Summary: There were a lot of questions that came in from the last message, so hopefully in this message; I will be able to answer some of them . . .
Following Jesus without Denominationalism
Part 7: ‘Further Thoughts Related to Authority in Religion’
I never would have thought I would have gotten so many responses to the last message, but I thank GOD that so many of you have taken such an active interest to this Email Ministry, for if it weren’t for you, this Email Ministry wouldn’t be where it is today . . . so I say thank you to all of you!
There were a lot of questions that came in from the last message, so hopefully in this message; I will be able to answer some of them . . .
In the past two messages of this series, I have stressed that to be free from religious division; we all must have the same ‘standard of authority’.
Now please keep in mind that this standard is the Will of CHRIST! This is not me telling you this on my own accord, for the Bible reveals this in the ‘apostles’ doctrine’, which is the teaching of CHRIST’S apostles.
This doctrine was inspired by the HOLY SPIRIT, and preserved for us in the pages of the New Testament.
Other standards, both objective and subjective, are not suitable guides to lead us in the way of salvation . . . not the Old Testament, majority rule, parents, preachers, creeds, and traditions of men . . . nor conscience, human wisdom, or feelings . . .
But before we leave the subject of authority, I want to try to answer some of those questions that are worthy of consideration that you sent in to me . . .
(1) Exactly how does one use the New Testament to establish authority?
(2) Are there limitations placed upon how far we may go in matters of religion?
(3) Will having the same standard of authority ‘guarantee’ unity among the followers of Christ?
I know there were several other questions sent in, and I responded to them personally, for they were more of an individual need basis.
As for these top questions . . . let’s begin with:
(1) How authority is established . . .
When you really get down to it, authority can be established in one of three different ways . . .
One being a direct command or precept, such as a direct statement of something that can or cannot be done . . .
Take for example Acts 2: 38, where it refers to “Repent, and be baptized” . . .
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Another example can be shown in John 13: 34 where JESUS commands us to “love one another” . . .
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
And finally, we can use the example of the ability to “abstain from fornication” as written within 1st Thessalonians 4: 3:
“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:”
We can also look at an approved example, such as an illustration that shows a practice was done with the approval of the LORD’S apostles.
You see, as an apostle, Paul taught by both precept and example as he encouraged others to imitate him, and he sent Timothy to remind people of “his ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church” . . .
1st Corinthians 4: 16 – 17:
“Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.”
The GOD of peace will be with those who do the sort of things both heard (precept) and seen (example) in an apostle like Paul . . .
Philippians 4: 9:
“Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
Therefore, when we have an example that meets with apostolic approval, we should then know there is authority for the practice . . .
Such as having a plurality of elders in one church . . .
Acts 14: 23:
“And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”