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One With Authority

• Dan Kent

Jesus spoke with authority, but what does this authority mean for today when we tend to distrust authority figures? In this sermon Dan addresses why acting on Jesus’ teaching is so crucial to actually understanding what he said. Jesus’ truth is not merely a set of facts that we give assent to. They are life truths that we can only fully know when we live them out.

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Jesus spoke as “one with authority.” These are the words that conclude the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus’ claims to authority were rather audacious and radical, because he claimed not only to talk about what God was like, but also claimed to be God himself, carrying the actual authority of God’s being.

In this sermon, Dan addresses the issue of recognizing and responding to this authority in light of the fact that we live in a culture where people either fall under the manipulation of untrustworthy authoritative figures or rebel against authority. When there is a pervasive distrust of authority, the idea of submitting, complying or obeying presents a challenge for many.

Instead of responding positively to the authority of Jesus, many live in their woundedness to the extent that they cannot trust Jesus. At best, they can only give mental assent to him. They love the teaching of Jesus but they cannot follow what he instructs. They hear but don’t act. The point of right-belief is to live rightly, not just to believe the right things.

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples” (John 8:31). Living out our discipleship in our everyday activities is the test of whether or not we actually believe what Jesus taught. It matters what we do. But we tend to come to Jesus with suspicion. We assume that Jesus’ instructions must be proven first and then we will act on them. But Jesus’ teaching only becomes real to us when we act on it. The knowledge of what Jesus says becomes understandable when we enter into it with our lives. Transformation might start out in our minds, but it is played out in our actions.

John 8:32 says, “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Action leads to knowledge which leads to liberation. We know truth as we live it out. Knowledge follows living it out.

To move in this direction, there are two things that we can do.

1. Fall in Love with Jesus: Jesus said in John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands.” Our action flows out of our love for Jesus. It’s not just action because we are told to act. We act because we see Jesus for who he is and allow our hearts to love him. We act out of our relationship with Jesus, not out of information about what Jesus tells us to do.

2. Change Your Default: We are not merely obeying God, we are “keeping” Jesus’ commands. Jesus is not calling us to mindless obedience, but to value his commands by guarding and prioritizing them. Instead of a default suspicion where we reject God’s commands, we are learning to trust him with what he commands.

Acting on Jesus’ authority depends on living in a loving relationship with Jesus where we learn to trust him with our lives. As we take on what he teaches as part of who we are, his teachings become far more than a set of information. They are truths that bore deep into our souls. We know the truth and it sets us free.

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Topics: Discipleship, Transformation

Sermon Series: Sermon on the Mount

Downloads & Resources

Audio File
Study guide
Group Study Guide
The MuseCast: January 10

Focus Scripture:

  • Matthew 7:28-29

    When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

For Further Reading:

The Jesus Legend by Greg Boyd and Paul Eddy

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One thought on “One With Authority

  1. Jerry says:

    I loved the opening collection of characters then the carnival of charlatans, charismatic characters with special knowledge, versus Jesus the ONLY one who talks with true authority.

    Loved this: “Don’t confuse the pledge of life to Christ with the life that you’ve pledged to Christ” [1st versus day to day – characterological]

    Dan from your sermon/the-absurdity-of-loneliness/: ATTENTION is the rudder through which we steer our entire life.

    Life is hard on our souls [the part that fears, worries, hopes, dreams, wishes, and experiences] and even healthy souls, with a lack of ATTENTION, become unhealthy.

    Whether it’s our appearance, performance, or reputation we ATTEND to the exterior things [loved this Dan – once it’s proven then I’ll do it] because people are watching and we are competing for approval and acceptance however there is only one person hopefully ATTENTIVE to what’s going on in your soul and that’s you with God’s help.

    The health of your soul determines your capacity for duplicity, being one person on the outside but a completely different person on the inside, to live with a version of yourself, you may not even like, that has gaps between whom you are, what people see, and who you pretend to be.

    A healthy soul has an active consciousness, and is ATTENTIVE, with no duplicity, choosing to close the gaps [your planks] NOT just be in damage control managing them.

    Romans 6:13: Do not offer any part of yourself to sin [my appetites at your expense] as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.

    Selfishness is a terrible master that does nothing for you. The more you choose to surrender to God, the more he will lead you to peace with yourself.

    Romans 12:1-2 surrender your will to God’s: Your true and proper worship from the Greek your LOGICAL/REASONABLE SERVICE correlates with Joan’s comment on sermon/the-road-less-traveled/ “Asking the good questions is an important way to invite ones WISE PROCESSING AND SORTING.”

    And from my response SORTING SYSTEMS:

    MOVE AWAY opposite direction of what I don’t want to happen: – Accept Jesus to avoid hell – fire insurance – grace the free gift part – the 1st part

    MOVE TOWARD in the direction of what they want to happen: – Follow Jesus on a DAILY basis and you get to go to Heaven – your part – day to day – testing and approving God’s good and perfect will

    Luke 9:23-25 whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross DAILY and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very SOUL?

    2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    A Sermon on the Mount closing thought:

    If the fire is for medicinal purposes, burns away the dross, and God is NOT willing that any should perish is it even possible to lose or forfeit your soul?

    Is MOVE AWAY and TOWARDS both solid strategies other than the suffering of loss or is there a danger that some might NOT barely escape the flames? 1 Corinthians 3:15

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