Tuesday, March 29 2016
Contributor: Alex Alajiki
Last week, we considered the topic “Faith's Role in Authority”. We discovered that there is an important link between faith and exercising authority. Lack of understanding of this link will frustrate the believer from exercising authority. Authority is only realized through faith in God’s Word; therefore, authority and faith must go hand in hand. Faith and boldness are developed through sound knowledge of God’s words and submission to His authority.
Today we are looking at Exercising Authority. Let us start with the analysis of an experiment;
Some years ago, an experiment in human behaviour produced intriguing results. Those taking part were divided into two groups. One group were appointed as guards (Victors) and were put in charge of the other group, who were assigned to be prisoners (Victims).What happened?
Within a few days, it was reported, most of the guards (Victors) had become bold and assertive, while the prisoners had become cowed and subservient. The conclusion that researchers came to was this: You gradually become whatever you are told or accepted that you are.
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Prov.23:7
1) Christ’s Position with God; Eph.1:19-22
“and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”
When Jesus rose from the dead, he already defeated the host of hell according to Col.2:15 “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”
Then God raised Him and seated Him at His right hand in heavenly places, the position of authority and power. “He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places”
His position and authority is far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. All other authority is made subject to Christ.
This authority is exercise on earth through the name of Jesus Christ which is above every name according to
Phil.2:9-11 “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
2) Our Position in Christ Jesus; Eph.2:4-6
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
The moment we are born again, our sins are not only forgiven, we are also made a new creature according to 2 Cor.5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Our new identity in Christ Jesus made us to be joint heir with Christ and heir of His father according to
Rom.8:16-17 “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
This new positional reality was confirmed when Jesus rose from the dead and we were raised and seated with Him in heavenly places. In the mind of God, we were raised when Christ was raised. When Christ sat down, we sat down, too. That's where we are now, positionally speaking: We're seated at the right hand of the Father with Christ. The act of Christ's being seated implies that, for the time being, at least, certain aspects of His work are suspended because we are to continue with His work on earth according to John 20:21 “So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
3) The Authority of Our Position; Luke 10:19
“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
Our authority to trample on all powers of the devil is because of our seating position in heavenly places in Christ Jesus according to Eph.2:6 “and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Eph.1:20-21 “which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”
Christ is not only seated at the right hand of the Father, above all the powers in Satan's realm, but we're there, too, because God "hath raised us up together." Not only have we been made to sit, but notice where we are sitting: "Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion...."
All the authority that was given to Christ belongs to us through Him, and we can exercise it. We help Him by carrying out His work upon the earth. And one aspect of His work that the word of God tells us to do is to conquer the devil! In fact, Christ can't do His work on the earth without us just like we cannot exercise authority without Him.
Ephesians 6:12 says, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers...."
Since we are already seated far above the kingdom of darkness, in our battle against the enemy and his forces, we need to keep in mind that we're above them and we have authority over them. The Word tells us that Jesus has conquered them. Our job is to enforce His victory. His victory belongs to us, but we are to carry it out using the authority of His name.
Monday, March 21 2016
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
In the past few weeks in our study of the authority of the believer we have been considering very interesting and engaging topics. Last week we looked at one of these topics: “How to “deal” with the devil.” In last week’s study we first looked at the enemy’s subtle weapon– “unbelief & doubt". These two are the opposite of the core matter of today’s topic “Faith's Role in Authority.”
There is an important link between faith and exercising authority! The understanding of this is mostly the missing link why some Christians cannot manifest in their authority. Authority is only realized through faith in God’s Word; therefore, authority and faith must go hand in hand working together.
FAITH GIVES ACCESS TO AUTHORITY
Faith is involved in exercising spiritual authority by providing access to authority. And authority will not become a force within us until we take God‘s Word to heart and obey it—through Faith.
We can learn a lot from the story told in Mark 9:17-29 about how faith allows us to access our authority.
When the disciples came across an unusually strong demon that wouldn't budge (verse 18),
“Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
Jesus made it clear that they lacked faith by calling them faithless (verse 19).
