Summary: Christians are to live with the athority of God. However, most never use it so they loose it.
This morning we are considering the word authority. For young people it is a bad word….almost a “four letter” word.. Normally, there is an almost automatic resistance to any kind of an authority. I have heard kids say “you are not the boss of me!” Usually when a friend or someone was telling them what to do.
Of course adults want to know who is in charge at meetings and things.
I don’t know about you but I really hate to go to a meeting where nobody really is in charge….it usually ends up being a waste of time. I avoid them to the best of my ability.
How about a meeting where you disagree about who is in charge. Isn’t that the worst? I end up at meetings like that sometimes.
To me the word authority automatically is connected to power. Depending on the authority it can be extremely powerful like life and death or it can be as mild a seriously considering a suggestion offered by someone. All of us make the choice of what are authorities in our lives.
There are a lot of positive authorities in our lives. How about some of our teachers. Sunday school teachers, doctors…they are normally using their influence to help us one on one right.
I am not sure that any of us really likes being under authority, especially if that authority is harsh or limits how we live and make choices.
I popped into the dictionary to get a broader understanding of the word.
• The power to enforce laws, exact obedience, command, determine, or judge.
• One that is invested with this power, especially a government or body of government officials
• Power assigned to another; authorization
• A public agency or corporation with administrative powers in a specified field
• An accepted source of expert information or advice
• Power to influence or persuade resulting from knowledge or experience
So who has authority over us? We might claim the government perhaps some of our family members. We don’t really have a choice for some that we yield to.
We have some authorities which is over us because of position….president, police have a position which demands or requires respect or at least compliance. If you don’t think it affects you what happens when you see a policeman in traffic behind you….You don’t know him personally but I will suspect that nearly all of us have a reaction of checking our speed.
Another example, we really don’t have any choice of yielding to God. Of course we can reject God’s authority and live opposite to what the Bible teaches.
However, scripture tells us that at some point everyone will face the music.
So how does the authority of the president of the United States really affect me. I have never met the man. He has never emailed me with instructions. And yet he holds authority over my life. Taxes, war, speed limits and of the daily functions cab be influenced by his choices and use of power. But he really does not personally influence my daily life.
To affect as many people as possible ‘he assigns other people power and authority. They have staff members that are assigned jobs and functions and that also empowers them with some authority. This process of sharing power continues in all directions until everyone within a society is touches in good or bad ways by the power of our president.
Doesn’t scripture describe that same structure in the way that God works? We know that God gave authority to Jesus and he used it in his time on earth. Jesus came as a teacher, explaining the relationship and expectation that God had for mankind. Along the way he proved his authority by physically healing individuals.
For some Jesus was obviously the highest authority representing God Himself. However for most, the authority was questioned and attacked.
Jesus shared the authority with his disciples. A couple of examples:
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.
The authority we are talking about today is the authority that has passed down from God to us today. In the past, we have talked about the power of the Holy Spirit and how it can lead us, if we will listen and respond.
Have you ever considered that the Holy Spirit also gives us authority? One of the definitions from the dictionary describes expert knowledge. Like the high powered expert witnesses in court. That is what a Christian has, a special knowledge and sometimes even a special ability to testify about the things we know. We are all specialized authorities, empowered to represent God.