Faithlife Sermons

The Authority of the Church

authority of the Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 4 views

Jesus commission His disciples to continue the work that His father sent him to do.

Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Scripture Reading

John 20:19–20 NKJV
Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
John 20:19-20

I. Why did Jesus appear to His disciples

Over the last couple of weeks we have been talking about the authority that Jesus has given to the church pawned his Ascension to heaven. So the question today is why did Jesus appear to his disciples to give them this Authority. Why did Jesus feel it was necessary to give this Authority unto his disciples?
Jesus, did not come to assure them of his conquest of death and the triumph of his kingdom. He has come also to instruct and prepare them for what lies ahead. He was there to commission them, commission for what?
ome to assure them of his conquest of death and the triumph of his kingdom. He has come also to instruct and prepare them for what lies ahead. He was there to commission them, commission for what?
let read
let Read
John 20:21 NKJV
So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
John 20:21 NKJV
So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
John
John 20:21
Jesus is appeared to His disciples to give them authority, to continue the work His Father had sent Him to Start.
The mission which He had told them in the upper room, is now imminent and He has sets them apart for this very moment, as He commissions them.
The words here mirror his words in
these words mirror His words in
As the Father has sent me, I am sending you (21). Echoing words uttered in his prayer before his passion (17:18), it also mirrors the ‘Great Commission.
Read
John 17:18 NKJV
As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
John17:
Read
Matthew 28:18–20 NKJV
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
matt
so

II. So, what is this mission?

Let’s Look at what scripture say

1. To Do HIS will.

John 8:29 NKJV
And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”
John 6:38-39
John
John 6:38–39 NKJV
For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

2. To Speak HIS words

John 12:
John 12:49 NKJV
For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.

3. To Perform HIS works

John 5:36 NKJV
But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.

4. Win Salvation For All Who Believe

John 3:16–17 NKJV
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
John 3
The disciples were sent to continue the words and works of Jesus. It is seen in various places in the Gospel:
That the disciples were sent to continue the words and works of Jesus is foreshadowed at various places in the Gospel: Jesus urged them to lift up their eyes and see fields ripe for harvest, and told them he had sent them to reap where others had laboured (4:35–38), he said those who believed in him would do the works he had done and greater works than these because he was returning to the Father (14:12); he told them, ‘I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last’ (15:16), saying that when the Counsellor comes ‘he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning’ (15:26–27), and when he prayed for his disciples he said to the Father, ‘As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world’ (17:18). This last text, which parallels 20:21, confirms that the sending of the disciples was ‘into the world’, i.e. with a mission to the world. The other texts reveal the essential content of their mission was to ‘harvest’ men and women for the kingdom by their witness to Jesus by word and deed, alongside the ongoing witness of the Spirit.
Jesus urged them to lift up their eyes and see fields ripe for harvest, and told them he had sent them to reap where others had laboured
John 4:35–38 NKJV
Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”
John4:
He said those who believed in him would do the works he had done and greater works than these because he was returning to the Father
John 14:12 NKJV
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
John14:12
he told them, ‘I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last’
John 15:16 NKJV
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
he told them, ‘I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last’ (15:16), saying that when the Counsellor comes ‘he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning’ (15:26–27), and when he prayed for his disciples he said to the Father, ‘As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world’ (17:18). This last text, which parallels 20:21, confirms that the sending of the disciples was ‘into the world’, i.e. with a mission to the world. The other texts reveal the essential content of their mission was to ‘harvest’ men and women for the kingdom by their witness to Jesus by word and deed, alongside the ongoing witness of the Spirit.
John15:16
Saying that when the Counsellor comes ‘he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning’
saying that when the Counsellor comes ‘he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning’ (15:26–27), and when he prayed for his disciples he said to the Father, ‘As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world’ (17:18). This last text, which parallels 20:21, confirms that the sending of the disciples was ‘into the world’, i.e. with a mission to the world. The other texts reveal the essential content of their mission was to ‘harvest’ men and women for the kingdom by their witness to Jesus by word and deed, alongside the ongoing witness of the Spirit.
John15:26–27), and when he prayed for his disciples he said to the Father, ‘As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world’ (17:18). This last text, which parallels 20:21, confirms that the sending of the disciples was ‘into the world’, i.e. with a mission to the world. The other texts reveal the essential content of their mission was to ‘harvest’ men and women for the kingdom by their witness to Jesus by word and deed, alongside the ongoing witness of the Spirit.
John 15:26–27 NKJV
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
And when he prayed for his disciples he said to the Father, ‘As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world’
John17:18). This last text, which parallels 20:21, confirms that the sending of the disciples was ‘into the world’, i.e. with a mission to the world. The other texts reveal the essential content of their mission was to ‘harvest’ men and women for the kingdom by their witness to Jesus by word and deed, alongside the ongoing witness of the Spirit.
John 17:18 NKJV
As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
This last text, which parallels 20:21, confirms that the sending of the disciples was ‘into the world’, i.e. with a mission to the world. The other texts reveal the essential content of their mission was to ‘harvest’ men and women for the kingdom by their witness to Jesus by word and deed, alongside the ongoing witness of the Spirit.

