The Authority of the believers

As new creations we have been put in a position of power and authority– a position delegated to us by God through Jesus Christ. Along with that authority come certain responsibilities. I want us to examine God’s Word concerning that position and the authority we have in Him. When you made Jesus Christ the Lord of your life, Colossians 1:13 says you were delivered from the power of darkness. The word power is literally translated authority. You have been delivered from the power, or authority, of darkness and placed into God’s kingdom. Jesus said, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore…(Matt. 28:18,19). That power was given to you as part of your inheritance in Christ Jesus. You have entered into this position of authority because you are in Him. The Word says that righteousness has come upon all men (Rom. 5:18). You may ask, “Then why don’t all become righteous?” Because in order to receive it, you have to act on righteousness from the point of authority. Second Corinthians 5:21 says, He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

1 – JESUS SECURED OUR POWER AND AUTHORITY

Jesus succeeded in securing all power by going to the cross, dying a horrible death, suffering the penalty for sin, and defeating Satan in the pit of hell. He came to earth as a man for one reason: to re-capture the authority that Satan had stolen through Adam’s disobedience in the garden. Jesus was called the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45). After securing that power and authority, He freely gave it over into the hands of those who would believe on Him–you and me.

It is not enough for us to simply accept Jesus’ work at Calvary. We are held responsible for much more. Jesus’ words in the 16th chapter of Mark were not intended for the early church alone. His words are just as vital and real today as when they were first spoken.

Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection from the dead. His words to them form the basic foundation for the work of the New Testament church. It was at that time that He delegated the authority to carry out that work. Beginning in verse 15, Jesus said:

Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

2 – WE HAVE AUTHORITY TO PREACH THE GOSPEL

Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Every born-again believer has the authority and responsibility to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this earth. If you can’t go, then you can send someone in your place.
And these signs shall follow them that believe….I want you to notice who is to do all these things: them that believe. The signs will follow the believers who act in faith and boldly speak in Jesus’ name. THEY shall cast out devils; THEY shall speak with new tongues; THEY shall lay hands on the sick, etc. The believer is the one with the power and authority to do these things.
Verse 20 says, They went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. God will confirm His Word, but first it has to be put forth. That is where you and I come in. God does not preach; He has given us the authority to do the preaching. God will not lay hands on the sick. He will bring the healing, but you and I as believers must lay hands on the sick by faith, believing that God will perform His Word.

3 – WE HAVE AUTHORITY TO STAND AGAINST SATAN

One of the most vital areas of the believer’s authority is his power to successfully stand against Satan. Ephesians 4:27 says, Neither give place to the devil. In the sixth chapter of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul describes the armor that we as believers are to wear in combat against Satan. He explains each piece of that armor. It is the armor of God. But not once does he say that God will put the armor on you or that God will fight the devil for you. YOU is the understood subject of these verses. He says, “YOU be strong in the Lord. YOU put on the whole armor of God that YOU will be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. YOU take the whole armor of God that YOU may be able to withstand in the evil day; and having done all, YOU stand.” God has given you the power and the authority to stand against Satan and his destructive works. He has provided the armor, but it is your responsibility as a believer to put on that armor and stand against the devil. James 4:7 says, YOU resist the devil, and he will flee from YOU. The armor and the weapons are at your disposal. God is there with you to back His Word; but all is worthless unless you take your position of authority and assume the responsibility to use what He has provided. You have the power and the authority to take the Word of God, the name of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit and run Satan out of your affairs. Don’t pray and ask God to fight Satan for you. You are the one in authority. Take your responsibility and speak directly to Satan yourself and stand your ground firmly. He will flee!

4 – WE ARE SEATED WITH HIM IN HIGH AUTHORITY

In the first chapter of Ephesians, Paul prayed a prayer for the body of believers in Ephesus. One part of that prayer was that they know the exceeding greatness of his power to those who believe (Eph. 1:19). That exceeding great power is the same power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenlies. Ephesians 1:21 tells us that Jesus is seated far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named.
The work God did in Jesus was supreme. He raised Jesus from the dead and set Him far above all other authority–not only in this world, but also in the heavenly world. Then verse 22 says that God has put ALL things under His feet and made Him head over the church which is His body. Where are the feet? They are in the body. As believers, we are part of His body and we are seated with Him in that highly exalted place of authority. Praise God! Look at Ephesians, chapter two:

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins…Even when we were dead in sins, (God) hath quickened us together with Christ…And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:1,5,6).
We are seated together with Him. Where? Far above all principality and power and might and dominion. As a believer, you have accepted the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary. Therefore, you are a part of His body and are seated with Him in that heavenly place, equipped with the same power, the same authority that He has.
The great power that God worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead is the same creative power of God that worked in you to make you alive when you were dead in your trespasses and sins. The moment you made Jesus Christ the Lord of your life, that same power was exercised on your dead, unregenerate spirit, causing it to be reborn in the likeness of God Himself. Any man who is in Christ Jesus is a new creation: old things have passed away, all things are new, and all things are of God (2 Cor. 5:17).
“As believers, we are part of His body and we are seated with Him in that highly exalted place of authority.”

