Summary: God's word is not dormant but alive and powerful to the pulling down of strongholds in our life.
We live in a power-hungry culture. Whether it is religious, political, business, sports or entertainment people are hungry for power at whatever cost.
The definition of power…
(1): ability to act or produce an effect
(2): ability to get extra-base hits (like a power hitter)
(3): capacity for being acted upon or undergoing an effect
B: legal or official authority, capacity or right
Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
"Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902). The historian and moralist, who was otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887:
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."
Why is it that power tends to corrupt people?
I suppose there are many answers to this question.
The greatest example of absolute power corrupting absolutely would be in our Adversary, the devil. In the first chapters of Luke, we see the clashing of these two powers. I know that is not a good way to put it, but bear with me for a moment.
Lucifer usurped his authority as recorded in Isaiah 14:12-14.
“12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
Power in the hands of the wrong person brings devastation as we can see with Satan.
We also see this corruption in government. The more power a Senator or Congressman has the more corrupt he or she will become. Consequently, the people without power are the ones who suffer for this.
Religion has its share of corruption, which we will go into at this point.
We want to see that the ministry of Jesus was with power, but the power and authority had in no way corrupted him.
God’s Word is not dormant but alive and powerful to the pulling down of strongholds. Jesus brought this authority of God to earth and made it attainable to all who receive him.
When we look at the authority of Jesus, especially in the Gospels, three aspects need to be considered. These aspects form the dimensions of Christ’s authority. Once we understand Christ’s authority in the context of our Scripture today, we will begin to understand the authority that we have as believers.
Let me lay out the dimensions of the authority of Jesus.
I. The Foundation of His Authority
Everything is built upon some kind of foundation. The more important the building the more important the foundation. When we think of the authority and power of Jesus Christ as testified in the Gospels we need to understand that His foundation was very strong.
There are three parts of Jesus’ foundation.
The Acknowledgment of John the Baptist.
It was the ministry of John the Baptist to lay down the foundation for the ministry of Jesus. John showed that Jesus was the fulfillment of prophecy. He was not a stranger stepping out of obscurity, but rather he was the fulfillment of the prophecy of all the Old Testament prophets.
The Affirmation of the Father.
At His baptism, the Father affirmed that Jesus was exactly who the prophets said He was. The Father is affirming the authenticity of Jesus and His ministry. He has the full support of heaven at his disposal.
When the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness, it was to face the Adversary in all his power. The enemy took his best shot, but lost.
The good news for us is that we enter into Jesus’ victory over the Adversary.
This foundation is laid down quite carefully by the Holy Spirit to cover all aspects of Jesus and His ministry. Nothing was left to chance and nothing was overlooked. Therefore, Jesus begins His ministry with a good foundation.
II. The Application of His Authority.
To have authority is one thing but using that authority is where the corruption begins to develop. Most people start out good but fail along the lines of applying their authority to current situations. To know something or to have some kind of authority and not know how to apply it effectively is a catastrophe.
When we come to Jesus, we will begin to see the wisdom in the application of His authority. He never used His authority, as we saw in the temptation with Satan, for personal advantage. He was on a mission and never lost focus on that mission.