On Whose Authority

Learning How To Put Our Trust In The Authority of Jesus.

Eric Estes
Jan 31, 2021    43m
Do you tend to be self-reliant, leaning on your own authority to get you through your spiritual life? If so, this message will teach you that when you transfer your trust from your own authority and learn to trust in the authority of Jesus, we can learn how to have deeper conversations in matters of faith and life. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Eric Estes: 00:07 So today, as we look at this conversation between Jesus and the Centurion, that I read just a little while ago. There's a lot of things going on here, but one of the things that stands out to me, and maybe you asked the same question. Why was Jesus so impressed with this centurion's faith? We see in verse 10 that it says, Jesus marveled at his faith, he was amazed. And he even says that he has greater faith than anyone in Israel, that includes the guys who dropped everything to follow Jesus. What was so great about this guy's faith? So today we're going to ask that question, we're going to wrestle through that in the text, and then we're also going to ask the question, what can we learn from this conversation, that'll help us to have conversations in our lives?

Eric Estes: 00:59 We've been part of a series called Real Conversations, and that's what we want to do, we want to look at Jesus' conversations and see what can we learn so that we can have more effective conversations in our own lives. And today we want to look at, especially what does it look like to have conversations with those who are in authority? Because this Centurion had a great deal of authority. And then also this section of scripture in Matthew, if we zoom out just a little bit, we see this theme of authority running through. As a matter of fact, let me take you back to Matthew 7 verse 28 and 29, after Jesus preaches the Sermon on the Mount, you know, one of his probably greatest sermons. Here's what the response was, "When Jesus had finished these sayings, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes." The scribes were their normal teachers, and they taught in a specific way, but Jesus taught with authority.

Eric Estes: 01:56 And then Matthew, in chapters 8 and 9 of the Book of Matthew, he collects ten different miracles that Jesus did to describe his authority, that show that Jesus has authority over everything, over all. He heals people that are paralyzed, or who that they have leprosy, showing he has authority over illness. He casts out demons, showing authority over them. He calms a storm, showing he has authority over nature, right? He forgives sins, all of this, and then he raises a little girl from the dead, showing that he has authority even over death. Jesus has all the authority. And so what we need to decide, the choice that's before us is, are we going to trust in his authority, or do we want to keep relying on our own authority? And that's what we're going to see in the Centurion today, we're going to see that real faith is a transfer of trust from my authority to Jesus' authority. That's what we'll see, real faith is a transfer of trust from my authority to Jesus's authority.

Eric Estes: 03:11 So let's dive into verse 5, and the first thing we'll see is we're going to see a great faith. So Matthew 8 verse 5, we see that, "When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” Let's start with this, who is this Centurion that we encounter here? A Centurion was a high ranking roman military official. He was over a hundred men, that's why we get the term. Centurion, he's over a hundred men and controlled a particular geographic area. He reported to a general who would report to Caesar, so this guy had a lot of authority. Not only that, but the time period that we find ourselves in was what's called the Pax Romana, which just means Roman peace. And the way the Romans kept peace, it wasn't because everybody just got along, right? The way the Romans kept pieces with an iron fist. So this Centurion's job was to keep peace in his area, and he did it with an iron fist, he had incredible authority, now authority came from Caesar himself. So we see the Centurion, which makes it all the more strange for those who would have witnessed this, it looks all the more strange to say that the Centurion appealed to Jesus. If we go back to verse 5, we see the centurion appealing to him, that word can mean begging, urging, it's a strong request, it's an ask, like a begging or urging. Keep in mind, centurions didn't ask for anything, they command it. So we see the centurion and humbling himself to appeal to Jesus.

Eric Estes: 04:57 Now, in the Gospel of Luke, we have the Gospel of Matthew today, in the Gospel of Luke, he tells the same story. But Luke includes some details that Matthew doesn't, and it's just like if we were pulled up to a traffic accident and we both saw it. I might tell the police one thing that was true, everything I saw, but I would leave out certain things that you might include, right, because it was important to you. You might tell the police there was a dog in the front seat, I might say, well, that's not really important. Well, Luke included that the Centurion sent a delegation of people to Jesus, either way, they were going on behalf of the Centurion. And so, as they were coming to him, they were speaking under the centurion's authority, and they were appealing or begging Jesus to do this. Not only that, but he calls him Lord, the Centurion calls Jesus, Lord. And Lord is a term of high respect, it's like saying, sir. It's the same term that he would use to reference Caesar, or other high ranking nobles, he calls him, sir. So the centurion, this man of great authority, is humbling himself before Jesus.