““You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
He also made it clear that some demons are so strong that a higher than usual level of faith is required to cast them out (verses 28 and 29),
“And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
And that we can gain that higher level of faith through prayer and fasting (verse 29).
In Matthew 17:20 we see the same story narrated slightly differently by Matthew
"And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."
Authority is exercised with confidence not doubt or timidity. Authority comes from the heart not from the head. Authority demonstrates and speaks in accordance or agreement with God‘s authority. It takes faith, that knows, to recognize and embrace Godly authority. Because we believe God our faith responds with boldness, righteous indignation, assertiveness, perseverance, patience, and discernment. When we do not act in authority we are not recognizing what Christ has provided us. We are being misled and deceived by religious tradition, worldly thinking, and demonic trickery.
AUTHORITY IS HINGED ON KNOWLEDGE
Our authority is dependent upon our knowledge and understanding of the situation we are in. Without knowledge, it is impossible to have faith.
In John 6:69, Peter said to the Lord: “And we have believed and know that thou art the Holy One of God.”
In 2 Timothy 1:12, Paul said
“I know him whom I have believed.”
The Samaritans told the woman who brought Christ to them,
“Now we believe, not because of thy speaking; for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world” (John 4:42).
The opposite of knowledge is ignorance; and that is a realm the enemy wants people to live in! If Satan can get us to believe that this authority was only for a certain few disciples and apostles then and not for us now, we will have doubt in exercising it. If we do not know in our hearts what God has empowered and commissioned us to do then we will miss it spending our days living far less than sons and daughters of God!
PITFALLS TO LOOK OUT FOR
• Faith Based on Manifestation
The faith of some people operate in the “sense realm” and not based on the Bible. These people believe that if they get certain manifestations, then the devil is gone. So once he knows you operate is such a realm, he tricks you with these “manifestations” but he isn't gone. He's still there but wants you to believe he is gone, and you need to know that and exercise your authority.
When circumstances don't change immediately, some people become discouraged and slip back into the natural. They start talking unbelief and they defeat themselves. They give the devil dominion over them.
As Smith Wigglesworth often said, "I'm not moved by what I see. I'm not moved by what I feel. I'm moved only by what I believe." So stand your ground.
• Failing to Obey Authority
Authority operates under authority and within authorities. In Matt. 8:5-13 we read about the faith of the Centurion. Emphasis on verse 8-10
“The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, Go, ‘and he goes; and to another, Come, ‘and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, ‘and he does it." When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!
The most distinguishing element of the Centurion‘s faith was his recognition of authority. Rom. 13:2 says: “Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.”
We are being robbed from in this life if we do not from our heart understand the authority that belongs to believers. For us to operate in God‘s authority it is all related to how much we come under God‘s authority. As we live to God yielding our life to the Spirit we are coming under God‘s authority more and more. The more we submit to God‘s kingdom the more authority we‘ll exercise.
The Bible gives an interesting account that very well summarizes today’s study in Acts 19: 13-16
“Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, we adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”
Faith holds an important role in exercising authority. If one does not have faith or believe that they have authority then they would not be able to exercise it. And even if they go out to “exercise authority” without faith, the devil will see through their emptiness as in the case of the sons of Sceva.
Thursday, March 10 2016
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
Last week we looked at an interesting topic that answered some of the misconceptions about when believers should exercise their authority. We learnt that although all Christians have been given authority over demons, only very few even understand it, much less use it. There are those who believe we can't exercise any authority until the millennium reign; they think Satan is the one running everything down here and that we cannot do anything about it! We also emphasized one of the greatest tricks the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. Because there are even sincere Christians who believe that demons or the devil do not really exist, but are metaphors for serious human problems. But we know better and in today’s study we will be looking at how to “deal” with the Devil.
