Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Authority - Part Five

(This is the final installment of the "Authority" series, so it's a little long.)

Let’s examine how God’s authority applies in the practical realm. I’ll use finances as my example. Malachi 3:9-12 says, “You are cursed with the curse, for you are robbing Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer [insects and plagues] for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine drop its fruit before the time in the field, says the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you happy and blessed, for you shall be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.” (AMP)

The curse exists because of sin. In Genesis 3 we read about how the ground was cursed because of Adam’s sin. When we continue to act in sin and attempt to accomplish things under our own authority, we continue to live under the curse. However, when we follow God’s orders, we’re acting under His authority. When we act under His authority we fall under the protection His authority provides. Then the curse no longer affects us and we are enabled to fulfill His orders.

In terms of finances, tithing is basic training. It’s the proving ground. If God can’t trust you to tithe, how can He trust you to give beyond the tithe? “God must be served in the first place. [It’s time that] the interest of our souls ought to be preferred before that of our bodies. Let [us] trust God to provide for [our] comfort. God has blessings ready for us, but through the weakness of our faith and the narrowness of our desires, we have not room to receive them.” (from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible. Mal 3:13-18. Public Domain.) God keeps His word, not only the promises, but also the curses. How His word affects us depends on us. Which side of His word will you put yourself on, the side of sin, disobedience, your own authority, and the curse? Or on the side of obedience, His authority, and blessing? He places blessing in our hands so we can distribute it to the world as He directs. He is all-powerful, but one of the ways He exerts His power in the earth is through us. He needs us to be the physical manifestation of His spiritual activity in the world. The Gospel is free, but it takes people and money to deliver it to the masses. As we move in His authority and follow His commands we will be blessed, protected, and will see the Gospel preached throughout the world.

The depths of the power of God’s authority working in and through us are unfathomable. Most of us severely underestimate what it means for us to carry God’s authority. In Ephesians 1:16-25, Paul says, “I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.”

We are under the direct authority of the Supreme Commander of All. The higher in rank the person is that we answer to, the more authority we carry. For example, the person who answers to the general carries more authority than the person who answers to a captain. And we answer directly to the highest authority of all! The authority of the heavenly realm has been bestowed on Him. He holds the power of creation. He authorizes us, His people, to move in that power. We have power and authority over anyone and anything that oppose the Kingdom of God. We carry the power to shift climates and pull the climate and culture of Heaven into the earthly realm. To see this happen in our lives we must walk in agreement with the Holy Spirit. According to my pastor, Whitman Toland,
A sustained response of agreement with the Holy Spirit allows Him to have influence in our lives and pulls the atmosphere of heaven into the earthly realm. A sustained atmosphere creates a climate (a sustained atmosphere that is now pervasive). A sustained climate creates a stronghold. A sustained stronghold creates a culture. (Quotes from sermons on October 22 and 29, 2008. You can download the full content at C3Greensboro.com/experience-c3g.)
Let’s stop denying and underestimating the incredible power and authority to which God has given us access! (This is something I think we're all guilty of because the concept is so hard for us to grasp.) Let’s stop trying to live this Christ life in our own power and authority and begin walking in all the things for which we were created! Let’s begin to see God’s authority working on our behalf! Let’s walk in agreement with the Holy Spirit and see God’s culture brought to earth! Let’s see the world changed and the enemy vanquished! Of course, Satan will not be happy when we begin exerting God’s authority in our world, and he will increase his activity against us, but we walk in the protection of God’s authority. This is God’s promise to us, “But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord”. (Isaiah 54:17 AMP) With God on our side we are victorious!