Eric Estes: 06:00 And then in verse 7, Verse 7, we see that Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him." And then in verse 8, the Centurion says, "No, Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but just say the word and my servant will be healed." He says, I'm not worthy. That that phrase worthy, where he says right here, this is the same phrase that John the Baptist uses. Matthew 3, John the Baptist, the Jewish rulers ask him, are you the Messiah? Are you the one that God promised to come and to redeem us? And John the Baptist in chapter 3 verse 11, says this. He says, "But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry." It's the same phrase, can you imagine that? Not even worthy to carry somebody's shoes? That's the same phrase that the centurion's using here, he's humbling himself before Jesus, a man of great authority humbling himself before Jesus.

Eric Estes: 07:14 Then he goes on in verse 9, here's his explanation, "For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” Then verse 10, "When Jesus heard this, he marveled." I want to stop right there, Jesus marveled, he was amazed by it. We see throughout the scriptures that when Jesus taught, people were amazed, people marveled, but this is the only place where it says Jesus marveled at someone else. Right? What was so impressive about the centurion's faith? The first time I read it, I'm like, what's the big deal? What did he do, that says he has so much faith. What the Centurion saw, what the Centurion understood, was that his faith wasn't just an affirmation of certain facts, it wasn't doing certain religious things, he recognized and trusted in Jesus's authority. And because of his own authority, the centurion could see some things in Jesus's authority, and we're going to look at three things that he saw. He saw that, he understood that Jesus' authority was from God, he understood that Jesus' authority was not limited, and he understood that Jesus' favor was not earned.

Eric Estes: 08:39 So let's start with the first one, the first one is, he understood that Jesus's authority came from God. If we go to verse 9, kind of go back a bit to verse 9, notice what the Centurion says, notice his reasoning for why he comes to Jesus and why he believes Jesus can do this. He says, "For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” He's used to getting his way and he understands, more than anyone else, the chain of command. He gets that the only way all of this happens, the only way when he speaks that things happen, is because his authority comes from Caesar. Notice, the first thing he says, he says before he talks about his own authority. He says, I am a man under authority, that's his primary identity. Before he has authority, he's under authority. So he understands that that authority, that kind of authority, comes from somewhere else, and he understood that Jesus's authority comes from God. He would have heard about all the things that Jesus had done, and he would have recognized that those kinds of things could only come from God.

Eric Estes: 09:56 It's funny, the Book of Matthew was written to a Jewish audience to convince them, and to help them to see and understand, that Jesus was the Messiah, and they were missing it. And so throughout, Matthew, makes sure to mention different places where someone who's outside of the Jewish faith gets it, where they missed it. This is one example of that, we see another one in Matthew 24, the very end. If we fast forward to when Jesus is on the cross, he's just died, and there's a man standing there and he looks up and he says, "Surely, this is the son of God." Do you remember who that man was? He was a Roman Centurion, maybe the same guy, we don't know. But it was the Gentiles oftentimes who saw that Jesus was from God, whereas the Jewish audience oftentimes missed that.

Eric Estes: 10:49 So we understand that his authority was from the Father. We also understand that his authority, or he understood that Jesus' authority was not limited, it was unlimited. He didn't have to go to his house to heal his servant, he just spoke the word and it happened. He understood, you see the crowd around him probably would've seen Jesus as great prophet maybe, or a magician, or whatever that is, to where he had limited authority. But this guy understood that Jesus' authority was unlimited, he just spoke, and it happened. It reminds us of going back to the very beginning of creation when God spoke, and it happened. See, God has all authority, and Jesus was there at that moment, and when Jesus speaks now, it just happens, his authority is unlimited.

