The battle over authority impacts every area of our lives.
Whether it is spoken or not, the question we ask ourselves over and over again is ″Who's in charge?″. That is because the person in charge sets the agenda, outlines acceptable and unacceptable practices, and determines the appropriate response to our actions.
1. Authority contested.
Matthew 21:23-27 NKJV Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, ″By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?″ 24 But Jesus answered and said to them, ″I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: 25 The baptism of John—where was it from? From heaven or from men?″ And they reasoned among themselves, saying, ″If we say, ′From heaven,′ He will say to us, ′Why then did you not believe him?′ 26 But if we say, ′From men,′ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.″ 27 So they answered Jesus and said, ″We do not know.″ And He said to them, ″Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
2. Authority confirmed.
Matthew 21:28-31 NKJV ″But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ′Son, go, work today in my vineyard.′ 29 He answered and said, ′I will not,′ but afterward he regretted it and went. 30 Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ′I go, sir,′ but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?″ They said to Him, ″The first.″ Jesus said to them, ″Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.
3. Authority clarified.
Matthew 21:32 NKJV For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.
- Rejecting John meant they were rejecting Jesus.
- John was the promised messenger sent from God.
Malachi 3:1 NKJV ″Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,″ Says the Lord of hosts.Malachi 4:5 NKJV Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
- John delivered the same message as Jesus.
Matthew 3:1-12 NKJV In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: ″The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ′Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight. ′ ″ 4 Now John himself was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, ″Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, ′We have Abraham as our father.′ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.″Matthew 4:17 NKJV From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ″Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.″
Matthew 12:30 NKJV He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.
We cannot be neutral regarding matters of authority and morality.
To play the middle ground regarding matters of authority and morality is to assume we are right and everyone else is wrong… including Jesus Christ!