The Contention for Authority
Today, I would like to talk about a very important topic surrounding whether or not God can be limited in our lives or more precisely whether or not God can be limited by our lack of prayers. Firstly, I want to start out by saying that God is a just God and although this may be a conspicuous point to make, I think we need to review this attribute in light of prayer. If God is just, which He is (Psalm 7:9, Romans 3:4, Psalm 25:8), then by definition, He is a gentleman and a gentleman does not override anyone’s will. Satan in contrast is a usurper and subjugator, seeking to gain authority by any means necessary for the purpose of domination, manipulation and intimidation. It is a foolish thing to know that help is available yet deny that help, but in the Bible there is a principle of asking that is paramount: asking, seeking, knocking that your joy may be full (Matthew 7:7-8, Luke 11:9-10, John 16:24). There is an onus on us to pursue and ask for assistance from our Heavenly Father.
The Ramifications of Our Decisions
If God were to move on our behalf without our asking He might be moving against our will in that area. Hence the dilemma of a loving and just God, wanting what’s best for His children but restricted if they are unwilling to ask or believe He can move in their lives. Pride is often the culprit for not asking. We sometimes say: “Its okay God, I think I can handle this one on my own” much to our detriment. It was this thinking that caused serious contention in the family of Abram the patriarch. Sarai decided she had to “make something happen” outside of God’s timing and volunteered Hagar into Abram’s bed chamber (Genesis 16:1) for the purpose of producing a child to extend the lineage. The rest is history. Because of Sarai and Abram’s decision, the lineage of two warring tribes in the Middle East was set in motion. These opposing seeds have become a huge source of conflict: Arab vs. Jew, Islam vs. Judaism and so on. Yes, friends, our untimely and disobedient decisions can have major repercussions, but God is so merciful that He blessed Ishmael (Genesis 17:20) despite his birth being caused by Sarai and Abram’s disobedience.
Authority Handed over to Darkness
Adam was granted dominion over the earth within the boundaries that God gave (Genesis 1:26). One of the definitions of ‘dominion’ in Merriam Webster’s dictionary is ‘supreme sovereignty’ or ‘the power to rule.’ In Genesis 3:6, when man sinned, he relinquished this authority to Satan. To speak plainly, that’s why we have bad things occurring in the world. God owns the world (Psalm 50:10), but Satan has the lease until it runs out upon commencement of Christ’s Millennial reign. Until then we have a clandestine angel gone ‘rogue’ with vast spiritual forces at his disposal influencing mankind. Simultaneously, man himself is predisposed to evil due to his inherent fallen nature. This is the multidimensional sin war in which we find ourselves comprised of the flesh, the devil, and demon forces. Remember, God gave the Israelites the Promised Land but they still had to drive out the people from the land and subdue it (Deuteronomy 2:24, Deuteronomy 10:11, Joshua 8:1, Joshua 10:42). By faith the land was theirs but they still needed to apply corresponding action to ‘take’ the land. Satan doesn’t relinquish authority in someone’s life until he is opposed by the action of a greater authority. That greater authority is the “name of Jesus” (Philippians 2:9) and we believers have been given the awesome privilege of using that name (Mark 16:17-18).
Satan is mentioned in Scripture as being the ‘prince of this world’ (John 16:11), the ‘prince of the power of the air’ (Ephesians 2:2) and ‘god of this world’ (II Corinthians 4:4) (little ‘g’). The words ‘prince’ and ‘god’ are synonymous with rulership and authority. The Apostle John mentions the current state of the world in which we live (post cross):
“We know [positively] that we are of God, and the whole world [around us] is under the power of the evil one (Amplified version).” – 1st John 5:19.
The Ruler of the Kingdoms of this World
Let’s look at the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. In Matthew chapter 4 and Luke chapter 4, the Bible says that Satan took Jesus up to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of this world in a moment of time, let’s read it together….
“And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.” Luke 4:5-7 (KJV)
The devil said that he’d give Jesus the authority to reign over the kingdoms of this world. So clearly, satan is listed as the ruler of kingdoms of this world and John’s Epistle confirms his status. You might say, “yeah, but the devil can’t be trusted. He’s a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44)!” That’s true; however, the bible clearly states that Christ was tempted three times in the wilderness and in order for it to be a true temptation, satan told the truth in this instance and he really did have the authority to give Christ the ‘kingdoms of the world’ as they were already delivered unto him.
