Preach With Authority!
The greatest sermon ever preached was the the Sermon on the Mount.
The crowds "were amazed at the teaching of Jesus.
Jesus taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes." (Matt. 7:28-29)
Luke also states that they "were continually amazed at His teaching, for His message was
with authority." (Luke 4:32)
The Lord Jesus had an impact His audience because He spoke the truth. (John 14:6; 18:37),
Jesus presented matters of life, death, and eternity, (Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:23)
There was a method in Jesus' teaching,
Jesus used illustrations and parables.
Jesus spoke with love and compassion.
Jesus spoke with authority, for His message came from the Father.
The Lord spoke with authoritative power.
This was a contrast with the teaching of His day!
The teaching of the scribes was erudite and foolish.
Their teachings were contemptuous and mean, and laced with legal pettiness.
Their teaching was concerned only about priests and Pharisees, in the temple and in the synagogue,
and was mostly occupied with infinitely little things.
Their teachings did have moral significance, but they were more concerned with about mint, and anise,
and curnmin, and the length of fringes, and the breadth of phylacteries, and the washing of cups,
and platters, and the quarter of a second when the new moons and Sabbaths began.
This describes some of our modem-day preaching.
We need to ask ourselves,
"Does my preaching resemble that of the scribes?
Are my sermons filled with tangents and trivia, or are they focused on the solid truths of God's Word?"
Teaching with authority is learned from Christ.
Today, too much of our preaching looks to psychology, to history, to current events, and to commentaries
to verify our message.
No wonder much of today's preaching lacks authority!
We should be acquainted with the opinions of those with learning and experience, but we must depend
upon the Bible.
Our own judgments of the Bible's meanings, and the teachings of Jesus, will have little authority
to touch men's souls.,
We need to preach the Word, not what people say about the Word.
Authority lies in the Word of God, not in the teachings of men!
Authority means "the power to determine," or to settle issues."
It is a power or right that is delegated or given to us.
Our authorization must come from God.
Preaching with authority is not readily comprehended.
Some mistake authority for authoritarianism.
Some see authority as power and control.
Some preachers turn into little spiritual dictators.
They use the Bible as a tool of manipulation.
The Lord Jesus described what it does not mean to teach and preach with authority.
It has to do with how we view people and the type of relationship we have with them.
The Savior said to His disciples when they confused their roles:
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise
authority over them.
It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,
and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man
did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
The apostle Peter admonished all preachers that preaching with authority is not "lording it over" the people.
(I Peter 5:1-4)
Pastors may use their preaching as a whip to keep people in line.
It is tragic when a preacher turns into a "bully" in his pulpit.
The authority possessed by personal experience is unsurpassed.
Nothing can equal the words, "I know the Lord has laid His hands on me!"
A God-called preacher will be passionate about what he believes.
The power of apostolic preaching says: "I believe; therefore I speak!"
Paul states this principle as the reason why he and his companions could endure
unspeakable sufferings -- they knew Christ and had a personal experience with Him.
Listen to Paul:
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power
may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested
in our body.
For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus
also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
So death works in us, but life in you."
But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written,
"I believed, therefore I spoke, we also believe, therefore also we speak; knowing that He who raised
the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you." (2 Corinthians 4:7-14)
That is authoritative preaching!
The apostle's authoritative preaching came from speaking as believers.
They were eyewitnesses of the glories of Christ.
Peter said: "For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power
and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty."
(2 Peter 1: 16)
Twice the apostles were commanded by the Jewish rulers to cease from proclaiming the gospel of Christ,
but they would not be silenced.
Peter and John boldly responded, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you
rather than God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard."
They believed, therefore they spoke!
Some time later, the same prohibition was given to them by the Jewish Council, and again they authoritatively
responded, "We must obey God rather than men."
The reason for their boldness and their authority came because they were "witnesses of these things."
They saw and they spoke.
Preachers cannot speak authoritatively about what they do not believe.
Every truth found in Scripture must be filtered through our being until it issues in faith.
When we truly believe something, we will speak authoritative.
We may not know all there is to know about a certain subject, but we can say like Paul,
"I believe, therefore I speak."
The authority of Scripture must be settled in a preacher's soul, and when he has no doubt that
"all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable," the he can preach the Word of God with authority.
(2 Timothy 3:16)
The Bible is the Word of God, and we can preach it with authority.
Our authority lies not in ourselves, but in God.
We are His ambassadors.
We speak for Him.
Paul states: "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating
through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." (2 Cor. 5:20)
Every preacher is an ambassador for Christ.
We must speak as His ambassadors.
Our commission is not one we chose.
It is not one that we took up on a whim.
Preaching the Word of God is for those who are divinely called!