Eric Estes: 11:41 And this was a contrast that Matthew is really drawing out, because he talks about how this guy's authority was so great here. And just a few verses later, if we go to Matthew 8:26, we're in the scene where Jesus and his disciples are going across the Sea of Galilee on a boat, and Jesus is taking a nap in the boat. Y'all remember this story? Jesus is taking a nap and a storm comes up and the disciples start freaking out, and they wake Jesus up and they say, help us please, stop the storm. And so Jesus stands up, he calms the storm, and then what does he say? He says, why were you afraid, you of little faith. Centurion great faith, disciples little faith, he's drawing that contrast. You see the disciples, they wanted Jesus to exercise his power, but the Centurion trusted Jesus's authority. Do you see the difference there? They wanted him to exercise his power, but the Centurion just trusted in his authority, there's a difference. And in your life, are you just wanting Jesus to exercise power in your life, or are you trusting in his authority?

Eric Estes: 12:58 The third thing that we see that he understood, not only was his authority from the Father, his authority was unlimited, but also his favor is unearned. So I mentioned that the Gospel of Luke also tells us the same story, and in Luke, when the centurion and sent people to Jesus, some of the ones he sent were Jewish leaders. And the Jewish leaders came to Jesus and they begged and they urged him, on behalf of the Centurion, to come heal this servant. But they also said you should heal him because he's a really good guy, he's worthy, he's built us a synagogue, he takes care of us, he's a good guy, he's not one of the bad guys. Do you notice what they're doing? They're trying to convince Jesus that this guy is worthy of him coming to heal his servant. But notice what happens with the Centurion, notice what the Centurion says. He says, "I'm not worthy, but will you come heal my servant anyway?" Guys, that's the essence of our faith right there, that I'm not worthy, Jesus, will you save me anyway? That's what we believe, we come to Jesus with that type of a mindset, that's true faith. Ephesians 2 verses 8 and 9, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-his is not of your own doing, it's gift of God-Not by works so that no man may boast." It's not by what we do, we come bringing nothing of our own and saying, I'm not worthy, Jesus, save me anyway.

Eric Estes: 14:46 We see another story in Matthew 15, where Jesus is interacting, it's another that he has with a Canaanite woman. In verse 22 of Matthew 15, She says, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, son of David. My daughter is severely oppressed by a demon." And then if you go down to verse 27, she says, "Yes, Lord. Yet, even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” And then Jesus answered her, woman, how great is your faith." He recognized her great faith, because she said, I'm worthless, she compared herself to a dog, right? I'm not worthy of you, but would you heal anyway? He does.

Eric Estes: 15:32 You've got to imagine that when this Centurion, he used everything in his authority to try and help his servant, but he finally came to a place where he realizes that his authority is not as much as he thought it was, he can't do anything about this. So he transfers his trust from his own authority to Jesus's authority, and that's the essence that we see of real faith, is trusting in his authority, not our own. And this is hard for us to do guys, this is hard. As a matter of fact, this is the storyline of scripture, isn't it? Go all the way back to the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had it all, but what did they do? They said, no, we want to be in charge, not you, God. They wanted to trust in their own authority, and we see that play out over and over and over and over again in scripture. As a matter of fact, everything that's wrong with the world today can be traced back to that idea that we want authority that belongs to God. It's hard for us to transfer that trust, what we want, if we're really truly honest, what we want is we want Jesus to be an influencer, not an authority, right? We want to have his influence on us, and you'll be able to take his teachings and hey, that's some good, wise, living advice, and that's great. But what Jesus calls us to, is his authority, he's in charge, that he's in control, and we transfer our trust to his authority.

Eric Estes: 17:00 Luke 9 verse 23 says, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me." See real faith is that giving up control, it's transferring my trust from my authority to his. So what does that look like for you? Have you transferred that trust from your own doing, your own achieving, your own trying to be made right with God, to trust in his authority in your life? What about in day-to-day decisions? Well, let's take your finances, have you transferred trust from your own authority, doing things the way you want to do them, to trusting in Jesus' authority with that? How about relationships, have you transferred trust from doing it the way you want to, to trusting in Jesus and his authority, and the way he tells us to walk?

