“Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority” (Matt 21:23)?
That is a very imperative question that needs to be answered for every generation of teachers and preachers of the Word. Jesus had no intention of answering his critics at that moment in time but his answer would have been clear: It was God the Father who gave him the authority to say and do the things which he was doing.
“For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak” (Jn 12:49-50).
Jesus declared earlier that the doctrine He was teaching was not his doctrine but belonged to the Father. “Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (Jn 7:16-18).
Jesus never once spoke without the authority of God. This is the perfect example for each of us to follow today.
Jesus revealed that the Holy Spirit did not speak of his own authority but by the authority of the Father. “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (Jn 16:13).
The apostle Paul declared the very same thing when writing to the Galatians. He said, “But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal 1:11-12).
It was Jesus who told his disciples before his impending death that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (Jn 14:26).
Denominations teach the doctrine and commandments of men. Catholics follow the Pope. Baptist follow their man written manual. The Seventh Day Adventist follow the teaching of Ellen White. The Mormons follow the teaching of Joseph Smith, etc. They do not speak with the authority of God but of man. Therefore, there is no power in their words to deliver man from sin or to reward his righteousness. Paul said, “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Cor 2:4-5).
The gospel of Christ comes with power to save. Paul in writing to the Romans said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Rom 1:16).
If we as Christians teach the doctrine of the apostles, then we are verily teaching the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and the doctrine of God. Why? Because they all derived from the Father. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17).
The doctrines and commandments of men are nothing but vain worship to God. “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt 15:8-9). The doctrines and commandments of men turn us from the truth of God, not toward the truth of God (Tit 1:14). Paul warned us all when he wrote to the Colossians, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Col 2:8-10).
Therefore I ask you, by whose authority do you teach and preach? Even as the demons once asked, “Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are you?” (Acts 19:15). The gospel of Christ was not taught by the Fathers and Prophets of the Old Testament. If you are tithing, who told you to do so? If you are using instrumental music in your worship to God, who commanded you to do it? “The law (of Moses) and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it” (Lk 16:16).
If you are doing anything that is not contained within the doctrine of Christ and His apostles, you have not God nor the promise of eternal life. “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (2 Jn 9 f; Acts 2:42).