Summary: Part 4 of a 4 part mini-series through the blessings of Ephesians 1 - this dealing with the blessing of authority.
“Focusing on Truth – a study in Ephesians”
Lesson Five: “Too Good Not to Be True – part 4”
Subtitle – “The Blessing of Authority”
To get us into the message, let’s read together Ephesians 1:9-10 on screen.
Today we are wrapping up a section of Ephesians that tells us about the blessings that God gives to every believer. Thank you so much for the kind words and dialogue that some of you have brought my way as we’ve gone through this series. We’ve learned that election changes our perception about ourselves, and that as sons and daughter, we need to “say it anyway” – we can say about ourselves what God says about us. Today’s message is a change of pace – election made us see who we are, adoption made us say who we are, and today - the blessing of authority – shows us why we should submit to God. Unfortunately, too many people don’t recognize that living under the authority of God is a blessing.
We live in a world where everyone wants to write their own rules, be their own boss, and live under their own authority. Defiance became something that was cool in the late 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. This defiance led to the decadence of the 80’s and 90’s, and today, we are seeing the results of this kind of living. Researcher George Barna cites tells us that when it comes to responding to authority, the various generations in America respond differently - older Americans accept authority, Boomers want to control authority, Busters ignore authority, Gen X-ers don’t recognize authority because they have not seen it modeled, and the Millenials are told be their own authority!
But what is authority? Too many people are scared of this word authority, because they simply don’t know what it means. The captain of a large ship discovered what authority was as he looked out one night into the distance and saw faint lights getting closer to his ship. Immediately he told his signalman to send this message: “Alter your course 10 degrees south.”
A prompt message came in return, “You alter your course 10 degrees north.”
Captain angered that his command had been ignored sent a second message, “Alter your course 10 degrees south – I am a captain!” A message came back in return, “You alter your course 10 degrees north – I am officer 3rd class Jones!”
The captain sent a third message knowing the fear it would evoke, “Alter your course 10 degrees south – I am a battleship!” Then the reply came, “You alter your course 10 degrees north – I am a lighthouse!” You see, you have to recognize the authority.
It reminds me of a rather uptight Bible college student who decided to make the Bible the authority in every area of his life. He decided to find a Bible verse for everything he did in life. He felt he was on solid ground if he could quote Bible book, chapter and verse to okay every one of his actions.
He did all right with this until he fell in love with a girl. He wanted very much to kiss her, but he just couldn’t find a Bible verse to okay it. So, true to his conscience, every night when he would walk her to her dormitory, he would look at her – longingly look at her, sigh, and then say "Good night."
This went on for quite some time, and their relationship grew. All the while, he searched the Bible, trying to find some verse that would okay kissing her good night. But he couldn’t find one, until one day he finally came across Romans 16:16 that says, "Greet each other with a holy kiss." He thought, "At last, I have scriptural authority for kissing her good night."
But to be sure, he went to his pastor to make sure this was correct. After talking with his pastor, he realized that the passage dealt more with the culture of that day and public greetings than with a dating situation. So once again he simply didn’t have a passage of scripture to authorize kissing his girl good night.
That evening he walked her to the dormitory, sighed, and once again started to tell her "good night." But as he did, she grabbed him, pulled him toward her, and planted a passionate 10-second kiss right on his lips.
At the end of the kiss, the Seminary student gasped for air, and stammered, "Bible verse, Bible verse. I need a Bible verse" His girlfriend grabbed him a 2nd time, and just before kissing him again, she said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." - What’s your authority today?
The passage that we read in Ephesians tells us that it is God’s plan at the right time to bring everything under the authority of Christ. But what is authority? It’s quite simple - authority is power assigned to reign or rule or lead.