“And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.” (Mark 1:21-22 ESV)
“So Jesus answered them, ‘My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.’” (John 7:16-18 ESV)
There have been occasions when I have heard a preacher or teacher give a sermon or lesson that was Biblical but somehow lacked convictions. Perhaps you, too, have heard sermons communicated in such a way that it left you feeling uneasy as to whether it was really important; or you heard a preacher deliver his sermon flawlessly causing great approval among those listening, but you had the feeling the approval was directed toward the speaker and not God’s Word.
If we study the manner in which Jesus taught, we see that He astonished people by teaching with authority; so much so that people thought, “No one ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:46 ESV) Jesus taught in this manner and demonstrated that He had approval from God by performing miracles.
In John 7:16-18, Jesus reveals why he has the authority to speak for God. First of all, He says His teaching comes from God. Next; He says that people who do the will of God should know that His teaching is from God. He goes on to explain that one who teaches on his own authority is seeking his own glory, but a man who seeks to honor and glorify God – his words are true. In John 5 Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. (John 5:19 ESV)
Do you see here that the Son is acting and speaking under the authority of the Father? He spoke with authority because He was speaking the very words of God. Now you may rightly ask, “How is this to be applied to Christian preachers and teachers today?”
Obviously, none of us have the specific calling of Christ to exercise in our lifetime. Our preaching and teaching are not likely to be accompanied by the signs and wonders that were evident when Jesus spoke; but preachers and teachers should ask themselves, “Am I acting under the authority of God and the Gospel? Am I preaching and teaching under the authority of the Bible which is God’s Word?”
The true preacher or teacher has a divine call and has submitted himself to the authority of God and the Bible. Every preacher needs authoritative power to preach Christ. When a preacher is teaching under the authority of God, the Holy Spirit will give the hearers of the Word understanding as He deals with their souls.
Christ must be preached and He must be preached crucified! The minister of the Gospel must teach Christ’s deity; that He came to us as God and man, and our prophet, priest, and king. Christ must be preached as the only name by which we must be saved. The preacher and teacher are to declare the sinfulness of man, the holiness of God, and the propitiating death of Jesus. The minister must be mighty in prayer. He must encourage his flock to pray that he would declare the wonderful things of God under the power and authority of the Holy Spirit.
In Matthew 28:18, Jesus declares that all authority in heaven and on earth have been given to Him. Then He commands His disciples to go and “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV)
The disciples then went forth to preach the good news. They spoke and wrote as men with authority because they had submitted themselves to the authority of Jesus Christ. If you desire to preach or teach with authority, you must be a man under authority. You must submit what you preach to the authority of God and the Bible. Simply said: Authoritative preaching has nothing to do with current popular ideas or your opinions; it is preaching what Christ would preach in the Spirit of Christ!