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Sunday, January 6, 2019

The AUTHORITY of the BELIEVER In CHRIST


~ By James Fire

(Note: you can watch the video version, courtesy of HOUSE of TRUTH Youtube channel, of this teaching at the bottom of this article; this article represents an updated version of this teaching, so it isn't exactly the same as the video.)

And that is where our authority resides: “IN Christ” and from no other place does our spiritual authority issue!

Webster’s Dictionary definitions of “authority”:

~ a citation (as from a book*) used in defense or support of a plaintiff seeking legal remedy. *We have the Word of God as the Book from which we have our defense and support.

~ the source material from which such a citation is drawn.

~ A conclusive statement or set of statements (such as an official decision of the court).
In God’s court we who were declared guilty of sin have been made innocent by the blood of Jesus, and it’s the holy and new covenant established by the LORD Himself that we have the authority to be declared innocent!

~ A testimony – we have the testimony of God’s own written Word as the spiritual authority on which we stand!


~ An individual cited or appealed to as an expert on any given subject. And there is NO ONE more expert in the Word of God, than The WORD of GOD Incarnate!

~ The power to influence or command thought, opinion or behavior; such is the authority of God’s Word to influence our thought, behavior – even our opinions!

~ Freedom granted by one in authority; we who are the body of Christ, saved by the blood, redeemed by the LAMB of GOD, have been given spiritual liberty by the atonement made by Jesus, liberty from the enslavement of sin, freedom in our ability to know God, love and serve Him!

~ A person of command in government; we know that the government of God shall rest upon His shoulder (ISAIAH 9:6).

Authority can be transferred from the originated authority to others – this is known as deputizing. In Western films, the sheriff would need some assistance, so he will swear in some respectable men of integrity and they become deputies who have the same power to enforce the law as the Sheriff does.

There is a difference between authority and power:

Authority is sanctioned power legally granted to an individual to act on behalf of another.
Power needs no sanction or empowerment and can act independently of law; and by sheer force illegally seize government or institution to exert influence or even oppression over others (Compare a legally elected official sword into office by law vs. a dictator who uses his army to seize power through military violence).

A traffic cop – He has the authority to walk into the middle of an intersection, hold up his hand, blow his whistle and stop traffic, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a Toyota or a tank! Everyone recognizes that he represents the law and that authority is granted to him by the government to enforce the law.
But just because he has the authority to do this, that police officer doesn’t possess the power to stop traffic. He couldn’t by his own power stop a tank, or even a Toyota!

We as believers, children of God, saints of the church of Jesus Christ possess no power of our own to wage war against Satan; we are absolutely no match whatsoever against him! But we have been ‘deputized’ by Deity! We have been granted the authority of Christ, by Christ and this is what we will get into:

Some Old Testament examples:

God has granted authority to His followers to fulfill His Holy will and see it done in the world. The authority flows from the Sovereign power of God Almighty, the Creator and Owner of all things, thus He has legitimate right to do what He pleases with that which belongs to Him. Again, this empowerment is of God, not us.

In the midst of a perverse and wicked generation, that mocked and jeered God’s righteous man, the LORD authorized Noah to build the ark and ministry of prophecy, preaching the message of repentance and coming judgment.

Ostracized and rejected from being a member of the Royal Court of the single Super Power of the world at that time, and driven to the barren, empty desert where he was a shepherd of sheep for FORTY YEARS (what a fall! – going from a person of rank, nobility and rank to becoming a shepherd of sheep!) . . . the LORD authorized Moses to confront Pharaoh of Egypt as God’s own mouth to declare: “Let My people go!”

This singular prophet was seemingly left all alone with no other prophets to back him, Elijah went toe to toe with over 800 pagan priests of Ba’al and Ashtoreth – and by the authority of God invested in him, was able to call fire down from heaven (NOT an ancestor of mine). Showing that the LORD YHWH was the true God and was able to command the people of Israel to slay the pagan priests.

