is authority. They both have power, but only one has authority.