Monday, March 26, 2018

Wrongly Appropriated Authority

VIDEO: Wrongly Appropriated Authority

Are there limits to man’s authority on this Earth? Are there consequences if we step outside our authority? Perhaps the question to begin with is, “Once we are Christians, can our wrong actions be held against us?” 

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1 AKJV) 

While this verse says that there is no condemnation for Christians “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” it does not say that we can do anything we want or that any sin in our lives is acceptable. If we are walking with the Spirit of God, He will lead us out of sin. To find out what “condemnation” this is referring to, we must continue reading: 

But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11 AKJV) 

Paul was speaking about the consequences of sin by which we are sent to Hell when we die. Christians were being persecuted: they were hung on crosses and fed to lions. He reassured them that, in the end, all would be okay if they clung to their faith in Jesus. Many times, this verse is combined with being “co-laborers” with Jesus. The entire verse reads as follows: 

For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building… (1 Corinthians 3:9 NIV) 

We are what God uses to do His work on this Earth. A field cannot plant its own crops or do things on its own. God is the one directing what needs to be done, not us. We need to be sure that we are doing what God wants us to do. 

For many years I believed that “all authority” was given to me because so many noted preachers said it was so. Recently, God has shown us that assumption is not supported by the Word of God. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that WE have been given all authority, only that Jesus was given “all authority” after He rose from the grave. I began by asking some questions: 

  • If an earthly king has authority, do those under him have the very same authority? 
  • How about his heir; does the son of an earthly king wield all the power of the king? 
  • Why would we assume to have the exact same authority as our Heavenly King? 

With these questions in mind, let’s look at one of the common verses used to support the assumption that we have all authority: 

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; (Romans 8:17) 

Since we are “joint-heirs” with Christ, it is often assumed that we have all authority since He was given all authority. There is a second half to this verse that many leave off: 

...if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:17) 

This puts the statement in proper context. Paul is still talking about enduring suffering for what is to come because we are “heirs with Jesus.” You inherit something and receive your inheritance when you die. Christians were giving their lives when they refused to deny Christ so Paul was encouraging them of their future: When they die, they would inherit eternal life in Heaven. 

In Luke, when Jesus sent out His disciples, they were to preach the Gospel and prepare the way for Jesus by breaking Satan’s authority to ready the people to receive from Him. They returned, so excited at the power and authority they wielded in His name. Jesus explained: 

Behold, I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19 AKJV) 

The words “power” in this verse actually has two different meanings in Greek: 

  • power to tread: (exousia) This can mean the power of rule (authority), specifically over mankind because of the power of judicial decrees. 
  • all the power of the enemy: (dynamis) This is the same root word for dynamite. It is the creative power to do miracles, the power and influence that comes with wealth, or the power of an army. 

Before the Lord sent out the disciples to a specific place for His purpose, they were given power over the enemy. He dispatched them with specific tasks: to prepare the way for His coming and to empower His devoted followers to get the job done. The reference to serpents and scorpions is strictly metaphorical and not literal because there are no examples in the Bible, New Testament or Old, of people actually walking on these deadly creatures. 

  • Serpents refer to earthly, sensual wisdom; crafty and cunning people. Jesus and John the Baptist referred to the Pharisees as serpents. 
  • Scorpions hold poison in their tail. A tale is also a story. This remark refers to people who relate deadly and poisonous stories. 

The authority to overcome these types of attacks was given to those the Lord sent out for this particular task. The disciples were able to conquer the enemy because Jesus gave them power to perform miracles by healing the sick and casting out demons (from Matthew). This not only proved they were from God, but it moved Satan out of the way. 

Did the disciples continue casting out all demons and performing miracles after they returned? There are zero accounts of the 70 people He empowered going around the country doing miracles. However, Paul reports the disciples were empowered at the Feast of Pentecost. This is when the Lord equips us with this type of authority: 

For [of course] I will not venture (presume) to speak thus of any work except what Christ has actually done through me [as an instrument in His hands] to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, [Even as my preaching has been accompanied] with the power of signs and wonders, [and all of it] by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:18-19 AMPC) 

Gentiles are those who do not know or have a relationship with God. The authority to overcome ALL the power of the enemy with signs, wonders, and miracles is given when Jesus sends us out to preach the Gospel to those who haven’t heard it yet. This is to confirm God’s love by delivering those oppressed by the Devil. We have not been given all authority to use whenever WE want, for whatever WE think should be done. We must be sent out by our Lord. 

How this authority applies to believers today can be seen in the Book of Matthew. After Jesus rose from the grave He said: 

All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Me… (Matthew 28:18 AMPC) 

If we continue reading the passage, the Lord tells us to go and make disciples. He never says, “I give you all authority.” Jesus states clearly what authority we have been given in the Great Commission: 

Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news (the Gospel) to every creature [of the whole human race]... And these attesting signs will accompany those who believe (Mark 16:17-18 AMPC): 

  • In My name they will drive out demons. 
  • They will speak in new tongues. 
  • They will pick up serpents. 
  • If they drink anything deadly, it will not hurt them. 
  • They will lay their hands on the sick, and they will be made well. 

