Christ was subject to the Word and the Holy Spirit. He was in complete harmony with the divine authority. He is an example for us. The leaders of Israel should have represented Christ and lived according to His authority, but they lived not according to His authority. If they had crucified self, they would have followed His authority, but they placed human laws by the side of, and even above, the Word of God. In that way they rejected God's authority. Christ valued human laws in the light of God's Word, according to “Thus said the Lord”.
Christ lived according to the Word of God. Even when He was young, He realized that human laws were in constant collision with the Word of God. Human beings elevated their laws, but Jesus elevated God's principles.
The religious leaders wanted Jesus to learn and follow the old customs of the rabbis, but Jesus wanted to know if these customs were according to the authority of the Scriptures. He wanted to follow the Scriptures in every respect, and not follow laws produced by humans that were in conflict with the Word of God.
When Eve was tempted by the Devil, she began to reason with the Devil. But when Jesus was tempted by the Devil in the desert, He did not start to reason with the Devil. He did not try to resist the temptations by human wisdom or reasoning. His victory over sin consisted of the divine authority, “It is written”. Divine authority is like a sword that destroys all arguments.
In Ephesians 4:14-16 we read: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
- We are going to grow up into Him who is the Head, Christ!
The whole body joined together by that which every joint supplies, and all of it comes from Him. (An illustration of a human being, where every nerve impulse to the different parts of the body comes from the Head. Everything is directed from the Head. The heart, the movements of the eyes, the movements of the tongue, the arms, the legs, the body and so on. If the brain tells us to drive the car on the right side of the road, and we drive the car over to the left side with our arms, then the arms are not in harmony with the Head. If the church, or a member of the church (the limbs), is not in harmony with the Head, then we should follow the Head and not the limbs.
Ephesians 5:22-27: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the Head of the wife, even as Christ is the Head of the church: and He is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
The church shall be subordinate to Christ. We are to be subordinate to Christ – so that He (Christ) can present to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but it should be holy and without blemish - I can be holy and without blemish.
How can this happen?
It can happen by a reorganization that comes from the Head. An organization or reorganization does not come from the members. It comes from the Head. If the church is to glorify Christ, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, if it is to be holy and without blemish, then all must live up to the Head, Christ.
The body has many limbs, and all of them are to live up to the Head. They are to live up to Him in all things. When we understand what Jesus has done to save us - when we understand His love for us, that He who is God humbled Himself and came to this earth as a human being and lived a life in complete harmony with His Fathers will - and finally gave His life for you and for me, then it is up to us whether to accept the gift of salvation or not. In 1 John 1:9 we read: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. When we have passed through this process, received forgiveness for our sins and a clean heart, then the life with (in) Christ begins. We will receive power because the Holy Spirit comes into our life, and our faith will produce good deeds. John writes about this in 1 John 2:29: “If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him”. And in Colossians 2:6: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him”. James writes about faith and works in James 2:14-26: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also”.
The believer must in his life reveal harmony between faith and works. He will not just proclaim the Word, but also live in harmony with the Word, and show mercy towards his neighbour. Then the church/body will glorify Christ; they will be in harmony with the Head.
If everyone were in harmony with the Head, there would never be division in the church. The limbs in the body would be in harmony with each other, because they would all be in harmony with the Head.
If the body is not in harmony with the Head, then they cannot represent Christ. But those who are looking to the Head, those who are searching for the Head, those who are in harmony with the Head, are able to represent Christ.
If a church or a group on one side of the globe is in harmony with the Head, and another church or group on another side of the globe is in harmony with the Head, then the two groups will stand together or work together, since they both are in harmony with the Head. Those whom God wants to call to His service will come from these groups. God will use those who are in harmony with the Head.
So who has authority in this world? The education system, political plans, the military, economic systems, religious leaders - EU and EU laws, the African Union, international laws? All these man-made systems are built up according to the so-called pyramid system. It is a centralized system where a small élite sits at the top of the pyramid and institutes laws over the Heads of the people. Nowadays they institute international laws which are above national laws. So it is in the religious pyramid system. The big councils make laws that the members must follow. The members have no influence on the laws. It is the religious élite that makes the decisions. When this religious élite recommends a law, it is often based on compromise and majority decisions that often are not in harmony with the Word of God. These majority decisions are called democracy. It is the majority that decides which direction the church shall take - what we shall believe. This is catholic and unbiblical. A true child of God has the Bible as his authority. (A figure with a triangle. At the top of the triangle we find the religious élite which institute laws for all the members of the congregation to follow).
