By What Authority?

J. Wilfred Johnson
Sabbath School Lesson Jan. 7, 1984

Transcribed Feb. 8, 2014

Note: This meeting is actually a small Sabbath School lesson given by Mr. Johnson at the College Heights Church Alberta, Canada. There are other groups meeting in the sanctuary at the same time as well as individuals talking among themselves. All of this background noise makes it nearly impossible to hear individuals addressing Mr. Johnson with their comments or questions.

(Wilfred) Welcome to a new year and a new series of lessons. They promise to be, I think, very interesting and certainly very important. Many of the thoughts that are coming forth in this quarter's lessons we have already brought out in times past and I'm so happy that they're going to be reemphasized here. We are like children you know, we have to be exposed to things more than one time in order for us to really grasp the thing. Someone said we have to repeat it six times before we know it, well I don't think we need to be quite that specific. But certainly the Lord advised the children of Israel to teach these things, and when I say the children of Israel I'm talking about in the broad sense, it's the parents of course who teach their children when they rise up and when they sit down, when they come in and when they go out, and so on, constantly reviewing, and that's what we ought to be doing day by day, constantly reviewing. If we are not studying directly on the Sabbath School lesson each day and some of us prefer to spend a little more time at it when we're at it and not do it necessarily every day routinely. But we ought to be studying constantly every day and in all of our experiences we ought to relate those experiences, to what we understand concerning God's revealed Word so that we see where we fit into the picture.

We are talking today about authority. What do you understand by that word? I know that's a big question I just wondered whether you had any outstanding thoughts that you would like to share.

(A woman) Someone who is in charge.

(Wilfred) Someone who is in charge has authority. That's right.

(Larry) Someone permitted or called by God to direct.

(Wilfred) Someone permitted or called by God to direct.

(Another woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) It has the connotation of authorship, creation. All right, let's think about this. You parents, and I can't help referring to this family situation time and again because I think and the longer I live the more I'm convinced that God gave us this situation to teach us what things are really like between him and us. You parents, on what bases do you flatter yourself that you have authority over your children?

(Another woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) Well what gives you the right to have authority over your children?

(Larry) You beget them.

(Wilfred) That's right. In a sense you were their creator. Now what I'm trying to say is that you are not necessarily their creator but God is teaching you through the family situation what the true picture really is. Don't you see? He is giving you a little sand-table demonstration by virtue of the fact that these children came into the world under you auspice but not by your power other than what power God gave you. It's God that created those little kids He just used parents as a means, a tool, as a mechanism. But I thank God that He is so willing to share himself with us to give us authority if you please, to give us a part in the creation of the people of this world. That's what he's done. He is the creator but He is sharing his creator-ship and He goes one step further than that really, He gives to us a freedom to make a choice regarding it. We actually have authority to decide whether this youngster is going to live or not. Don't we? Doesn't He put that into our hands? Well, you say, not entirely Brother Johnson. All right. I'll agree not entirely. But you know there are examples in the Bible where some soul in God's family was unable to have a child and really wanted one, right? And what was done about it? Well, Lord could you please honor my desire, the desire of my heart? What did God do? Didn't He give it to her? Wonderful lessons in that book. So, you say I have authority over those kids they are my kids. No, you have delegated authority, you have authority that has been put into your possession, God has entrusted you to supervise those children and He has given you the responsibility of helping them to grow up. And He is doing that so that you might know that's what He's doing with you. How do you accept that authority? Do you follow Satan's pattern and let it go to your head and think that you are the great and mighty one that can over-rule? And that applies to husbands and wives too. Does God over-rule his church, his bride, does He dictate to her, well fellows, remember that. There is only one that has authority just one and that is God. All other authority is delegated, it's entrusted, and according to the way you meet that trust God will honor you and reward you, it's fantastic. Did you know that even the Son of God has his authority by delegation? Oh, Brother Johnson don't talk heresy to me I don't want it. I don't want to talk heresy with you, I don't want to give you any heresy. But I have the right to stand here today and tell you what's in the book haven't I? And I can take it right from the mouth of the Son of God himself as to where He got his authority. Can you? Do you know your Bibles? What does he say?

