BIBLICAL AUTHORITY IN THE CHURCH

(The Diotrephes Syndrome - An exposition of the "Doctrine of the Nicolaitines”)

 

There are some born again believers on this island who believe and teach: "that the one and only head and shepherd of the local church is the God-called and Spirit-filled pastor, just as Jesus Christ is the Head and Chief Shepherd over the entire church;" (Bible Believers Baptist Church Constitution).

 

I believe that those of us Christians who profess that the King James Bible is our final authority and sole source and guide in all matters of faith and practice have an obligation to investigate whether a pastor’s authority is equal to our Lord Jesus Christ’s Authority in the local church and determine if this is a sound doctrine and true according to the Holy Scriptures.  (John 7:17; 1 Timothy 4:6; 2 Timothy 3:16; Titus 1:9; Titus 2:1, 7:2; 2 Timothy 4:3; Ephesians 4:14)

 

Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

 

Acts 17:11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether

those things were so.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

 

            In order for us to know the truth of this matter we must first determine:

 

WHO:  Jesus Christ really is.

 

WHAT:  He has done and is doing for us.

 

WHAT:  His relationship is to the believer and to the church.

 

            Since we trust in the complete sufficiency of the Scriptures we will confine our search to the Holy words of God found in the King James Bible (A.V.) and believe in and abide by the conclusions reached after prayerful inquiry and thorough study.

 

WHO IS JESUS CHRIST?

 

According to the Scriptures Jesus Christ is The Creator.

 

John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

 

Ephesians 3:9     And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

 

Colossians 1:16    For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible

and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

 

Colossians 1:17    And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

 

             

 

The Scriptures testify that Jesus Christ is our Saviour.

 

Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

 

2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

 

Titus 1:4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.

 

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

 

Titus 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

             

The Scriptures clearly state that Jesus Christ is The First and The Last.

 

Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

 7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

 8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

 

Revelation 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

 

Revelation 1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

 

The Scriptures demonstrate that at the name of Jesus Christ every knee shall bow

and every tongue shall confess.        

 

Philippians 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

The Scriptures say that Jesus Christ shares God’s Glory!

 

Hebrews 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing

in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the

prophets,

2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by

whom also he made the worlds;

3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by

the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty

on high;

 

Romans 16:27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

 

John 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are

one:

23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know

that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

 

The Scriptures also say that the Lord God will not give His Glory to another!       

 

Isaiah 48:11 For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.

 

Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

 

The Scriptures establish beyond any doubt that there is but One God and that Jesus Christ is The Son of God. He is The Manifestation and Express Image of God! He is God!

 

Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

 

Isaiah 45:21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.

 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.  

 

Isaiah 45:5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.

 

Isaiah 44:8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

 

Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

 

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

 

1 John 5:6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

 

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

 

 

            In the New Testament the Gospel of John provides us with an excellent “picture” of who Jesus Christ really is:

 

THE CREATOR

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 2 The same was in the beginning with God.

 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

 

John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

 

THE LAMB OF GOD

John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

 

THE MESSIAH

John 4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

 

THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD

John 4:40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.

 41 And many more believed because of his own word;

 42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

 

THE BREAD OF LIFE

John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

 30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?

 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

 36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

 37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

 39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

 

THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

 

FROM ABOVE

John 8:23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.

 

THE ETERNAL ONE

John 8:53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?

 54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:

 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.

 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?

 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

 

THE DOOR

John 10:1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

 2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

 3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

 4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

 5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

 6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.

 7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

 8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

 

THE GOOD SHEPHERD

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

 

THE SON OF GOD

John 9:35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?

 36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?

 37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.

 38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

 39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

 

John 10:30 I and my Father are one.

 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

 32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

 

John 10:36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

 37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.

 38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

 

THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE

John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

 

OUR LORD AND MASTER

John 13:12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?

 13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.

 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.

 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

 

THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE

John 14:4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

 7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

 

THE TRUE VINE

John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

 

 

THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH (Local or Otherwise)

 

Matthew 21:42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the

                          builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's

                          doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

 

Mark 12:10 And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become

                    the head of the corner:

 

Luke 20:17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the

                    builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?

 

Acts 4:11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of

                  the corner.

 

1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the

                                 head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

 

Ephesians 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all

                            things to the church,

 

Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the

                            head, even Christ:

 

Ephesians 5:23 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.

 

Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn

                             from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

 

Colossians 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

 

Colossians 2:19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having

                             nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

 

1Peter 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient,

                   the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

 

Can a real Bible believer honestly believe that a mere man (regardless of his education, degrees, popularity, or “success”) can take the place of our Lord Jesus Christ in His church (local or other wise)?

 

Ezekiel 28:2 Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God,

    I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:

 3 Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:

 4 With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures:

 5 By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches:

 6 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God;

 

To be continued ………………