Jesus was teaching in the Temple in Jerusalem the truths about God, the coming of the church,
and each individual's responsibility to the call of the Gospel. The Jewish leaders — jealous
of Jesus and angry he was teaching the people — asked, "By what authority doest thou these
things? Or who gave thee this authority to do these things?" (Mark 11:28 ASV). They did
not believe in Christ or his authority to teach all things. They demanded to know who gave
Jesus the right to preach. The answer? God did!
Many today believe they have the authority to do whatever they want as long as they do so "in God's name". However, the Bible tells us something altogether different about authority. Jesus stated, "All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28:18 ASV). Authority belongs to Jesus. He alone has the authority to permit or refuse any action.
Paul stated, "And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Colossians 3:17 ASV). The phrase, "do all in the name of the Lord Jesus" does not mean, as many think, to do just anything they please and attach Jesus' name to it. It means, "by the authority," just as the phrase "stop in the name of the law" means by the authority of the law. Jesus must authorize everything we do and say if the things we do and say are to please God.
The Jews were shocked when Jesus answered their question with His own question. He said, "I will ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or from men? Answer me." (Mark 11:29-30 ASV).
Notice the predicament Jesus put these men in. If it was from Heaven, then why didn't they obey? If it was from men, then all the people would be angry, for they thought John was a prophet. They took the easy way out, saying, "We know not" (Mark 11:33 ASV).
Friends, we must know by what authority we practice our faith. If the authority is from heaven, we must obey. If it is from men, then it must be rejected. Jesus taught, "But in vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men" (Matthew 15:9 ASV). If we ever teach the ideas from men as commands from God our worship is vain!
For example, if we teach salvation by "faith only" — an idea of men — then our worship is vain (James 2:24). If we teach salvation by saying the "Sinners Prayer" — which has no Biblical authority — then our worship is vain.
Every doctrine we teach and believe must have authority from the Bible. Many may consider this too picky or dogmatic. But this is God's command! We must do and say all things by the authority of Jesus. We must have Biblical Authority for everything we do and say in our Spiritual lives.