Rom. 13:1-7 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
1 Peter 2:13-17 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme. 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
We must settle in our hearts that all governing authority comes from God, in whatever form. Not just our spiritual authority that we see in church leadership, (pastors, associate pastors, ministry department leaders, etc.) but the natural governing authorities as well. (Local government, state government, the president, law enforcement, commanding officers, bosses, teachers, parents, landlords, etc.)
All of these people are appointed and anointed to fulfil a certain role in the lives of people. Not just Christians, but all people. Whether we agree with that authority or not, it doesn’t change the fact that God put them there for a specific purpose, to fulfil a specific role, and we are to honor that person as God’s representative. His delegated authority. Yes, even the ones that you didn’t vote for, and the ones you think are evil.
Titus 3:1-2 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
In the last 60-70 years we have lost so much concerning honor and respect for authority that in our society today, people have no problem speaking evil about the President, parents, teachers, law enforcement, or anyone else that they don’t agree with. It is pathetic, dishonorable, and shows the absolute depravity of our generation.
It is amazing to me how many “Christians” believe that they have rights. The right to automatic respected, the right to speak any way, about anyone they choose. The fact is, you can be right in your position and sacrifice your righteousness. Being right and being righteous are not always the same.
If you truly give your life to Christ, you lay down your personal rights. It’s no longer about you, it’s about God and others. It’s about Love that never seeks its own benefit or agenda. Being born again means that you were purchased, paid for, redeemed.
If you buy a house and pay for it in full, you have the right to move in and do what you wish with the house. God the Father purchased you with the precious blood of Christ so that He could come and live in. He sent the Holy Spirit to clean up the house and prepare it for His habitation.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Obedience to God’s authority is what enables you to host the presence of God. Look at what Jesus said to His disciples just before the crucifixion.
John 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
FAITH WORKS BY LOVE!
You can’t be completely submitted to Christ and refuse to submit to authority. They go hand in hand. To be submitted to one you must be submitted to the other. If you don’t submit to one, you are not submitted to the other. They are the same.
If we don’t come to this realization we will live a powerless, frustrated Christian life. The measure of Christ’s authority expressed in our life is in direct proportion to the authority we understand and are submitted to. If we are not under authority, we will have no authority.
Submission to authority is not submission to a person. It is submission to God. It is an act of love and honor for God and His appointed/delegated authority, as well as the anointing upon that person. It is an act of faith that shows your trust in God’s way of doing things.
1 Peter 2:18-19 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. 19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.
Many Christians believe that they are submitted to authority and yet they speak negatively about their President, other government officials, law enforcement, their boss, their pastors or leaders, and think its ok. It is not! When you speak against authority, you speak against God Himself! You actually subvert your own authority when you speak against those over you.
You may say, “I didn’t vote for that person so I don’t recognize their authority.” That just means that you don’t understand submission, you don’t understand authority, and you don’t understand who you are, and who’s you are.
Until you disagree with authority you don’t have the opportunity to practice submission. Submission can only occur when you don’t see things the same way your authority sees them. Disagreement is when submission is tested.
To believe is to obey. Obedience is the act of faith. Disobedience is the act unbelief. Until you submit to authority, you will never have true spiritual authority. That means authority over sickness, devils, poverty, oppression, the elements, nature. Jesus had authority because He was in perfect submission. Even unto death!
God has called us not only to receive life through faith, but also to maintain His authority through obedience. God’s plan for us in the church is for us to submit to His authority and to all the authorities He has established. This covers our home, our government, our school, the church, and so forth. He does not want to specifically mark out whom we should submit to. As long as we have met God’s authority in the Lord, we should learn to submit to authority.
Jesus established God’s Kingdom through submission. Whatever the Lord did on earth was entirely based on submission. He did nothing that opposed God’s authority. Everything was in submission and perfect cooperation with the authority of God. In this way the Lord set up the Kingdom of God and executed His authority. The church today must also allow God’s authority to have its way and manifest His kingdom through our submission.
There is no authority that is not of God. To resist authority is to resist God. God will not overlook this. Those who oppose will bring judgment on themselves according to Romans 13:2.
Faith in God is made evident by honoring His position as creator, His authority as our Lord, and by obedience to His word. When these conditions are met, the power of God becomes readily available, and easily accessible.
Honor releases the power that authority contains!
Authority creates boundaries and establishes identity.
Our submission defines our Authority
Submitting to authority empowers us to thrive.
Willing obedience to the King expands and increases the Kingdom within.
Opposition to ANY authority is opposition to God.
Understanding authority, and functioning within authority enables great faith in God’s authority.
Submission to authority is simply coming into agreement with the authority above us.
All of man’s problems are due to living outside the realm of God’s authority.
Only those who submit to authority will have great faith.
When we disregard, despise, speak against, or deny authority, we sacrifice and subvert our own authority.
If the matter of authority is not settled, all other matters will remain unsettled.
The One above us is now INSIDE us because we declared belief in Christ. If we now refuse to submit to the authority inside us it is the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
I learned a very valuable lesson about authority in prayer and I would like to share it with you.
During a prayer meeting at our church a faithful member of the prayer team came forward with a typed out prayer for our president that she said the Lord gave her the day before. She was allowed to read the prayer and we agreed with her. It was a very moving, scripture based prayer that was loving, considerate, compassionate and powerful. It immediately got the nod of approval of all in the room. It was a prayer that inspired confidence and faith in all who prayed it. This lady had obviously heard from the Lord.
