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Spiritual Warfare (SW-16)

By What Authority?

Matthew 21:23

In Old Testament times a trumpet was used to summons God’s people to battle. Today, a spiritual summons is sounding throughout the nations of the world. It is a summons to the invisible war. It is a call to arms. You and I are engaged in the fiercest battle this world has ever known.

It is a continuous battle.

It is a personal battle.

It is a social battle.

It is a spiritual battle.

A man named Bob Williamson fought with the 4th Infantry Division and was a part of the invasion force that landed on the beaches of Normandy on D’ Day when over 6,000 Americans were killed. Williamson once said that the memories of the war still haunt him. He asked his interviewer, "How would you like to go to bed at night and dream about the war every night? I see dead buddies, I see all those guns going off and everything."

He went on to say, "I fight the war every night."

Precious believer - you fight the war ever night - you fight the war every day - you fight the war every hour and ever minute.

Now the way I read my Bible it seems to me that the Church is a powerful Church, a victorious church, an overcoming Church.

Luke 10:19 "Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.

The way I read my Bible the Church gets to prays for the sick and they are healed. The Church gets to lay hands on the deaf and they hear. The Church gets to anoints the blind and they see. The Church gets to speaks to demons and they flee.

My Bible teaches me that we have the power, authority and victory that Jesus died for us to have. The question is, why aren’t most of us living that powerful life . . . and how do we get there? The question is, I would suggest to you once again this morning, a question of authority.

Allow me to say something I have said before, if you will:-

God built a powerful Church - and then He did give her the right to choose whether to walk in His power or not.

God built a victorious Church - and then He did give her the right to choose whether to walk in His victory or not.

God built a holy Church - and then He did give her the right to choose whether to walk in His holiness or not.

The Church is not primarily the victim of the flesh, the devil, the world or the forces of darkness. The church is primarily the victim of her own choices. She is where she is and has what she has and does what she does because of what she has chosen.

You say to me preacher - I thought we were meant to overcome? We are - but overcoming is not simply a matter of confessing with boldness - Overcoming is a function of walking in authority!

In Matthew 21:23 the Pharisees ask Jesus a very profound question!

Matthew 21:23 "When He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, "By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?"

The issue at the end of the day is, I would suggest to you, one of authority.

While faith accesses it and confession expresses it, the primary issue at the end of the day when it comes to warfare is one of authority.

1. Understanding the Nature of Authority

Understand the difference between authority and power. My neighbor has the power or ability to walk into my home, grab my laptop and go on the internet - but he does not have the authority to do so. Chester has both the power and the authority to do so. When Officer James Marsh is in uniform and sees this huge semi rumbling down the road - he puts up his hand like this (stop) and that massive 18 wheeler, which has the power to just ride right over him - comes to a standstill! Why? Because Officer Marsh has the authority to do so.

So what is spiritual authority? Swaggering around screaming at the devil "IN THE NAME OF JESUS" does not impress the demonic world one bit. The bottom line in exercising spiritual authority is ENFORCING TRUTH.

"Authority" when used as a noun, comes from a word (exesti –> exousia) which means, "it is lawful." The most basic meaning of the word, then, means a derived or delegated right. The right to do what? The right to bring God’s order to bear on a situation.

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