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2f. Our Spiritual Authority and Hearing God

If you were with Jesus when He was here on Earth, there would be no doubt something was different about Him.  Sure, He related to the common people more, which made the religious leaders jealous.  However, what really set Him apart from all the other religious teachers was the authority He used and the reactions from the realm of the demonic.  Satan’s forces had no doubts about His power over them.  He was sent to destroy the works of the enemy and that He did just be being who He was.

Some might wonder why that ‘power’ is not more evident in our world today.  I deeply believe that if the body of Christ really knew and practiced their authority and ‘power’ in Christ today, we would have a vastly different universe.  Let me tell you the story of Alice Greyson.

A.  SO WHAT IS AUTHORITY?

1.  The Greek differentiates between the right or the authority to use power (‘exousia’) and the power itself (‘dunamis’).  In Matthew 28.18 is ‘exousia’ is used to show ‘authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, privilege, right and strength’, or the right to act and the power to act or to command.  Authority is closely linked with the concept of power.  The KJV uses the word power rather than authority

“He called the twelve together and gave them power (dunamis) and authority (exousia) over all the demons … “. (Luke 9.1)

2.  All authority comes from God.  His authority levels have existed since creation.  Adam and Eve were given authority and dominion over the Garden and God’s creatures. They then gave this authority to the snake by obeying his suggestions.

3.  There is still a clear authority structure to follow.  Authority flows from the Father to Jesus and the Holy Spirit, to Christ over the Church, as husbands to Christ, as wives to husbands, as children to parents, as slave to their masters.  We find patterns for us as citizens to the state – “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” (Romans 13.1)

This is for our protection as well as for unity and harmony in the world.  In fact because of Lucifer, Adam and Eve’s rebellion, the central question for all humans is ‘who has the authority to have the authority’? Many of the conflicts in life revolve around authority, control and dominance.  If we can understand the function of human authority, we will more easily grasp the principles of the believer’s authority.

4.  Mankind also exerts authority over one another (Matthew 8:9-13). The centurion who talked with Jesus understood this. The mayor of the city, the chairman of the board, the president of the company, the husband of the home, the fire and police all have positions of authority.  We cannot even imagine an army without a structure of command.  Without these basic authority structures there would be anarchy and chaos.

Certainly there are questions when authority and power are abused.  Even here we are given Biblical guidelines on how to handle abusive authority.  Each person will answer to God for the way they have exercised power and authority, especially within His church.

5.  Satan claims authority over all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus didn’t challenge this statement.  He actually confirmed it later by saying, “the ruler of this world will be cast out”.  (John 12.31). A time is coming when Satan will be bound (Revelation  20.1-3) and Christ will rule the world (Zechariah 14.9), but currently Satan still holds authority over the world and he will give ‘great authority’ to the coming world dictator (Revelation 13.2).

Above the levels where human authority exists, there is a spiritual realm occupied by spiritual forces. There are spirit beings who, through the fall of man in Eden, have gained a place where they are able to dominate mankind.  However, even these demonic spirits are themselves under authority. Satan is the head of a vast hierarchy of principalities, powers, rulers, and forces of spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). To have true Godly authority, one must be under authority.

 

C.  JESUS WAS GIVEN FULL AUTHORITY

Jesus claimed that all authority had been given to Him in heaven and on earth in Matthew 28:18.  He then proved that authority by dealing with the demonic, directing the forces of nature, healing the sick and forgiving sins.

1.  Jesus was given this authority because of His total obedience to the Father.

Hebrews tells us that by His obedience, Jesus proved Himself worthy of being the Lord of all, Hebrews 5:8-9 – not only did He have the weight of God’s approval and authority, but Jesus’ obedience – even unto death – proved His place in eternity. He did only what the Father told him to do, stayed inside God’s mission for Him and only used God’s weapons – not his own.  He ‘laid aside’ all His supernatural powers to walk by the Holy Spirit’s guidance – just as we are to do today!

2.  Jesus taught with authority. “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as [one] having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Matt. 7:28, 29). Jesus’ authority is greater than that of Moses or the prophets. (Matt. 17:1-5).

The reason Jesus spoke with such authority was that he said, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

3.  The Son sat down at the Father’s right hand. It is only after our Lord accomplished cleansing for sins that He sat down. That is because He had finished His work and has reunited God and His creation.

4.  The Son, Jesus Christ, is God’s full and final revelation to mankind.  Jesus has been appointed heir of all things….which He wishes to share with us!

The police officer must be under authority himself, obedient to his superiors. He goes where he has been assigned, not outside his jurisdiction. We believers must be doing what Jesus has said, according to the Bible and His personal word to us as well.  We cannot be out doing our own thing for our own pleasure. A clean, submitted heart is imperative.

 

D.  JESUS TRANSFERRED HIS AUTHORITY TO HIS DISCIPLES

Jesus’ Authority is delegated: Jesus demonstrated God’s authority in his ministry on earth.  He delegated that authority to His disciples and to all who would believe and follow Him.

