The Oxford popular dictionary gives this meaning for the word authority: ‘power to enforce obedience; person with specialised knowledge’.
It gives the following meaning to the word history: ‘past events; methodical record of these; study of past events’.
It also gives the meaning of the word future: ‘belonging to the time after the present; future time, events or condition; prospect of success etc’.
When the Apostles set out to preach the Good News of Jesus they preached the message of the Resurrection, that Jesus was the Saviour of the world and that He was the Son of God. They were proclaiming Him as the final and Supreme Authority. ‘There is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved’ Acts 4:12.
This proclamation of the Good News did not come in isolation. God did not start to act or reveal Himself at Bethlehem. He had revealed Himself long before then. As such the Apostles preached Christ as the Son of God and the Saviour of the world from the context of the message of the Old Testament Scriptures.
When Peter preached on the day of Pentecost he quotes extensively from the prophet Joel and David’s writings in the Psalms. Also in Acts Paul, when he visits Thessalonica visits the synagogue of the Jews. ‘Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures’. Acts 17:2. Their claim was that Jesus is the fulfilment of the Old Testament and all its promises. What they are saying is basically here is the evidence of all that has been promised, prophesied and proclaimed set out before you in the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Even today we cannot separate Jesus from the background, history and context of the Old Testament, much and all as many have tried.
We must accept and believe that ‘all Scripture is God-breathed, which includes both Old and New Testaments. We cannot pick and choose which bits we accept or don’t. We can’t simply say that we believe in the life of Jesus but completely ignore the history of God revealing Himself to man throughout the Old Testament. Paul argues this case in a crucial passage in Romans 5:12-21. We cannot accept the doctrine of redemption and atonement in Christ unless we accept and understand the significance of sin and the fall.
If we only accept the New Testament then what need do we have of salvation? Why is salvation necessary in that case?
If we try to separate the doctrines then we come up against the whole question of history. Man was either created or Darwin and his followers are right. God created man or he is and has been, evolving from the animals and has never been perfect at all. There can be no in between; it is either one or the other.
Hopefully we can see that from the above we as Lay Preachers can preach with authority, as one who is a person with specialised knowledge. We can also preach from a position of authority, having studied Scripture and its meaning for us today and the meaning it had in the time and history and context it was originally spoken in.
We can also do as the Apostles did and point people to Jesus as the fulfilment of the whole of Scripture, and proclaim Him as our glorious Hope and future. 1Cor 15:12-19.
Let’s get ‘back to the future’ and keep proclaiming Christ.