For the next three weeks, we will be talking about God’s plan for the world: the church. Bro. Schwanke summed it up pretty well a couple weeks ago when he said that the church’s mission is simple: see people saved, baptized a discipled, and then go start more churches like ours.
Honestly. That’s all!
And that responsibility does fall on the church, not on any other organization.
A few months ago on a Sunday night, I preached on the Great Commission and focused on the word power. “All power is given unto me…”This power is not strength, or energy (i.e. “I had enough energy to go door-knocking today!”) This power is actually authority.
Matthew wrote about Christ’s authority to conduct ministry, because to his Jewish audience, authority was big deal. The Jews were astonished at his doctrine, because He spoke as having one authority (7:29). Matthew showed Christ’s authority to preach (4:17), over nature (8:23-27). interpreting the Law (ch. 5-7), over sickness and sin (ch. 8-9, stories of healing and forgiveness), over traditions (ch. 9), over the Sabbath (ch.12), and on and on.
When confronting Jesus, the Jewish leaders never denied Jesus’ effectiveness. They DID, however, question his authority. To them, proper authority was needed in order to conduct legitimate ministry. Mat. 21:23, “And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?”
When Jesus cat the demons out of the man in Mat. 12:22, the crowd was shocked. The religious leaders had no explanation. Knowing that Jesus was effective, they tried to discredit Him by questioning his authority, “This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. [emphasis added to show that they accused Jesus of getting his power for miracles from the devil]”
They claimed that without proper authority (i.e. if Jesus’ power DID come from the devil), the miracles would be worthless.
Jesus agreed. (ha!)
Jesus then showed them that devils don’t cast out devils, so He must have some higher power (or authority) to conduct His ministry. The point is, Jesus accepted their premise (that authority is needed to minister), and showed that HE had the authority.
Jesus was MORE interested in authority than effectiveness.
The next three weeks will be principled and doctrinal more than practical, but when we know what we believe, the knowledge should practically affect every area of our lives.