To preach otherwise is to fall under the indictment of God: "I have neither sent them
nor commanded them nor spoken to them." (Jeremiah 14:14)
Contrast this with the ministry of Jeremiah.
Jeremiah was sent by God to the house of Israel.
"Then Jeremiah came from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court
of the Lord's house and said to all the people: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel,
'Behold, I am about to bring on this city and all its towns the entire calamity that I have declared against it,
because they have stiffened their necks so as not to heed my words.' " (Jeremiah. 19:14-15)
Jeremiah had to deliver the message because God sent him; he had no other choice,
and neither do we who are God-called.
The apostles were also "sent men." (cf. Matt. 10:1; 28:18-20; John 17:18; 20:21)
They faithfully represented their Lord on this earth.
They were His ambassadors then, as we are today.
As ambassadors of God, we should speak with authority.
Our consistent refrain should be "Thus says the Lord."
We should state loud and clear: "The Bible says!"
We declare Christ's words, not ours.
We must have the courage to preach to any person or group the truth of God's Word.
Titus urges: "These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority.
Let no one disregard you." (Titus 2:15)
I am concerned that we are too apologetic as preachers.
We must preach like door-to-door salesmen peddling the gospel.
We are ambassadors of Christ declaring God's Word.
Like Ehud we must proclaim: "I have a message from God for you." (Judges 3:20)
We must not be apprehensive if our listeners want it or like it.
We must not be concerned if they agree or disagree.
We are delivering the message of God!
That is our responsibility!
What they do with it is their responsibility!
We will answer to God if we have not preached with His authority.
And those who hear will answer to God for what they do with His Word.
Lloyd-Jones says that: "The preacher should never be apologetic, he should never give
the impression that he is speaking by their leave as it were; he should not be tentatively putting forward
certain suggestions and ideas.
That is not to be his attitude at all.
He is a man, who is there to "declare" certain things; he is a man under commission and under authority.
He is an ambassador, and he should be aware of his authority.
He should always know that he comes to the congregation as a sent messenger."
We are to preach -- "Thus saith the Lord," and we will preach Christ more powerfully.
Authority to preach comes from God.
And to preach with authority will only come from a Christ-like life.
"Prescribe and teach these things.
Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity,
show yourself an example of those who believe....
Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all.
Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this
you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you." (1 Timothy 4:11-12, 15-16)
Paul also wrote to this young preacher: "But in a great house there are not only
vessels of gold and of silver, but also vessels of wood and of earth, and some to
honor and some to dishonor.
If a man therefore purges himself from these things, he will be a vessel unto honor, sanctified,
and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
Flee also youthful lusts, and follow righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them
that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:20-22)
A preacher must practice what he preaches.
The longer one walks with Christ and the longer one preaches, the more authority he will have
in his preaching.
A preacher must have a thorough knowledge of his subject.
We must master the Word of God.
We must become an authority of it.
It is then that we can preach with authority.
The informed preacher will have the respect his congregation.
A preacher is a man of the Bible.
He must know the Bible backward and forward.
He must understand its content and be able to declare and defend it.
The preacher is the overseer of the people of God.
He must know how to shepherd God's flock.
It is good to be well-read in all subjects.
He must have a relevant ministry that is on the times.
But he is not expected to be an authority in those areas.
In seminary my evangelism professor was Dr. C. A. Autry.
During one class he told about a young preacher that had been called to an affluent church
with many college professors as members.
He told Dr. Autry that he didn't know what he should preach to such a learned congregation.
Dr. Autry told him: "Preach the Bible; they don't know enough about it!"
The Bible and the ministry must be the specialty of the preacher.
This is where he must be the authority.
Many sermons are preached by a preacher who is not sure of his text; therefore, there is no authority
in that sermon.
We must study to understand and master a biblical text.
We should have extensively researched our subject.
We must be completely familiar with the contents and form of our sermon.
We should be able to have it so firmly in our mind that we could deliver it without notes.
Preaching is an art.
It is not acting -- it is not a performance!
Every area of the ministry has moved to a new level.
Music, buildings, sound systems, and lighting -- all these have moved to a more skillful level.
The people have come to a worship service where the musicians are highly skilled.
The soloists have perfected their voices.
The choir has rehearsed their music and will sing close to perfection.
The preacher must also be prepared in his delivery and message so that all who hear
will respect him for his preparation.
Preachers owe it to God and to their people to be skillful in their preaching.
A preacher must be skilled in his exposition of God's Word and in the delivery of the sermon.
A preacher must be as skilled in his preaching as those in the commercial world are
in the art of communication.
Proverbs 22:29 says, "Do you see a man skilled in his work?
He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men."
God will honor a skilled preacher!
God will enable him to preach with authority!
A man sent from God will preach authoritatively!
Be like Ehud.
Every time you preach may the people know that you "have a message from God" for them!
Prepared from several sources