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Spiritual Authority

Authority & Power

This topic must be addressed before we deal with the Apostle or the Prophet. It is imperative that we understand authority and the role of power in light of authority. Without a clear understanding of these two elements we will have a church that is bound by traditions and a body that is impotent to affect this world. When we come into a better understanding of authority and possess the power that is already given to us we will revolutionize the church and reach the world for Christ.

The body of Christ up to this point has been organized as a company. There is a CEO (usually the Pastor) that everyone works for and a board of directors that actually pull the strings behind the scene. All the employees bow to the Pastor as head of this organization and do not move until the Pastor gives the directions. Yet the Pastor is bowed low by the board of directors because they can dismiss him anytime the board has any reason to. The Pastor may get the boot just because the board is not in agreement with the slightest change in church direction. This setup is not only unscriptural but fatal to the true operation of the body of Christ. This error is due in part to our ignorance on authority and the way the body of Christ is to operate.

What is the relationship between power and authority?

When we talk about authority, it is not the earthly type that we are addressing. Earthly authority relies upon worldly law, or the amount of military troops one has, or power seized or given by others. Worldly authority can be acquired by inheritance, wealth, or even notoriety but not spiritual authority. Authority that is spiritual in scope is given to us by God and operates according to His laws. Spiritual authority like worldly authority must have the power to act in order for authority to be genuine. Worldly authority is not authentic if the one who possesses it doesn't also posses the power to enforcement his will. We would say that this one is just a figure head that possesses no real power. This is why we must not just speak about authority but also power.

Most people know the story about Moses and how he had authority to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt and around the wilderness for forty years. According to Acts 7:25 Moses knew that God had chosen him as the deliverer of the Jewish people however the Jews didn't understand this. After Moses killed the Egyptian, the Jews were afraid of him and asked: ACT 7:27 ". . . 'Who made you a ruler and judge over us? 7:28 'You do not mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?" Moses before fleeing Egypt knew that he was the deliverer but had no power except his own physical strength. Moses was operating according to the physical world's idea of authority and knew nothing about the spiritual authority that he would deliver these people with. Forty years after running from Egypt, God appears to Moses and tells him to go back to Egypt and to the Jewish people. Moses learned the lesson that physical strength wasn't going to help the people. Moses asks God, EXO 3:11 "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?" 3:12 And He said, "Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain." 3:13 Then Moses said to God, "Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you.' Now they may say to me, 'What is His name?' What shall I say to them?" 3:14 And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" EXO 4:1 Then Moses answered and said, "What if they will not believe me, or listen to what I say? For they may say, 'The Lord has not appeared to you.'" 4:2 And the Lord said to him, "What is that in your hand?" And he said, "A staff." 4:3 Then He said, "Throw it on the ground." So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4:4 But the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail"-- so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand- 4:5 "that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you." Moses knew that he needed not only the name of God but also proof that God truly spoke to him and sent him to the people.

Would anyone doubt the fact that Moses was a true authority of God after reading all that we have on his life? Moses showed his maturity of faith and trust in God by enduring the doubts of the Israelites. When the process of plagues upon the Egyptians resulted in hardships upon the Israelites, Moses stood strong. Moses believed God's word even though he didn't fully understand God's method. The demonstrations of power showed Moses' authority to bring the Israelites out of Egypt and the reality of God's judgment upon those who would abuse and mistreat His people. Surely God uses His chosen authorities to perform such amazing supernatural events. Power to punish and retaliate against our enemies is a must for every authority (of course our enemies are satan and his angels). Moses walked in supernatural power that enabled him to stand against those who would oppose what he was to do. This power is missing within the twenty-first century church. We are starting to see the budding of the rod and the separation of the holy from the profane. Why were people so amazed when Ananias and Sapphira (acts 5) died at the apostle‚Äôs feet? The reality of real power and authority is a fearful thing. Even the author of Hebrew declares the same thing. Heb 10:31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. God uses people to execute His justice and bring judgment upon the unrighteous, because we represent His authority.

