October 2009 Walking in Our God-Given Authority As a church, we’ve been hearing quite a lot lately about our identity in Christ and the authority that we have as believers, and how that all ties into healing, but it can still be quite a difficult thing to grab hold of for ourselves because in our minds we have so many reasons to disqualify ourselves. We believe that we have to attain the level of “Expert Christian” before we can lay hands on the sick; or we have to have an hour long quite time every morning for us to be spiritual enough for God to use us; or we have to have all the sin and unforgiveness out of our lives before we can be healed. But the truth is, the Bible says we have been given everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), and it says that by the wounds of Jesus, we have already been healed (1 Peter 2:24). When we believed in Jesus and were saved, we didn’t just get a ticket to Heaven, we were reborn to a whole new way of life. God didn’t say, “OK, great, I’ll see you after you die,” and leave us to continue a mediocre, powerless existence on earth until then. We were given the gift of the Holy Spirit and called sons of God, dearly loved children to whom God is pleased to give the Kingdom! Our existence on earth shouldn’t be one of always struggling and trying to keep our heads above water, Romans 8:37 says that we are more than conquerors. In fact, Romans 8:28 to 37 paints quite an interesting picture of who God says we are: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Thanks to Jesus’ death and resurrection we have a new covenant, and under that covenant we are no longer servants, we are sons. I’ve heard someone say that Jesus is the King of kings, not the King of servants. According to the Bible we are royal and holy priests, and under the new covenant we have 31 “28 access to everything that Jesus had access to, and we are as pure and blameless in God’s sight as Jesus was, so there is nothing to disqualify us from doing what we’ve been called to do as believers, except for the fact that we believe there are disqualifications. One of my favourite scriptures is John 14:12 which says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the father.” The verse doesn’t say that only one or two specially anointed people would do what Jesus had been doing, nor does it say that people who have faith in Jesus would be able to do only a fraction of what Jesus did. It says that anyone, regardless of “spiritual qualifications,” who simply had faith in Jesus, would do what He had been doing. And what had He been doing? He’d been preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God, He’d been casting out demons, and He’d been healing the sick. But beyond simply doing what He had been doing, He says that those who have faith in Him would do even greater things than what He’d been doing. I find it hard to believe that there even is something greater than what Jesus did, never mind that I, or any other believer, can do these great things, but there it is in black and white. Psalm 119:89 in the English Standard Version says “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” In the King James Version it says “Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.” That means that what God said yesterday He will say today and tomorrow. It means His word never changes. That means that when Jesus said that those who believe in Him would do what He had been doing and more, He was talking about every believer who would ever be. Another scripture I love is Ephesians 2:6 that says, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” We are not whimpering, cowering, powerless weaklings. We say things like “without Jesus I can do nothing,” but we have Jesus. What we should actually be saying is that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). We are sons of God (Galatians 3:26), co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17) who have the same Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead living within us (Romans 8:11). 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” I had an interesting revelation relating to that scripture a little while ago. I was holding an empty cooldrink can in my hand and I squeezed it and kind of crushed it. I wanted to be funny and say “look how strong I am, I’m superhuman,” but before I could even get the words out of my mouth I felt the Holy Spirit whisper “that’s true, you are superhuman. You’re a completely new creation, something that never existed before.” I feel like I can’t emphasise this point enough. We are superhuman, new creations, fully empowered and authorized to do what Jesus did while He was on earth – to preach the good news of the Kingdom of God, to cast out demons and to heal the sick. Which brings me to how we view healing. It is not God’s will for anyone to be sick, nor does He allow sickness in our lives in order to teach us something. I hear so many stories where people say things like, “My baby was stillborn, but God has a plan for my life, and maybe right now that plan doesn’t include children,” or “I’m paralysed, and I’m trusting God to heal me at some point, but at the moment he’s allowing me to stay this way because it has brought me so much closer to Him.” As Romans 8:28 says, God works things together for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. That means that, although someone is sick or has been killed, and although that sickness or death wasn’t God’s will, in His goodness God will use that situation for our good. Bill Johnson once said God can win with any hand. God is redemptive, and so will redeem the bad situations in our lives to somehow work for our ultimate good. But I reiterate, that doesn’t mean the bad situations are His will. The truth of the matter is, the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, Jesus came so that we may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10). It’s in our nature to want to rationalize and explain in order to understand things. For us to cope with tragedy or a bad situation, we try to find a reason for it, because if there’s a point to the suffering we’re experiencing, then somehow it’s easier to get through. That’s why when sickness and disease strike, it’s much easier to bear if we can say, “Well, I can see God is allowing this because I’m learning something from it.” But in doing that, we’re almost blaspheming, because we’re crediting the devil’s work to God. The Bible says in John 14:26 that the Holy Spirit teaches us all things, not sickness and disease. So why do people get sick or die prematurely? It’s quite simple: Because the devil is evil. He is a thief, a murderer and a destroyer, and he steals, kills and destroys. And sadly, we as the church have believed lies for so long that he’s been allowed to get away with it. We as believers have been given the authority to cast out demons and heal the sick, and it’s our job to exercise that authority. When people get sick it’s not because God has allowed it, it’s because we have allowed it. Mark 16:16 to 18 says, “16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." Whoever believes. Not he who has studied the Bible for seven years, not he who has been an elder in the church for five years, WHOEVER believes. You and me, who believe. The only hindrance to people being healed is the fact that we believe there are hindrances to people being healed. When Jesus was beaten, His body bruised and broken, it was to pay the price for sickness and physical affliction once and for all, so that we wouldn’t ever have to suffer again, but the truth has been so twisted over the years since Jesus’ death that most believers don’t even believe this anymore. We’ve become unbelieving believers, and because we haven’t been walking in what we were authorised to walk in, the devil has been allowed to behave as though he is in charge and as though he owns us. But Jesus disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them on the cross (Colossians 2:15). God paid for us with Jesus’ blood, buying us back from the grasp of the enemy. The battle has been won, but it’s our responsibility to enforce that victory on earth. What we need to realise is yes, we are sons and not servants, but sons have certain responsibilities in the house. Our responsibility is to do what the Bible tells us to do. It is our instruction manual. If it’s written in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, because that’s the covenant we’re under, then we don’t need an audible voice from heaven telling us to do it. If it’s in the Bible, we should just be doing it. Hearing these truths, I have been inspired and encouraged. I’ve realised that we have access to so much more than what we’re living in, and I’m not prepared to settle for less any longer. Sickness and disease don’t belong to us anymore. Condemnation and feelings of worthlessness don’t belong to us anymore. I pray that the Holy Spirit will make these truths real to us, and that we’ll learn to walk more and more in the authority that we’ve been given, so that the church can rise up to be the army it was meant to be. Who’s with me? By Roxanne van der Westhuizen DATES TO DIARISE Sam and Fiona Peters from India will be visiting Father’s House from Tuesday 13 October 2009 until Thursday 29 October 2009.
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