(Larry) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) Well he's looking it up. Do you remember what Jesus said? Of myself I can do nothing and all power is given to me in heaven and earth. All right. Anything else? Oh Sister White makes a statement and I hope you are willing to accept some of the things she says. She interprets this thing for us I'll tell you that and while I'm on that don't get hung up on one or two little statements and build your whole castle on that, it's going to crumble. You have to take what God's prophet says as a whole and put all the pieces together and the same is true with that Bible, if you don't do that your going to get off on a tangent someplace.

All right brother I think you have the text, do you?

(Larry) Yes, John 17: 2 "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." God has given him power over all life.

(Wilfred) I wonder if we all heard that? I wonder if I should read that so everyone can get it? Let me just repeat that; John 17 starting with verse one. 1 "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh," Who gives Christ the power over all flesh?

(Larry) The Father.

(Wilfred) "That he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." Now why did He give him all that power? What for? So he in turn could impart life and to whom would He impart the life?

(Larry) To all that believe on him.

(Wilfred) Well, is that what it said? That's right but is that what it said? As many as thou had given him and He said in another place all that the Father giveth me come to me. Who is in charge? The Father. Do you know what Sister White says? When Jesus came to this world He gave back the scepter into the Father's hand. Now what is a scepter? It is a symbol of authority and power isn't it? Where did Jesus acknowledge He got it? You can't give back to somebody something that they didn't give you in the first place, can you? If He is giving it back to the Father where did He get it from?

(Larry) The Father.

(Wilfred) Yes. And did you know that this life that this text says that He is to give, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." If this is the life, the power that God gave to his Son to provide the life for his people, if that is it where did Jesus get that life? Well, He acknowledged himself; As the Father hath life in himself, self-perpetuating life, so hath He given the Son to have life in himself. Now that's the Bible that says that and the very words of the Son of God who spoke them. Do you believe it? And it also says back in the Old Testament referring to, at least we generally accept it as referring to Christ under the terms of wisdom it says He was ever with the Father. He was as one who grew up with him. Did you know the Bible said that? Is it possible that the Godhead is in the process of, can I say it? Growing? Is it possible? Well, you say Brother don't touch the Godhead, it's a no no. Well, my Bible says, and it is in Romans 1 and I forgot the exact verse, that the things which are not seen, things we can't see with our eyes, are revealed by the things which are created even his eternal power and Godhead. Now, if it wasn't in the Bible I wouldn't be saying it. But when I put all that together I'm beginning to wonder if maybe what is happening in this world is a great big demonstration of what's going on in the unseen world. The more I think about it the more it makes sense. Is the Godhead going to go through any kind of a metamorphosis? Well, let me point out to you what the Bible says. It says, don't you know that you are Gods, now that's pretty tough that one. But listen to what He says in John 14 we've read it so many times; I'm not going to leave you comfortless but I have got to go away because if I don't go away said Jesus the comforter will not come to you. Well, how is that? In this little book I've got all the quotations to verify what I'm going to say and I was planning on reading them but I'm not going to have enough time today because I've taken too long with these other things.

Let me go back to John 14. I will not leave you comfortless I will come to you said Jesus, right? And did He explain what He meant? Because after all he's in a human body and He is always going to be in a human body for eternity, we are told that very plainly and He's in the sanctuary above performing certain functions, then how can He be in me and in you?

(Another man) By his Spirit.