Moses' authority wasn't just in demonstrations of power. If Moses only had demonstrations of power, he would have been incapable of leading the people into the promises of God. We don't know what Moses' life was like for the forty years that he spent tending sheep but somehow he learned how to listen to God. Moses possessed wisdom and the ability to judge right from wrong. He was able to address the issues that the people had and yet mature enough to share authority with others. Moses was not just a man of supernatural demonstration but also a man capable of leading and caring for people.

It is important that we realize that there are limits to each person's authority. If we attempt to push our authority upon people we are operating in the flesh. This can be seen when Aaron and Miriam spoke against Moses. NUM 12:1 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman); 12:2 and they said, "Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?" And the Lord heard it. It would seem that Aaron and Miriam did not like the Cushite woman that Moses chose to marry. Based on Moses choice they decided that Moses must not be as spiritual as they once thought. So Aaron and Miriam were lead astray by the flesh and begin to bad mouth Moses. They failed to realize that not only was Moses the one chosen to lead the people out of Egypt but given the power to do it. Neither Aaron nor Miriam had the power or authority to perform the supernatural signs  and wonders that brought the freedom to Israel. They did not realize that because they were under Moses' authority, that his abilities (or anointing) as a prophet would be supercharging their own prophetic abilities. They assumed incorrectly that their abilities were the result of their own gifting and calling alone. Aaron and Miriam had their own gifting and calling, this is not in dispute, but that they failed to discern that Moses' authority was greater than their own. How did Aaron and Miriam fail to notice the amount of authority and power Moses possessed? The supernatural power and divine wisdom that Moses displayed should have been enough to convince these two of Moses' greater authority. NUM 12:4 And suddenly the Lord said to Moses and Aaron and to Miriam, "You three come out to the tent of meeting." So the three of them came out. 12:5 Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the doorway of the tent, and He called Aaron and Miriam. When they had both come forward, 12:6 He said, "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. 12:7 "Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household; 12:8 With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant, against Moses? " Moses did not attempt to defend himself against their grumbling but allowed God to intervene on his behalf. There was no need for Moses to proudly declare his authority or push forth his position but only to wait on God.

It is in this very point that we see problems within the church today. Many pastors believe that just because they are Pastors they have the market on authority. They believe that they have no need to move in a gift nor do they have any understanding of spiritual things. Yet they proclaim that they are the head of the church. Most believe that because they can preach and teach that they have authority to lead people. These same people do not realize that there is knowledge of scripture that surpasses human understanding. This knowledge when possessed and obeyed would produce supernatural signs and wonders. Many people even persecute those that are true authorities within the body because they move in a gift or are teaching things that rightly represent God's truth. The calling of God not only prepares us to lead people, but must be accompanied by supernatural power in order for others to recognize true authority. It is a dangerous thing for us to assume that our position alone gives us the right to suppress and dominate others.

It is time for the true authorities of God to arise throughout the earth. People, who through years of training God transformed into humble and capable servants,. Having abilities to cast out demons, heal the sick, raise the dead, prophesy and above all, lead others into the same experience. Carnal and worldly churches are a result of carnal and worldly authorities. Every failure and shortcoming within the local authorities will be amplified in the body. If your church seems to be going nowhere it is because those in leadership don't know where they are going or how to get there. MAT 15:14 "Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

We must not neglect to realize that even though Moses had authority over the people, he could not have accomplished God's objective without having the power to perform. Without power what good would have Moses' authority have been? He would have just been a figure head with no real power. The Israelites wouldn't have made it out of Egypt let alone to the promised land without real demonstrations of power.

Over the last 1800 years we settled for those who have no supernatural power to lead the Church. Without power they cannot build up the body the way God desires. There have been some people over the ages that spoke for God and demonstrated His power but they were few and usually spread out over time. Having just entered the twenty-first century we stand at a place the Church as not stood in since the first century Church. Greater anointing has been and is being released in people's life. It is a time of reorganization and realignment of the body of Christ. If the Church refuses to change, this moving of God will be short lived and "forty years" of wandering in the wilderness will be our future.

 

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