Apr 11, 2018
WOFCF Bible Study Explosion
Kingdom Authority Series – Spiritual Power/Spiritual Authority (part 2)
This evening, we are continuing from last week’s Spiritual Power and Spiritual Authority lesson as part of our overall Kingdom Authority Series. We have discussed and gained a better understanding of “The Nature of Spiritual Authority” and how “We Have Been Given the Authority to use Jesus’ Name.” It is now up to us to apply His Word in our lives. Tonight, we will discuss the following points for our growth in Jesus Christ.
Point #1 Progressive Authority
God is the supreme head of all authority and power. Beneath Him exist many different levels of delegated spiritual authority, which when joined together in descending order, make up what is called ‘progressive authority.’ An example of progressive authority, or ‘a chain of authority’ is provided by the Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians: “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Cor 11:3).
The case of the centurion who sought healing for his servant provides a more detailed example of progressive authority in operation. “And Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ The centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, “Go,” and he goes; and to another, “Come,” and he comes; and to my servant, “Do this,” and he does it.’ When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to those who followed, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel !’” (Matt 8:7-10). When the centurion said, “For I also am a man under authority,” he was identifying his position with that of Jesus, in that both of them were part of progressive authority.
He knew what it was like to be under authority. Above him was:
the Tribune of the Legion; an officer who ranked below a legate (a general or governor) and above a centurion; served as a stepping stone to the Senate,
the Governor of the Province, and above them all,
Below him was a company of soldiers and various household servants. And when the centurion gave an order to those below him he knew it would be obeyed, because he spoke with the authority of those above him. His words were upheld by the weight of the entire Roman Empire . The centurion was also acknowledging Christ’s position in a chain of authority. He understood that Jesus was the Almighty God, and that Christ had to “only speak a word” and his servant would be healed. And so it was. “Then Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.’ And his servant was healed that same hour.” (Matt 8:13 ).
Point #2 Authority Is Ineffective Without Obedience
Obedience is the key to successful operation of progressive authority. If there is obedience throughout the chain, then each link is upheld by the authority of the links above it. However if one link in that chain is disobedient, then its authority can no longer be upheld by those above it, and the chain is effectively broken. The authority of Christ was always upheld because He was always one with the Father, and He was perfectly obedient to His will. Jesus was therefore able to say to Philip, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.” (John 14:10).
We understand that Jesus was referring to the subjection of the flesh to the Spirit. In this light, Jesus (the Flesh) commanded as the Father (the Spirit) directed Him, and His Father verified those commands by doing the works that fulfilled His words. Similarly, if we use the authority of the name of Jesus only as He directs us, then we can be assured that He will respond by performing the appropriate works. Now compare progressive authority in obedience, to the breaking of the chain of authority because of disobedience in today’s world. Jesus predicted a general climate of lawlessness in Matthew. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matt 7:22-23).
Notice that Jesus is addressing those who consider themselves to be Christians. They had “prophesied,” “cast out demons,” and “done many wonders,” and all in the name of Jesus. But one thing was missing. They had in effect denied the sovereign Lordship of Christ by failing to seek, and then be obedient to His will. Instead, they had presumed that works initiated by their flesh would meet with His approval.
The Lord’s condemnation of their presumption is severe. It does not matter that ‘prophecy,’ ‘deliverance,’ and ‘miracles,’ appear worthy ministries in themselves. The point is that they have used His name to do their works. So He disowns them and their works. “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” God is the supreme head of all authority. His ultimate omnipotence cannot be disputed. The words of King Jehoshaphat clearly express this: “O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?” (2 Chronicles 20:6).
God is invincible, and no one can withstand His purposes. Despite this fact, it is necessary to recognize that His authority is not upheld by force, but by willing obedience. And since all authority hinges on obedience, where there is no obedience there is no real authority in a practical sense. In order to appreciate how disobedience has diminished God’s practical authority over man, we shall go on to explore the significance of mankind’s initial disobedience in the Garden of Eden.
Next week, we will continue with part 3 of “Spiritual Power and Spiritual Authority” Adult Bible Study lesson.