(Wilfred) Of course by the Spirit and he explains it a little further on, right? He says. I will not leave you comfortless I will come to you. He said if you love me and keep my commandments, I'm going to pray the Father and He will send you another comforter. Jesus was a comforter see? But I'm going away He said. But the Father is going to send you another one. Now what other one is He going to send? And a little further down it says, The Holy Ghost. I'll pray the Father and He will send you the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost. And He says, we will come to you, that's the Father and himself. He says I'm going to come and in another place He says we're both going to come and we are going to dwell in you, that's what He says, forever. Didn't Jesus say, don't you know that the Father is in Me and I am in the Father and now He is saying, I've got to go away because if I don't go away then the comforter can't come to you, but if I do go away and you have fulfilled the conditions I'm going to come to you. Are you following me? Where is God going to live? In his new temple that's where he is going to live. And what comes with the indwelling God to the new temple? My Brother and Sister power and authority that's what Jesus had. Did it ever occur to you that in that great sacrifice which He made that He actually relinquished his eternal life in himself? Because if He hadn't done it He could not have died on the cross of Calvary. Divinity can't die, plainly told. But He gave that eternal life in himself and He gave it into the hands of the Father that's why, and that's the last will and testament of Christ incidentally, which is the New Covenant in which He specified what was to be done with his heritage and appointed the Father to be the administrator of his estate, does that make sense to you? If He couldn't keep it He had to turn it over to somebody didn't He? And He left it in trust with his Father. But He promised it to whom? Oh, I don't know whether you realize what Jesus really did? I wonder do you realize it? That life in himself, and I could read it right out of the books, that life in himself is the true bread, the true manna that comes down from heaven which we are to eat, absorb, partake of, He made it available to us through his sacrifice. He relinquished it and went to Calvary and then when He became the high priest He prays the Father to send that Spirit, that life, and she tells us plainly that that Holy Spirit is the soul of the life of Christ. It is the life of his life, it is the life of God, she tells us all these things. And you would have no eternal life in yourself if Jesus hadn't made it available for you and you become the new temple of the Holy Ghost, you become a part of the new dwelling place of God. Oh, Brothers and Sisters that ought to shake us loose, that ought to put some things in our lives today into proper prospective. Do you know that those who over-come in this generation of the Laodicean church have received the promise, the irrevocable promise of God that him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me where?

(A woman) On his throne.

(Wilfred) Now what is the throne? The government, the seat of authority and power to rule. Is it sinking in? Only God has that authority but He gave it to his Son and the angels back there weren't sure that the Son really had all this. If you don't believe that read your Spirit of Prophesy, and in order to make sure that the Son was accepted as the supreme authority on an equality with the Father, the Father called a big council and He declared that Son of his to be on equality with himself. That's what got Lucifer's goat finally, that triggered the thing that triggered the rebellion. Do you see in Lucifer's heart he permitted covetousness to arise? Why should the Son be honored above him? It's in the book Story of Redemption if you don't think I'm telling the truth. And what did Jesus do with it? Well, He used it, He went ahead and created this world in six literal days. A fantastic thing, a kind of creation that had never happened before, and you may not believe that but in time you will and it's never going to happen again like that, that's not the way God normally works. God normally works through the processes of natural laws, that's how He normally works, a miracle is an exception to meet the emergency of sin and the creation of this world was the most gigantic miracle that God has ever preformed or ever will perform. And because of that He instituted a memorial of it so that it will never be forgotten. And Seventh-day Adventists know what that memorial is. But I'm afraid that maybe 99% of them don't really appreciate it. We have a heritage Brother and Sister that is beyond comprehension and what's the matter with us that we are dragging this thing out and not cooperating with God? I hope we get from these lessons this quarter what God's trying to give us. All He is asking is respect and obedience. That's all He is asking. That's all we have to give, we don't have anything except our free choice the rest of it is all God's. But that's one thing God gave us which is ours. He says, Trust Me, have faith in Me, don't forsake Me, and when God gives us a little thing that He would like us to do let's not rebel against him, let's cooperate. That's what Lucifer didn't do you see, he rebelled and look at the consequence.