Eric Estes: 18:01 See the Centurion did that, his faith, he had a great faith. But then the other thing we see here, the next thing, is that he had an unexpected faith. You see the conversation kind of turns here in verse 10, to where Jesus, really the conversation is now more between Jesus and the crowd. And he shows the crowd that this guy had a great faith, he also shows them that it was an unexpected faith. He starts breaking down barriers, ethnic barriers, he starts breaking down economic barriers, he starts breaking down authority barriers. And so as we look at the rest of verse 10, it says, "When Jesus heard this, he marveled." "When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith." He's comparing this guy to everyone else in Israel, all of the Jewish audience that he had. And it would have been a slap in the face for them, it would have been scandalous to say that this guy, this Gentile, this non-Jew, who, by the way, is an oppressor, he's part of the enemy, he's part of the problem we have. That he has a greater faith than all of those whose ancestors were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who had done all these traditions in their faith, but this guy has a greater faith? It would have been like, let's say there was a pastors convention, and some of the greatest pastors that we know were there, and Billy Graham, and you name it, we're there. And someone invited Osama bin Laden, right, while he was still alive. And Osama bin Laden came there and he trusted Christ, and Jesus says, this guy has a greater faith than all of them. It would have been kind of shocking, wouldn't it? And that's what they were feeling, that's what they were experiencing.

Eric Estes: 19:59 And Jesus presses in a little bit further, because he's trying to teach them something here. In verse 11, he says, "I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven." So we see this picture of people coming from the East and the West. What is that? They're coming from obviously outside of Israel, so it means they're Gentiles, they're not Jewish. And they're going to come, and they're going to recline at this table with these. What is this table that he's talking about? This table is a picture that we see actually throughout scripture, it's a picture of heaven, i's what's called the marriage supper of the lamb in Revelation 19. When we think of heaven, what do we think about, we typically think about, you know, maybe it's sitting on a cloud, strumming, a harp sounds kind of boring, right? No, here's a picture of heaven, it's a feast, it's great food, it's great company, it's in the presence of God, everybody being fully satisfied. That's an incredible picture of heaven, and this picture was throughout scripture.

Eric Estes: 21:21 The Jews that were part of this would have been familiar with it. Isaiah 25 verse 6, here's a prophecy about this banquet. It says, "On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined." That's the picture that he paints of heaven. And he says that while the Jewish audience would have thought that that was reserved specifically for them, he says, no, no, no, no, no, it's open, the Gentiles will be there too. See this particular feast is reserved, it's for those who trust in Jesus, those who have given up trusting in their own authority and trusted in Jesus. See, when we trust in Jesus, we come under his authority, then we're in him. And when Jesus goes to the feast, he brings us along. We could never get into that feast on our own, remember, we're not worthy. But when Jesus goes to the feast, God looks and says, oh, you're with him, come on. That's what it looks like to trust in Jesus, to have that real faith, to transfer authority to him, and that would have been shocking to this Jewish audience in verse 11.

Eric Estes: 22:38 But then in verse 12, it gets even worse. He now talks about the flip side of that, all the Gentiles are invited if they trust Jesus, but what about the Jews. Verse 12, While the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” What are the sons of the kingdom? This is a reference to the Jews that were there, they would have thought they were sons of the kingdom, right? Because they were God's people, their ancestors were promised the kingdom, right? Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all of these guys were their ancestors. Because of who their parents were, because of their lineage, because of their traditions, they thought they were in, they checked the box and said, I'm in on the banquet. But what he's showing them is that that's not necessarily the case, they were deceived.

Eric Estes: 23:42 And unfortunately we see this today as well, right? There are many people who would claim the name of Christian, and say, I'm a Christian, sure. Maybe because they grew up in a Christian home, or their parents are Christian, or because they're American and that's kind of the default religion, right? Or maybe they go to church a couple of times a year, or whatever it is, maybe they prayed a certain prayer at one point, but yet, there's no evidence of them following Jesus. They like Jesus as an influencer in their life maybe, but they're not following after them. They're trying to trust in his authority, and we see that all the time, they were deceived.