1. A SUBTLE WEAPON OF THE ENEMY – “UNBELIEF & DOUBT”
Unbelief and doubt especially against the ability of the Almighty God, His promises and our position in Christ is a subtle weapon the devil uses against us. We usually don’t easily identify it because it’s not aggressive! But as long as Satan can keep you in unbelief or hold you in the “arena of reason”, he'll beat you in every battle. But if you'll hold him in the arena of faith and the Spirit, you'll whip him every time! He won't and can’t argue with you about the Name of Jesus—he's afraid of that Name. Mark 11:23 (AMP) says: “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea!’ and [a]does not doubt in his heart [in God’s unlimited power], but believes that what he says is going to take place, it will be done for him [in accordance with God’s will].”
Once the issue of unbelief is dealt with then you can handle the devil and put him where he belongs!
2. DEALING WITH THE DEVIL AND HIS OPERATIONS
Operation #1: He sends evil (temptation) ahead. Targeting our minds and using the weapon of lies and deception (Genesis 3:1-7)
• COUNTER TEMPTATION WITH THE WORD OF GOD!
Just as Jesus countered his temptations with the Word. See Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4. Also John 8:32 says: "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
• LOOK OUT FOR THE WAY OF ESCAPE (1 Cor.10:13)
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” There may be a way of escape for temptation but not for sin!
• DON’T MEDDLE WITH EVIL 1 Thessalonians 5:22 (AMP)
“Abstain from every form of evil [withdraw and keep away from it].”
Don’t linger, don’t hang around. Don’t give in to your fleshly desires. It is only when you “entertain” evil that sin can get hold of you! James 1:14-15 (NLT) says:
“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”
Operation #2: He sends his agents (demons, sickness) to steal, kill and destroy. Targeting our bodies using the weapon of suffering and afflictions. John 10:10a
• TAKE AUTHORITY OVER THEM!
Luke 10:19 (NIV) says: “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
Peter at the Gate Beautiful demanded that the lame man be healed (Acts 3:6).
“Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
When you make the demand, it is not from God; but from the devil. You are exercising your God-given rights when you do. When Jesus made this statement in John 14: "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do... If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it" (vv. 13, 14). He was not talking about prayer. The Greek word here is "demand," not "ask." The Greek actually reads, "Whatever you demand as your rights and privileges." You don't have to stand there all day long and command devils to come out. All you need to do is to speak the word of faith. They will obey when you tell them to if you know your authority. They have to go once the command is given in faith.
Operation #3: He toils with our emotions – our wills using the weapon of pride
• GIVE NO ROOM FOR THE WORKS OF THE FLESH!
That is why the Bible in Ephesians 4:26-27 (MSG) says:
“Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.”
Instead of allowing anger rest in our bosoms (for instance), forgive. 2 Cor.2:11 says if we forgive, we . . . “. . . Keep Satan from taking advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”
Pride is usually one of the reasons we are unable to let go and forgive and therefore unable to submit to God. Also, sin in general (when harboured) renders us powerless!
Romans 13:14 says: "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires."
How? Ask yourself these questions
• Where and when, are you usually tempted?
• Is there a particular space that often is harder?
Prepare for that time, remove opportunity for temptation. Avoid situations before you even get in them.
• RUN FROM SIN!
1 Corinthians 6:18a says: “Flee immorality.”
2 Timothy 2:22a says: “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness”
1 Corinthians 10:14 says: “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry”
You don’t get any brownie points for hanging around sin!
Operation #4: Discouragement!
• REFUSE TO BE DISCOURAGED!
For every battle, we need courage. So the devil comes with discouragement - a loss of confidence or enthusiasm; dispiritedness. Especially by making people focus on their sins, weaknesses and failures because he knows that it's impossible for him to defeat you as long as you keep on fighting, so he tries to persuade you that you're a hopeless case, so you might as well surrender and give up. Deut. 31:8 says: “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you."
Operation #5: He engages himself (but only when you give him a foothold)
• RESIST HIM!
Not by engaging with him but by first submitting to God. James 4:7 (NIV) says:
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
As long as you are submitted to God, the devil is no match for you!
• USE THE BLOOD!
Revelations 12:11 says:
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives to the death.” Emphasis mine
• SET HIM UP!
. . . Against the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 59:19b says: “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.”
