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Going without Authority

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Christian Service (Going) without Authority

Matthew 28:16-20

Our scripture text today takes us to one of Christ’s defining moments with the disciples.  Many believe it was at least His eighth appearance, if we combine the four gospel texts. So let’s do it.

Using the four fold gospel our scripture would read like this:

16. But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. f6 then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep; a17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. [1]

a18 And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. b15 And he said unto them, Go ye atherefore, into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: 20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: b16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned. thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead the third day; 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.[2]

The reason I present this to you is so that we can examine just what is taking place and why we choose to walk as if we have no power and no assignment. The Gospel writers and Paul were leaving us the instructions which would please the Savior if carried out.

So, why aren’t we doing what Jesus commissioned or more appropriately commanded us to do?

This question begs a story I once read. “In the book, (Evangelism Is) Reverend Marsh tells the story of two men who worked together for years.

Walter went to church every Sunday, Steve not at all. One Monday morning, Steve said, “Walter, I went to church yesterday,” whereupon Walter responded excitedly, “Steve, I’m sure glad to hear that.”

Steve continued, “The preacher said some things that bothered me. He talked about the wonderful things that Christ does for those who accept him, and the great losses to those who do not. Do you believe that, Walter?”

Walter replied, “Sure, that’s what it’s all about.”

Steve burst out passionately, “No, Walter, you don’t believe that.”

Walter bristled, “Yes, I do believe that!”

Steve shook his head sadly, saying, “No, Walter, you couldn’t really believe that and work side by side with me all these years and never say a word about it. No, Walter, you don’t believe it.”

You see, Walter is each and every one of us who do not take the time to tell someone that salvation is found in Jesus alone. There are too many people out there with no hope, too many suicides by folks who can’t find an answer that we have, too many unwanted pregnancies, too many alcoholics, too many drug addicts, too many homeless folks on the streets, too many people starving in the world, too many liars, too many thieves, too much divorce, and too many families falling apart. Why are we like Walter? Why won’t we go to the least of our brothers and sisters and tell them the Good News!  Jesus Saves!!

Let us look more closely at this commission or commandment, and see if we can solve the problem of Christian service with no authority.

Our story begins some time after some of the disciples return from the Sea of Tiberius. Jesus has already given them, the women, and others the instructions to go to Galilee. But a few of them decided to take a detour and have a small fishing trip. Boy did Jesus have a surprise for them, especially Peter. You see here is where Jesus forgives Peter for denying Him. Here Peter learns how he will die. Here John receives his calling. It was here at the Sea of Tiberius that Jesus reminded them they were not in the place he had sent them! He told them to meet Him on a mountain. Even when we’re in the wrong place Jesus still takes time to minister to us and accomplish His purpose for us.

Now, I could stop here and spend a little time opening your eyes to all that had taken place. However, I think we need to get to the mountain top where our answers will be found for this particular dilemma of no authority

The bible then says that Jesus met the disciples on the mountain he had designated. There we find folk waiting for the church service. Many had not yet seen Christ in His resurrected body. They were hanging out because they wanted to know if He had risen as he had said, or was he really dead as the Roman soldiers had said. The scriptures go on to tell us that the disciples and many began to worship Him, however some still doubted.

Doesn’t that sound like the church today? Many come and worship Him, and although he has been true to His word some still doubt. Although you have food on the table, yet no money in your pocket you still doubt. When Jesus brought you through trial and tribulation, you still come to church doubting. And although he has healed your body, now that you’re well you still doubt. He’s been a lawyer in the court room and you still doubt. JESUS has brought your children back home safe and yet, GLORY to GOD you still doubt.

Is it even a wonder why so many believers have no authority? As the Holy Spirit gives me power to preach this message, I want to leave three points with you that will restore your Authority. You see no Christian should be walking around with no authority, but should be walking in much Authority.

To walk in authority one must first know whose Authority We Walk In.  It is the Secret of Service.

The first thing Jesus said when he saw the disciples and the 500 was ALL.  ALL (repeat) I went to the Greek and Hebrew dictionaries to decipher the meaning of ALL.  I discovered something, a great mystery.  I finally understood what ALL meant.  Simply put ALL means ALL and that is ALL, ALL means.  JESUS said ALL Authority has been GIVEN to Me. Not some Authority, not a little Authority, not a lot of Authority, but ALL Authority in Heaven and on Earth.

The Greeks have a word for that authority:  exousia, which means “official right or power”.   Authority constitutes the inherent right and the principle foundation of power and the exercise of that power is evidence of a duly grounded authority. Well, what are you saying preacher. I am saying an inherent right can only be given by a Father, and Jesus’ power is explicitly given by God the Father.  Jesus has the power and authority to forgive sin, Jesus has the power and authority to heal, Jesus has power and authority over the wind and the rain, and Jesus has not only the power and authority over life, but He has power and authority over death and the grave. Jesus has all authority.

We are here celebrating a great missionary whose authority came from Jesus. It was seen in her life, and it was celebrated all over the Common Wealth of this state. Her authority came from Jesus and it changed lives.

