What Rule Does the Church Follow?

What Rule Does His Church Follow?Text: Matthew 28:18

This is the second in a series dealing with the church. We previously discussed the question: How many churches did Jesus build? He built one. In this lesson, we’re going to ask the question: What rule does His church follow? We need to know how His one church can determine what to believe, teach, and practice.

Jesus Has All Authority

  • All authority has been given to Him (Matthew 28:18) – He has the right to rule us and expect us to obey
  • Why He possesses this authority – He is the Word who existed in the beginning (John 1:1-2); all things were created by Him (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-16)
  • Because Jesus has all authority – we have an obligation to listen to Him (Matthew 8:5-10); He is the spokesman for these last days (Hebrews 1:2); He will judge us in the last day (John 5:22-23, 26-27)

His Will Is Expressed in His Word

  • Jesus possesses all authority and we must follow His will – but He is not here on earth (Acts 1:9); however, He put a plan in place for this
  • Knowing He was departing, He promised to send the Holy Spirit to the apostles (John 16:5-13)
  • The apostles would serve as witnesses to testify about Him (John 15:26-27; Acts 1:8) – they were His official spokesmen (2 Corinthians 5:20)
  • However, the apostles would not live forever – so the message would need to be written down (2 Peter 1:12-15; 1 Timothy 3:15); this would be done by inspiration of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10-13; cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17); their writings would hold the same weight as the actual words of Christ (1 Corinthians 14:37)

How We Know What Is Authorized

  • We have to go to the right source – the word of God (Isaiah 8:20; Acts 17:2-3)
  • We must respect context and make the right interpretation (2 Peter 3:16; Matthew 4:5-7)
  • We need to recognize basic rules of communication – how God imparts His will in His word is how all communication works; He tells us what He wants in commands/statements (1 Corinthians 11:23-26); He shows us what He wants in approved examples (Acts 20:7); He implies to us what He wants from which we draw necessary inferences (Matthew 26:17, 26; cf. Exodus 12:15)
  • We also need to understand the difference between generic and specific authority – when something is specified, everything else is excluded (Hebrews 7:12-14); when something is unspecified, we may do what is most expedient (1 Corinthians 10:23)

We Must Not Follow Any Other Standard

  • We are to hold to those things that were handed down by the apostles (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6) – hold fast the pattern found in their divinely-guided instructions (2 Timothy 1:13); judge what is right based upon whether it agrees with this standard (1 John 4:6)
  • We cannot add to this pattern and still be right (Matthew 15:9)
  • We cannot leave out parts of the apostles’ doctrine and be faithful (Acts 20:27)
  • We cannot change their message and remain in God’s grace (Galatians 1:6-9)
  • We must not submit to any standard but the Lord’s standard (Galatians 2:3-5; Colossians 2:20-23)


  • The church belongs to Christ – therefore, it must follow His rule
  • His will is found in His word – we need to be sure we are following that standard

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