Updated: Feb 14
And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.
Where did Christ’s authority come from? It came from God. Where did the scribe’s authority come from? It came from men. Another way to say it is that Christ’s authority was based upon God’s Word while the scribe’s authority was based upon man’s word. That was the difference.
Several verses later, Christ demonstrates this authority by casting out the unclean spirit.
And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.
Notice Paul's concern in the following verse:
And this I say, lest any man should beguile (deceive) you with enticing (persuasive) words.
It is very easy to allow ourselves to be deceived by the words of men. Through social media and other avenues, we are inundated with the words of men! A couple of interesting facts:
In March 2019, over 4.4 million blog posts were published every day.
Over 409 million people read more than 20 billion pages on WordPress each month.
The things which we read - in books, on blogs, etc. - can be very persuasive. We must exercise caution. We must consistently ask ourselves, “What does God say?”
With that thought in mind, I want to finish up what I started earlier.
An article came to my attention. In this article the writer shared 7 things that they said “the church” has been wrong about. Allow me to point out, again, one of his opening statements:
Too much of Christianity is built upon absolute certainty and not enough on divine mystery.
However, Peter emphatically stated...
2 Peter 1:19
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
Peter understood that God's Word was even more reliable than his very own personal, first hand account.
God’s Word - not man’s word - gives us absolute certainty!
With that in mind, I'll continue where I left off.
We were wrong about what it means to be ‘pro-life.’
The church has erred – both spiritually and politically – by elevating the single issue of abortion as the definition of being “pro-life.”
First of all, we need to understand that, when this writer says, “the church,” he is referring to the church as a whole. He is not - and neither am I - necessarily singling out South Charlotte Baptist Church.
Actually, I would have to agree, in a sense, with this writer. Is abortion wrong? Yes. But....
But so are genocide, starvation, access to health care, slavery, human trafficking, capital punishment and the injustices of war.
Today, in 2020, the church - as a whole - is being encouraged, more and more, to focus its attention and resources toward combating all of these social issues. But that is not where our focus should be.
There is a national movement called “Movement Day.” That movement hosted an event here in Charlotte last year known as Movement Day Charlotte. Listen to this...
MDC is an initiative of FORCLT, in collaboration with the Movement Day Global Initiative, focused on connecting and equipping Christian leaders to make a measurable impact on the most pressing urban issues facing Charlotte, as shown in the FORCLT State of the City Report. (emphasis added)
Now allow me to ask this question, “What is the root cause for the problems which face our society?" It is sin! Therefore, while we should, as we have opportunity, meet the physical needs of others, our focus must continue to be on the proclamation of the Gospel message.
And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
Christ’s focus was on preaching the Gospel. His focus was on meeting the real need - the forgiveness of sins - for this individual.
It is interesting to note, from the accounts of early missionaries, such as James Chalmers, missionary to New Guinea during the late 19th century, that, as the missionaries preached the Gospel and individuals were saved, that many of the “social issue” that the people were involved in, began to correct themselves. That is the power of the Gospel; not only to save lives but to change lives!
May we keep the main thing the main thing and the main thing is found in Matthew 28:19-20
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
We were wrong to exclude people from God’s grace because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Clearly, this is the most divisive issue of our time for the church. Perhaps the first step that the church should take is to listen to its own sons and daughters and to believe them when they say they did not choose their sexual orientation.
That statement is just downright wrong!
Again, I say, “What does God’s Word say?”
God created male and female.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Marriage is between one man and one woman.
But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
The physical relationship between a man and a woman is reserved for marriage.
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
This is what God’s Word says. And, God’s Word should be our final authority for our faith and practice. But that doesn’t mean that anyone is “excluded from God’s grace.”
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,”
The grace of God - the grace that brings eternal salvation - is available to anyone. However, the problem is that there are groups of people who seek to create a god in their image that will allow them to continue doing what they want instead of simply surrendering to the God who created them in His image and Who loved them enough to send His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for their sins!
As a church, we must be kind and loving. We must “speak the truth in love” but we must never back away from the truth of God’s Word.
We were wrong to measure the kingdom of God in numbers more than in souls.
American Christianity has been obsessed with “nickels and noses” for too long. We have gathered crowds more than growing disciples. Most pastors understand this but feel powerless to change the mindset, because their own performance gets measured by giving and attendance.
I actually agree with the writer on this one. Charlotte is driven by the “bottom line.” Forbes magazine says this about Charlotte:
Charlotte has become a major U.S. financial center, and is now the second largest banking center in the United States after New York City.
If we are not careful, we can allow this “bottom line” mentality to infect South Charlotte Baptist Church. Consider...
God will build His church.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
We must stay faithful.
1 Corinthians 4:1–2
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
We must stay faithful to God, to God’s Word and the Gospel message! (Note: Adoniram Judson, missionary to Burma, ministered for six years before seeing his first convert! But, he stayed faithful!)
We must keep our purpose in mind: Proclaiming the Gospel and Seeing the Miracle of Changed Live!
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
We were wrong to put our hope in politics.
We live today in the culmination of a marriage of church and politics that began in the 1970s.
I have, on many occassions, warned of this very thing.
President Donald Trump is not our savior. Revival in the United States will not be produced by the legislative branch of the United States government. A new trade deal with the Chinese will not pave the way for Christ to return.
This problem, though, has been something the Christians have had problems with since the at least the first century:
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
The disciples still wanted a political change; Christ told them to focus on the Great Commission!
We must remember...
Our hope is in Christ!
For thou art my hope, O Lord God: Thou art my trust from my youth.
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
We will not hide them from their children, Shewing to the generation to come The praises of the Lord, and his strength, And his wonderful works that he hath done.
That they might set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep his commandments:
Our hope is in Christ not politics!
We must ask ourselves, “Will I believe man’s word or will I believe God’s Word?”
The apostle Paul, for his part, wrote:
...let God be true, but every man a liar;...
Let’s allow all of the “issues” of life to drive us to God’s Word for the answers. I believe that all of this can be summed up in a very familiar passage of Scripture:
Blessed is the man That walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor standeth in the way of sinners, Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; And in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Will we give heed to man's word or God's Word!