Apr 18, 2018
WOFCF Bible Study Explosion
Kingdom Authority Series – Understanding Biblical Authority in the Church (Titus 2:15)
This evening we will discuss how spiritual leaders can abuse their authority…their Biblical power. It takes time, effort, and patience to work with people and to lead them well. All of this is part of building a relationships. Unfortunately, many leaders take “shortcuts” in trying to work with people especially in the church. These leaders are not so concerned about the well-being of the common good but may be more bent towards inappropriately controlling the people with the Bible, not following Christ, and not leading by example as Christ did. Let’s get right into this lesson!
Point #1 All authority is designed for our blessing and protection
When authority is abused, it hurts those under authority. In such cases, God ultimately will judge the abuser. But when it is exercised properly, authority blesses and protects those under it.
An area of authority is the local church. In this realm, a number of leaders are to uphold God’s standards of holiness and sound doctrine, to correct those who stray from the truth, to remove from the flock those who refuse to repent so as to protect the rest, and to bless God’s people by instructing them in His ways. Paul’s words (Titus 2:15), “speak and exhort and reprove” indicate that different approaches are needed with different people. With some, just a word is all that is needed to get them back on the path. Others need stronger exhortation. Others need to be convinced or convicted of their wrong (“reprove”; see also, 1 Thess. 5:14).
Whenever a leader uses the Scripture to prove their own point or agenda, they typically do a little twisting of the text to make it support their own personal agenda rather than God’s agenda. The simple way to check on the proper use of the Scripture is to look at the context of the verse. What this means is that one needs to examine the entire paragraph or unit of thought from which the one verse is quoted. So the point is authority is designed for the blessing and protection of those under authority. It is never to be used for the advantage of the one in authority.
Point #2 Authority does not imply superiority
1 Corinthians 11:3: “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.” (See also, 1 Corinthians 15:27-28.) If subjection means inferiority, then it would mean that Jesus Christ is inferior to the Father, which is heresy! The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are equal as persons in their eternal deity, but to carry out the divine plan of redemption, the Son submitted to the Father and the Spirit submitted to the Son. But the Son and the Spirit are equally God along with the Father.
One of the purposes of marriage is that a husband and wife would reflect the divine image and the relationship between Christ and the church (Gen. 1:27; Eph. 5:32). The divine image includes the equality of the Father and Son as persons, but also the submission of the Son to the Father for the purpose of function. There is no competition or striving for superiority between the Father and the Son. There is infinite mutual love between them, and voluntary submission on the part of the Son. The same relationship should prevail in the Christian home.
Point #3 Authority does imply responsibility and accountability
The key concept of delegated authority is not that I’m the boss, but rather that I’m responsible and accountable. If a business owner hires a manager, the manager has authority to run the business, but the main thing he needs to keep in mind is, it is not his business and he must give an account to the owner.
To be in authority, you must give an account to God, who entrusted that position to you. If you use your authority to abuse those under you for your own advantage, you’re going to be in big trouble someday. If you use it to seek to accomplish the Master’s will by blessing and protecting those under your charge, you will be rewarded (Luke 12:42-48; 20:9-16).
But you can’t blame those under your authority for your own lack of godly leadership. If a church refuses to follow God’s Word, each member will answer to God. Also, He will hold the elders accountable. Why didn’t they confront the errors and lead the church into obedience? If a family drifts away from the Lord, each member will answer to the Lord. But, also the husband (or head of household) will be called to account if he didn’t exhort and correct and set a godly example.
The concept that authority implies responsibility and accountability should strike fear and trembling into the hearts of everyone in authority. We should be careful to confess and repent of all sin, so that those whom we are supposed to bless and protect do not suffer and so that we can give a good account when we stand before the Lord.
Next week, we will continue with our Kingdom Authority Series Bible Study lesson.