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Spiritual Authority

Abuse of authority

Abuse of authority is a constant problem among Christians who have a need to dominate others. Most move out of a carnal understanding of authority and believe that it is their job to keep people in line. Whenever they are confronted by someone who is growing up spiritually and exhibiting spiritual power they feel threatened and use various avenues to shut them down. This move is fatal not only to the person being attacked but also for the attacker. God will not allow others to abuse His children forever but will retaliate and move or even bring down the one abusing those who are His. It is time that the Christian Church come into real understanding of authority and stop striving under the carnal and worldly understanding of how authority operates. The apostles forced Jesus to deal with this problem. Here is what Jesus said: MAT 20:20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Him with her sons, bowing down, and making a request of Him. 20:21 And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left." 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?" They said to Him, "We are able." 20:23 He said to them, "My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father." 20:24 And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. 20:25 But Jesus called them to Himself, and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 20:26 "It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 20:27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. " James' and John's mother attempted to secure positions of authority for her sons which resulted in Jesus explaining the spiritual principle of authority. Verses 25 and 26 express that the churches' authorities are not to be like the gentile authorities, "lording over and exercising authority over" other people. Do any Churches exist that doesn't look like the worlds design of authority? There should be! What we see within most churches is the whole body hopelessly relying on the Pastor as the mover and shaker of what happens within and without the church. What has happened to the rest of the body? The eyes don't see, the ears don't hear and the mouth doesn't speak and we all suffer for it. The Apostle Paul in the Book of Galatians states he didn't learn the gospel from man neither was he discipled by the Apostles and yet he laid the very foundation of New Testament belief. Church authorities today want to control all that happens within their church and outside of it. They show their unbelief in God's ability as well as the Holy Spirit's leading in suppressing the body's gifts and calling. Problems are sure to arise when the immature and unequipped start to move out in ministry but this is to be expected. They will be instructed as to what works and what doesn't if we who are authorities don't stop them but allow them to follow God's leading. This problem of control only becomes worse as we move from the highest levels of authority in a church to lower levels. There is such a striving after authority in the body of Christ that most are busy stepping on others to get to the highest position possible. Jesus knowing everything about authority states that greatness is acquired by serving and desiring others to succeed beyond us. We know that the Pharisees in Jesus' day did not think he had any authority and Pilot proudly proclaimed his authority to judge and crucify Jesus. Ignorance of true authority blinds our hearts and minds from recognizing it. This is what Jesus had to say about His position of authority: JOH 17:2 even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life. While Jesus walked the earth he had "authority over all mankind." We don't see Jesus pushing His weight around and commanding that people listen to and do what he says. Even when the people couldn't handle what Jesus said, he didn't condemn them but left them to either follow or turn back. He had power and authority and refused to place one of the disciples over another. Yes there were three that Jesus included in more intimate times, but that was not declaring that they were greater than the other nine. Anyone who has twelve friends will favor a few of them over the rest, as did Jesus. Many people who are in positions of authority fail to trust God and the Holy Spirit to operate in other people's lives. They somehow doubt God's ability to bring others to maturity. Somehow they made it to maturity but they doubt that others will make it without their great insight and direction. We must not fall into the trap of thinking that we alone are the only ones capable of teaching, preaching, prophesying, delivering, leading and healing others. We are all part of a body and each has abilities to benefit the body and each one needs to exercise and fulfill their part.

