Christianity 201

February 2, 2019

Speaking by God’s Authority, Not Your Own

We’re returning again to Biblical Proof, the blog of Alfred Shannon, Jr. As of last month, after 3,000 written blog posts, Alfred will no longer be posting full length written devotionals, but will continue to post some rather unique graphic images, which you might be able to employ on your own social media. This is one of the final written posts.* Click this link to visit the site.

By What Authority Are You Doing These Things?

Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority (Matt 21:23)?

That is a very imperative question that needs to be answered for every generation of teachers and preachers of the Word. Jesus had no intention of answering his critics at that moment in time but his answer would have been clear: It was God the Father who gave him the authority to say and do the things which he was doing.

For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak” (Jn 12:49-50).

Jesus declared earlier that the doctrine He was teaching was not his doctrine but belonged to the Father. Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority (Jn 7:16-18).

Jesus never once spoke without the authority of God. This is the perfect example for each of us to follow today.

Jesus revealed that the Holy Spirit did not speak of his own authority but by the authority of the Father.However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (Jn 16:13).

The apostle Paul declared the very same thing when writing to the Galatians. He said, “But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal 1:11-12).

It was Jesus who told his disciples before his impending death that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (Jn 14:26).

Denominations teach the doctrine and commandments of men. Catholics follow the Pope. Baptist follow their man written manual. The Seventh Day Adventist follow the teaching of Ellen White. The Mormons follow the teaching of Joseph Smith, etc. They do not speak with the authority of God but of man. Therefore, there is no power in their words to deliver man from sin or to reward his righteousness. Paul said, And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Cor 2:4-5).

The gospel of Christ comes with power to save. Paul in writing to the Romans said, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek (Rom 1:16).

If we as Christians teach the doctrine of the apostles, then we are verily teaching the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and the doctrine of God. Why? Because they all derived from the Father. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17).

The doctrines and commandments of men are nothing but vain worship to God. These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt 15:8-9). The doctrines and commandments of men turn us from the truth of God, not toward the truth of God (Tit 1:14). Paul warned us all when he wrote to the Colossians, Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Col 2:8-10).

Therefore I ask you, by whose authority do you teach and preach? Even as the demons once asked, Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are you?” (Acts 19:15). The gospel of Christ was not taught by the Fathers and Prophets of the Old Testament. If you are tithing, who told you to do so? If you are using instrumental music in your worship to God, who commanded you to do it? The law (of Moses) and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it” (Lk 16:16).

If you are doing anything that is not contained within the doctrine of Christ and His apostles, you have not God nor the promise of eternal life.Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (2 Jn 9 f; Acts 2:42).


*Go Deeper: The next day, in what was his final written blog post, Alfred addressed what it means to be speaking “as the oracles of God.” Check out Who Dares to Alter God’s Word?

September 23, 2016

Adventures in Amos

There wasn’t really a title provided for today other than Amos 1 to Amos 5.  Last year at this time we published a sample devotional from the Southern Baptist Convention. The depth of study is at the level C201 readers should expect. As we did last year, we’ll let you see it as it goes out; a devotional thought, some word study, the Christological connection, prayer requests for an SBC worker and a specific nation, and memory passage from the KJV. We don’t have a link for this; to read today’s devotional go to sbc.net/devotions. At the bottom is a link to SBC’s devotional content provider, but you need a password in order to see their material.

Amos 1 to Amos 5

Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time. Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph (Amos 5:13-15).

It seems strange for a shepherd from the hills of Judah to be sent into the affluent society of the ten‑tribed Northern Kingdom for the purpose of pronouncing judgment on it, yet that is exactly what God did. The Prophet Amos was only a shepherd, but he was sent to denounce Israel’s idolatry and foretell the destruction of this prosperous, powerful Northern Kingdom. The prophecy of Amos seems to have been proclaimed in the gate (5:10) at Bethel, one of the religious centers of Israel, about 30 years before they were defeated by the Assyrians. The gate was a city’s entrance and center of business where the elders judged the people (compare Jer. 17:19; Deut. 21:18-21). It was there that the Lord spoke through Amos to tell Israel how deceived they were and to appeal to them to seek good, and not evil, that ye may live. Amaziah, the paid priest of King Jeroboam II, was quick to get word to the king about this disagreeable prophet from the Southern Kingdom. The prophet had brought this message from God: And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword (Amos 7:9). Amaziah interpreted his words as a threat upon the life of Jeroboam, and was afraid. Just as a faithful Christian is often a target of criticism as he speaks out against sin, so Amos was rejected. Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s court (7:12-13).

In the hierarchy of Israelite society, Amos was little higher than the servants. It would not have surprised anyone if, at the first challenge from his “superiors,” he had quietly crept away. However, Amos had been called and empowered by the Lord. Because of this, he had been given the strength to stand firm in the face of any earthly adversity. God often uses ordinary people like Amos to proclaim His message. The call from God came to Elisha as he was plowing, to David in the sheepfold, to Matthew the despised tax collector as he sat at the receipt of custom (Matt. 9:9), and to Peter at his fishing nets. They were selected as messengers of our Lord, not because of their social standing or the talents they possessed, but because of the obedience and willingness to follow that the Lord saw in their hearts.

Our Lord, while here on earth, continually used the expression: The Father hath sent Me (John 5:30,36-37; 6:44,57; 8:16, 18; 12:49; 14:24). Just as the Father sent His Son to make known His love and salvation to sinners, so too did Jesus send forth His disciples (17:18). Today, Jesus has called each and every one of us to go forth with the spiritual strength of Amos and minister to a world that has lost its way.

Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you (John 20:21).

Thought for Today:

The LORD is far from the wicked: but He heareth the prayer of the righteous (Prov. 15:29).

Christ Revealed:

As the fiery (Amos 1:4,7,10,12,14; 2:2,5; 5:6) judge (chap. 1 ‑ 5). Jesus . . . was ordained of God to be the Judge (Acts 10:38-42; also II Tim. 4:1; Rev. 2:18-23). His eyes were as a flame of fire (Rev. 1:14; also 2:18).

Word Studies:

2:13 pressed = burdened; 3:5 gin = trap; 3:14 visit = with punishment; 4:1 kine of Bashan were the fat cows, raised in the best pasturelands; but here, it is used figuratively in referring to self-gratifying, sensual, influential women who encourage their husbands to do wrong; masters = husbands; 4:3 breaches = breaks in the city wall; cast them into the palace = cast them into the mire (dunghill); 4:9 blasting = blight; 5:21 smell = be pleased, take delight; 5:23 viols = harps.

Prayer Needs:

Pray For Staff: Rita Guerra • Government Officials: Rep. Will Enyart, Jr. (IL), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA) • Country: Cayman Islands (54,914) Caribbean • Major Language: English • Religious Freedom • 67.8% Protestant; 14.1% Roman Catholic; 1.1% Jehovah’s Witness; 7% Other; 9.3% None; 0.7% Unspecified • Prayer Suggestion: Ask for forgiveness for particular sins (Ps. 51:1-9).

Memory Verse:

John 15:1-5
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Devotion courtesy Bible Pathway Ministries