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Beginning Bible Studies (15 Lessons)
Lesson 2 – Authority in Christianity
We must have standards and authorities in all the affairs of life. If we do not, then we have much confusion. Every nation has a government which exercises authority over it. The headmaster and teachers exercise authority in the school. Parents exercise authority in the home.
In Christianity we see much division and confusion. Why? Because we fail to be guided by the true standard of authority! The result is hundreds of churches with many different teachings. Before this confusion can be cleared, we must all agree on an authority in Christianity. What will it be?
THE BIBLE IS THE INSPIRED WORD OF GOD
The Bible is the authority in Christianity because it is the inspired Word of God. The apostle Paul, in writing to Timothy, said:
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
Peter said, “…men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). Peter is talking about the men who wrote the Bible. They were men who were told what to write. The Holy Spirit is the one who told them. If we listen to what the Bible says, we are listening to God. God is perfect. What He says is right. Man is not perfect. He makes mistakes. We must not listen to man because he is sometimes wrong. Since God cannot be wrong, we must listen to Him. Then we know we are right.
“…Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). The Bible is the Word of God. The words of God are truth. Therefore, the Bible contains all truth.
MAN CANNOT DIRECT HIS OWN WAY
The Bible is the authority in Christianity because man cannot direct his own way. ” O Jehovah, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Many people think that they can decide by themselves what is right in Christianity. When man tries to direct his own way, he finds much trouble. When he listens to God, he does much better. If man were able to direct his own way, God would not have given us the Bible. In order to find the way of life that is pleasing to God, we must let the Bible be our guide.
WE WILL BE JUDGED BY THE BIBLE
The Bible is the authority in Christianity because we will be judged by it at the second coming of Christ. “…it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this cometh judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
No one can escape death. The whole world agrees with that. Neither can a person escape the judgment. Since we cannot escape the judgment, we must prepare for it. But how can we prepare for it? By listening to Jesus. God gave Jesus authority to speak. It will be the words of Christ that will judge us. Listen to what Jesus has to say:
“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).
Every man will be judged by his own life. “…then he shall reward every man according to his works” (Matthew 16:27). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
THE BIBLE TELLS US WHAT TO DO TO BE SAVED
The Bible is the authority in Christianity because it tells us what to do to be saved. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). “and having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:9).
No one but Jesus can tell us what to do to be saved. What does Jesus say we must do in order to be saved? Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
Again we read in the book of Acts: “And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
In order to be saved, we must believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died so that we can have forgiveness of sins. We must repent [make up our minds to turn away from practicing sin and turn back to doing things God’s way] of our sins. Then we must be baptized [briefly buried in water] for the forgiveness of our sins.
If we do not accept the Bible as the authority in Christianity, then we are not listening to God. God does not like this. God condemns those who do not listen to Him. Here is what the Bible has to say about it:
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). If we listen to the teaching of man, we do not have God in our lives.
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father (God) and the Son” (2 John 9).
Do you listen to the teachings of Christ or to the teachings of man?