As those in the group were commenting about how powerful it was, the Lord spoke to me directly and said, “Why didn’t you pray for your previous president in this manner?” I immediately knew what the Lord was talking about. I remembered the many times we lifted this former leader up in “prayer” and I was reminded of some of the opinionated requests, the tone, the attitude, and the complete disregard for this man as an individual. We weren’t praying out of love for our president, or even love for our country. We were praying against him, not out of love, but out of selfishness and self righteousness. Our motives were wrong, our heart was wrong.
I shared what the Lord had showed me and the entire prayer group received it and we all repented before God.
When praying for yourself, or others, its important to consider your motives for praying. This may seem overly simple, however there are some areas in our thinking and believing that can be ever so slightly off kilter, and therefore making our prayers ineffective.
Luke 18:9-14 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
This is a powerful example of sacrificing authority because of selfish pride. The Pharisee presented himself as better than “other men.” Notice in verse 11 that “he prayed thus with himself”. In other words God is not even listening, he is praying to sound spiritual and be heard by others.
Although this sounds terrible, it gets much worse!
James 3:14-16 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.
When we pray from a place of bitterness, envy, and selfishness we become a landing strip for every evil work. We actually invite demonic activity into our life and have absolutely no effect on what we are praying for.
Lets look at the rest of this passage in James to see where our heart needs to be when we pray.
James 3:17-18 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Prayer that is made from a place of love, mercy and compassion is a prayer that is heard and answered by God. Prayer made from a place of selfishness is not heard by God, but is an invitation to demonic influence.
Pray for people, never pray “against” people. Praying against a person is an invitation to confusion, demons, and every evil work. It is earthly wisdom learned from the fall of man and perpetuates the enemy’s agenda.
If we check our hearts and motives before we approach God with prayer and make sure we are praying from a healthy place of love for the person, we can be confident that our prayers are effective.
GREEK: Exousia ~ THE RIGHT TO INFLUENCE, COMMAND, CONTROL AND DELEGATE.
When man was created, God established His authority over the earth and delegated it to Adam for a season. Adam was God’s steward over the earth, and He gave Adam specific instructions for his stewardship. We find Adam’s instructions in Genesis 1 and 2.
Genesis 1:27-28 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Genesis 2:15-17 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
When God created Adam, He made him a sovereign being giving Adam His own personal authority to use in making decisions and fulfilling God’s instructions for His stewardship. This sovereign authority is called FREE WILL.
Sovereignty – the quality or state of being sovereign, or of having supreme power or authority. The status, dominion, power, or authority of a sovereign; royal rank or position; royalty. Supreme power, especially over a body politic, freedom from external control, autonomy
Free will was given to man so he could willingly choose, without any coercion or pressure, how he would serve his creator. Free will allowed man to express himself freely and creatively as he learned and grew in knowledge and experience. Unfortunately, it also gave man the power, and the right, to say NO to God. this makes man sovereign.
Free will can potentially be the most destructive thing to the Kingdom of God, as well as your life! Exercising your free will in saying NO to God will limit God’s influence and power in your life.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD, or THE KINGDOM OF ME?
The Kingdom of God has boundaries. Operating within those boundaries enables God’s influence and power to flow into your life to meet your needs and the needs of others. You violate authority when your choices don’t align with the will of the authority you are under. When you violate authority it cuts off the influence and power of that authority. Not just in your own life, but in the lives of those you are involved with.
We must walk in HIS ways, not OUR ways if we want the promises of God, and the power of God to be a reality in our life. God’s power only flows under the covering of his authority. His authority can only be exercised within the confines of His Kingdom. When you exit the covering of the Kingdom, you exit the flow of power. When you say NO to God, in essence, you establish another kingdom, I call it: The Kingdom of ME.
The Kingdom of Me is established when selfishness rears its ugly head and provokes you to willfully say no to God.
Saying “NO” to your Lord means that He is not your Lord in that area of your life, and if He is not Lord in one area, He is not Lord in any. Being Lord of your life means that He is the Master of ALL areas of your life. God will not invade and overthrow your kingdom, it is out of His jurisdiction. It would be a violation of your free will. If you say no to Him in any area, you are declaring that YOU are the master of that area….and you cannot serve two masters.
Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Say “NO” to God, and you’ve set up boundaries to keep God out of your kingdom. It is your own free will that determines the boundaries for both the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of Me. How you steward your will determines the basis of authority that you operate from.
HONOR RELEASES THE POWER THAT AUTHORITY CONTAINS.
Eternal salvation comes from your Savior, but the power to live this life, and the authority to subdue and conquer it comes from your Lord. When you honor Jesus Christ as your Lord, all of His authority is released into your life. If you fail to honor His authority as Lord, His power stays contained. Honoring authority releases the power that authority contains.
The extent of Kingdom authority in your life is determined by your stewardship of free will. If your will is completely submitted to God, you have truly laid down your life, you have denied yourself, your old man has died and you can now truly walk in the highest authority in the universe, the authority of God. This is your original design and purpose. This is what was lost at the fall of Adam. This is what Jesus Christ paid for you to become.