The Mission to the church

While Jesus’ words about sending his disciples as the Father sent him applied primarily to the Twelve (), there is a sense in which all believers are privileged to share in this commission in so far as they all are recipients of the Spirit whom he bequeathed to his disciples.
The Spirit provides, each plays a part in continuing the work and witness of Jesus.
Several of the fundamentals of the church’s mission in every generation are expressed here.
1. The importance of mission. The key to the statement is the parallel it draws between the sending of Jesus into the world by the Father and the sending of the apostolic community into the world by the risen Son. If the parallel holds good, then mission must have the same importance for the community as it had for Jesus. In the latter case, as we have seen, the significance could not be greater. In the Gospel of John, Jesus defines himself as the ‘sent one’;19 and correspondingly the Father is defined as ‘the Sender’.20 Thus the Godhead is defined in terms of mission. Mission reaches back into the eternal relations of the Trinity in the dynamic inter-relationship of Sender and Sent.
The challenge is evident. As Jesus is defined by the mission of the Father, so the church is defined by its mission to the world.
The same conclusion is arrived at by another route when we recognize that if God is in this sense a missionary God, the summons to be like him assumes a precise focus. The degree to which individuals and churches are committed to mission, both locally and throughout the world, will be a measure of how God-like (or how godly) they are.
2. This commission of Jesus helps us understand the character of mission. The tenses of the two verbs in the sentence are different. The second verb is present: I am sending you; but the first is a perfect, which implies a past action continuing in the present: the Father has sent me. What Jesus has in mind therefore is not a double mission, first Jesus’ mission and then afterwards our mission. Rather it is one single action, the great movement of the missionary heart of God sending forth his Son into the world, initially through the incarnation, subsequently through his church. The one mission of God has two phases: the first, that of the Son in his incarnate life; the second, that of the Son in his risen life through his people.21 ‘The apostles were commissioned to carry on Christ’s work, and not to begin a new one.’22 He is in our midst as we go forth for him to the world!
This understanding of the missionary task carries implications. It touches the issue of authority in our service. Because Jesus’ mission continues through ours, our mission partakes of his divine authority. We can compare the classical form of the commission: ‘all authority … has been given to me. Therefore go … and I am with you’ (). The presence of the exalted Lord is the authorization of our mission. This is what ‘apostle’ means—one whom Jesus sends and accompanies. In this sense the church in every age is an apostolic community and every Christian witness, sent and authorized by the risen and reigning one, belongs to the apostolate of the Lord. Behind this Christian reality lies a Jewish model, the šālîaḥ or messenger. In Hebrew culture the šālîaḥ embodied the dignity and authority of the one in whose name he had come: ‘one who is sent is as the one who sends him.’23 To slight a šālîaḥ was therefore to slight his master; correspondingly, to respect the šālîaḥ by obeying the message he brought was to respect his master. As the ‘sent ones’ of Jesus we speak with his authority.
In practice, the exercise of that authority is bound up with our mirroring the mission of Jesus at another point, viz. obedience. Jesus exercised the authority of his Father because he was utterly obedient to the will of his Father (cf. comment on 8:12f.). ‘The transaction [of the šālîaḥ] could not be properly concluded without a resolute subordination of the will of the representative to that of the one who commissioned him.’24 Our wielding his authority is related to our accepting a similar subordination. Here is the paradox of Christian ministry: we find freedom insofar as we permit his enslavement of us; we bring life to others to the degree to which we give up our own; we have authority and power in the measure to which we are willing to become helpless. Positively, however, this opens up unimaginable possibilities, as verse 23 indicates.
This statement, about loosing and retaining sins, has been appealed to in terms of the authorization of a magisterial office in the church with the direct authority to forgive or retain sins. That implication appears unjustified when the context is taken seriously. The ‘loosing’ and ‘binding’ are the effect of the preaching of the gospel in the world, when we go forth in the name and with the authority of the risen Lord. As when he was on earth, so now, the coming of the light of God’s Word draws some to the light for salvation and confirms some in the darkness for damnation (3:19–21; 9:39). ‘There is no doubt from the context that the reference is to forgiving sins, or withholding forgiveness. But though this sounds stern and harsh, it is simply the result of the preaching of the gospel, which either brings people to repent as they hear of the ready and costly forgiveness of God, or leaves them unresponsive to the offer of forgiveness which is the gospel, and so they are left in their sins.’25