Eric Estes: 24:24 If we look at James, the Book of James 1 verse 22, James warns us, he says, "Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." We see also in First John chapter 2 verses 4 through 6, John writes, "Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him." Here's how we know we're in Christ, "Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked." Coming under his authority, trusting in his authority, trying to walk the way he walks. Not perfectly, we all stumble and make mistakes, and no one can walk the same way he walked, but we try. That's the mark of trusting in his authority, is that we're trying to follow him.

Eric Estes: 25:20 Matthew 7 verses 21 through 23, this is maybe one of the sobering scriptures in all the Bible. He says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness." So, this Jewish audience, many of them were deceived into thinking that they had admittance into the banquet. But in reality what he says is, no, you'll be in cast into outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Man, what a vivid picture that is.

Eric Estes: 26:16 Several years ago, I took my family and we went to Mammoth Cave, and we went down in the cave on the tour, and there's one place where they turn the lights off. I have never seen darkness like this before, you know, you say you can't see your hand in front of your face, it was literal. And it was less than a minute, and this fear just descended on me, I had never been in such darkness before. And this fear, and if they hadn't turned the lights on, there's no way I would have ever found my way out of that cave. The outer darkness, I think that's a vivid picture that we have of that darkness. We see the same thing when we go to bed at night, oftentimes our fears, our anxiety, start to play havoc with us at night. Whatever it is about night, things are just worse at night, and then the sun rises and everything's okay. What if it was never day? What if that sun never rose? That's the picture that we have of that outer darkness, complete separation from God, who is light. What would that be like?

Eric Estes: 27:19 He also paints the picture of weeping, that suffering that happens there, the gnashing of teeth, you can just picture that kind of gnawing. Have you ever made a decision, maybe it's a bad decision. And as you're walking in that decision, you look and you go, gosh, things could've been different, that's the picture I get here. You'd be able to see that banquet and go, gosh, I could have been a part of that, if only I'd given up my own authority and trusted his. That's a picture of what he's talking about, if the banquet is a picture of heaven, this is a picture of hell. And I know we don't want to talk about hell, I know we don't like to talk about it, it's really uncomfortable. Even as I'm writing this sermon, I was wrestling with, gosh, I don't want to be a hell fire brimstone kind of preacher. But it's there, we've got to deal with it, Jesus said it multiple times. So I would just ask, I think this would be a good week as we kind of wrestled through this, to talk as a life group. Do you really believe in the existence of hell? Because it's not a popular concept, it's not one we want to think about, but it's the reality. And when we see hell for what it is, it changes how we interact with other people, especially those who don't know Christ. So he paints this picture of an incredible banquet, and outer darkness. And he says, the ones who are in the banquet are those who have transferred their authority from themselves to Jesus, to be in that, to be his guest at the banquet. That's what it looks like, that's the kind of faith that the centurion had, it was a great faith, and it was a surprising faith that no one expected. And it's because of that, that he would have been part of that banquet that we have to look forward to.

Eric Estes: 29:29 So the next question that we wanted to wrestle through was okay, given that now, what can we learn from this conversation to help us as we have conversations? And especially as we have with those in authority, or for those who are under our authority even? Right? And when I talk about authority, I'm not just talking about your boss, okay, I'm talking about there's all kinds of different authority. There's knowledge authority. When I'm talking to my friend Dan about cars, he's got all the authority, because I know nothing, right? There's also parent authority. There's also what sociologists call charismatic authority. There's some people, that when you're talking to, just because of their personality, they kind of have this authority. So how do we navigate those types of conversations with people? How can we do that well? I got the privilege this week of talking to several different people within our church who are in positions of authority, whether it's in the business world, or academic world. And so I tried to really gain from that, what can we learn about how to live this out in authority in our conversations? And so what we see here from the conversation with Jesus is three things.

Eric Estes: 30:43 The first one is, that we are to lead with humility. That just like the Centurion had humility, he was a man of incredible authority, he had a lot of power, but yet he had humility, he came to Jesus humbly. Not only that, but he cared for those underneath his authority, he cared for that servant. And keep in mind at this time period, servants were considered property, right, he cared for him. So are you leading with humility, in whatever spheres of leadership God has given you, whether it's parenting, coaching, teaching, business, whatever, or whatever he will give you later on down the road, are you leading with humility? Do you care more about those under your authority than you do even yourself? Do you do things that build them up, even if that means they may leave the team or move on, or do you see them as a means to serve your authority? The Centurion didn't Lord his authority over people, he was humble with his authority.

