Summary: What is Spiritual authority and who can have it?
I think we all agree that ours is a spiritual battle...EPH 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Where are these "spiritual hosts of wickedness?" In the heavenly places! How can that be? We may touch on that tonight, but I mainly want to focus on spiritual authority.....what it is, who has it, and how to use it properly. You can have the biggest gun in the world, but if you don’t know how to load it and fire it...that is, use it properly....then it will be ineffective!
A lot has been said about spiritual warfare these days. I believe that God would have us to seperate fact from fiction regarding this matter. There are too many "lame-duck christians" worrying about binding up spirits whenever they themselves are bound up! Too many luke-warm brothers and sisters "taking authority" where they actually have none. This is a very dangerous practice, and it leaves us open to even bigger attacks from the enemy.
First of all, we saw in our text that our battles are indeed with spirits and principalities. It’s hard to fight something you can’t see, isn’t it? So we have to go by God’s Word because we don’t have a chance to win these battles by ourselves. Let me show you what can happen.
ACTS 19:11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” 16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
These brothers had been around a few miracles. They had seen mighty works done by Paul, and I’m sure hey had carefully studied his methods. It only stood to reason (so they thought) that they would be able to perform the same kinds of miracles that Paul did if they simply used Paul’s "system" and repeated Paul’s words. It didn’t quite work out that way, did it?
I want you to notice something very important here...in vs 13 it says that they came in the name of Jesus! They rebuked this spirit in the name of Jesus! So what was the problem? The problem was, they did not have the authority to do so! Do you remember how we always talk about God’s order? He has an order to authority as well...and unless you want to get the tar beat out of you and run off naked, you better be sure you are in the authority of Jesus Christ whenever you invoke His name!
So how do we get the authority to invoke the name of Jesus? Glad you asked! 2 COR 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
Let’s look at this text closely....we walk in the flesh, but we do not war according to the flesh. That means that the rules of the flesh, that is the natural laws as we know them, are not applicable whenever we are doing battle in the spiritual realm. You see, Satan has no rules. He is not bound by some code of conduct that he has to go by. He is actually called the lawless one, isn’t he? He doesn’t play nice, and if we are to be effective against him, we must do exactly the opposite of satan and play by God’s rules!
What does vs 4 mean when it says the"weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds"? Well, simply this: The weapons you must use in this battle are not anything that is physical. A gun won’t help. A tank won’t help. The only thing that can help is what our text says...being mighty in God! How do you become mighty in God? By His Spirit! That’s what the Bible means as it goes on here in our text...finishing vs 4.......pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.