What's So Good About Authority?
Gen 1:14-18; Rom 13:1-7
This is the 4th “And It Was Good” declaration found in Genesis 1
1) God created Light and saw “it was Good” (Genesis 1:4).
Light symbolizes TRUTH (John 1)
Q: Am I willing to live in the light of truth or remain in the dark?
2) God created the dry ground, established foundations and saw “it was Good” (Genesis 1:10).
Ground symbolized FOUNDATIONS (Matt 7:24)
Q: Will I build on the rock of God’s Word, or build upon the waves of cultural relativism?
3) God created seed time and harvest and saw “it was Good” (Genesis 1:12).
Harvest symbolized the law of sowing and reaping or consequences (Gal 6:7).
Q: Am I willing to accept responsibility for my life and the consequences I’ve created.
4) God created heavenly bodies (stars and moons) and saw “it was Good” (Genesis 1:14)
The heavenly bodies represent Governing Authority (Rom 13:1-7).
Set the governing bodies over the earth to do four things:
- Separate Light From Darkness
- Set time and seasons
- Shed Light On The Earth
- Rule Over the day and night
Romans 13:1–7 (ESV)
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
Four 1st Century Truths We Still Need In The 21st Century Concerning
#1 ALL AUTHORITY BEGINS AND BELONGS TO GOD AND IS STEWARDED BY MANKIND
For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God (v13:1).
- All authority originates and ultimately ends with God.
- Authority is stewarded by man not owned by man.
- Everyone has been given a measure of authority (Eph 4:7)
- Think about the authority you have been entrusted? How are you doing?
#2 HOW WE RESPOND TO AUTHORITY IS A TEST
Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain (vs 2-4).
- The Presence of Authority reveals our Character
- The Presence of Authority is a test
- How are you doing with the test?
1 Samuel 15:22–23 (ESV)
22 And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
rebellion - an act. or state of disobedience, opposition, or resistance to one in authority
Honoring authority releases righteousness // Dishonoring authority releases wickedness
#3 AUTHORITY IS THE PATH GOD CREATED TO RELEASE POWER
For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer…for the authorities are ministers of God (vs 4-5)
5 When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.
The "unholy" centurion recognized something even the "holy" Pharisee missed
a) Everyone is under authority even Jesus
b) Power is released through authority
c) If something is out of order, get it covered!
#4 PASSING THE TEST OF AUTHORITY REQUIRES HONOR AND HUMILITY
Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Vs 7
The Principal of Preferred Honor
Honor the position even if the person in the position is less than honorable
Honor others because you are honorable
The key to ascending (growing in authority) is learning to descend (humble yourself)
Ephesians 4:7–10 (ESV)
7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”
9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)
How are you doing on the Authority test?