One more OT Example:

Two immense armies faced each other off, but the enemy of Israel had a towering giant of a champion on their side that afflicted God’s people with icy, numb terror. And there was none to challenge Goliath who cursed Israel in the name of his false pagan gods.
David, just a young man at the time was so incensed and so offended for the name of the LORD his GOD that this “uncircumcised Philistine should defy the armies of the living God” that he alone was willing to challenge him!

By the authority of the LORD God, he laid low the giant with a single stone and his faith in GOD! David had the right perspective in spiritual warfare: he didn’t consider the huge sword, spear and shield of the enemy. He had a far more powerful weapon than these!


1 SAMUEL 17:45
45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.


He was hot with righteous indignation: that’s the kind of anger we should exhibit against the power of the enemy: because he is a thief, a liar, a destroyer, one who longs for the ruin of God’s children!

Now we come to the Ultimate Authority!

Christ the LORD, the WORD Incarnate visited and astonished His people 2,000 years ago – both in His teaching (MATT 7:28-29) and His deeds and miracles (LUKE 4:36).

The people wondered – could this be the Messiah (MATT 12:22-24)?

Being the Son of David, of the tribe of Judah, of the House of David, Jesus has the legal right and authority to the throne as King of Israel (the legal line through Joseph His step-father, and the blood line through His mother, Mary. He is eligible to assume that throne as the Messiah, the King of the nation of the Jews (ACTS 2:36)).

Being the Son of Man as well as the Son of God He also has the holy authority to rule and reign over mankind, Israel (LUKE 1:31-32); as well as heaven’s domain:

MATTHEW 28:18-20
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen
.

During our most powerful and devastating trials and afflictions, when the enemy summons his entire arsenal of weapons against you – KNOW that the LORD will NEVER leave or forsake you! Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – they were never alone in Nebuchadnessar’s furnace – the Son of GOD was with them, and the only thing of theirs that was destroyed were the cords that bound them.

Trials do that – they destroy flesh and allow the Spirit greater freedom in our lives: if we will only yield to the LORD’s will in the trial.

New Testament Examples of Spiritual Authority:

LUKE 10:16-20
16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me
. 17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. 18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 19 Behold, I give unto you power* to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power** of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven
.

In these verses and the previous we see the act of deputizing by the LORD to His disciples.
Note what the LORD admonished His disciples here – not to rejoice so much that the demons are subjected to them (the lesser work of spiritual authority), but that their names are written in heaven (the greater work of atonement, without which there can BE no spiritual authority in the life of a believer!).

The LORD gives us “power . . .” – the first mention of the word power in the Greek here for power is *exousia – mastery, privilege, delegated authority, right, supernatural power.
The second mention of power, “over all the power of the enemy. . .” uses the Greek word **dunamis – ability to perform, physical power, force, might; this word can be used to describe either the power of God or the power of Satan.

The delegated authority, sanctioned and approved by God which He grants us, enables us to overcome the brute force and power of the enemy who is in rebellion against the authority of God.

We don’t come against the enemy in our own power with any expectation of stopping him, any more than that traffic cop could stop a tank by his own strength.

By the authority of God, we who are born of His Spirit have the privilege and authority according to Scripture, Who “gave [us] the power to become the sons of God” (JOHN 1:12-13) – the Greek word used here is also exousia.

So, if through the LORD Jesus Christ, you’ve been granted the authority to be called a child of God, then by that same authority you have authority to exercise spiritual warfare!

As children of the KING we are afforded access to the Holy Throne of the GOD of the Universe! Think about that access – we don’t have access to walk into NORAD or the PENTAGON. We don’t have the authority to walk into the OVAL OFFICE or go places that the POTUS goes, or the Queen of England or David Rockefeller or other people who are considered powerful in this world. NO!

We have far greater and higher access in that we can with confidence approach the throne of God (HEB 4:16)! When we pray, we have the ear of the Almighty! He listens to us, who are His children. The body of Christ is the only group of people that can rightfully and truthfully make this claim!

Not only are we princes and princesses of the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords, we are also holy ambassadors FOR the KING! We are His lawful representatives and may speak on behalf of the KING when we conduct affairs of State in the Kingdom of God!

