The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans 16:16)


1.  In every institution in American society -
    a.  rather it be church, school, home and nation -
    b.  there appears to be a crisis of authority.
2.  The tremendous confusion among us in the church of our Lord,
    a.  and in the denominational religious world in general
    b.  proves that such a crisis exists.
3.  As every observer of the religious scene knows,
    a.  there are many man-made doctrines
    b.  which are contrary to the word of God
    c.  and which contradict each other.
4.  Many denominations teach that authority in religion can come from FOUR sources.
    a.  However, since God is ONE and He deals with Oneness (cf. Eph. 4:4-6),
    b.  it stands to reason that three of their four sources for authority are wrong.
    c.  They say the following FOUR things can all constitute religious authority:
            1)  religious experience,
            2)  doctrines or traditions of the church,
            3)  one’s own reason or opinion,
            4)  and Scripture.

5.  Thus, in some man-made churches
    a.  their doctrine, obtained by human reason, says one can be sprinkled for baptism;
    b.  even though the Scriptures teach baptism as an immersion or burial under the water
            (READ Romans 6:3-4 and Colossians

6.  If one’s own reason or religious experience is authoritative,
    a.  whose are we going to follow?
    b.  Shall we follow the opinions or experiences of the religious liberals,
    c.  the evangelicals, the conservatives, the Roman Catholics, the Mormons, the Pentecostals?
7.  What if our reason or experience
    a.  leads us to a different conclusion from that of our religious neighbor?
    b.  How can we settle the differences?


8.  Unfortunately, denominationalism is not the only religious entity
    a.  which suffers from a crisis of authority;
    b.  so do the churches of Christ.
9. How many of us ever dreamed that we would see the day
    a.  when Gospel preachers would defend instrumental music as being scriptural?
    b.  How many ever thought that men within our own brotherhood
    c.  would argue that “one cannot know the truth?”
10. How discouraging that men in the church of our Lord
    a.  are now defending the Calvinistic doctrines of salvation by grace alone,
    b.  the impossibility of apostasy,
    c.  and many other false doctrines.

11. As anyone can readily see,
    a.  the real problem in the church as well as in denominationalism
    b.  is a lack of knowledge and respect for the AUTHORITY of the Word of God.
12. Surely we can understand that the church which (or person who)
    a.  does not honor the only authority which God has given for His Kingdom (the Bible),
    b.  will invariably suffer from confusion, indecision, division, and ultimately spiritual death
            (cf. Rev. 2:4-5).

13. But the church is not the only institution within our society
    a.  which stagnates and deteriorates when legitimate authority is not known or is ignored.
    b.  The home also experiences many problems
        1.  when husbands and wives, parents and children
        2.  fail to follow God's pattern for the family.

14. Divorce, spouse abuse, and other domestic trouble
    a.  are a direct result of ignoring the proper authority
    b.  which God Himself has ordained for the home.
15. In spite of all the yelling and screaming by the feminists and by liberal theologians,
    a.  the husband and father is still the head of the house (cf. Eph. 5:23).
    b.  Paul did not say that the husband SHOULD be the head of the house;
    c.  he says that he IS the head of the house.
16. When this truth is not followed
    a.  and the husband does not fulfill his God given authority,
    b.  we begin to see the deterioration of the home and of society in general.

17. But this lack of respect for properly constituted authority
         a.  not only plagues the church and the home;
         b.  it is also a source of trouble within the school and the community.
18. For the past several years our schools -
    a.  elementary, secondary, undergraduate, and graduate
    b.  have been failing to provide the basic education
    c.  for which we are paying and which our country so desperately needs.
19. One of the reasons relates to who is in charge in the schools.
    a.  In many cases, no one seems to be in charge (or have the authority).
    b.  Someone has wisely observed that the teachers are afraid of the principals,
        1.  the principals are afraid of the superintendent,
        2.  the superintendent is afraid of the board members,
            a.  the board members are afraid of the parents,
            b.  the parents are afraid of the kids,
            c.  and the kids are NOT afraid of anybody.
20. Of course, schools should not be based on fear --
    a.  at least, not the cringing kind of fear --
    b.  but there must be proper respect for authority.
        1.  That applies to everyone - from the kids – to the parents -
        2.  to the principal - to the superintendent.

21. Thus, the matter of authority
    a.  gets to the heart and core of every issue that causes division,
    b.  rather it be secular or religious.
22. This means that recognizing DIVINE AUTHORITY
    a.  is of utmost importance to all that are concerned
    b.  with the unity of all believers and their own soul’s salvation.

23. So, what is Authority?
    a.  Simply speaking, authority is the power one has to demand obedience.
    b.  It is the right to command.
        1.  It is the power of rule or government
        2.  (the power of Him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed).
24. One must always bear in mind
    a.  that God is the Creator and man is the created.
    b.  The created NEVER has the right or power to make demands of the Creator (cf. Job 39-40)!


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