|Volume 21 Number 3 March 2019||
According to Dictionary.com, authority is defined as, “the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, demand, or determine.” When it comes to matters of religion, from where do you derive authority? What is the precedent or source to which you look that governs how you worship? While the religious world will answer in various ways, there is only one answer for those who wish to be pleasing to God. Since Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) and the Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:6; 12:24), and since Jesus was given all authority (Matthew 28:19), our authority must come from Him. So, how can you know what Jesus expects or demands? Jesus told His apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth (John 16:13), which they and other inspired writers wrote (2 Peter 3:2, 15)—the New Testament. This means that the New Testament is where we get our authority for matters of New Testament worship, rather than from visions and dreams, extra revelations or testaments, or tradition. When it comes to pleasing to God, we need to find what the New Testament says and do it.
My cardiologist had finished examining me during my annual checkup. He then said, “I will see you next year.” I was thankful that my heart seemed to be in good shape. When I entered the hall, I saw several of the ladies who worked in the building, and I said to them, “He said that he would see me next year, but he did not give me a guarantee.” It was then that my doctor walked up behind me, placed his arm around me and said, “You are a God man; has God ever given you a guarantee?” Though my cardiologist is very religious, he is not a Christian. However, since 2001 when he put a stent in a 95 percent blocked artery that was across my heart, he has known that I am a Gospel preacher. That is why he called me a “God man.” I replied that God has not promised me another year to live (James 4:13-14). Yet, God has given to me, as well as to all Christians who endeavor to live faithfully, several guarantees. I have chosen only a few guarantees from God that are mentioned in the inspired writings of the apostle John.
John 10:27-29. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” As long as we listen to the voice of our Good Shepherd and follow Him, there is no power on earth that can remove us from the hands and care of our Heavenly Father.
John 11:25-26. “Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” These words of Jesus Christ give comfort to children of God who trust in Him who died for our sins and was resurrected from the tomb.
1 John 5:11-13. “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life, he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life…” Eternal life for the believer is to be found in the Son of God and what He did for us on the cross of Calvary when He shed His precious blood. If we “walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7, 9).
Revelation 14:13. “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, say the Spirit, they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” These are God-given guarantees for Christians who “die in the Lord.” “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God; Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”