5 – WE HAVE THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD TO EXERCISE OUR AUTHORITY

And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awoke him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
And he said unto them, Why are you so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? (Mark 4:35-40).
Jesus spoke the words, Let us pass over unto the other side, and there was enough power and authority in those words to accomplish the job. One thing I want you to notice is that Jesus did not take command of the ship to see that His words were carried out. He walked to the back of the boat and went to sleep. Jesus delegated the authority to His disciples and they accepted it. But when the storm came, they were filled with fear that the boat would sink. Jesus had to carry out the responsibility of authority that he had delegated to them by rebuking the wind and the sea.
“You have the power and the authority to take the Word of God, the name of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit and run Satan out of your affairs.”
I want you to see the parallel here. You are the captain of your ship. You have control over your own life–your spirit, your soul, and your body. Jesus has delegated power, or authority over Satan to you as a believer. You are to give him no place in your life. You are born of the Spirit of God. You are filled with the Spirit of God. You have been given the Word of God. Those three elements are enough for you to carry out your spiritual authority here in the earth. You don’t need any more power. You have all the power necessary. You simply have to exercise your authority. Jesus has already done everything necessary to secure the authority and power over sin, sickness, demons, and fear. You have to employ the faith action to receive that authority and join forces with Him in this earth. You are the one to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

6 – WE HAVE AUTHORITY TO ACT AS NEW CREATIONS

Hebrews 2:14 says, Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same. Jesus partook of flesh and blood, so that you could partake of spirit and life. For you to partake of that spirit and life, you must take the responsibility of standing in the place of authority as the new creation in Christ Jesus that you are. You are born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God (1 Pet. 1:23). It was the Word of Almighty God that was injected into your spirit man to bring about the new birth in your life. When the church was first beginning, Acts 12:24 described it as the Word growing and multiplying. The Word is in you, but you are the one who must be willing to allow it to work in you.

Ephesians 4:21-24 says, If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

You are the one in authority. It is your responsibility to put off the old man–the unregenerate man that you were before you accepted Jesus. The Holy Spirit does the actual work in you, but you must make the decision to allow Him to do it. God has never forced His will on any person. YOU put off the old man. YOU use the Word of God to renew your mind. YOU put on the new man, which is created in righteousness and true holiness.

7 – WE CAN MINISTER AND WALK FROM A POINT OF AUTHORITY

God’s power is in His Word. He is upholding all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3). You need to learn to minister and walk from a point of authority. In His earthly ministry, Jesus said such things as “Be thou made whole.” “Take up your bed and walk.” Then to a lame man Peter said in Acts 3:6, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” He too ministered and spoke from a point of authority.

“He came to earth as a man for one reason: to re-capture the authority that Satan had stolen through Adam’s disobedience in the garden.”

It’s time for you as a believer to begin to act that way. You have obtained an inheritance, and in that inheritance you have been given all authority. The God of the universe lives inside you! He lives and walks in you. Become God-inside-minded and you will begin to walk in this point of authority.

Keep right on building yourself up in your inheritance. You live in a world that is full of evil influences. Satan wants to see to it that you forget the reality of being born again. He wants to see to it that you never realize your place of authority in Christ Jesus, because if you do, that power you walk in makes you absolutely dangerous to him. He has no defense against you when you walk in the power of God’s Word.

When you see in the Word that you are in Christ Jesus, that you are in Him, then confess it with all of your heart. Then you will be strong, standing in a point of authority and operating in your inheritance in Him. As you do this, the power of God will always be available to work in your behalf. Praise God!

8. – POWER TO DISCERN SPIRITUAL MATTERS

God gives believers inherent power to discern spiritual matters.
There are those that say they can’t understand the Bible, it’s too difficult. But unlike unbelievers, whose minds have been blinded to spiritual truths, Christians can know God’s counsel.

Jesus said in Matthew 13:11, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.” In other words, God wants us to understand what the Bible says. He’s more than willing to reveal it.

A kindergarten teacher observed her students during art class. When she looked over one child’s shoulder she inquired about the picture. “What are you drawing?” The girl replied, “I’m drawing God.” The teacher said, “Now wait a minute Joan. Nobody knows what God looks like.” Without a moment’s hesitation Joan looked up and said, “They will in a minute!”

