GENERIC AND SPECIFIC AUTHORITY MUST BE UNDERSTOOD - 6
The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans 16:16)
1. Above we
asked the question, “How Does The Bible Authorize”?
a. The Bible authorizes by GENERIC and SPECIFIC authority.
b. Generic and specific authority are derived in only one of three ways –
1. by direct command,
2. approved example,
3. or necessary inference.
2. Generic authority has often been illustrated by using the Master's command to the apostles.
a. He said, “Go ye therefore, and teach (or make disciples) of all nations …” (Matthew 28:19).
b. The apostles were commanded to GO
c. (and that command is now the responsibility for every Christian to fulfill).
3. But how were they to go?
a. When God has specified a duty
b. but has not defined the means by which the duty is to be carried out, expediency is authorized.
4. Expediency is that which expedites;
a. it is an essential means by which an obligation is carried out.
b. That is, human judgment may be exercised to formulate how to accomplish the duty.
5. Thus, the apostles could walk, ride an animal, or take a boat.
a. We can do the same, but we also have planes, cars, the US Mail, the INTERNET, etc.
b. Shoes, trains, and boats are definite and distinct expedients to going.
c. Epistles were sent to some places where the apostles could not go in person.
6. Chairs and beds are not aids for going, but for staying.
a. The point is that while all expedients are optional aids,
b. all optional aids are not expedient to a given obligation.
1. The Gospel was to be set forth and disciples were to be made in all nations.
2. Generically then, they were to go and teach in every God glorifying way they could.
7. Specific authority is restrictive in that it specifies what God wants done.
a. God is very specific in stating that a person is to “sing” (Colossians 3:16).
b. In the case of man-made musical instruments,
c. some would have us believe they are an expedient to evangelism.
8. Such is not the case, because biblical expediency pertains to that which expedites;
a. a means by which something is directly carried out.
b. A piano is an expedient to making music, but not to speaking.
c. Mechanical instruments are instrumental to making music, not to evangelizing.
9. When God specifies how an obligation is to be carried out,
a. we do not have the option of deciding expediency to fulfill the duty.
b. The instrument to making music in New Testament worship is specified in Ephesians 5:19:
“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody
in your heart to the Lord.”
c. The heart is the instrument, and verbal vocal spiritual music is the direct command.
years true Gospel preachers have been able to preach
a. that one could search throughout the New Testament
b. and never find the command for Christians to “make music” in worship
c. (thus, God rules out man getting to decide “how” he is going to make music).
11. Today, however, things have changed.
a. We can still preach that truth to those who study from a reliable Bible translation,
b. but we know that the unreliable NIV
c. gives the incorrect rendering of Ephesians 5:19 as “make music.”
1. But even so, if one respects the authority of the Scriptures
2. he will make music BY singing (cf. Heb 13:15).
12. Just as the principle (law) of authority
a. is crucial in the everyday human affairs of our time,
b. so it is throughout the Bible - from Genesis to Revelation.
13. Despite the deceptive false teaching of the Adventist,
a. no man living today is under (amenable to) the Old Covenant
b. (including the Ten Commandments - Col. 2:14-15).
c. All now are living under the New Covenant, the Gospel, the law of Christ (Heb. 9:15-17; 10:9).
14. However, the apostle Paul made clear that men living today can learn - in principle -
a. from the record of various events in the Old Testament (Rom. 15:4).
b. Do you remember the reason Nadab and Abihu were killed by God?
c. The Scripture says, “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein,
and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them.
And there went out fire from the Lord, and
them, and they died before the Lord” (Leviticus 10:1-2).
15. It is an “un-get-aroundable” point that Nadab and Abihu offered “strange fire” unto God.
a. It was “strange” because it was fire that “he had not commanded them,”
b. that is, they used in worship fire which God had not authorized them to use.
16. Was their using in worship
a. that which God had not authorized them to use an important matter?
b. YES! It was so important in the sight of God
c. that He destroyed them with fire.
17. This example of the principle of Divine authority
a. lets men living today know that they must NOT do in work or in worship
b. that which is not authorized by the word of God, the Bible.
18. King David and others moved the Ark of the Covenant
a. in a way which God had not authorized.
b. They moved it on a cart - not on the shoulders of the Levites,
c. as God had authorized (2 Sam. 6:1-11; 1 Chron. 13:1-14; 15:1-15).
19. Because the affair involved an unauthorized way of moving the ark,
a. and because an unauthorized man touched it,
b. he was destroyed by God.
c. The matter of authority is again seen to be crucial.
20. Why is it wrong to partake of the Lord’s Supper
a. on any day other than the first day of the week (Acts 20:7)?
b. It is because no other day for the observance of the Lord Supper is authorized.
1. God’s law of inclusion is: whatever is authorized is included.
2. God’s law of exclusion is: whatever is not authorized is excluded.
c. What excludes anything is that it is not authorized.
21. God authorized the ark to be made of Gopher wood (Gen. 6:14).
a. What excluded any other kind of wood was that there was no authority for it.
b. There was no direct command, approved example,
c. or implication to authorize any other wood.
22. In the worship
God in music, the New Testament scriptures authorize singing (Eph.
a. What excludes mechanical instruments of music is there is no direct statement,
b. approved example, or necessary inference to authorize them.
23. Loved ones, honoring God’s word as the source of authority is binding upon all men!
a. God has the right as Creator to command His creatures.
b. One will either respect and honor Bible authority or reject and spurn it.
1. However, to claim to love the Lord and ignore and spurn His authority is a disgrace (cf. Matthew 7:21-23).
2. Jesus said, “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
24. The great problem today is a “lack of
a. a lack of knowing what God commands.
b. The people of old had the same problem during Hosea’s day (Hosea 4:6).
25. Friends, we are praying that the God whom we serve
a. will continue to bless you with wisdom and the knowledge of His will (cf. Prov. 1:7).
b. However, we must not fail to remind you
c. that you have an obligation to allow that God given knowledge to give you wisdom (cf. Prov. 2:6).
“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Prov. 4:7; cf. 3:13).