God has given enormous authority and power to the believer in the Lord Jesus, so that it is sad to see how many of God’s children live like beggars, whereas they should be living like sons of the Most High. The purpose of this message is to expose to every child of God the authority that God has given him to enjoy and to use.
The Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power (authority) in us who believe, according to the working of his great might which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all. And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once walked… But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 1:17-23, 2:1-6).
Let us look for a moment at what we may call the “history” of Jesus Christ.
- Christ died for our sins.
- God raised Him from the dead.
- God made Him sit far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name.
- He has put all things under Christ’s feet and made Him Head over all things.
Why has God done this? What purpose is in view? For whom is this done? The Bible says, “For the church.” Christ’s death, resurrection, enthronement and authority are for the good of the Church. This Church is His body. She is the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Let us now look at what we may also call the “history” of the believer. The “history” of the believer is tied up with the “history” of Christ.
- The believer was dead in sin.
- The believer was made alive together with Christ. This is God’s fact. Christ cannot have been made alive and the believer left in death. No. The two were made alive together.
- The believer was raised up with Christ. Again, this is God’s fact. He has stated it in His Word because it is true.
- The believer has been made to sit with Christ in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but in that which is to come.
Let me repeat it: You, a simple believer in the Lord Jesus, have been made to sit with Christ in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. You certainly do not deserve it, but God has put you there! You may not feel it, but it does not depend on your feelings. It depends on God.
God has done it. He is right. As the apostle says, “There is immeasurable power in us that believe.” We can put it that there is immeasurable authority in you who believe. This is God’s estimate of your authority. It must indeed be great. It is immeasurable.
If such authority resides in the believer, why are the vast majority of believers living and serving as if they were beggars? It is simply this : they are ignorant of the authority that God has given them. The Bible says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). It is like a man starving with millions of francs in his bank account, but he does not know that the money is there.
The Need of Wisdom and Revelation
No believer should pray asking God for power and authority. This will be wasted prayer. How can God give us that which He has already given us and which we indeed have? What we need is wisdom and revelation.
We need to know that God had actually done these things for us in Christ, then we need the Holy Spirit to transform that theoretical knowledge into working knowledge in our lives. We need to pray: “Lord Jesus, give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You, so that I may know in my inner man and perceive by spiritual sight that You have given me all authority and power by placing me in Yourself in Your death, resurrection, enthronement and power.” When we thus pray, we must believe that God has heard us and granted our request, and start to act and live accordingly. The Lord Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24).
The Nature of Spiritual Authority
The authority of the believer is fundamentally the authority of Jesus exercised by the believer because he is one with Christ in His enthronement and power.
The believer cannot exercise this power outside of Christ. Outside of Christ he is impotent. However, in union with Christ and because of his position in Christ, he is as powerful as Christ is. This may sound like saying too much; nevertheless, it is true. Let me illustrate this from an experience I have everyday. At the road junction in the centre of Yaounde town stands a policeman to control traffic. The man is not strong enough to stop even a fast running bicycle if he were to use the power of his muscles. However, this man is vested with the authority of the Cameroon State, and a single lift of his hand gets many vehicles to a stand for as long as he wants.
He does not need to shout. He knows his authority and he uses it. Occasionally, some stubborn driver attempts to ignore him by rushing past without the signal to do so. He just blows his whistle in such a case, points to the offending vehicle and, while continuing with his job, leaves the offender in the hands of standby policemen to get him to face the justice of the law.
The believer is like that. He is vested with the authority of the Lord Jesus. He does not need to shout and scream. He must talk in his normal tone. The devil faces, not the volume of his voice, but the One in whose name he is speaking. The devil recognizes the authority of the believer who commands from his heavenly authority. Occasionally, the devil may try to ignore the believer. He should never be allowed to get away with it. In such cases the believer must stand on his authority and insist that the devil obey, and he will. Besides, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost stand by to ensure that any attempts at rebellion by the devil are brought under immediate control.
Intercession and Spiritual Authority
Spiritual authority is normally linked with intercession. The intercessor knows his rights as few others do. The apostle Paul said, “For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). The Psalmist also says, “For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with victory. Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their couches. Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to wreak vengeance on the nations and chastisement on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written! This is glory for all his faithful ones. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 149:4 – 9).