To deal with the devil, you have to be adequately equipped. Ephesians 6:13 says: “Therefore take up the whole armour of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” In verse 17b of the same chapter, the Bible talks of the one offensive weapon in the entire armour; "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God"!
The Word of God as a matter of fact, is "Quick (alive) & powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword!" (Hebrews 4:12).
Finally, don’t engage the devil in his territory (the arena of reason); but if he dares come into your territory, ensure your lifestyle (the word of your testimony) is right and because we have been made more than conquerors, your victory is sure!
Monday, March 07 2016
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
Last week we looked at breaking the power of the devil. We embarked on an intelligence gathering mission - identifying the operations of the enemy to be able to break his power.
Today we will be looking at an interesting topic that answers some of the misconceptions about when believers should exercise their authority. Christians have been given authority over demons, yet very few even understand it, much less use it. There are those who believe we can't have much of anything now; they think Satan is the one running everything down here and that we cannot do anything about it!
A FEW GROUND RULES
• We must remember that although we are in the world, we are not of the world. (John 17:16)
• Satan's running a lot of what is here on earth, but he's not running everything! And definitely not you and me! (Romans 6:14)
• He's not running the Church. (Matt. 16:18)
• He's not dominating us; we can dominate him. (Luke 10:19)
• We have authority over him! (Luke 10:19)
DEALING WITH IGNORANCE
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. There are even sincere Christians who believe that demons or the devil do not really exist, but are metaphors for serious human problems. Though one does not have to believe in the devil to be saved, such beliefs which are in direct conflict with the Scriptures have to be one of the devil's most effective deceptions. The devil dwells in darkness or hiddenness. If he can make Christians believe that he does not exist, he has certainly been successful at hiding himself. Added to this is the erroneous belief that there is nothing we can do about him! But Ephesians 6:10-18 paints a different picture:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Emphasis mine
In Luke 10:19, Jesus also said:
''Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over ALL the power of the enemy: and nothing [nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing] shall by any means hurt you".
We need to build these truths into our lives by meditating and feeding upon them until they become a part of our consciousness.
Naturally speaking, we eat certain foods every day because doctors tell us we need certain vitamins, minerals, etc., to build strong bodies. There are spiritual "vitamins" and "minerals," so to speak, we need to take every day, too, to be healthy Christians.
John 8:32 (NIV) says:
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
WHY GIVE POWER AND AUTHORITY THAT CANNOT BE EXERCISED?
Jesus said in Matthew 28:18, "...ALL POWER is given unto ME in heaven and in earth." All the authority that can be exercised upon the earth has to be exercised through the Church (you and me), because Christ is not here in person—in His physical body.
The Church in this century does not have less authority than it did right after Jesus' death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and seating at the Father's right hand? If it has less authority today, it would have been better for Jesus not to have died. But no, bless God, we have authority.
Many problems exist because we permit them to—we're not doing anything about them. We're the ones who are supposed to do something about them, but we're trying to get someone else, including God, to do something about them. When we are faced with difficult circumstances we need to remember our authority! There are some situations that require more than only prayers but by exercising our authority. Matt. 18:18 talks about exercising our authority:
“Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Exercising or taking authority implies rebuking, commanding, binding, casting out, loosening and giving orders in Jesus’ name! The devil may try to challenge your authority by his cunning suggestions but we need to know that when a king gives an order, he knows it's going to be carried out.
We are the Body of Christ. Even though we have prayed, leaving everything up to Him, He has conferred His authority on the earth to His Body, the Church. And what use is authority if it cannot be exercised when it is needed?
The trouble is that we relegate everything to the future! Most church people believe we will exercise our spiritual authority sometime in the Millennium. If that is so, why does the Bible say Satan will be bound during the Millennium? There won't be any need to exercise authority then, because there will be nothing that will hurt or destroy. It's now that we must exercise the authority we have been given; especially when there is something that will hurt and destroy, that we have authority.
Luke 10:19 (AMP) says:
"Listen carefully: I have given you authority [that you now possess] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and [the ability to exercise authority] over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will [in any way] harm you." Emphasis mine
Parts of this study was culled from The Believers’ Authority by Kenneth E. Hagin.