When one of our US ambassadors deals with a foreign government, he confers with the President who directs him what to do and what to say to the foreign government’s leaders, and what that ambassador says is authoritative, as though the President himself was standing there saying it!

We declare the coming Kingdom in the Name of the LORD in this foreign land of sin and rebellion that’s at enmity against GOD; and as His ambassadors we plead for them to be reconciled to the LORD – 2 COR 5:20. We declare the Gospel of the coming Kingdom, and based on people’s response to the Gospel we are authorized to declare them forgiven or not (JOHN 20:23).

Authority In Spiritual Warfare:

The armor of God in its entirety represents the very nature, the quality and character of the Person of Christ. For saints who are “in Christ” we are “in” this spiritual armor, much as a knight when he goes into battle, wears his armor.

IF WE ARE NOT WALKING IN THE SPIRIT, if we are not following Christ out of a heart of love, obedience and yielding, it’s the same as if we’re on the battlefield but missing crucial pieces of our armor!

This armor provides absolute protection against “all the power of the enemy”
In this armor, we are as impervious, as impenetrable, as invincible over the enemy as the LORD Jesus Christ Himself. Satan watched Jesus, scrutinized His behavior, weighed His Words, poked and prodded and searched for some sign of weakness, some fatal flaw in His Person. When the LORD confronted Satan during His 40 day fast and conquered (as well as at other times during His ministry) He defeated him with the Word of God, not just quoted, but obeyed.

The LORD Jesus declared, concerning the prince of this world and his devilish attempt:

JOHN 14:30
30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me
.

Essentially what the LORD was saying regarding Satan was “he got nuthin’ on Me!”
That is the quality of holiness and righteousness and truth in the LORD and being IN CHRIST, this is the same quality of this spiritual armor, the armor not of men or angels, but the very ARMOR of GOD! This is what we have to protect us while engaging the enemy in this battle for souls and for personal holiness!

HELMET of SALVATION:
Even the very name of JESUS means “Our God is salvation”! This helmet of salvation protects our minds, guards our thought life; this salvation brings sanctification and holy thinking, thinking like the LORD Jesus! This protects us from fiery darts and demonic intent to invade our thought life with evil and temptation.

2 CORINTHIANS 10:5
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ
;

PHIL 2:5
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 

This is putting on JESUS’ thinking cap, so we are in one accord with His ideas and intents.


BREASTPLATE of RIGHTEOUSNESS:
This covers the heart of the warrior from the accuser of the brethren – Satan who would bear witness to every sin and trespass that we commit against the LORD and condemn our hearts for it, bringing shame, fleeing and hiding from God. But it is Christ’s imputed righteousness granted to us in this breastplate.

JEREMIAH 23:6 says about our LORD that He isThe Lord Our Righteousness.

The BELT of TRUTH:
The LORD and His WORD is Truth (PSALM 71:22; JOHN 17:17) – “truth” in the Greek is aletheuo; it’s a verb – an action word: to be true, to have integrity, where the truth we speak is also the truth that we do (“Walk the Talk!”). To deal truthfully/truly with others; speaking the truth in love (EPH 4:15). That this is the BELT of Truth, constraining the loins, speaks of having the carnal appetites submitted to the truth of God’s Word. Such appetites created by God are in godly order and not given over to the kinds of sinful conduct that Satan would lure us into. We walk in truth, subdue sins in our members (ROM 6:13; 1 COR 9:27), and grow in sanctification so our conduct matches with our doctrinal beliefs; to do otherwise is hypocrisy, which God hates!

The SHOES Shod with the PREPARATION of the GOSPEL of PEACE:
The LORD Jesus is indeed the Prince of Peace; granting to us peace with God (ROM 5:1) as well as the peace of God (PHIL 4:7-9).

The foundation of any soldier is their strong and stable footing; with this, they will not be able to gain the victory. Likewise if we are to experience spiritual victory, we must have a stable foundation: that stable foundation is the ROCK (1 COR 3:11), the LORD Jesus Himself, and His Gospel – if the Gospel is solid, and doctrinal learning based on it, is also solid, then such a warrior for Christ will remain standing securely – the enemy will not be able to topple him.

