OUR Authority in Christ

 
Everybody loves to cheer for the underdog! It’s not enough to go the distance; audiences must see Rocky win—again and again. Has there ever been a greater underdog than a dead person? And yet Jesus rose from the dead and triumphed over all the natural odds.

But Jesus was NEVER the underdog. He was the One with authority, and was even authority itself! Death never had a chance of keeping Him. On the other hand, all Christian believers were the underdog. We were in a lost condition, children of wrath, and without God in this world. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a supernatural change came upon us in the new birth, and we were changed! It’s an exciting story! Where would you be now if Christ hadn’t come into your life? Where would you be headed?

Now if you have made Jesus lord and savior of your life, you have been changed. You are no longer the underdog. You may feel like life’s circumstances are overwhelming you and that you can’t beat the odds. But the odds have already been beaten for you. Because Jesus rose from the dead, you too will rise from the dead. Not only will you rise from the dead, scripture declares that you’ve already been raised: “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye ARE risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins… HAS he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross “(Colossians 2:12-14).

You were an underdog, and the handwriting of ordinances had you bound to the ground. But Jesus took them out of the way, and you were raised! Notice the past tense. You WERE dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1), but God raised you up in Christ. It has already happened. No more under, God’s children are over.
 
And not only over, but in the highest place. He has “raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph.2:6). Now where is Jesus seated? He is at the right hand of the Father (Eph.1:20). That is a position of authority, and it says that we are right there with Him! Just how high up have we been raised? “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (vs.21). In other words, raised to the highest place.

Point of View

Things can look awfully different when viewing life from above. Many Christians still feel like the underdog, but underdogs aren’t seated in heavenly places. It’s important to view things from the proper perspective.

It’s important to understand that the Christian life is much more than principles for living. Jesus didn’t die and rise again just to change our philosophy. He broke the powers of sin and death, and lives His life inside us by His Spirit. That means we have some say in the matters that affect us. We have His authority.

We often quote, “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1John 4:4). What a powerful truth! But it’s a shame we often leave off the first part of that verse: “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” Notice that small but amazing preposition: “of.” You are of God! That means you’re not just a human being. You’re a supernatural creation, and you’ve already overcome. Now the next time the devil comes along with His trials and temptations, take your position and resist Him. You can because you are of God, and God has more authority than the devil.

How do you view yourself? By now you should know that you’re not only human. You are of God, and consequently have authority to rebuke satan’s attacks. In fact, Christians should view themselves as police officers. John MacMillan, author of The Authority of the Believer, wrote about this, noting that a police officer can stop traffic by the very power of the authority backing him. It’s not by his own strength. He can’t just stand in front of cars and smash them if they don’t comply! But the drivers stop their cars on his command, because they recognize his authority. In the same way, it’s not about our own strength and power to stop the devil, but the devil must submit because we are backed with God’s authority.

As Jesus came to destroy the devil’s works (1John 3:8), so we carry on His mission as His Body on earth. Don’t think less of yourself when God has done a wonder and seated you in heavenly places with Christ. Don’t say, “Who? Little ol’ me?”

“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world…know ye not that we shall judge angels?” (1Corinthians 6:2,3). Take your position! It’s time to get angry. Too often, we buckle under the pressure and want others to pray for us. There are times when we need help, but quite often we might win if we just step up and take authority over the issue. The Bible says, “Be angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil” (Eph.4:26-27).

It’s not a sin to get angry, if you are directing it in the proper place. This is talking about directing it at the devil. It has traditionally been taught that you shouldn’t go to bed angry. Don’t let the sun go down before you resolve the anger. And such counsel is usually given to married couples!

That’s nice for married couples, but it’s not what this verse is teaching! It’s saying, “don’t let your wrath get cool! Keep it burning and fired up so that the devil gets no place.” Don’t moan and cry and say, “Woe is me, I’m under attack.” Instead say, “Devil that’s enough! Away with you and don’t bother me with this again!”

I once had a dream in which I was in a stalled car and a gang was approaching me. They were all violent looking, except for one who happened to be a peaceful looking lady. The violent ones got closer as I tried to start the car and roll up the window. The window was barely rolling up quick enough and I began to panic. The gang was starting to reach in and I fearfully uttered prayers like, “Oh God please get me out of here! Please God help…” And then, just as they were about to open the door, something rose up within me and I turned and shouted: “In the name of Jesus, I command you all to depart!” Then, every one of them vanished, except for the peaceful looking lady. She looked up and said to me, “I was wondering if you were going to do that!”

That was just a dream, but I wonder if angels aren’t watching us at times and wondering if we’re going to take up our authority and settle the issues. I have learned to be angry and sin not. I command the devil. I’m not perfected yet, but I’ve seen victory.

How to use authority

“O.K. I’m angry. Now what?” Now you flash your badge. The Word of God is powerful and effective for taking out the enemy. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He responded with, “It is written.” Get to know the Word and use it like the sword that it is. So many people love and admire the sword. They polish the sword. They study all about the sword. But they never learn how to use it! Find out your rights and promises and flash the badge in the time of need. Speak to your mountains and command them out of the way based on the promises of God.

If you feel like you are going to die, boldly declare “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD!” (Psalm 118:17).

If you’re feeling down, confess, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God” (Isaiah 61:10).

If you’re under attack, proclaim, “No weapon that is formed against [me] shall prosper” (Is.54:17).

Of course, it is not just about speaking the right words. The right words are powerful, but they are not magical. In order for the authority to flow, it’s necessary to be living in it. The only way to be strong in the authority of Jesus Christ is to carry it well. Authority is not something that is available for the occasion alone; the believer must constantly walk in it.

Remember the horrible incident with the seven sons of Sceva? When they tried to cast out an evil spirit, they said, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches” (Acts 19:13). They heard, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” (Acts 19:15). Their religious words meant nothing to the demon, who violently overcame them. It’s not enough to use the right words that someone else has used. You have to have the relationship with Jesus. That’s what was missing in these poor lads. It wasn’t the Jesus they knew, it was the Jesus whom Paul preaches.

We’ve got to live our position. Imagine a teacher who has let his or her class get away with everything for so long, and then one day tries to put their foot down. Are the students going to so easily submit? But the teacher who from the beginning enforces the law will be able to deal adequately with trouble.

What to expect and embrace

This doesn’t mean that there will be no further troubles in life. The Bible teaches that suffering is to be expected. But it’s not to be embraced. That’s the mistake that has been so long taught in the church. Christians have become weakened by the idea that suffering should be embraced as attributing to God’s sovereignty. Instead of resisting the devil, many have made the error of thinking it was the Lord!

God is a deliverer, not a giver of trouble. He’s not the cause of your problems, He’s the answer! Expect suffering, but embrace God’s authority and love. Paul was able to say, “what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me” (2Timothy 3:11). He knew that God is good, and he didn’t submit to suffering with a pious resignation. On the contrary, he always expected God’s deliverance: “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2Tim. 4:18).

Embrace the victory that is yours in Christ. What authority can take you down? “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:32-34).

Did you notice that last verse? Who has the right to do anything to you? It’s Christ that died. But that’s not all, He’s risen again! But wait, there’s more- He’s at the right hand of God! Act now and you’ll get a bonus: He makes intercession for us!” Just one of those would be sufficient to bring hope, but it just keeps going.

The devil has no authority over God’s people. Yet he does so much harm. It’s time to stand up to him and say, “Enough!” Learn to grow in this authority. It doesn’t just happen overnight. It comes through a committed relationship to God. God doesn’t want the devil reigning, He wants us reigning in life through the one, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).
   

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