by Mike Ratliff
37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. 40 Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, “This certainly is the Prophet.” 41 Others were saying, “This is the Christ.” Still others were saying, “Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He? 42 “Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 43 So a division occurred in the crowd because of Him. 44 Some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him. 45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, “Why did you not bring Him?” 46 The officers answered, “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.” (John 7:37-46 NASB)
We come to the last two verses of our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:28, 29. I confess to all that this study has been extremely humbling for me. Not only did I exegete each passage so I could develop each post, I translated each word from the Greek to English. This involved not only the translation work, which really isn’t that difficult, but the more difficult part of getting the grammar correct. It is at that point that I did a great deal of study and cross-referencing and further exegeting. After all, the process of exegeting Sacred Scripture has as its primary goal the original message penned by the author of the text. It as we pursue that goal that the Holy Spirit moves through Word of God which bears the very form of our Lord to bring the truth to bear upon our hearts and through this we are transformed through the renewal of our minds. In this dark age in which professing Christians can confess to love the Lord Jesus and love his Word, but then deny the necessity of defending his doctrines for the sake of unity with others who deny those truths, we must determine whether we really love the Lord Jesus or not. If we really do then that means we really would love his truth completely and that means his doctrines as well even to the point of death. Yes, that also means that we must divide from fellowship with those who refuse to do so.
Much of the introduction paragraph was “inspired” by a “rant” in a “sorta-sermon” preached by Ed Young Jr. that was basically a straw-man attack on Reformed Theology or Calvinists or Calvinism (it was difficult to tell since the “sermon” was a bit ‘rambling’ and made little sense). His attack made me think about this post and the authority of our Lord. His attack was based entirely within his traditions and presuppositions and had no basis in Biblical truth. His “theology” can only be understood as “there is no way for there to be any precise way for us to understand how God saves anyone. Election is a mystery. Choice is a mystery. Therefore, anyone who tries to define it is attempting to put God in a box.” Sigh…
I have absorbed many punches in the back like that by synergists after posting some of my very precise posts on election that were completely based in Biblical Doctrine, not proof-texting. They can’t refute what the Bible teaches so they use philosophy or feelings or guilt trips, but mostly straw man attacks and very ugly ad hominem…not very Christian…
28 And it came about when Jesus finished these words the crowds were amazed at his teaching 29 for he was teaching them having authority and not as their scribes. (Matthew 7:28, 29 Possessing the Treasure New Testament v1)
What does it mean that Jesus taught with authority? The English word “authority” in v29 translates ἐξουσίαν (exousian) the accusative, singular of ἐξουσία (exousia), “authority, jurisdiction, ruler, control, power.” What our Lord taught, that is, commanded, is from his authority because he is God. His Word is the truth. His teachings and what he commanded his followers to do to obey him is our theology and all of that is broken down into doctrine of different aspects of our relationship to the Triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and our role in the Kingdom. We do not make the rules. We do not create these doctrines. We do not take a doctrine (teaching) of our Lord or one of his Apostles and see it all a different way than them because we want things our own way. No! That is why we have the Word of God and all that we need to know by the authority of our Lord to love and serve him in all things that we are commanded to do as his Church.
Therefore, when men such as Ed Young Jr. and those who emulate him such as Stephen Furtick (for instance), continually attempt to redefine the good doctrines of the our Lord Jesus Christ along the lines of what men want and what makes them the most money and causes them to look very successful in the eyes of men because they have huge churches and auditoriums full of people either with itching ears seeking to have them tickled or believers desperately underfed who need to be in a real church where they can be nourished on the Word of God and pastored by a real man of God who is under the authority of Christ.
As I stated above, we live in a dark age. Some say we are under the judgment of God. I believe that to be true to a large extent. That is why there is such barrenness across the land of hearing the preaching of the Word of God. Piety and religiosity seems to be what has replaced real love for our Lord. All of that is simply works of the flesh. When personality of a preacher is why people go to a church rather than to hear the Word of God preached with the power of Holy Spirit behind it, I think the wasteland of the Western Church has, for the majority, reached the stage of when God told the Israelites to stop their sacrifices because he was sick of them. All they were doing was going through the motions for themselves. It was not for the glory of God at all.
However, I know many Christians who are not anything like what I just described, but none of you are part of one of those “Mega-Church,” Narcissistic, Purpose Driven, Seeker-Sensitive, personality-based, works-righteousness, semi-Pelagian or Pelagian sorta-Churches. I know this because we have had conversations and I know that God has opened the eyes of those who belong to him and there are many leaders and many good Christians in the Church in pockets all over the World. Yes, it looks like the majority of what is called the “Church” is fake and it is, but that is not the real Church. The real Church, or remnant is very much alive and God knows who are his. Let us obey him and live for his Glory under his authority until his return for us or until we depart this life and go to him. Either way—all for his glory!
Soli Deo Gloria!