I was invited to preach tomorrow on this topic 10 days ago just as I was preparing to go to Keningau. I accepted straightaway as I thought this topic was interesting and highly relevant. Though I did not think I would need more than 10 days to prepare for this message but for the past week I have been reflecting on how to approach this topic. Now I realise I probably need a whole month to give justice to this question. What is it that we consider that the Word of God as the highest authority? I will look at it from 7 perspectives. First, the Word of God commands obedience and it is prescriptive - love your God with all your heart....or love your enemies. These commands arc things we must do. In other words, these are propositional truths. Second, God’s commands can be proscriptive. They command us not to do certain things. “do not covet” or “do not be drunk with wine” (Eph 5:18). Third, the Word of God is descriptive. Like the early church devoted itself to the teaching of the apostles, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers (Acts 2:42). We need to somewhat work out for us in 21stcentury how we do church and how we follow the patterns of the early church. Fourth, the Word of God has many narratives or stories which I call narrative authority. When Ruth said to Boaz “why do you care since I am a foreigner?” It was meant for us to do what Boaz did to care and consider the needs of foreigners.
Jesus’ parables are full of examples of narrative authority. For instance, the parable of the five wise virgins and five foolish virgins are to teach us to have continuous oil supply within us (Holy Spirit) so that we are awake to the things of God and ready for His coming. Fifth, the Word of God speaks much of imitation or imitative authority. Why do the patriarchs figure large in the book of Genesis? It is for us to follow what good they exhibited so much so God is called the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Likewise when we read the books of Daniel or Nehemiah we are supposed to imitate not just their works but more so their character and relationship with God. Sixth, the Word of God is prophetic or as I call it prophetic authority. When I read about the Jubilee Year’s command to return to one’s own land, so I did when I turned 50 in 2014. My ministry is driven by prophetic authority when God spoke to me several times that He wanted to raise shepherds according to His own heart through whom the people of God are shepherded with knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3:15). Finally, the Word of God is a word of faith as Paul says that he preached the word of faith by which people are saved if they respond to the gospel of Christ. This is the authority of faith. Believe in God and whatever you ask in prayers believing you shall receive (Matthew 21; Mark 11). “Be it according to your faith” Jesus says to many people whom He encountered. How we will also experience abundant life in Christ only if we believe.