Are you convinced that what God says is the best thing? Are you convinced that his requirements, his regulations, his rules, are the best ones? And I can't resist repeating this because it's extremely important that we get it. The government of God is not a bunch of rules and regulations the only reason He gave those Ten Commandments on two tables of stone is because his people had degraded to the status of children without comprehension. And you know what you have to do at home parents with those little tikes that don't understand what do you have to do? Lay down the law don't you? Don't you? And why do you discipline them if they don't respect you, for your sake? Yes, I'm afraid some of us do it that way all right, but what is the real reason why you do it? Because if they don't respect your laws what's going to happen to the poor jiggers? They are going to get hurt. Lucifer didn't understand that see nor did the universe because they had never seen any disrespect for God's law up to that point. And that's why God decided and planned to create this big laboratory of this world and permit you and me to be a bunch of, can I say it? Ginny pigs. I am so used to talking to these teenagers in our classrooms that I find that they pick it up a little easier if you use a type of language that they can understand and sometimes it flows over and I say something to you adults that may be insulting to you, forgive me for that I'm just trying to get a point across.

So God demonstrated what would happen, He permitted you and me to become subjects of a kingdom that was ruled by Satan, He gave authority and power to Lucifer, go ahead Lucifer and show your colors, and you and I are the victims. But listen, God is fair, how else could He do it? Aren't you willing to be one of those experimental animals for him? And if you are do you know what's ahead for you? I just told you a few minutes ago. You're going to get an experimental knowledge of God that even the angels don't have. And because of that experimental knowledge you're going to know and understand God and you are going to give yourself completely over to him in full trust. You're going to show Lucifer up, you are going to show that he made a huge mistake and as you do that all of the treasures of heaven are shared with you, barring none. Because I could read you a statement right here that says all of the treasures of heaven, all of the gifts of God to you are wrapped up in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and that Holy Spirit is to be given to you, you are to become a member in the temple or dwelling place of God. God is going to dwell in you as He dwelt in Christ. Oh my, is that too much? Didn't Jesus say, greater works than these shall ye do? Didn't He say that or am I reading it wrong? How are we going to do greater works than Jesus was doing? How? Because the fullness of that Spirit which had been his and enabled him to create this world in six days is going to be given to the saints. The Kingdom is going to be given to the saints, I could read you that it says it just that way. The Kingdom of God is going to be given to the saints. It's in Early Writings. And what is the Kingdom of God if it isn't the ruler-ship, the authority, isn't that something? On what bases does God have the authority? Is God a big impostor, is He claiming something that isn't so? Well, we ought to know. Lucifer tried it and we see the results, have you seen them? Do you believe that Lucifer was right or wrong? Say it, wrong, do you believe that God was right or wrong? Say it.

(Larry) Right.

(Wilfred) In case there is any doubt how is God going to make it absolutely certain in your thinking?

(Larry) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) How's He going to do it?

(Same woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) Ahhh, by an experimental knowledge, that right. And what is the experimental knowledge you're going to get that will prove this to you?

(Same woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) You've got it. We are to take up our C-R-O-S-S and follow him. Now what is a C-R-O-S-S? She tells us that the cross is a revelation of two things. It's the revelation of the love of God and it is a revelation of the pain that entered his heart at the inception of sin, those two things. Now if we are going to take up our cross and follow him and if we are going to get an experimental knowledge of God and if that's the thing that's going to give us the victory over our besetments and that is what it says it is. That's a part of it, see? Then what is it that we are going to experience?

(Same woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) Ahhh, we are going to share the sufferings of Jesus. And we should not be alarmed about that the Bible tells us but to count it all joy. Why? Because the consequence of that is going to be righteousness, holiness. How is it going to do that? Remember it all comes through the freedom of choice. What is it that is going to cause us to choose to go all out for God. It is a revelation of what went on on the cross, love and pain. The pain leads to the love because when you feel the pain that Jesus suffered on the cross, when you feel it and you realize how long He's been hanging on, it began at the inception of sin she says, when you realize all that you're going to say to yourself, well, if He has to continue to bear that pain because I'm a sinner, I'm going to quit sinning. That's going to be your motivation. You're going to say to yourself, how can I continue to break God's commandments when that's what it's doing to Jesus? So for the love of Jesus you will obey God's commandments. Did I get that point across?