We are also here celebrating Missions Day because Jesus has given the Church authority to change men’s lives, the authority to change communities, and the authority to turn the world upside down. The funny thing is where did the church leave its authority? It left its authority in the hands of a world who Satan has deceived. It’s time the church took back its authority! We have to stop treating the church like a hoops festival, stop preaching like it’s a “hoopin” contest, and coming to church like we’re attending a hutchie festival. This authority is not for playing games, entertaining, or for freak finding!!!

To walk as one with authority we must walk in the authority of Jesus the Christ. There is no other authority or name in which men can be saved but in the authority found in the name of Jesus.

Not only are we to know in whose authority we are walking in, we need to know why we need to “Go”.

Jesus authoritatively told us to go, make disciples, baptize, and teach them.

We see the word Go and we think verb or action word. Those of us who went to English class knew, even if we didn’t understand that verbs mean action. Like run, skip, hop, or jump. But to the Greeks the word Jesus uses for go is, yes a verb, but it means more than we give that two letter word credit for. It means to “walk in” in the sense of your lifestyle. In other words we ought to walk like Jesus walked. Isn’t that what Christian discipleship is?   He made disciples by walking with them, and teaching them.

Jesus simply tells us walk in my words, imitate me. David said it well “It’s in Him we live, it’s in Him we move, it’s in Him we have our being”. We can’t go unless we are walking in Him. If you are still cussing every fifth word that proceeds from your mouth, stop fooling yourself. You’re not walking in Jesus. Will you cuss sometimes? Yes, but there ought to come a time when it no longer gives you pleasure to be vulgar. We are called to be a witness, which is to give a personal testimony through our lifestyles and through the words that we speak.

Still ‘tootin’ a little bit, still ‘watchin a lil’ porno, still lying to everybody, and are you still ‘cheatin’ on your wife, or your husband. You are living with no authority, and you’re definitely not walking in Jesus. Jesus gives us the authority to walk right, to talk right and to live right. He has given us authority to go casting out demons in His name.

I’m going to tell you now don’t go out trying to cast out demons and you’re not walking in authority. The demons will tell you “Jesus I know, but who the ____ are you?

Third our Christian service ought to have scope and substance.

Jesus told us to take His authority to all the nations which means start at home. Get some practice. Then tell your neighbor, the man or woman you have worked with for two, five, or ten years plus. Next spread the gospel to your community. I mean, it is the “good news”. I know if you hit the lottery you gone tell somebody how religiously you bought them tickets. I know when a brother gets a good woman he’ll tell it all, just can’t keep it to himself.

What’s the problem that we can’t tell folk that Jesus saves, that He lives, that he’s coming back, and that tomorrow might be too late. Why won’t we tell people He healed me, put food on my table, that He saved my soul and can save yours today? Don’t we believe it?

The scope of our service ought to stretch to the next continent, to Africa’s aide’s epidemic, to Sudan and Haiti’s hunger, to Rwanda’s genocide, and to the worlds neglected children. They need to know that the Savoir lives through us. We must give the world substance through our evangelism and mission work. If we can’t go, give. Can’t give, pray for them, and then pray for some money to give.

We don’t teach our children to consider missionary work for a few years or service work that will gain them reward beyond Market St., and bring them closer to Jesus. All we teach them is go to school and do for themselves. Jesus didn’t teach that, he taught scope and substance. He taught kingdom work. He taught giving, and loving your brother.

As I take my seat and give my final point. I want you to know not only do we need to know by whose authority we walk in and why we need to go which is the Secret of Service, and that we our Service needs Scope and Substance, but we need to know that our Authority comes through Strength of Service.

Jesus says in verse 20:  Lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the age. Amen

It’s important as we face the meaning of Christ’s kingdom and His kingship over us, to realize that we are not left alone to do the impossible. Christ has all authority, and Christ promises to be with us. What is impossible for us is fully possible for Him. We are free to follow, for we do not follow alone.

It is this reality that Paul writes of in Romans 8:11: “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.” Christ was raised from the dead by the power of God. That same resurrection power is available to overcome the deadness in our lives. Because Christ promises to be with us always, we know that His power is always ours.

Yes, The King lives and he reigns.

However, Jesus keeps His word. He won’t abandon you when times get hard, his promise is eternal and continues when this world no longer has anything to offer.

I’m saying this don’t be afraid, stop being afraid to share the good news. Jesus has power beyond this book. Jesus is the power that is in you. Let this mind, this power, this wisdom, this witness, this love, this spirit be in you which is also in Christ Jesus.

Go tell it

Tell it with authority, tell it with power. Just go tell it!!! Jesus lives and because He lives I can face tomorrow, because he lives I’ve been set free. Because He lives I have authority over sin.

Because He lives my service has strength, scope, and substance. Tell it, Tell it, Tell it!

The song writer says:

I serve a risen Savior; He’s in the world today.

I know that he is living whatever men may say

I see his hand mercy; I hear His voice of cheer

And just the time I need Him, He’s always near.

He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today

He walks with me and talks with me, along lifes narrow way.

He lives, He lives salvation to impart. You ask me how I know He lives

He lives within my heart.

Go Ye therefore and Tell it with Authority and Power.


[1]McGarvey, John William: The Four-Fold Gospel. Oak Harbor, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1999, S. 761

[2]McGarvey, John William: The Four-Fold Gospel. Oak Harbor, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1999, S. 764

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