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Spiritual Authority

Authority over a gift, a truth, an office or a geographical area

If authority isn't connected to physical position alone what is authority? In the simplest definition, authority is: responsibility over a given gifting, truth, office, or geographical area. 

1) Gift

Any gifting that a believer possesses should be used for the benefit of others and discharged faithfully. This is the lowest form of authority and yet extremely important. When we learn to move in the Spirit, we not only learn how our gifting works but also the importance of other people's gifts. We learn to respect the anointing and see how they work together in perfect harmony. If all are moving in their respective gifts no one will feel left out but all will see each other’s value. Problems arise when one gift is exalted above another and the lesser gifts are not allowed to operate. God did not establish any gift without its purpose. The body of Christ needs to realize that we need all the gifts. Those who possess a gift are not only responsible for using their gifts but also propagate these gifts. It is a shame to the body of Christ when the gifted people don't want to impart to others in fear of losing their livelihood or exclusive position. We are not here for ourselves, but for our Father God.

2) Truth

The next area of authority is responsibility over a given truth. When I think about where we (the body of Christ) are today I cannot help but thank God for men such as Kenneth Hagin who has been entrusted with the preaching of Faith. Our success is directly connected to faithful men of God who over the years stayed on course and preached truths even when no one else was preaching it. They surely endured hardship being called heretics and false prophets. Many are persecuted by the world as well as the church. We must also be aware of the truths that God has called us to dedicate our lives to, for there will always be a need to preach truth. It is through these truths that the immature grow up to be mature. As we grow up in faith we should be affecting the world which should cause a constant flow of the immature into the Church. Even as there is a need to impart our spiritual gifts to others there is also a need to teach and train others to preach truths.

3) Office

The third area of authority is an office. The offices are; Apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher and evangelist. Offices are not for the purpose of telling people what to do. The Christian Church has for millennia been dominating the members of the body and justifying it as their right. They make one person their head and every other person somehow has a position below this head. Any direction comes from the person on top and if they don't want to move the whole organization stops. This shows the ignorance of those who claim the top positions. Arrogance and pride rule this design and it legislates God right out of the picture.

Jesus is the head of the body and He can speak to any member concerning any issue within the church or the world. There is an error that has been propagated and is still propagated by many people. This error is that God will only speak down through spiritual authority and not randomly through any member. This concept (that God only speaks down through authority) places those given responsibility over others a superior and arrogant attitude. Many become so proud that they close their ears to the members that they do not respect or to those who have failed to live up to their expectations. They have lost humility and are on the road to being humbled by God. This is not to suggest that we must accept everything people say, but that we must consider it without hastily dismissing it. Joseph the youngest of his brothers told them that they as well as his father Jacob would bow down to him. They did not believe Joseph and even wanted to kill him, but God's word showed itself true. The young Samuel (1Sa 3:10-14) under Eli's care was told in his first communication with God that Eli's house was going to be judged. Eli accepted the word from a novice as God's word which proved to be from God.

The apostle Paul states: EPH 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ. The five fold ministry is for the express purpose of equipping and building up the body. It is a hard thing to transition from doing the ministry to equipping others to do the ministry. There is a lot of joy in doing the ministry which is missed by those who have transitioned to the equipping of others. The word "equipping" in Ep 4:12 can mean: to adjust thoroughly, to knit together, to complete in character and to restore to a forfeited condition. The word "building up" in the same verse could be translated: to construct, establish or to contribute to the advancement of. Even Jesus knew that it would take more than him to reach the world. That is why He imparted his knowledge into the twelve Apostles. Those in an office need to start equipping others so that they may move out and fulfill their calling and gifting. It is of utmost importance that those who would equip others that they themselves have actual experience doing the work of ministry. When people are called into an office, they begin to learn the principles that operate for that particular office. They are stretched and enlarged to accommodate new understandings and variations in how truth operates. The process transforms the individual into one who can flow with the office for which they are called. This process into maturity instructs and enables them to lead others through the same process. We cannot lead where we have not gone. Otherwise, we will be the blind leading the blind and we both will fall into a pit.

We must not think that each advancement we made that we leave that last area behind. Each advancement is a base for the next. We should not leave our spiritual gift behind when we are responsible for some truth or office. The spiritual gifts are evidence to others that we are of the truth. We should be growing in spiritual abilities and power as we progress. Spiritual authority without spiritual power is ineffective. True spiritual leadership exists when spiritual authority and power are successfully matured through various trials over time. Those who are spiritually immature and have power are like children with a gun. The potential of hurting themselves or others is very high. Conversely, those who seem mature and have no power have not matured in faith but religion. They have a need to be delivered and rebuilt on the rock of revelation.

4) Geographical area

The last area of authority is over a geographical area. We progress from small areas to larger areas as we mature. We may have spiritual authority over a local church for several years before God advances us to authority over a city. When we talk about authority, we are not necessarily speaking of a physical position but a spiritual one. God will place on us the spiritual responsibility to pray and intercede for his purposes to be accomplished. If we fail to fulfill our responsibility then the church or area will suffer as will we. A church may have spiritually mature leadership and yet God may give us spiritual authority which may not be recognized by the leadership. We are none the less responsible for doing our part to advance the body. If we fail to do our part and refuse to flow with God we will not advance but be replaced. This can be a very difficult position to be in especially if the leadership doesn't recognize us as anything but rebellious and immature. It will take determination and willingness to be used in spite of abuse and rejection that comes from those who should embrace and love us. Be encouraged by these words: JOH 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 1:11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. Jesus suffered even as we must suffer but be of good cheer He has overcome the world and so shall we. We can even see the Apostle Paul's travail over the mistreating of the world and the church because of his calling. 1CO 4:9 For, I think, God has  exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 4:10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. 4:11 To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; 4:12 and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; 4:13 when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now. This is a testimony from someone who stood in the highest office of the church and responsible for laying the foundation of Christian belief.

These are four main areas of responsibility that move us from one level of authority to another. There are variations to these and they are not meant to be exhaustive but just a rough outline.


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