The SHIELD of FAITH:
The LORD is the Author and Finisher of our Faith (HEB 12:2). Faith is trust in, reliance upon, believing on the LORD and such trust and reliance upon Him will provide for us protection against the lies and deceptions of the enemy and assurance, peace and rest in the midst of life’s turmoil and uncertainties. Our faith is in the Word of God, the truth that’s revealed by it; it is a defense in our battle with the enemy who would shoot fiery (poisonous) darts (lances) that intend to afflict us with detrimental sin as a result of giving into temptation. The LORD Himself is the shield we place our faith in!

PSALM 5:12
12 For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favor wilt thou compass him as with a shield
.

The SWORD of the SPIRIT:
The LORD is of course the WORD of GOD Incarnate (REV 19:13-15); The WORD is this Sword we wield in our close quarters combat with our enemy (EPH 6:12).

This singular weapon of God’s Word of Truth against the enemy avails success and victory while in the hand of the Christian warrior who not only knows truth, but lives it out! Such a warrior will deftly and expertly decimate all the works of the enemy set against him and those around him.

For more about spiritual warfare, check out William Gurnall’s book Christian in Complete Armor

This spiritual authority, this precious resource that has been granted to every blood bought saint of God cannot be used for our own personal gratification, but for the exclusive GLORY and HOLY PURPOSES of the LORD!

This spiritual armor must be coupled together with the indwelling power of the HOLY SPIRIT – we’ve probably all seen the IRON MAN movie by now – Genius Tony Stark built himself a high-tech, prosthetic metal suit that protected him from any kind of fire power against him. But without a power source, it was just a hunk of high-tech metal. The power source he used was the arc-reactor, about the size of an apple.

Well we have far, far greater than that! We have the armor of God that can withstand, not bullets but Beelzebub (Satan)! – And as for power, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit – God Himself empowering this armor!

Authority as Priests of God

In worship, in prayer, in ministry:

WorshipJOHN 4:24
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth
.

It’s an awesome truth, that of all the 7.6 billion people in the world, among the literally thousands of religions that claim to worship ‘God’, the ONLY ones that God accepts worship from are those who worship Him in Spirit and Truth – and that is the church, comprised of a royal priesthood, a holy nation (1 PET 2:9).

Prayer – The prayers of the saints – who pray in the office of the royal priesthood are a sweet savor to the LORD: ROM 12:12 states that the church is authorized to be “instant in prayer” and to continue in such. Prayer must be “in Jesus Name” which is not a “power source” to be used indiscriminately, however we wish.

JOHN 14:13-14
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it
. (See also JOHN 15:16; 16:23-26).

When we pray in Jesus Name, that’s according to His reputation, His character, His nature, His attitude – when we truly pray “in Jesus Name” it’s a prayer that Jesus would say, “Amen” to; it’s a prayer that Jesus Himself would have prayed – because it’s according to the will of God!

1 JOHN 5:14-15
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
15 And if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him
.

Is it God’s will that we get victory over self, sin, Satan and this sinister world? Is it God’s will that we’ll be set free from sinful bondage and spiritual oppression? Is it God’s will that we live holy, sanctified lives in service to the LORD and others (both saints and sinners)?

Our Prayers From the Father’s Perspective – As we pray in JESUS Name how are these prayers received by our Father Who presides over all of His creation from His glorious throne. He hears these prayers spoken by His children as though they were prayed by His Beloved Son Jesus Himself! That’s the kind of WEIGHT that our prayers carry to the Almighty! 

It’s not until we’ll get to heaven that we will witness the kind of power and effectiveness our prayers have had! Perhaps we might have a slight twinge of regret that we didn’t pray more?

Ministry – priests under the Old Covenant offered up the sacrifice of animals in service to repentant sinners; under the New Covenant, out of response to the Blood of Christ shed for us, we offer up not animals, but ourselves – “living sacrifices” which is our reasonable service (ROM 12:1). We are the authorized Servants of the LORD! Our heart cry is, not our will LORD, but Yours be done!