There is another area that the church has failed in and that is recognizing those that are mature and have a need for launching off into ministry. Many in positions of authority rely upon others to help them in their own kingdom and fail to realize that the goal is reaching the world not just ministering to a handful of people. People who have reached maturity have a need to exercise their gifts independent from the local authorities. Even as we strive to raise biological children that will be independent and able to survive on their own in the world, so we must strive to produce spiritual children that are capable to leave and fulfill their own spiritual destinies. We need to stop relying on those that we have relied upon for the last ten, fifteen or even twenty years and release them to become everything they can become. We need to understand that we will not receive more reward from God because we have labored in ministry longer than others. Jesus told a parable that illustrates this perfectly. MAT 19:30 "But many who are first will be last; and the last, first. 20:1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 20:2 "And when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. 20:3 "And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place; 20:4 and to those he said,' You too go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.' And so they went. 20:5 "Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing. 20:6 "And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing; and he said to them, 'Why have you been standing here idle all day long?' 20:7 "They said to him, 'Because no one hired us.' He said to them, 'You too go into the vineyard.' 20:8 "And when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.' 20:9 "And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius. 20:10 "And when those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; and they also received each one a denarius. 20:11 "And when they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, 20:12 saying,' These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.' 20:13 "But he answered and said to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? 20:14 'Take what is yours and go your way, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 20:15 'Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?' 20:16 "Thus the last shall be first, and the first last." If we are to reach the world for God we need to stop holding people back and start letting them spread their wings. If they fail, so what? As long as they are restored, they will eventually come to the point where they will succeed and we may just benefit from their success. Besides we are not doing ourselves any favors by stopping people from working in the field during the hottest part of the day. Some may say, "Releasing people into ministry causes problems." My question is, "Is it better to avoid problems and have nothing accomplished or to accomplish great things for God and make a mess?" Hear what the bible has to say about it. PRO 14:4 Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, But much increase comes by the strength of the ox. Regardless of the project there is always a mess to clean up after we are done. If you don't believe it, just ask your wife!

We may also abuse our authority by slandering others doing the work of ministry. They may be people who left our church and are no longer under our authority or just people we don't know who are moving out in God. Jesus addresses this when John told Him they tried to stop others who were not submitted to them. MAR 9:38 ΒΆ John said to Him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to hinder him because he was not following us." 9:39 But Jesus said, "Do not hinder him, for there is no one who shall perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. 9:40 "For he who is not against us is for us. Jesus was not threatened by others moving in their gifts and not submitting to His little group of followers. He knew that they could not move unless they were fully following God. The worldliness of the apostles could only see this worldly principle of authority and wanted to be on the top of it. They wanted every person who would move in it to go through them, what arrogance! Is this not what we see today? Prophets declaring that you need to be submitted under their authority or some other person's authority. Pastors overlooking those who have greater understandings of what the body of Christ is to be. Leaders calling those people who chose to run the race rebellious. These are all worldly attitudes which need to be changed.

Money and Authority

This is included because some falsely believe that the one who controls the money has authority. This is a very worldly belief. Many arguments and factions stem from how money will be used within the church as well as the family. These issues exist because we do not possess faith in God concerning His ability to provide our needs. Didn't God tell us not to give a thought about our life? What we would eat, drink and wear? Do we see Jesus at any time worrying about His needs or life? Some may say but you don't know our needs. We have television programs going out every day that cost astronomical amounts of money. Others may say we operate a school that has been operating in the red or we have 12 children that we adopted. Is your God a small God? God doesn't just have the earth in His hands but He holds the cosmos. Can we even comprehend a billion light years? Let alone the 10 to 20 billion light years of estimated size for the cosmos. Yet our God holds all of this in his hands (or it is under His authority). We need to shake off our concept of God's ability and enlarge it. Maybe we should be asking ourselves is this what God wants me to do? Am I being disobedient to God in doing something he doesn't want to me do or did God tell me to do something I'm not doing?

If we look at Jesus' ministry we will see Him moving in supernatural power to feed a multitude and yet give money to the poor. Jesus' attitude toward money is such that He put Judas (a thief who pilfered from the offerings) as manager over the money. Jesus even knew that Judas stole from the money and never confronted or challenged him. In churches today if someone steals from the church such an outrage is stirred up. Jim Baker is a prime example of the outrage that a person within the church would suffer for stealing. This outrage is not without merit. We need to see that money is not as important as we deem it to be. Jesus, when He wanted to make preparations for the last supper, didn't look at His available money but sent His disciples by a word of knowledge to a certain man. MAT 26:18 And He said, "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, 'The Teacher says," My time is at hand; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples. "'" The colt that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on was not rented but loaned to Him for use and acquired by a word of knowledge. We need to realize that faith is a greater resource to possess than money.


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