Authority works on the basis of faith.
And He said to them, “ I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 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 – Luke 10:18,19
Authority has been given to us over the devil and all of his works. God has dealt the devil a big blow on the Cross. Jesus saw it as a prophecy. On the basis of that, he says that the authority is ours.
We saw in the past weeks how the Bible says in Hebrews 2:14 that the devil is paralysed. He cannot do much. We, on the other hand, have been empowered. He’s lost it and we’ve regained it.
We don’t have to be afraid of the devil. He’s called a thief. He is an unauthorised encroacher. We’re the rightful owner of our things. So we shouldn’t be afraid. Only the devil should be afraid of us. Christians should build their authority on the basis of such truth.
How do we exercise authority?
So, How do we exercise authority? By speaking the Word.
Authority is not just about chasing out demons and performing miracles and so on.We must learn to use our authority in everyday, normal life.
Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him. And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” So the Lord said, “ If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you- Luke 17: 3 – 6
It seems like the issue is about unforgiveness. When Jesus says to the disciples that they should forgive their brother even if he sins seven times a day,the disciples say to him that they need more faith to be able to do it. So Jesus says if a problem is in your way, say to the problem with faith that it be removed and it will be removed. The problem may be unforgiveness, temptation, animosity or any thing.You can tell it to get out of your life and never come back. You can tell it to be rooted in the sea, so that it will not even get washed on to the shore.
The verse says, “It would obey you”. Who will it obey? YOU. Not Jesus. You don’t have to ask Jesus to remove the problem. You speak it and you will be able to exercise forgiveness towards the people who have wronged you. Christians are always putting the responsibility on God for things that they should be doing.
There is much emphasis on ‘our words’ in the gospels, the epistles, and also the Old Testament. Proverbs says that joy comes from the words of our mouth and that the tongue is the tree of life and that from the tongue comes healing. The first generation Israelites didn’t go into the Promised Land because they said that they would die in the wilderness. That’s why God told the next generation through Joshua, “don’t let the word depart from your mouth”. (Joshua 1:8)
History of how the word works:
Let’s examine the history of how the Word works. The tongue is the source of authority. Therefore to understand authority, it is necessary to understand the mouth.
Genesis mentions the phrase “God said” ten times to emphasis the importance of the spoken word. God spoke and got things into being. Hebrews 11 says that by faith we understand that the worlds were made by the word of God.
Genesis 1:27says that God made man in His image and likeness. He made man as a speaking being, as a person who can speak things into being.
Though God made Man like him, something went wrong. What went wrong?
The Bible says that God and man walked in the cool of the day. God didn’t have a body to physically walk beside man. But God and man had a fellowship in the spiritual level. But something changed later.
God gave authority to man to name animals and to tend and keep the garden. God asked man to name animals. He gave him that authority. Man named all animals. What he called it, that it would be.
Gen 2:15 is about authority. God created a beautiful garden – four rivers, thousands of fruit and vegetable bearing trees, land that grew gold, wonderful animals, and told man to tend and keep it. Tending and keeping the garden is a responsibility, not just a routine meaningless job.
When people do things without love, it doesn’t give them fruit. People work night and days with a wrong attitude and they don’t go very far in life. There is a difference between doing a job meaninglessly and cultivating, tending and keeping.
How does one cultivate? By the word.By talking and teaching.That is how we cultivate our children, we talk to them and we teach them. We cultivate people who work for us. Inner cultivation of a person is very important.
Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror – I peter 3: 1 – 6
When Peter talks about adornment, he says that it should not be merely outward. It is acceptable to adorn oneself and look fine. But merely outward adornment is of no use.Inward beauty is incorruptible. Outward beauty is corruptible.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day – 2 Cor 4:16
That is what cultivation is – making the inner man better and better.
Things may go wrong, challenges may surface, but we’re responsible to make the inner man better. God showed that by example. Before creation, there was formlessness, emptiness and darkness, but God changed it with His word. He performed His responsibility. Similarly, we must perform ours.
Cultivation can work only with authority:
The word ‘Keep’ means‘to guard’, ‘to hedge about’, and ‘to keep intruders out’. It is obvious that ‘keeping’ the garden is a challenging responsibility. It was a beautiful garden that God gave them, but there was an enemy. And God tells man not to let the enemy in. People say that everything is in God’s hands; but it is all in man’s hands. The garden is his responsibly and authority, not God’s.
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die – Gen 2:16,17
Amplified version calls it the tree of the knowledge of blessing and calamity. What it means is that man would come to a position where he could produce both blessing and calamity by the words of his mouth. Till now, man knew only blessing. God trained him in it. He knew only goodness. He saw only blessing.
His fellowship with God helped him to see and know only goodness.
But if he ate the fruit he would have the power by the words of his mouth to produce both blessing and calamity.Calamity would become possible after eating of the fruit.
After God said this, the devil came and tempted Eve. She eats it and then gives it to Adam and he ate it and then something happened. What happened to them was remarkable. They were hiding and when God asked them where they were. Adam said, “I was afraid”. For the first time, fear makes entry into the garden of Eden. Adam now spoke a different language.
When his spirit was connected to God, and his tongues was connected to his spirit, he spoke only good things. But after eating of the fruit of the knowledge of blessing and calamity, Adam’s spirit got disconnected from God. This is what is called spiritual death – being disconnected from God. That is why his mouth spoke fear and calamity. When the spirit of man is not connected with God, it is connected to the devil; his mouth speaks calamity. From that time onwards, fear has dominated mankind.
Fear – “I am afraid…”
In much of the English-speaking world, we use the phrase “I am afraid” as part of courteous speech. “I’m afraid I cannot come”, etc. Fear has become an inseparable part of our vocabulary. It has become a part of our speech and life.
Fear is the source of conflicts, disagreement, wars, bitterness, poverty, failure and sickness. We have started embracing fear. Fear has been accepted as a part of life. Once we accept fear, it starts dominating us. Fear brings doubt, suspicion and failure. It becomes the cause of all calamities in our lives.
Now man has the capacity to produce both blessing and calamity, but he produces more calamity than blessing because his spirit is not connected to God.
People say to me is unbelief and scepticism how can words be so powerful. How will what we say happen it our lives? We don’t believe in this ‘faith confession’ business. But I show them how it has been working for them whether or not they believe it. It has been working in the negative direction. Whatever they have spoken in fear and unbelief has been happening in their lives. “I can’t dothis”,“it’s not possible”, “it will not work out”, “such good things are not meant for people like me” – all of these words have been working in their lives. They’ve not progressedmuch because of these words. The principle works both in the positive and the negative.
The problem with a new believer is that thought he is connected to God in the Spirit, his mind still thinks like the old person; it is not yet renewed. James 3 explains to us who a spiritual man is. We cannot identity him by his clothes and his hairstyle. A mature Christian is one who has control over his tongue. He speaks only God’s words and produces only good things in life.
– Summary by AFT Team