In the book of Revelation, chapter 13, verse 11, we read about a global power that will speak like a dragon. The dragon is a symbol of the Devil (Satan). Nations speak through their laws. The Bible says that this nation will institute laws that will be enforced all over the world. Small and great, rich and poor, free and bond - all will be confronted with the issue of whether they will worship God as a Creator and receive Him as their authority, or whether they will worship the beast and receive his mark. The issue will be whom we accept as our authority.
The Pharisees said to Jesus: “By what authority do you do these things? And who gave you this authority?”
Jesus did not have any high worldly education, position or power. But He had received His authority from the Father, from the Holy Spirit, from the Word of God.
Therefore it is neither position nor status that gives authority. I repeat - and this should be clear for all in positions. Position does not give authority.
Anyone who wants to be president in the USA will not have more authority after being elected - than before.
Anyone who wants to be the next pope in the Vatican will not have more authority after being elected - than before.
Anyone who wants to be president in a Church (in the Highest position) will not have more authority after being elected - than before.
Status or position never give authority. If a person is in harmony with the Head before he is elected as president, and the Holy Spirit is working in him to will and to do God's will, and he is practising the Word as his authority, yes then he has authority from Christ. It is the statement: “Thus says the Lord” that gives him authority. It is neither position nor status that gives him authority. It is God who gives men authority, and even if they have neither status nor position, then it is all right; they have authority nevertheless. Just think of Jesus. He says in Matthew 28:19: “All power (all authority) is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” ... and He had no place at all, not so much as to lay his Head. He had no position in the leading councils of Israel. He only had his simple garment, and went from place to place in Israel doing good. He had no worldly position. The Pharisees, the priests and the scribes, the lawyers and the hypocrites had positions; they had status; they could lord it over Him, confront Him and judge Him. But where was their authority?
They believed themselves to have authority, because they sat in Moses’ seat. With Moses in the seat, there was authority from the seat, because he was in accordance with the Word, he was in accordance with Christ.
The man who is in harmony with the Head (Christ), the man who serves God, the man who lives in Christ, can never lose his place, for his place is with Jesus Christ, under the wings of the Almighty, under the protection of the Almighty.
From where did Jesus have His authority, since He had no position and no status? How could He have authority? His authority was in the truth, the truth from God, which He proclaimed. All man’s authority, all true and right authority in the world, comes to him through the truth of God.
If a person occupies the highest place in the General Conference, not having the truth, then He has no authority. All the authority he can possibly have in this position is the truth that is in him, which is a part of him.
At the time of Jesus, men in positions used force and authority to rule over others. Therefore Jesus said in Matt. 20.25-26: “Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you..."
God has never given any man in His church authority to exercise authority. It is a difference between the rulers/princes of this world and the princes of God. The princes of the world exercise authority; God’s princes have authority, and it exercises itself. Therefore there is no dominion among the princes of God. There are no rulers. There is no exercise of mere human authority. There is no spirit of this world. There is no territorial boundary among God’s princes - that this is my Conference, my area. It is God’s conference. It is not my territory. It is God’s. In the animal world the animals have their certain areas. By urination they make a circle around their home. And they do not like anyone else to come on “mission” inside this area. They will soon be driven away. In a similar way churches has also marked their areas. If members of the church are doing missionary work inside their area without being approved from the leadership in the church, the problems will soon arise. They are not being used in the work of the church. They are expelled. It is clearly demonstrated that their work is not accepted.
But let us read some statements from Ellen G. White - and I really believe God used her to write these things:
" A strange thing has come into our churches. Men who are placed in positions of responsibility that they may be wise helpers to their fellow workers have come to suppose that they were set as kings and rulers in the churches, to say to one brother, Do this; to another, Do that; and to another, Be sure to labour in such and such a way. There have been places where the workers have been told that if they did not follow the instruction of these men of responsibility, their pay from the conference would be withheld.