3. One other aspect of the character of mission is to the point; the cost of it. For the risen one who sends us is identified not by his kingly glory, but by the marks of his cross and passion (20). To be sent by such a Master in his mission must have had the most sobering effect on the apostles. As the Father has sent me had meant for Jesus costly self-sacrifice to the point of the hell of Calvary; it could not henceforth mean less in principle for them. ‘Whoever serves me must follow me’ (12:26).
4. Finally, lest these terms of the mission be thought too overwhelming, Jesus also points to the resources of mission. The first has already been stressed; Jesus himself. He will continue to be the leader of the disciple community. As before, so now, they will go out under his leadership and with the inspiration of his living presence. In particular we note, as we did above, the recurrence of this commission formula in the consecration prayer of Jesus (17:18). Here is our all-embracing and all-sufficient resource, that our mission is undergirded by the praying presence of Jesus!
The other major resource is shared in verse 22: With that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’
Considerable debate has swirled around the interpretation of this statement. In particular, how does it relate to the coming of the Spirit some fifty days later as described in ? The notion that this is actually John’s account of Pentecost, and in his mind replaces the subsequent coming of the Spirit (a view much in favour with critical scholarship), requires a qualifying of John’s historical reliability which is unwarranted. Accepting the historicity of both Acts and John, and hence the apparent double gifting of the Spirit, some interpret in terms of a relative difference between the two enduements of the Spirit. Thus Calvin distinguishes between ‘sprinkling’ with the Spirit (here), and ‘saturation’ with the Spirit at Pentecost.26 Westcott sees the power of new life imparted in John and the power for ministry in Bruce inverts Westcott’s distinction.28
It seems preferable to recognize that the true coming of the outpoured Spirit took place at Pentecost. Apart from other considerations it would appear that it was only after the experience that any marked change came over the behaviour of the apostles and the kingdom’s arrival became apparent.
The ‘expiration’ of the Spirit described here in John can then be viewed as symbolic, and hence essentially didactic. Jesus here is teaching the apostles who the Spirit is. Lest a ‘symbolic’ interpretation be thought to reduce this incident to an insignificant affair, let it be noted that until they understood who the Spirit was they were in no position to receive his outpouring. The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost was in a deep sense dependent upon this action on the evening of Easter. Who is the Spirit? He is the life-breath of the exalted Jesus! Jesus the risen one breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit. ‘The Holy Spirit is Christ himself in the power of his resurrection … the outstretched arm of the Exalted One.’29
This understanding of the relationship between Jesus and the Spirit is precisely the one expressed by Peter at Pentecost. When the bewildered crowds demand to know the meaning of the phenomena, Peter’s answer is: ‘this Jesus … Exalted to the right hand of God, he has … poured out what you now see and hear’ (). No purer expression of this Johannine incident and its meaning is conceivable.
Thus Christianity at its outset was saved from the danger of becoming a religion focused essentially on supernatural phenomena, ‘signs and wonders’ as such. Instead, from its earliest moments, it was the religion of Jesus of Nazareth, the glorified Servant and Messiah of God, exalted at God’s right hand, and hence the ruler of the universe. He manifested his rule when he so willed by ‘signs and wonders’, but also and more generally, by all the other works of his people in the world. The Spirit is the ‘Spirit of Jesus’. Thus the phenomena of Acts are understood, as are the signs in John, as semeia, ‘signs’ of the person and reign of Jesus the exalted Son and Servant, the Word made flesh. The key to that crucial identification is this moment on Easter evening. But if this perspective is valid, what a resource this represents for the apostolic task! Nothing less than the power which brought Jesus through death and resurrection to the right hand of the Father is the power which is made available to the church in its mission (so Paul in .).
Related Media
Related Sermons