Summary: The Holy Spirit makes us authoritatively competent to minister to His people. Paul wrote, "He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant - not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."
How The Holy Spirit Gives Us Greater Authority
John 7:38 (NIV, NIRV, TNIV, KJV)
Where Can We Find Greater Authority?
Ills. [Everyone] born of God overcomes the world. --1 John 5:4
Most celebrations of national independence mark the day of final victory in the struggle for freedom. Perhaps it’s a mark of our American brashness that we celebrate the adoption of our Declaration of Independence, which occurred 7 years before the final treaty ending the Revolutionary War (September 3, 1783). The Declaration’s adoption on July 4, 1776, burned the final bridges of Britain’s authority over America. It was a bold and risky start. We still celebrate the beginning.
Christians often ask each other, "When did you accept Christ as your Savior?" That bold beginning of faith, which may have seemed at the time like the greatest risk in the world, is worth noting and celebrating. With spiritual battles looming ahead, we still salute the birth.
The apostle John said that eveyone "born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith" (1 Jn. 5:4).
"Born of God." Commencement, debut, unveiling. A step of faith. A new beginning. A break with the past. A humble confidence in the grace and power of a forgiving God. The start of true freedom. (Our Daily B Bread)
1. The Holy Spirit, as Lord, gives great authority to those who are involved with completing His great commission of Matthew 28:18-20. Jesus said, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8) Ask the Lord to help you appropriate the power given to you for the fulfilling of the Lord’s purpose of enlarging His kingdom and righteousness in every one of the 18,800 ethnic groups of the world.
2. The Holy Spirit gives authority to a plurality of Godly leaders for each church fellowship. Dr. Luke wrote, "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship.... and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles." (Acts 2:42,43) Ask the Lord to help you assembly a group of Godly elders that can lead many new church fellowships to higher levels of quantitative and qualitative growth in their communities. A fellowship can only grow as mature as their leaders.
Ills. Joshua had just won two astounding victories, destroying both Jericho and Ai through the power of the Lord. The Gibeonites knew they would be next, so in fear they resorted to trickery to save their lives. They put on old clothes, took moldy bread with them, and made their way to the camp of Israel.
Joshua and the elders were completely taken in by the ruse. Without consulting the Lord, they entered into a covenant with the enemies of Israel whom God had told them to destroy.
I see several spiritual lessons in this account. If we put human reasoning before divine guidance, walking by sight rather than by faith, we are sure to err! We should dread the "moldy bread" of Satan’s deceptive strategies much more than the "lion’s roar" of his frontal attacks. Even though we have met the more obvious assaults of the enemy with victories like those of Jericho and Ai, overconfidence can lead us into a trap. If we are governed by the authority of the Word and put our total dependence in the power of the Spirit, we will not be easily caught in Satan’s web. (Our Daily Bread)
3. The Holy Spirit identifies the root causes of peoples’ rebellion and troubles. The Spirit authoritatively spoke through Paul in pointing out the reasons for Israel’s problems. Dr. Luke wrote, "They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement, "The Holy Spirit when he said through Isaiah the prophet: ‘Go to this people and say, ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.’ For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes... Otherwise, they might see and understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them." (Isaiah 6:9-10) Ask the Lord to give you greater discernment to authoritatively identify the root causes of peoples’ resistance to the will of God.
4. The Holy Spirit makes us authoritatively competent to minister to His people. Paul wrote, "He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant - not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Cor. 3:6) Ask the Lord to help you utilize the authority you have to minister through teaching, preaching, and evangelizing for His purposes and results. Do not doubt God’s ability to make you competent to do what He has called you to accomplish.