Summary: We have been given authority and power in order to become overcomers in the present circumstances. We do not need to succumb to the pressures around us but can live overcoming lives.
Valley Grove Assembly of God
May 3, 2009
Keeping Our Balance in a Topsy Turvey World
INTRODUCTION: There are many things that upset the apple cart in our “topsy turvy” world. One of them is the downturn in the economy with the loss of jobs. Another is health concerns and the costs of high medical care. Family relationships and conflicts is another area of concern to many people. If one worry is not enough, life often hits with multiple concerns Christians are not exempt from these stressors, but scripture teaches us how to overcome them in a better way than those who don’t know the power of Christ and what He accomplished on the cross. We just celebrated Easter a few weeks ago, and the resurrection makes all the difference in the world to us. Most of the time we are unaware of the difference, and we allow the devil to continue to stress us out and beat us down until we can hardly get our breath at times.
Several things happened with the accomplishment on the cross. We think of Jesus making the sacrifice for our salvation, for providing healing in the atonement, and for setting us free from the captivity of sin; but there is another truth that is just as important for us to remember as we strive to live overcoming Christian lives in today’s topsy turvy world. In Colossians 2:15, Paul reminds us that Jesus “cancelled the written code that hung over us nailing it to his cross and he disarmed powers and authorities and made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them. What this means is this:
Satan has long tried to make us believe that he still has power and authority over us and we fall for his lies. We let his “roar” scare us into believing that we “can’t” rather than that we “can.” In the scripture in Colossians, Paul uses the terminology of a battle where Roman generals used to take their captives and march them through the streets to show that they had been defeated and stripped of all their power. Paul is saying, “Jesus, through his death on the cross, defeated Satan and stripped him of his power and authority.”
Jesus completed his assignment. He doesn’t need to add another thing.
STORY: “While two visitors were touring Annapolis, they noticed several students on their hands and knees assessing the courtyard with pencils and clipboards in hand.
“What are they doing?” one of the visitors asked the tour guide.
“Each year,” he replied with a grin, “the upperclassmen ask the freshmen how many bricks it took to finish paving this courtyard.”
“So what’s the answer?” inquired the visitors when they were out of earshot of the freshmen.
The guide replied, “One.”
Jesus’ sacrifice was the one “last brick” that finished the “courtyard.”
Matthew 28:8 tells us, “Jesus has been given ALL power and authority in heaven and in earth.” If he has ALL power and authority then how much does the devil have to use against us? Does he have any? No, he has been stripped of his power and has zero percent. Nevertheless he still has us buffaloed into thinking that he has all kinds of power to defeat us and we more often than not believe it. We allow fear to take over. We shrink back. We panic.
When trouble comes our way in whatever form, we are more inclined to be like Ralph. His friends were listening to him complain repeatedly about his troubles and one of them said, “Ralph, why don’t you DO something. Don’t just stand there!
Ralph replied, “I AM!!! I’m wringing both hands.”
Well, I’m afraid that didn’t accomplish a thing. There is more we need to do about our situations than complain and wring our hands. That is why we need to know about our authority as a Christian when things come to confront us.
1. Authority and Power: What am I talking about when I speak of authority and power? Authority is the RIGHT to act whereas power is the ABILITY to act.
ILLUSTRATION: A law enforcement officer has the authority to enforce the law through being given the job, a uniform, and a badge. It is delegated authority to stop traffic, to arrest people, to act in the capacity of the law.
ILLUSTRATION: Years ago Clara Ann and I were flag carriers for our school. We had long bamboo poles that had a flag on the end and we held them out across the highway to stop traffic so that the school kids could cross the highway. I was a sixth grader, but I had DELEGATED AUTHORITY to do this. Clara Ann and I took this responsibility seriously and the cars stopped. POWER along with the delegated authority is the MIGHT to do it. We had to exercise that authority by holding the bamboo poles out over the highway so the cars would see them and stop.