Of course, nobody knows what God looks and no one has unraveled every mystery of Scripture; but Christians can have deep knowledge of the Scriptures. They were meant to be investigated and deciphered. The Holy Spirit has hidden deep wonders in His Word for Christians to investigate. 2 Timothy 2:15 says: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

A. Ephesians 1:17-21 (Read). There are three things in this passage that Paul says are important for believers to know:
Paul said: “I want you to have the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you can know Him better.”

He said: “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” [“Lord, what is Your will for me?”]

And then Paul said God wanted us to know “his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

(Transition) But there is another significant passage that confirms the believer’s power to understand spiritual matters. Turn to 1 Corinthians 2.
B. 1 Corinthians 2:7-13 (Read).

Did you notice what Paul said? Lack of knowledge does not belong to the Christian. Revelation does! God intended for Christians to search out the deep, depths of His Word. Psalm 42:7 speaks of “deep calling unto deep.” And Hebrews 6:1 commands us to: “leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity.”

Let’s not miss this opportunity of being practical here. There are some sensible and pragmatic ways to increase your spiritual understanding:

Use an updated version of the Bible.
Purchase a good commentary of the Scriptures.
Pray before you study. It’s amazing what God will reveal when you invite Him into your study.
Use online Bible tools. OliveTree.com and BlueletterBible.com are two helpful sites.
Get involved in a Bible study group.
And most importantly, stay full of the Holy Spirit. The Bible calls Him the “Illuminator,” and the “Spirit of Counsel.” The Holy Spirit stands ready to reveal and disclose God’s Word. That’s why you should invite Him to fill your life.

These are practical ways that you can increase your knowledge of Scripture.

But the Believer not only has inherent power to understand spiritual matters, believers have inherent power to persevere and live for Christ during every circumstance.

9. INHERENT POWER TO LIVE FOR CHRIST

Throughout Scripture God is revealed as the omnipotent Creator—the Divine Architect of the Universe. As our Creator, God’s engineering of Man would be incomplete had He fashioned us without the ability to withstand life’s difficulties. But He didn’t. He gave us the capacity to serve Him regardless of what happens.

I know we have some science engineers in this church, but I’m unsure that we have any structural engineers. While I do not possess an architectural degree, I do understand structural engineers design buildings with double-strength in their foundation. Their blueprints call for both cement and steel. While cement provides compression strength, steel provides flexible strength. Each element accomplishes what the other can’t do, but working together steel and cement provide a structure with double-strength.

God does the same for Christians: He provides the rock-solid support of His Word and the energetic, life-giving power of His Spirit. And we need both the Word and the Spirit to live at the highest level! You see, it’s not enough to simply understand the Word of God says:

“Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Or that Romans 8:37 says: “in all these things we are more than conquerors.”
Or that 1 John 5:4 says: “everyone born of God overcomes the world.”

Yes, we need the steadfast, bedrock assurance of God’s Word that discloses these promises, but we also need the anointing of the Holy Spirit to arise within us and proclaim these promises in faith and power. And that’s what the Word and the Spirit working together in a Believer’s life accomplishes. It’s double-strength for Christians!
Jesus Renames Simon

Do you remember when Jesus first met Simon? Christ’s first course of action involved renaming Peter. The name Simon meant, “a swaying reed.” But his new Hebrew name, Peter, meant, “a piece of a larger rock.” This name change indicated a new power and strength for living. You say, “But what about Peter’s fomenting craze the night preceding Christ’s crucifixion?” He cursed, lied, and denied the Lord. In fact, all the apostles fled and forsook Jesus the night of His trial. However, in keeping with His omniscience, Jesus knew Peter’s liabilities the moment He called Peter from his fishing boat. Jesus knew Simon Peter was mortally flawed from the beginning. But Jesus also knew Peter was someone the Spirit could transform into a man of steadfast faithfulness unto death:

Peter failed Christ at the crucifixion, but he was first to preach after the resurrection to those that crucified Jesus.
Peter failed Christ at the crucifixion, but he was the one refusing to shrink from the threats of the Sanhedrin Court when threatened with imprisonment.
Peter failed Christ at the crucifixion, but he never again cowered from Christ. In fact, history tells us that in Peter’s last days he was arrested and crucified head-down.

Peter wasn’t perfect, but with the Spirit working within him he never gave up or turned back. He drew on his inherent power to overcome.

I read the story of a violent thunderstorm that ripped through a city late one evening. A mother was tucking her boy into bed and about to turn off the light when he said with a shaky voice, “Mom would you sleep with me tonight?” Who could blame him? Flashes of lightning, peels of thunder, and the wind nearly peeling off the roof! The mother smiled, reassured him with a hug, and said, “I can’t stay with you baby, I have to sleep with daddy.” The boy replied, “The big sissy.”

