Church of Christ West Side

Times of Services

Sunday A. M. Bible Study - 9:00

Sunday A. M. Worship - 10:00

Sunday P. M. Worship - 5:00

Wednesday Evening Bible Study - 6:30


3232 Edgewood Drive

Evansville, Indiana 47712


(812) 424 -1051


Gospel Plan Of Salvation

Hear - Romans 10:17

Believe - Hebrews 11:6

Repent - Acts 17:30,31

Confess - Matt. 10:31,32

Be Baptized - Acts 2:38

Live Faithfully - Col. 3:1

Copyright 2017

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15,16).

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15,16).

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15,16).

In the final week of His time upon earth, Jesus Christ caused quite a stir. He had boldly cleared the temple in Jerusalem and had there healed the blind and lame. To the chief priests these things presented a brazen attack upon their authority for they were the keepers of the temple.

The next day when Jesus returned to the temple, some of them met Him and asked, "By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority" (Matthew 21:23)? What gave him the right to do such things in the temple? Who had told Him He could do these things lawfully? It was a vital question and, as the ones in charge, they had a right to know.

They recognized a need for "authority," a Greek word originally meaning "it is lawful." Authority is "the strength or ability with which one is endued, the right to exercise power" (W. E. Vine's Expository Dictionary).

The Lord responded: "I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from Heaven, or of Men" (Matthew 21:24-25)?

Several important lessons can be learned from what Jesus said here. John's authority was from heaven. The people accepted John as a prophet ("one who speaks for God") (Matthew 21:26). As such, John's teachings were to be accepted. Prophets spoke as they were "moved by the Holy Ghost" (II Peter 1:20,21). John commanded "baptism of repentance for the remission of sins" (Mark 1:4). These Jewish leaders had rejected John and his authority. "The Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him" (Luke 7:30). When anyone fails to obey the words of God's prophets, they fail to accept God's authority.

John had also taught much about Christ. From the account in John 1:29-39 we learn that John said of Jesus, He "is preferred before me: for he was before me" (1:30). He also called Christ "the Son of God" (1:34) and "the Lamb of God" (1:36)! See also John 3:26-36. Now the religious leaders were totally trapped. If John was a prophet of God and called Christ a greater prophet of God, how could they reject him and not also reject John as a prophet of God!

Jesus clarified the authority issue once and for all. According to him there are but two sources of authority. John's teaching was either "from heaven, or of men" (Matthew 21:25). These are the only two possibilities. How simple!

Obviously, Christ's authority was not from men. It was from Heaven (Luke 9:35; John 12:48-50; Hebrews 1:1-2). Therefore to hear Christ and the inspired scriptures is to hear God and the authority of Heaven. God has given to Christ "all power (authority) heaven and in earth" (Matthew 28:18).


It was impossible for Christ to remain upon earth. The Father willed that He return to prepare for man's salvation (John 14:23). As our high priest He entered "heaven itself appear in the presence of God for us" (Hebrews 9:24). Knowing beforehand that He was to leave this world, Christ made full arrangements that His authority be propagated.

While at Caesarea of Philippi Christ revealed His plan. It was on this occasion that Peter confessed, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). This remarkable acknowledgement greatly pleased the Lord. He responded, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell (hades) shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:18-19).

Christ's church was to rest upon the confession Peter had made. The church would not rest upon Peter for the "rock" upon which the church was to be built is feminine gender, not masculine. The "rock" is that confession of Christ as the Son of God. No other foundation but Jesus Christ will bring salvation (I Corinthians 3:11; Acts 4:12). Christ had promised only to confess those to the Father who had confessed Him before men (Matthew 10:32).

Though it was to be Christ's church and built by His authority, it was to Peter that the keys of entrance were given. Christ would not be present for its beginning. Peter was not to be the foundation but the gatekeeper! Keys symbolize entrance into Christ's kingdom, the church. Christ delegated to Peter, and later to the other apostles (Matthew 18:18), the authority to bind and loose on earth. His authority became theirs! According to the verb tense in the Greek text "to bind and to loose" the apostles were to bind and loose those things which had already been bound and loosed in heaven. They were guided by heaven in their judgments regarding Christ's church.

To ensure that the apostles bound (forbade) and loosed (allowed) only that which heaven approved, Christ promised the Holy Spirit to guide them (John 14:16). According to Christ the Holy Spirit would do several things for the apostles: (1) "He shall teach you all things, and bring all things unto your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (John 14:26). They were not trusted to faulty memory. (2) "When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13). The word "guide" means "to lead the way." The apostles were not free to offer their opinion as truth.

Today, these Holy Spirit-guided apostles are not with us, but we have their written revelation. Paul plainly declares: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable...that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (II Timothy 3:16,17). By this we know that the inspired New Testament bears the authority of Christ.

Larry Albritton

By What Authority?
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via e-mail Print