(Larry) Can you give us the quotations...

(Wilfred) I wish I could but off hand I can't. But if you see me I'll find them for you. I wasn't prepare to take this lesson today I just committed myself a few minutes before I came up so I didn't get everything together.

Now, are you thinking? Do you realize that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is going to hit you and that we have to prepare for it and that we have been warned and warned to prepare for it? What is it that we need to have to stand through that day? A faith in the integrity of God the very thing that Lucifer didn't have. Now, how are you going to gain that faith? Oh, it's a long story, but I can make it short. You will have experiences in your own personal life with God, if you are willing to take time to talk with him every day, in which He will put you into a predicament like He did ancient Israel at the Red Sea and out in the wilderness and it looks hopeless and it looked hopeless many times for you getting rid of sin hasn't it? Well you say, look I'm getting to be an old man now and so am I and I haven't made it yet. What's the matter? I guess I'm never going to make it. How many times have you said that? I hear people say constantly you can't do it, it can't be done why do they say that, because they can't do it, that's why. But God says you can and I'll believe God I don't care how long it takes. You know what's going to do it? Do you know what God's going to do and that's why I am urging you to prepare, prepare. Fortify your mind so that when it hits you're not going to forsake God. Because you are going to taste of the sufferings of the cross, that's what you are going to taste. Jesus said to those two who wanted to be at his right hand and his left hand in the Kingdom, remember? Under their mothers instigation of course, her two little darlings they had to be at the top. What did Jesus say? I can't promise you that because you have to make the decision. Can you drink the cup that I have to drink? Can you be baptized with the baptism that I have to be baptized with? Oh, sure we can do that. Read in Early Writings what she said about the baptism, she says we actually prayed for that baptism of suffering, we prayed for it. Why? Because it's the only way you're ever going to get rid of sin. Until you share the experience of Jesus and you get a personal sensation of what He really went through and stuck it out for your sake your motivation is not strong enough to make you do it, you're still too self-centered.

Now we were talking about authority today and I recognized that I have gone afield of that but you can read what's in the Quarterly and I wish that you would if you haven't done it. Each one of those members of the Godhead has authority. God the Father is the supreme authority, my Father is greater than I and don't take one text and not the other, you've got to take them all. Jesus turned back the scepter but later He said all power has been given into my hand. Now what does Jesus do with his authority? He says I will send my Spirit to you and He will dwell with you, not temporarily but forever, you will become a part and sit down in his throne a member of his Kingdom, you will share his authority and that's the part I think you need to understand. God is inviting you to share his authority and don't make the same mistake Lucifer made, don't do it. The Son did all things in accordance with the will of his Father, He testified to that. The Holy Spirit repeats what He hears, whatsoever He heareth that shall He speak. The Godhead works as a unit and I wish I had time to talk a little more about that Godhead. There is some interesting things about the Godhead, very interesting things.

But we are going to become a part of the administration of the Kingdom of Glory, that's what it says. But we have to be prepared. God can't put anyone into Lucifer's position of authority who has not been throughly trained. And she says that the positions that were left vacant by the fall of Lucifer and his angels will be replaced by the redeemed of this world. That's your heritage. Please get ready, don't forsake God. Don't forsake the clear-cut teachings that He has given us in the sanctuary message showing us that we can indeed attain and stand without a mediator, don't let anybody persuade you that it can't be done. I know it doesn't look like it can be but where is your faith? Abraham didn't think it could be done either he didn't think the Lord could provide that son for him so he had to help the Lord out. Did it pay off? Look at the mess we've got over there to the Middle East now. Don't do that. Trust God.

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