Jesus gave His authority to His disciples: Jesus said, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:19-20

Then, Jesus gives his authority to those who believe in Him: He has given us the authority to overcome Satan and his forces in our own lives – and in the lives of others. Here are some scriptures to back this up:

John 1:12-13:  “But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name ….13  Who owe their birth neither to bloods nor to the will of the flesh [that of physical impulse] nor to the will of man [that of a natural father], but to God.” [They are born of God!]

Jesus received authority from His Father: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18) We learn the reason why when Jesus prayed to His Father, “For you granted me authority over all people that I might give eternal life to all those you have given me.” (John 17:2)

Jesus received authority to grant God’s kingdom to those who love Him. “……and I confer on you a kingdom just as My Father conferred one on Me.” 

“Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him?” (Luke 22:29, James 2:5)

Jesus is superior to everything. This includes Satan and the forces of darkness that wage war against us daily (Ephesians 6:12; 1 Peter 3:22). Jesus defeated Satan at the cross and will eventually bring every enemy under his feet.

 

E.  OUR AUTHORITY IS COMPLETE WHEN WE ARE BORN AGAIN

1.  If we diagram what we have been saying so far, it will appear something like this:

Before we are Born Again:                                  After we are born again:

Father God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus                       Father God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus  

Satan —- > Demonic forces                                         Mankind (and creation?)   

Mankind and Creation                                                 Satan —- > Demonic forces

The moment a person believes in Jesus Christ, they change position as we see in the above diagram. Whether that person feels it or not, they are above Satan and all his demonic forces because of what Jesus did!  “…..and [God] has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

Colossians 2:10 further describes the believer’s position: ” ….and you are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power.”  Then, the tremendous revelation of Colossians 2:15: “….and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them.”

To those you who are presently under siege from the enemy:  we are seated – present tense – we are seated in Christ Jesus in heavenly places.  God has positioned you in Christ and even though your flesh is still on this earth, our spirit is joined and seated with Christ.  It is from this vantage point – which is far above the heads of our spiritual adversaries – that we have been given the authority to fight.  Remember that God has given all things under the feet of Christ – Ephesians 1:22, and Jesus has bestowed His power upon us to conquer the powers of darkness.

Through the power of His perfect life, death and resurrection, Jesus Christ was raised and now maintains this position of authority.  Satan’s fate is already sealed.

The Christian believer, by virtue of his/her position in Jesus Christ, shares Jesus’ total dominance and mastery over Satan. That is the reason why believers are the only ones who can confront the demonized and deliver them. “These signs shall follow them that believe; In my name they shall cast out devils………” (Mark 16:17).

Christian believers have no power within but the authority vested from Jesus.  This authority and power are intended to flow through us and is omnipotence itself.  We are successful by virtue of this position in Jesus Christ and His authority which flows through us.

 

F.  SO WHAT ARE WE GIVEN? 

The policeman on a traffic stand does not pray, “O Lord, in the name of the city fathers, please stop this traffic.” That is so absurd as to be ridiculous. But many Christians today are very much like such a policeman. They cannot bring themselves to just stop the traffic. They cannot bring themselves to believe that the throttle of authority is really in their own hands.

1.  We must not only know our authority in Christ with our mind but act on it as well.

2.  It is a process of growing into maturity in Christ.

If Christ could raise the dead, He certainly could have snipped the grave clothes into a thousand pieces. But He chose not to do it. Lazarus had to shuffle forth and then the disciples had to loose him.

Spurgeon believed, and I heartily concur, that there are many like Lazarus in the church today. They are alive, but still hampered by grave clothes. They need to be loosed! Losing them is Jesus’ ministry through us!

 

G.  IN CONCLUSION

All this teaching is based on a basic theological fact: Jesus Christ is far above all principalities and powers. We are in Jesus Christ and seated with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:20-22; 2:6). Each and every one of these tremendous spiritual weapons begins and ends in Jesus Christ.

To live and experience Jesus Christ is, among many other things, to exercise His power – to let it flow through us.  Some will be afraid. They do not believe it can really be true that such authority is committed to the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, those who follow His instructions and will in their life.

Like rookie policemen with uniforms, badges, and training, they may begin by standing, quaking at the curb. They are sure if they have to stride out into the traffic and hold up their hands, nothing will happen.  But because of Jesus Christ the traffic will halt.  If you call a halt to the forces of darkness they will – they must – obey.

Isn’t it time we stepped off the curb and into the flow of life’s traffic – out where the needs are? I think so.

Susanne Fengler, Blog Author

www.hearinggod.mentorsnotebook.com/blog

 

PS.   See the following worksheets.

1.  Worksheet #1: Our Personal rights and privileges in Christ Jesus,

2.  Worksheet #2:  The Stages of Growth in our Authority,

3.  Worksheet #3.  What Jesus bought for us with His life, His death and His resurrection,

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