Saints of God, Christians aren’t wimps! When we become Christians God gives us power to live victoriously at all times. He promises “never to leave nor forsake us” and that means we can triumph through all tests and temptations.

Then there is a third inherent power in every Believer. Christians not only have power to know, and power to stand steadfast, they have power to bind and loose.

10. POWER TO “BIND AND LOOSE”

Matthew 16:19 says: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” This passage of binding and loosing has undergone relentless scrutiny throughout the centuries, so the topic can’t be exhausted in one sermon. But I do want to address one aspect of what it means to “bind and loose.”

Keys symbolize authority. They determine what is granted entry and what is forbidden entry. As it relates to the keys of the kingdom it means, as the Holy Spirit authorizes us, we have power to restrict and release in life. This applies to whatever pertains to our welfare in life.

Before continuing let me inject a word of caution. Scripture never teaches that Christians can manipulate God’s principles to achieve their purposes without regard to God’s predeterminations. We can’t go around binding and loosing” at our autonomous discretion. When we claim Matthew 16:19 to “bind and loose” we are authorized to do so as the Holy Spirit directs! God is “the author and finisher of our faith.” He is the One that sovereignty distributes the spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12). And only the Holy Spirit can lead and empower you to take authority over certain issues.

 A young man was saved and began preaching in China. As he preached on the streets of Zhoukou he was cursed and beaten by a bystander. He quickly prayed for God’s help. In an instant, the Holy Spirit quickened the man to take authority over the situation. He looked at his attacker and said: “In Jesus’ name, I bind you”! The attacker immediately fell to the ground and was unable to move. His relatives tried to rescue him but to no avail. The young evangelist said: “He is bound. If I don’t pray for him, the only way you can move him is to hoist him into a truck.” The crowd asked for his release, so the preacher said: “In Jesus’ name, get up.” The man jumped to his feet and with many villagers witnessing a miracle of God firsthand. It eventuated in many sinners converting to Christ. (Mega Shift, James Rutz, Empowerment Press, 2005, pages 16-17.)

Sometime back a woman that suffered from gout told me how God miraculously healed her. After hearing a message that challenged her faith she went home and was unable to sleep. Finally, she got out of bed, went into the kitchen, grabbed the cooking oil, anointed herself, and commanded the gout to leave her foot. The Lord honored her faith and instantly healed her! While she could have ignored the prompting of the Holy Spirit to anoint herself and miss her miracle; she didn’t! As the Lord quickened her faith, she coupled it with works, and took her authority to bind the sickness and loose the miracle.

What are Christians authorized to “bind and loose”? We are empowered to “bind and loose” whatever Jesus, our Example, “bound and loosed.”

He cast out devils. (Matt. 8:28-32 and Mark 1:27)
He exercised authority to heal. (Matt. 4:23)
He took authority over nature. (Matt. 8:26)
He took authority over financial lack. (Matt. 14:15-20)
He overcame the power of sin that threatened the destruction of others. (1 Pet. 2:22, Rom. 6:18))

CONCLUSION

Matthew 16:16-19
The geography of Caesarea Philippi provides a fascinating backdrop regarding this passage of Scripture. Jesus had gathered His Apostles to a plateau that overlooked a region renowned for superstition and idolatry. The Syrians had erected temples of Baal throughout the area. Nearby, the Romans had constructed a magnificent white marble structure dedicated to the deity of Caesar. Not to be outdone, the Greeks considered a nearby cavern to be the birthplace of Pan, the mythological god of nature. Then, there was the mysterious origin of the Jordan River that bubbled forth from cave. The Jordan began as a trickle that a man could step over, but would later gush forth as a mighty torrent.

Everything about this mystical backdrop made for theatre at its finest—Asian, Roman, and Greek religion all intermingling beneath this summit. And everything had been divinely staged. This is where Jesus asked His Apostles how people perceived Him. They reported how people thought He was one of Israel’s bygone Prophets that had been resurrected—perhaps John the Baptist, Elijah, or Jeremiah. But Jesus wanted to hear more. So with a penetrating gaze He asked: “What about you . . . who do you say that I am?” You can imagine how this question rattled their nerves. Their eyes flipped back and forth between the magnificent structures of paganism to a vilified prophet standing before them in sandals. Thankfully, Simon Peter rescued the day when he shouted the confession of the ages: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”! And with that, Jesus replied: “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”

God has invested you with inherent power to live victoriously. Don’t ignore it. Claim what God has pledged.

This message refers to the innate authority God bestows upon those who accept Christ as Savior. It is imperative to know that God has invested you with divine, spiritual empowerment that provides you with victory for everyday living. It deputizes you to triumph over anything you face. And as the Holy Spirit directs believers have the same power to “bind and loose.”

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