Eric Estes: 31:53 Are you approachable? Are you available to those who are under your authority? That's another way, Jesus was available. When the Centurion asked, he said, yes, let's go. Are you available when those conversations happen, when those who are in your spheres are struggling with something? You see, oftentimes when things are good, we don't wrestle with those hard questions. we just kind of get busy and do our thing. But when things are bad, that's when those hard questions, we really start to wrestle with those. Tim Keller says it this way, he says, "That vague emptiness that we feel when things are good, becomes unbearable when things are going bad." He gives this example, he continues on and he says, "It's like lightning, on a clear day, it's possible to see lightening, but it's not likely. But when the skies are cloudy, that's when we often see lightning. And he says, it's the same with our faith, faith often happens when those skies are cloudy in someone's life, when they've tried operating in their own authority, they've tried trusting in their own authority, and is just not working. And now they're open to what else should I trust, and what can I look at outside of myself?" And so as someone in authority, are you available to have those conversations? Do they know of you as someone who cares about them, and is willing to dialogue about the hard things?

Eric Estes: 33:17 So we lead with humility, first thing. The second thing is, there's a mutual respect that we have here. If you notice the Centurion had a respect for Jesus, and Jesus had a respect for the Centurion, Jesus affirmed the Centurion. How different is that from our conversations, right? Now, we can't control the other person in a conversation, but what would it look like if in our conversations we tried to affirm the other person, rather than just pointing out what they did wrong. I'm sure the Centurion had plenty of things that he didn't get right, but what Jesus did is he affirmed what he did get right first. And so, as we're having those conversations, are we affirming what someone gets right? And by the way, that is an effective tool in a conversation, to say, yes, I affirm you in this, we agree on this, we agree on this, now here's where we don't agree. Now we can have a dialogue about that, we have some common ground to start from, and now we can have a dialogue where we don't disagree. How different is that from most of the conversations we're seeing out there today, there's a mutual respect.

Eric Estes: 34:23 We also see that Jesus respected the centurion's authority, his military, his governmental authority, he respected it. And this isn't the first place, right, Jesus also respected, when he was asked, should we pay taxes? What'd he say? He said, show me a denarius, a coin. Whose face is on it? Caesar, so give it to Caesar, right? So he respected authority. The centurion also respected Jesus's spiritual authority. And here's something we need to understand, as followers of Christ, we have, when we're talking with those who are not followers of Christ, we have a spiritual authority.

Eric Estes: 35:07 We often don't think in terms of this, but if you look at Second Corinthians 5 verse 20, Paul writes, "Therefore we are ambassadors of Christ, as if God were making his appeal through us. I urge you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God." We are ambassadors of him. If you think about what an ambassador does, it's someone who's sent from a ruler to another place, and given the authority of that ruler to speak on behalf of that ruler in that place. And that's the picture of who we are, when we're in conversations with people we have, Jesus has given us, the authority to speak for him. Pretty incredible. Matthew, 28, we see the same thing. Many of you guys are familiar, we talk about it a lot, Matthew 28. If we go even one verse back to Matthew 28:18, "And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." Then what does he say next, does he say all the authority has been given to me, step back guys, watch me do this. No, he says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, now you go, therefore, and make disciples." He gives us the privilege, he gives us the charge to go and make disciples under his authority. It's a really cool picture of what that authority looks like, and what has been given to us.

