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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Restored Authority

Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-two (NIV)

Luke 10: 1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

5“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. 7Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

8“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. 9Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ 10But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ 12I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

13“Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.b
16“He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

17The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

18He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

21At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

22“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

The Great Commission

Matthew 28:16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

I’ve been reading a book on prayer that explains the difference between power and authority. Power is ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something. For God to have all power means he has all the ability or capability to do whatever he wants. Authority is the right to use power. God has all authority but he can also delegate his authority to whomever he wants.

Here is a little illustration for you:

A man, John, owns an electrical construction company. He is the boss. He controls all the money. He therefore has all the power within the company.
He hires a young man Gary to be an electrician. He sends him out on different jobs. Every day Gary has to call in to order materials. John buys the materials and Gary comes by to pick them up.

After a period of time John decides that Gary is trustworthy and gives him a company spending card [some authority] so he can buy the materials he needs without making the extra trip to the shop to pick them up.

After another period of time John decides to make Gary a superintendent. Now he can buy materials, hire and fire and make budget decisions. His authority has increased
Next John makes Gary a project manager. Now he controls the money for several projects, decides on scheduling, and oversees a larger number of people. His authority and responsibilities have increased even more.

Finally John wants to retire so he makes Gary president of the company. Now Gary is in control of all the power that John has. John has given Gary the authority to be him. The power still belongs to John but Gary is in charge of it. When Gary goes out on a project site all the employees treat him just as if he were John.
John has the power. Gary has the authority to use that power. As far as the employees and clients are concerned when they see Gary, they are seeing John. Got that?

Back to my narrative:

God (father, Son and Holy Spirit) has all power and shares the authority to use that power as he chooses. In the beginning he gave Adam authority to rule over every living creature on the earth. Satan, who had been cast down to earth, had no power or authority. His plan was to trick Adam into submitting to him so he could take the authority God gave Adam. The plan worked. Adam followed Satan’s wishes and became a servant to Satan. Satan now had the authority and thus became the “god of this world” as Jesus described him. Jesus recognized that Satan had the authority and ruled over this world for evil. But that would soon change.

God’s plan for redemption was to buy us back [that is what redeem means, to buy back] from the power of Satan and that included getting the authority away from him and restoring it to us.

In Luke 10 above Jesus gave the seventy authorityto trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy”. Notice that these men were not the twelve disciples [the Lord appointed seventy-two others]. These were mostly ordinary followers of Jesus, common men who were given the awesome responsibility of using the power of God to draw the people’s attention and then preach the message of the coming Kingdom of God. In verse 3 Jesus says “Go, I am sending you….” And a parallel command in Matthew 28:18 ““All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go…” The implication here is that the authority to use all of the power of God has been given to each of us. All Christians have the authority to represent God and in his name they are to go and change the world for Christ. Are we doing that? Are we living and functioning in the authority we were given? Are we using all the power available to us to change the world? When people see us are they seeing Jesus?

The obvious answer for most of us is no, especially in America where many Christian have been trained to be powerless, weak, materialistic Christians. How did we get that way?

The first problem is the lack of knowledge and understanding. The principles of authority are just not taught anywhere and therefore nothing is passed on to new pastors and teachers in our schools and churches.
Second: Unbelief, it is hard to believe that God has given us that much authority to use His power. It just can’t be so. That is unbelief in the Word of God, unbelief in the words of Jesus, plain and simple.

Third: there is a lack of faith. Lack of faith is different from unbelief. I can believe something but I may lack the faith to carry it out. I can believe God wants me to write this message but my lack of faith could prevent from sitting down and writing it out. I can believe God wants my healing but my lack of faith stops me from praying for it. My lack of faith often finds me begging God for something instead of declaring it in power and authority.
Fourth: there is fear. Fear of failure that what we speak won’t happen. That God won’t follow through on His word. This is an internal fear we carry around.

Then there is fear of what other people will think. What will my congregation think? What will my denomination think? If I act out of the ordinary people might reject me. My church might reject me. Fear makes frigid powerless Christians.
Did Jesus operate out of fear? No he acted out of faith that the Father would do what He said He would do.

Then there is a fear of responsibility. I taught on the Authority of the Believer years ago but I never fathomed the depth of what it really means. I just recently thought about this, to realize that every word you speak could have everlasting effect. To think that if you got angry at someone and said “damn you” you might watch them disappear into eternity right on the spot. That every curse word you spoke could actually curse someone or something forever. Your words do have power because you have authority. Scary isn't it? That is why Paul talked so much about what we were to think about and the words we spoke.

Going back to my illustration of John and Gary. When Gary was an electrician he probably joined in with the guys doing the normal horseplay along with murmuring and complaining about management.

When he became a superintendent he had to separate himself a little and act more responsible because of his duties.

When he became a manager he then understood many of the management problems and had a different perspective about work.

When he became president of the company he had to live differently. He had to have the respect of his men, his community and other businesses. The more authority he had the more responsibly he had to live before others.

To use the authority of others requires responsibility. To operate responsibly in God’s authority your life has to change. It may change in steps but if you truly understand the task that is before you, that knowledge itself will begin to change you. The burden and the joy of having the authority and power of the almighty God behind you will change who you are and how you see the world. My prayer is to fully understand it myself so I will operate in full faith and honor of what God has given me. I pray that God will open the eyes of others to see and comprehend and obey. Jesus says “GO” in all of his authority. We are to be Jesus to the world, a complete Jesus, not just part of him.

We are to use the authority God gave us to set the captives free, heal the sick, cast out demons and take authority over the prince and powers of the air that rule over cities, towns, states and countries. A Marxist controlling spirit is trying to overthrow the United States. It is not a man, a single person or group of people. It is a powerful demonic spirit, a principality and all of his demon hordes. Paul said “we wrestle not against flesh and blood”. This is a time and place for Christians to use their spiritual authority and tear down this spirit and destroy his power. We need to take down spirits that rule over families and churches. We need to be vigilant and make sure they do not return ever again. Then begin again to finish the commission Jesus gave us, “make disciples” who understand who they are in Christ and what their authority on earth is.

[End of part I]


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