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Jarrod Jacobs: “From Heaven Or Men?”

When Jesus went to the Temple during His last week on earth, the chief priests and elders tested Him (Matt. 21:23-27). They asked Christ by what authority He had done the things He had done. Jesus then asked them a question: “The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?” (Matt. 21:25). The chief priests and elders refused to answer, fearing the people. Thus, Jesus never responded to their question.

Asking whether one’s authority comes from Heaven or men is a good question. To have authority from Heaven means our authority comes from the inspired word of God (II Tim. 3:16-17). It is this word that the apostles were given when they were guided “into all truth” (Jn. 16:13), and it is this same word that will save us today (Rom. 1:16)!

Let us beware because if our authority is from men, then it is vain. Vain means worthless, of no profit, or useless. In Matthew 15:8-9, Jesus said that the people’s worship was “vain” because they obeyed the words of men rather than God’s word. In like manner, our worship, and all of our actions toward God, can be vain if our authority is from men rather than from Heaven (Col. 3:17).

Further, if our authority is from men, it will ultimately be destroyed! In Matthew 15, Jesus goes on to say, “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Matt. 15:13). A similar teaching is found in Colossians 2:22. It is serious business when men submit to the authority of men rather than the authority from Heaven! It will jeopardize our souls and send us to Hell if our authority is not from Heaven!

In contrast, if our authority is from the word of God (Col. 3:17; I Pet. 4:11), we will be able to produce a statement or command telling us to do it. We will be able to find an apostolic example showing us what we must do or find the necessary inference that draws an unmistakable conclusion that our actions are correct. When we study the Scriptures, we find that this is how Christians determine authority in the Christian age (Acts 15:7-19). We must use this same standard to prove whether or not what we are doing is from Heaven or men.

For example, is salvation by faith only? Read God’s answer (Jas. 2:24). Does God expect worship in song or with added instruments? Read God’s answer (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Is baptism necessary for salvation? Read God’s answer (Mk. 16:16). How are we to treat our fellow man? Read God’s answer (Matt. 7:12). What are we practicing? Is it from Heaven or men?

God’s word gives us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (II Pet. 1:3). It is the “word of reconciliation” (II Cor. 5:18) that will never pass away (Matt. 24:35; I Pet. 1:22-25). Thus, authority from Heaven is that for which we should strive! Too many follow man’s authority, which leads them away from God and toward destruction!

Having studied the need for our authority to come from Heaven, let us compare what all men say (including this author) with the Scriptures (Acts 17:11) so we can know whether or not what is being said is “from Heaven” or “from men.”

-- You are invited to visit the Caneyville church of Christ. Times of services: Sun.: 10:00 am, 10:45 am, 5:00 pm; Wed.: 7:00 pm. Website: Tune in to our radio program 101.5 FM at 5:30 am, Mon-Fri. Questions? Call: (270) 589-4167


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