The LORD has authorized us to preach the Gospel, to disciple believers, to wield authority over all the power of the enemy.

He has authorized us as ambassadors, priests and warriors – as well as prophets after a New Testament sort (1 CORINTHIANS 14:24-25; 29-32).

When we preach from the Word of God, or teach, or expound on those prophecies that reveal the end times and last days, we are “prophesying” – declaring God’s Word. There were many who, while they weren’t named prophets, nevertheless had a prophetic ministry: David Wilkerson was one, Keith Green was another, Rich Mullins yet another – and like the Old Testament prophets, the New Testament counterparts are rare, and that is because the canon of Scripture is complete. Yet in God’s mercy, though none may read the Scriptures, He sends forth a man who will speak it to the faces of the unrepentant – out of compassion for lost souls who are standing on the brink of eternal condemnation.

Where Do We Stand In The Authority of CHRIST

In GENESIS 3:15 God declares that “seed of the woman” will “crush the head of the serpent”. Christ shall crush the enemy under His feet; we are all of us members of the body of Christ. We who are born of God’s Spirit called out of the world and into the body of Christ, baptized into Christ! In the body of Christ, some are hands, some are feet, or eyes, ears, hearts or mouths (I think I’m a mouth [a BIG mouth]!). But whatever member you are in the body of Christ, you are IN the body. This prophecy says that Christ’s foot shall crush the serpent, so Satan is under Christ’s body, therefore the victory Christ has over the enemy is our victory –

ROMANS 16:20
20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen
.

This is something we must always remember in our battles against the enemy: while there still may be battles to fight, the WAR WAS WON ALREADY By CHRIST on the CROSS!

The Anointing of the Holy Spirit
Jesus is the Christ – and ‘Christ’ is the Greek word equivalent for ‘Messiah’ or ‘THE Anointed One’. Prophets in the Old Testament were all anointed, but the Christ would be unique in that the Holy Spirit would be given to Him “without measure”:

JOHN 3:34-35
34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand
.

In ISAIAH 61:1-3 it speaks of what the MESSIAH’s mission would be; what He would accomplish by the power of the Holy Spirit’s anointing. See also ISAIAH 35:6: In ISAIAH it was prophesied that the Messiah would heal the dumb so that they could speak. The word for “dumb” is “to bind up, to muzzle” – biblical scholars believe this to mean demonic possession, preventing the victim from speaking and revealing the demon’s name, which the Jewish exorcists required in order to expel it. 

It was said, according to ISAIAH 35:6, that the Messiah would cast out these sort of demons – and Jesus did this at least twice that we know of (MATT 9:33; 12:22). The Father authorized the Son, as the Messiah, to accomplish these things.

This same anointing is upon us, His saints – but with a difference: Christ had no sin nature to get in the way of the Spirit’s work through Him, whereas we still have our sin nature, and to the degree that we are walking in the flesh, walking in sin, living unsanctified lives, to that same degree the Spirit of God is limited in how much He can use us.

We want to glorify God as much as possible, right? So, may this truth encourage us to pursue the LORD, beseeching Him to sanctify us, instilling holiness (“vivification”) as we intentionally go to the cross, and die to the sin nature (“mortification”) in greater and greater degrees! This will allow the Spirit of God to work powerfully and freely in us, unimpeded, His saints, and bring greater and greater glory to our LORD Jesus Christ!
See ROMANS 6th Chapter.

By doing so, we are vessels of honor, sanctified and acceptable for the Master’s use (2 TIM 2:21) for the preaching of the Gospel, for the discipling of the saints; for reading, understanding and applying the Word of God to walk in holiness and obedience; for engaging in the enemy’s forces and wreaking havoc in Satan’s domain: Christ’s Commando’s!

See the following to elaborate the above points:

MATT 16:18-19; JOHN 20:22-23; ROM 5:20-21; GAL 2:20; REV 5:9-11.


THE AUTHORITY Of THE BELIEVER IN CHRIST
Published on Apr 15, 2013




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