This entire list is comprised of things that are affecting men on this Earth: 

  1. Demons reside in men. 
  2. You speak with your physical body. 
  3. “Take up snakes” serpents are animals on this Earth or men acting like snakes. 
  4. What we ingest will not harm us - in this world. 
  5. Healing happens to people’s physical body. 

Every one of these is something that is afflicting us in this physical world - it is touching our physical realm. All power was given to Jesus, our Lord, and He gave us authority in these areas, not “all authority.” Nowhere does it actually state that we have authority in the Heavens because this would contradict God’s Word: 

The Heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the Earth hath He given to the children of men. (Psalms 115:16 AKJV) 

Notice that everything in the heavens are the Lord’s and only that which is on this Earth is what we have authority over. The Bible never tells us that we have authority in the heavens, Earth is man’s domain and Heaven is God’s. 

To further explain number three: In “Strong’s Concordance,” the Greek word “αἴρω” for “take up” can also mean to “remove from thy place.” Serpents are earthly animals and are often used to describe Satan and his forces as they act upon this Earth. We are to remove them from their place here on Earth. How do we do that? By removing their authority in the Courts of Heaven. 

Unauthorized Authority 

The Old Testament shows us God’s ways which still apply to Christians today. The tabernacle of God where the Ark was first kept was built according to God’s design and ceremonies conducted which were a foreshadow of what Jesus would later fulfill. 

You shall not offer unauthorized incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering, and you shall not pour a drink offering on it. (Exodus 30:9 ESV) 

Incense are our prayers (Revelation 8:3-4). Aaron was instructed to burn incense continually, and we are instructed to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). According to God’s instructions, there was a right way to pray and an “unauthorized” way. 

And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. (Leviticus 10:1-2 AKJV) 

When Aaron’s sons used what wasn’t approved or commanded by God, they were killed. If our prayers are assuming unauthorized authority, there can be dire consequences. 

We are what God uses to do His work on this Earth. A field cannot plant its own crops or do things itself. Someone must first plant the field. God is the one directing what needs to be done, not us. Our prayers should reflect this: we need to be sure that we are praying authorized prayers. 

There are three ways we transgress concerning authority that hasn’t been given to us: 

  1. Commanding the heavenly hosts, the angels 
  2. Taking authority over principalities, powers, and wickedness in high places 
  3. Taking authority over Leviathan 

Let’s look at each one of these in detail in the upcoming chapters. 

Consequences of Unauthorized Authority 

A few years ago, the Holy Spirit urged me to take up my duties to intercede for my nation’s leaders. I did this in the Courts of Heaven, as He urged, then I took the next logical step which He didn’t tell me to do. I took authority over all those spiritual rulers in high places. I knew that the spiritual king of Tyre had impeded God’s messenger, so I figured I would take them out of commission in order that they wouldn’t hinder God’s plan. 

A couple of months later, God sent me across the country on a three-and-a-half-week mission. The moment I stepped off the plane, my throat began to ache. For the first twelve days I was plagued by a sore throat and fever that wouldn’t go away. 

Usually when sickness comes upon me, I spend a few hours in prayer, worship, and meditation of God’s Word and my symptoms vanish. By day eleven I had enough. I curled up in my bed and put on Christian TV programs to bolster my faith. 

My fever spiked. Nausea and dizziness overcame me each time I stood up. “What is going on?” I thought. “I’ve researched the word, I know my authority; this sickness is trespassing!” 

I lay in bed, feeling like I could lose consciousness at any moment. I refused to give up. I knew something was wrong and I needed to fix it. The next show I played on the DVR was talking about the authority of God. It quoted the verse about the Heavens being of the Lord’s. Then the host, let’s call him John, talked about a time when three pastors called him about things that were going on in their church: 

    • Five women had miscarried in the same month last year; four other pregnant women were spotting blood and would soon miscarry in that same month. 
    • Two pastors either had a child that had run away or one who went missing. 

While seeking an answer, John was sent a dream to explain what was happening. When he called the pastors back, sure enough, each one had been leading their congregation against the spiritual powers influencing their region. Once the pastors repented for trespassing on God’s authority, the situations resolved within 24 hours: 

    • All four women stopped spotting and had full-term pregnancies. 
    • Both missing children called their parents and returned home. 

After pulling up the Bible app on my phone and reading the entire chapters that were quoted, I realized I had violated the structure of authority that God had put in place. Since I had illegally attacked the enemy, he now had the legal right to attack me. Of course, Satan waited until I was away from my home base and working to retaliate. 

I didn’t waste any time. “Mighty God, I am so sorry I overstepped my authority and came against the enemy in the heavens. I won’t ever do that again! I plead the blood of Jesus over this sin and I thank you that it is blotted out of all records in Heaven. Father, I thank you that the enemy has no more legal right to assault me.” 

The quiet knowing in my spirit came. I knew that by morning I would see the attack broken and be restored to health by the end of the next day. It came to pass exactly as the Holy Spirit brought it to me. I went from having a high fever and barely able to stand, to being completely healed in 24 hours. 

This was a lesson I likely won’t ever forget. I will never again try to take authority over spiritual rulers in heavenly places. Search the scriptures and see if there is even one example of a human being attacking things in the spiritual realm. I looked and found nothing. If I don’t see it in the Bible, I can’t presume to think I can do it. 

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