Authority to Witness

Scripture

Acts 4:5-12 (NASB)
5  On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; 6  and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. 7 When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, 9  if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11 “He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. 12  “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your many blessings. Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which provides us the ability to witness in Jesus’ name. May Your name be praised throughout all creation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Proposition

Jesus Christ is the only Authority by which salvation can be offered and attained.

Probing Question

How do we identify and recognize proper authority?

Transitional Sentence

Proper authority may be identified and recognized by…

Main Points

1. Claims

Acts 4:5-7 (NASB)
5  On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; 6  and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. 7 When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?”

  • Explicit – Title or Position
    • God
      • Empowered Civil Authority (i.e., Government)
      • Empowered Priestly Authority (i.e., Priesthood)
        • High Priest (foreshadow or “type” of Jesus)
        • Jesus (THE High Priest)
    • “…rulers and elders and scribes…”
    • High Priest
      • Annas (retired)
      • Caiaphas
        • Annas’ son-in-law
        • Condemned Jesus to be crucified
    • Jesus
      • The perfect High Priest
      • Empowered the Priesthood of Believers
        • Apostles
        • Disciples
    • Apostles
      • Peter
      • John
  • Implicit – Vocation or Family Association
    • John
      • Unknown for sure
      • Possibly, Rabbin Jochanan ben Zaccai
        • Very famous at that time in the Jewish nation
        • He found favor in the eyes of Caesar
    • Alexander
      • Unknown for sure
      • Possibly, Alexander Lysimachus
        • One of the riches Jews of that time
        • Made great presents to the Temple
        • Highly esteemed by King Agrippa
    • “…all who were of high-priestly descent”

Claims of Authority: God vs. Man

2. Results

Acts 4:8-9 (NASB)
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, 9  if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well,

  • Healing
    • God
      • Empowerment of Prophets and Priests for TEMPORARY healing
      • Empowerment of Jesus for PERMANENT healing
    • Jesus
      • Empowerment of Apostles (Jesus is STILL the agent)
      • Empowerment of Disciples (Jesus is STILL the agent)
  • Forgiveness of sin
    • God
      • Empowered Priests for TEMPORARY forgiveness
      • Empowered Jesus for PERMANENT forgiveness
    • Jesus
      • Empowerment of Apostles (Jesus is STILL the agent)
      • Empowerment of Disciples (Jesus is STILL the agent)

Results Produced (i.e., Fruit): God vs. Man

Isaiah 64:6 (NASB)
6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Matthew 7:15-23 (NASB)
15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS .’

3. Source

Acts 4:10-12 (NASB)
10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11 “He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. 12  “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

  • God
    • “…rulers and elders and scribes…”
    • High Priest
    • Jesus
  • Jesus
    • Apostles
    • Disciples

Source: God vs. Man

Luke 4:16-21 (NASB)
16  And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17  And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, 18 “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR . HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES , AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, 19 TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD .” 20  And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Matthew 28:18-20 (NASB)
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Conclusion

How do we identify and recognize proper authority?

  • Claims
  • Results
  • Source

The more of these areas which are present and verifiable, the more credence is given.In the life of a true believer, all three should be

  • Present
  • Attributable to Jesus

Consider…

  • Does your life reflect all three?
  • Does your life reflect Jesus in these areas?
  • Do you exercise the authority to witness of Jesus in your life?

Jesus Christ is the only Authority by which salvation can be offered and attained.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, You possess all authority and empower us through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to witness to others. May we take that authority and boldly proclaim the name of Jesus and His Gospel to all who do not know him. For it is in Jesus’ name that we pray. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expectations for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by filling out the Contact Form below.

I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form





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