Eric Estes: 36:32 I was reading through a discipleship curriculum not too long ago, and the guy made this statement, and I had to kind of wrestle with that. I kind of went, is that right? He said, we don't need to earn the right to speak truth to people, that's been given to us. I thought, wait, wait, wait a second, I've said that before, we have to earn the right to speak the truth, right, but he's right in the fact that Jesus has given us the authority to speak the truth. Now, if we're wise, we won't just blast it out there, give facts, and facts, and facts. If we're wise, we'll build relationships. If we're wise, we will listen to what they say. If we're wise, we'll do it winsomely. But we don't have to wait to earn that authority, it's been given to us. And oftentimes, I can tell, I've used that as a crutch before, right? Where I've said, you know what, I don't know if I've quite earned enough authority yet. No, maybe? Do I have enough authority? I'm not sure, right, and the relationship goes on and on and on where I haven't spoken the truth. This same guy who wrote this discipleship curriculum talks about how he, it's called the gap theory. And Ross has mentioned it before, where the longer the gap is between when you meet someone and you start talking about spiritual things, the harder it is to bring them up. Have you ever noticed that in your life? Because what happens is, it almost starts to feel like a bait and switch at that point, right? And if by the way, if this was so important to you, why'd you wait so long to bring it up? So we want to have those relationships, we want to have those conversations, we don't need to earn the authority, it's been given to us. But we want to do so in a winsome, engaging way in the context of relationships. So we see that there was a mutual respect here.

Eric Estes: 38:25 And then that leads to kind of the last thing, that we can rely on Jesus's authority not our own, in these conversations, especially, when we're having conversations with people who are in a higher authority than us. Whether it's your boss, your boss's boss, whether it's someone who just knows a lot more than you, we don't have to rely on our own authority in these conversations. I don't know about you, but I often fall in that trap, like I have to be able to answer every objection. That's often how we feel, because I'm relying on my own authority. Or I get intimidated by certain people, because I'm relying on my own authority. As I'm writing this, and as I'm preaching it, I've realized that I need to hear this more than probably anyone in this room. Because I have a distinct fear of man that I deal with it when I'm talking to other people, it's not that I'm afraid of them, it's that I so desperately want their approval, I so desperately want their respect, that I want to control the conversation, I want to control what they hear, what they see, because that controls what they think of me. And I'm so concerned with what they think of me that oftentimes I've found myself in conversations, as the conversation might start to turn one way, I realize, you know what, I don't know enough about that topic, I'm backing down. I don't have all the answers to what they might do, and they might think less of me, so I'm backing down. Or it goes to a place where I just don't know that it would put me in the best light, so I'm backing down. Because I'm relying on my own authority.

Eric Estes: 40:07 What would it look like though, if we stopped relying on our own authority, and started to trust in Jesus' authority in these conversations? Let's face it, there's nothing that I'm going to say, there's nothing that is witty enough, or smart enough, to be able to convince someone to give up control of their own life and hand it over to someone else, only Jesus can do that. So are we trusting in his authority, or are we trusting in our own? As we're having these conversations, are we praying, are we on our knees, are we desperate, while we're having the conversations? Every day, are we thinking through, who are we going to have conversations that day? Am I praying? That's an example of trusting in his authority in those conversations, not my own.

Eric Estes: 40:59 So let me ask you, are you trusting in his authority? Have you transferred trust from your own authority to his in the conversations you're having? How about in your life, as you make different decisions, are you trusting in his authority or are you still trusting in your own, trying to do things your way? What about in your salvation, in being made right with God? Are you still trying to earn your way there, trusting in your own authority? Or have you said, I'm not worthy, and we trust in his authority? Because when we trust in his authority, when we come underneath his authority, that's where we find rest, that's where we find freedom, and that's where we find salvation.

Eric Estes: 41:56 Let's pray. God, we love you, we thank you for our time here today, we thank you for your son, Jesus. And, God, as we ponder kind of what we've heard through your word, we thank you that you speak to us through your word, and that your word lays on our hearts and it breaks down our hard hearts. And, God, I pray that you would do that today, that there would be something from your word today that would stick with each one of us, that would shape us, change us, to be more and more like your son, Jesus. And, Lord, for those who haven't transferred that authority, Lord, I pray that today would be a day where we start to transfer authority from ourselves to Jesus. That we trust in Jesus authority, not our own, in different areas of our life and even for our eternal destiny. And, God, we look forward to that day when there's a banquet and we get to feast with you, what an incredible picture that is. So, God, we thank you. It's in Jesus' name, we pray.

Eric Estes: 43:01 I just want to give you guys a minute to kind of pray to God, and ask him what is it that he's speaking to you through his word today, that you can then take into your life? There's a question up here that you could wrestle through, or just whatever God's laying on you, wrestle through that.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051