OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew




A.             Throughout His life, Jesus often came into contact with the Temple.

1.                On the eighth day after His birth, He was circumcised at the Temple (Luke 2:21-39).

2.                At the age of twelve, He confounded the doctors of the law at the Temple (Luke 2:46-47).

3.                During His temptation, the devil took Him up to a pinnacle of the Temple and challenged Him to cast Himself down (Luke 4:9-12).

4.                Early in His ministry, He cleansed the Temple (Matt. 2:13-25).

5.                He went to the Temple area in order to teach the Jews (John 7:10-31).

6.                There were several confrontations with the Jewish leaders at the Temple (John 10:1-21).

7.               Jesus foretold of the Temple’s destruction (Luke 21:5-6).


B.              Our question this evening stems from an event in Jesus’ life that transpired at the Temple (Luke 19:45-20:8).


And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer:  but ye have made it a den of thieves.  And he taught daily in the temple.  But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, and could not find what they might do:  for all the people were very attentive to hear him.  And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preach the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders, and spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things?  Or who is he that gave thee this authority?  And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me:  the baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?  And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?  But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us:  for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.  And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was.  And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.


C.              Within this text we learn much about authority.  Let’s consider some of the lessons that we are learn.




A.             The Jews came to Jesus with a question.  Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things?

1.                The Jews understood the need for authority within the religious realm.

2.                Jesus understood the need for authority also.  NOTE:  He did not respond by saying:  “Authority?  I don’t need authority for what I’m doing.”


B.              Today, we must have authority for the things we do and say in our religious life (Col. 3:17).


And whatsoever ye do in word in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and to the Father by him.


1.                All inclusive nature of Paul’s words.

a.         Whatsoever ye do.

b.         In word or deed.

c.         Do all.


                        2.         Everything is to be done “in the name of the Lord.”

a.         Some believe that this is a mere formula that should be said before engaging in some action.

                                    b.         This phrase really means “by the authority of Jesus.”

                                                1)         Example:  “Stop in the name of the law.”

2)         The Samaritans were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 8:16).  They were baptized by His authority (Matt. 28:18-19).


And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.


c.               The Point:  Everything we do or say must be done “in the name of,” or, by the authority of Jesus Christ.


C.        There are many outside the body of Christ who do not comprehend the concept of “the need” for authority.  There are also many within the church who do not understand this principle.  There are three broad categories of people that exist within the church.

3.                The sound, but unlearned.  This group believes that we do many things for which we have no authority.

a.               We don’t have authority for our songbooks (See Col. 3:16).

b.               We don’t have authority for a church building (See Heb. 10:25).

c.               We don’t have authority for a preacher’s home (See I Cor. 9:14).

4.                The liberal, but unlearned.  This group practices things that the New Testament does not authorize being ignorant of the authority principle.

a.               The use of instrumental music in worship of God.

b.               The Lord’s Supper taken on Saturday evening.

c.               Children’s church.

d.               Praise teams.

5.                The liberal, but learned.  This group understands the need to have Bible authority and seeks to use the Scripture to justify their liberal practices.

a.         Instrumental music found in the Greek word “psalmois” (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).

b.         Solos found in I Corinthians 14:26.

c.         Saturday night Lord’s Supper found in Acts 20:7.

d.         Fellowship with denominations in I Corinthians 9:19-22.

e.         Dismissing I Corinthians 14:34-35 on cultural grounds.


D.             The issue of authority is vital, especially in light of II John 9.


Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.  He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.




A.             Jesus questioned the Jewish leaders about the baptism of John.  He noted that John’s baptism came from one of two sources (Luke 20:4).


The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?


1.                Authority either originates from the mind of God, or, from the mind of men.

2.                If it is from God, it is to be obeyed.  The Jews understood this concept (Luke 20:5a).


And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?


B.              The question for today is:  Where can divine authority be found today?

1.                Many claim divine authority:  books, councils, the pope, those who claim to be apostles, prophets and prophetesses, and some televangelists.

2.                The truth is that divine authority rests only in that inspired volume we call, The Holy Bible.

a.         The evidences uphold its inspiration:  unity, scientific fore-knowledge, prophecy, etc.

b.         It has stood the test of time.

c.         It has withstood the attacks of enemies and critics.

d.         Matthew 24:35.


Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.


C.              Specifically, we are under the authority of the New Testament.  The words of Jesus will judge us in the last day (John 12:48).


He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him:  the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.




A.             The Jews’ question appeared to show that they were concerned about authority.



B.              Jesus’ question revealed that they were not concerned about authority at all.

1.                John was a man sent by God (John 1:6).

2.                His work and message had been prophesied of in the long ago (Isa. 40:3).

3.                Even the common man knew that John was a prophet of God (Luke 20:6).

4.                The Jewish leaders rejected John’s message and refused to be baptized of him (Luke 7:30).


But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.


C.              The rejection of divine authority has been a problem since the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1-6) and continues to this day.

1.                Attendance of the worship services (Heb. 10:25).

2.                Bible study (II Tim. 2:15).

3.                Personal evangelism (Mark 16:15-16).

4.                Proper control of the tongue (Eph. 4:26-27).

5.                Handling of personal disputes between brethren (Matt. 18:15).

6.                Father’s bringing up children in the nurture of the Lord (Eph. 6:1).

7.               Withdrawal from those who walk disorderly (II Thess. 3:6).

8.               Submitting the authority of the elders (Heb. 13:7, 17).

9.                Marriage, divorce, and remarriage (Matt. 19:9; Rom. 7:1-3).




A.             It is man’s choice to either heed or reject divine authority.  His choice, however, if he rejects that authority has serious consequences.


B.              In Luke 20:9-18, Jesus set forth a parable to the Jews who had confronted Him about His authority.

1.                A man planted a vineyard and left it to husbandmen.

2.                When the vineyard was ripe, the owner sent a servant for his fruit.  The husbandmen beat the servant and sent him away empty.

3.                A total of three servants were sent and all were treated shamefully.

4.                Lastly, he sent his son thinking he would be reverenced.  Such was not the case.  They cast him out of the vineyard and killed him.

5.                Jesus then posed a question and followed with the answer (Luke 20:15b-16a).


What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?  He shall come and destroy those husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others.


C.              When divine authority is rejected, God rejects the rebellious.

1.                Adam and Eve were cast from the Garden (Gen. 3:22-24).

2.                Saul was rejected as being king (I Sam. 15:22-23).

3.                God will reject us if we refuse to obey the gospel (Matt. 7:21-23; II Thess. 1:7-9).


And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:  who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.




A.             As one continues to read Luke 20:19-20, he finds that the words of Jesus had a negative impact on the Jewish leaders.

1.                The text says that they desired to deliver Jesus up to governor.

2.                Eventually, they would succeed in their mission and Jesus would be killed.


B.              Jesus, however, was raised from the dead on the third day victorious over his adversaries.  His resurrection is a sure sign of His authority.  It is also a sure sign that He will return to judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:30-31).


And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:  because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteous-ness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.


C.              Have you submitted to the authority of Christ with regard to initial obedience to the gospel?  If you are a Christian, has your life continued to manifest your constant submission to Jesus Christ as Lord?