Our Authority in Christ Jesus

We're going to tackle a big one today.  Today we're talking about what authority God has given to the believer.  Have you ever heard God is in control of everything?  And everything happens for a reason? Sorry, but

We’re going to tackle a big one today. 

Today we’re talking about what authority God has given to the believer. 

Have you ever heard God is in control of everything?  And everything happens for a reason?

Sorry, but we have to take issue with that.  The problem is, believing those things leads to a life of passivity.  It leads to us sitting on the sidelines, just waiting and hoping for Jesus to come back….or to take us to heaven.

But that’s not what the Bible says our lives are supposed to look like.  The Bible actually says in Christ we are “more than conquerors”:

Read that full verse and it makes it plainly clear.  Nothing will separate us from the love of God.

Here are some amazing preachers tackling the question:  “Is God In Control of Everything?”

Is he sovereign over all?  Absolutely.

But is he controlling everything?  The Bible is pretty clear on that, and the answer is no.

Actually, the Bible makes it clear that God has delegated the Earth to man.  Man then gave away that authority to the Devil in the Garden.  Jesus reclaimed the authority for man, and we now exercise that authority in Him.

Take a look:

Genesis 1:26,28:

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

We were clearly appointed to rule over every living creature on this Earth.  Adam and Eve were given jobs!

But more so than just having dominion over the Earth, it’s clear that we are given power and authority to bring the Kingdom with us wherever we go!  To make a change!

Proverbs 18:21:

Life and death are in the power of the tongue…

Why would something so big as the power of life and death be left to us?  To our tongue?  Because we have great authority in Jesus Christ, that many of us never ever realize.

Here’s another one, from Deuteronomy 30:19:

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live!

Pretty clear that we are given a big role in the whole system, don’t you think?

Why Are You Crying Out To Me?

But as with most things involving God, it’s rarely black and white.  There is almost always this amazing tension in these big topics.  Tension that we can’t fully resolve with our human minds.  It’s the tension of God being sovereign but not controlling every detail.  Our human minds get involved and we say “If God is sovereign, then he is allowing things to happen, and allowing bad things to happen without stopping them is the same as causing them.”

Not exactly.  I believe we can’t fully understand the tension between these two concepts.  But isn’t that just like God.  If we could understand everything about him and the Universe He created, well then that would make us God, wouldn’t it?

No, I am quite happy with a God and a Universe He created that I can’t always figure out down to the lasts detail.

Here is a perfect example of this in the Bible.  I love this.  From Exodus 14:

But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. “The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.”

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. “As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land. “As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. “Then the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots and his horsemen.”

Don’t you just love the tension in this story?

At first, Moses tells the people to just be silent, the LORD will fight for you!  We love to quote that verse.  In fact, it’s the title image up above.  I bet you loved it when you saw it.

And I don’t think Moses was wrong when he said that, because you read the rest of the story and it’s very clear that the LORD is fighting the battle, wiping out Pharaoh with his mighty right hand.  BUT…..the LORD corrects Moses and says “Why are you crying out to Me?”  You do something!  Tell the sons of Israel to go forward!  Life up your staff!  Stretch out your hand!

Even though the LORD would fight the battle on their behalf, Moses and the Israelites had to do something.  They had to step out.  They had to take action.  They had to put their faith into action.

So it’s a “both and” situation.  God does not call us to be passive, just sitting on the couch crying out to Him.  There is a time and a place for that.  But eventually, like he said to Moses, he says to us:  Get up!  Why are you crying to me?  Lift up your staff, you do it!

Healing

Let’s take this one step further.  Someone is sick and you know it’s God’s will to heal them.  What’s the right thing to do?  To just cry out to God and ask him to heal them?  Or to “lift up your staff” and do something yourself?

The answer is there is probably room for both, but far too often Christians stop at the first part.  I think 99% of the time.  Maybe more.  So I’m not saying we need to stop intercessory prayer, but I am saying we need to increase the second part.

Need some Bible evidence of this?  No problem.

What did Jesus tell his disciples before he ascended to Heaven?  It’s called the Great Commission and it goes like this, from Matthew 28:

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

This is very active.  They were told to make disciples of all nations and teach people to obey everything I have commanded you.  So for everyone who is a cessationist (who believes that miracles died out with the Disciples) you have a very hard time with this verse.  Jesus intentionally set it up so that the system would continue on and on, expanding, growing!

And if the Disciples were to teach people to do everything Jesus commanded them to do, then we need to look and see what Jesus commanded the disciples to do.

Here’s the job description:

Luke 9:1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

Matthew 10:1 He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.

Luke 10:1 After 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. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’

Do you see the very clear authority given?

This is not something that should puff you up.  When you actually understand the authority you have been given, as a joint heir with Jesus Christ and son of God, it’s very humbling.  We have been given great authority and I believe God expects us to use it.

Taking this article full circle, I believe God delegated the Earth to man.  He gave us the authority to rule over it.  We lost that authority but Jesus took it back, and the last thing he does on the face of the Earth is to give that authority back to his followers and to tell them to go and command others to do the same!  That brings us to the 21st century.  To you.  To the person reading this article.  YOU have been given authority and commanded to go!

So when we see someone who is sick, what should our response be?  Intercessory prayer to God is good, but ultimately I believe God says to us just like he said to Moses: “Why are you crying out to me?  You go heal them!”

Make no mistake, when we pray for the sick to be healed, it’s not us healing them.  Just like it’s very clear in Exodus 14 that it wasn’t Moses or the Israelites defeating Pharaoh.  You did catch that right?  That’s where this thing can go off the rails in the other direction.  Once we get over the hurdle of understanding our authority and taking action like we are commanded to do, sometimes we can think we are great.  But make no mistake, it was God fighting on behalf of the Egyptians.  Moses was right when he said God will fight for us!

We step out in faith, we take action, we raise our staff, we pray for the sick to be healed….but ultimately we cannot heal anyone.  It’s the authority given to us in Jesus Christ that heals.  It’s Jesus that heals.  But for some reason, God has set it up in a way that he likes to partner with us.  It’s another one of those divine paradoxes, and trust me, your human brain will never fully resolve it.  But God likes to partner with us.  He likes to see us step out in faith and then he says “I will back them up with my mighty right hand.”

In fact, that reminds me of one of my favorite verses, 2 Chronicles 16:9:

For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”

The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.”

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth looking for those whose hearts are fully committed to him, that He may show Himself strong on their behalf.”

Don’t you just love it?  The image that God is constantly watching us, watching for those of us who are committed to Him, who step out in faith based on the promises He’s given, and then he says watch this…..I will fight for them!  I will show myself strong on their behalf.”

So good!

For those of you who like video, here’s a little more on the topic.  Please enjoy:

Reigning in Life as Kings

Here’s one more bonus video.

Bill Johnson is very good on this topic.  He understands our place as children of God, and sons and daughters of the King.

Enjoy:

Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
But to Your name be the glory
Because of Your love and your faithfulness!

chris@langpaul.com

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