It is right for the workers to counsel together as brethren; but that man who endeavours to lead his fellow workers to seek his individual counsel and advice regarding the details of their work, and to learn their duty from him, is in a dangerous position and needs to learn what responsibilities are really comprehended in his office. God has appointed no man to be conscience for his fellowman. It is not wise to lay so much responsibility upon an officer that he will feel that he is forced to become a dictator." Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 477
"I am bidden to say to every professing child of God, Go not to human agencies to learn your duty. Take your case to the one who has tasted death for every man...The worker who considers himself in a position of such high responsibility that he allows the members of the churches to look to him to voice their decisions and control their actions, is educating men and women to wear a human yoke." Loma Linda Messages, p. 284
"Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness." Testimonies to Ministers, p. 300
"As we do this work, we must learn to rely upon what God can do for the saving of souls. Generally too much dependence is placed upon human ability, and too little faith is shown in Him whose grace is sufficient to supply all our deficiencies. We are inclined to think that unless an organized company of workers is sent to a field, the efforts put forth will be useless. We feel as if we must belong to some organization if we would accomplish good. But John the Baptist did not work on this plan. His mission was to prepare the way for the Messiah by his God-given message; and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he did the work appointed him without calling to his aid priest or rabbi." The Review and Herald, March 29, 1898
So the princes of the world exercise dominion, exercise authority. The princes of the world who have no real authority, exercise authority. The princes of God have true authority but exercise no authority. The princes of God have authority, and that is enough to suit them, and God takes care of the rest, so that no one is greatest; only one is Master, and all of us are brethren. So, then, this is the course of organization. Let us see that we be organized from the Head. Let us see that our authority shall come from God; and that we never exercise authority. Yet speak with authority, because the authority is in the truth which we speak. Only there lies our authority. Therefore let us be united in the Head (in Christ). He will unite us - in Him.
So who is greatest - the Head or the body? Who is the greatest - Christ or the structure? In Matt. 12:6, Jesus says: "But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple."
The question also rises: Who should be our ultimate counsellor? "Thus saith the LORD; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD." Jer. 17:5. And the prophet Amos writes: "Seek ye Me, and ye shall live." (See Amos 5:4-6)
Jesus is our best counsellor. He will bless us as we take Him as our counsellor. In Matt. 15:19, Jesus says: "Follow Me", but concerning the religious leaders, Jesus said: “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." Matt. 15:14
Concerning the scribes and the Pharisees, Jesus said: "And [they] love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no [man] your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, [even] Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted." Matt. 23:6-12.
So we should be servants - not aiming for the most exalted titles, not lords, not egotistical... but servants!
Our authority is Jesus and His word. He is the Creator, He is the Saviour, He is the Light of the world and the Bread of Life. He is the Water of Life and our Shepherd. He is the Ladder between heaven and earth, He is the Mediator between us and the Father. He is the Judge. He is the Measuring Line, and we are to build our lives according to Him. He is our Friend. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by Him. (John 14:6)
If you feel unworthy compared with all kinds of authorities - the ones who have given themselves authority through the worldly system of education, then remember that God were using "unlearned" men and women in His service, like Noah, Abraham, Gideon, David and others. In Acts 4:13 we read: "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."
You and I are called to be servants under the authority of Jesus. Jesus is our Guide and Chief Commander says: "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations..."
All the signs of the times show us that we are living in the last days of this earth’s history. In the Bible, in the book of Revelation, chapter 14, verses 6-12 and 18:4, we find a special message that is to be proclaimed shortly before the Second Coming of Jesus. It will be proclaimed with loud voice, because those who proclaim it are driven by the Holy Spirit, which works in them in the proclamation of this message. Because the Holy Spirit works in them, this message will awaken people and they will be led from darkness into light.
Because the people of God has not done their appointed duty in sharing this message with a clear voice to the people of the world, God will use people just converted, called the 11th hour workers, and they will give this last message of grace and warning to the world. (Read Matt. 20:1-16). They are building their lives upon Jesus and the Word of God. They are working in accordance with the Head, Christ, and their fellow workers, which also have Christ as authority. In this way the work will be accomplished.
Bente & Abel Struksnæs
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