Did you also notice that Jesus did not dispute what satan said? If it was a lie, I’m pretty sure Jesus would have rebuked him, but he did not. So clearly if Satan did not have the authority and power of the kingdoms then it wouldn’t have been a true temptation, and it was! In Luke 4:2, the Bible states that Jesus was tempted for forty days by the devil, so this ‘transfer of authority’ temptation was indeed genuine.
Sovereignty: Approval vs. Allowance
People say that God is sovereign: which is true. Yes, because His word says so, but He is sovereign over His kingdom, not sovereign over the earth. The lease has been transferred from man to a rogue angel ‘Lucifer.’ The salient point is this: God does not approve of everything that He allows. Does God approve of murder? No. Does He allow it? Yes. Does God approve of abortion? No. Does He allow it? Yes. Does God approve of theft and abuse? No. Does He allow it? Yes. Does He approve of accidents in the earth that randomly kill people? No. Remember that the earth is still cursed and although we have been redeemed from the ‘curse of the law’ (Galatians 3:13), we have not been redeemed from the ‘curse of the earth’ (Genesis 3:17-18) until the lease expires (shortly). Remember: the consequence of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Never forget, that in any kind of spiritual warfare, satan only has the authority that you give him through purposeful sin or disobedience. You may however be predisposed to certain addictions or weaknesses in your life through generational sin that has not been dealt with or addressed through the blood. The onus is on us to not only deny sin but break these curses and live free from condemnation. When human beings choose death rather than life, they impact not only themselves but the lives of others (Deuteronomy 28).
Until the thousand year millennial reign of Christ, God does not have full sovereignty over this earth. In his present priestly office, Jesus sits until his enemies are made his footstool (Hebrews 10:13) and we the church are influencing humanity for God’s Kingdom and subduing Christ’s enemies in the meantime. In the Millennial reign of Christ, God will have total rule and reign over the earth, every man will be redeemed; sin set aside and satanic forces will not be able to tempt us (Revelation 2:20). But for now, whilst Satan rules this earth: sickness, disease, child abuse, molestation, murders, rape, crime, sex trafficking, pornography, slavery to name a few… The heinous sins of this world are still in existence (much to God’s disdain) with no sign of abating. Just listen to the evening news and you will know who is ruling this earth and the airwaves through which the news is sent. This is the reason that in the 20th century alone, governments around the world were responsible for killing 262 million people worldwide. The University of Hawaii, who were responsible for the study, called it “Democide” or mass genocide. Did Hitler or Pol Pot or Stalin or Lenin start out as evil men or did they yield their will to evil forces, enabling the mass slaughter of so many innocents? I think you know the answer. This is why we are admonished to pray for those in authority that we may lead a peaceable life (1st Timothy 2:1-4).
Exercising Our Authority
We as believers in Christ have authority over Satan (Luke 10:19, 1st John 4:4, Colossians 1:13) and clearly this is revealed in Scripture but it needs to be exercised! Demons are not expelled unless the command is given. We don’t compromise or negotiate with the forces of evil; we must oppose them through prayer, the blood of Jesus, the name of Jesus, the armor of God and the word of God. Edmund Burke, an Irish political philosopher and statesman of the 18th century, once said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” The author S. Douglas Woodward also quipped, “Any society that denies evil stands ready to enthrone it.” These men were motivated to confront evil, and we the church should be ever ready to do so. We don’t go looking for spiritual fights, but we know how to use our bestowed authority and power when we need to.
When it comes to the church even Jesus said that we should ask the Father to send laborers into the harvest (Mathew 9:38). Clearly, it wasn’t happening by default, and we still needed to petition the Father. We need to break free of the shackles of apathy right now and rightfully claim the ‘Zoe’ life that Christ provided for us (John 10:10). It is a dangerous thing for Christ to give his glorious church so much authority and for us not to use it. What a predicament he must be in! What a gamble Jesus took on us, the church! We are responsible for enforcing his authority on this earth.
Friends, when two Kingdoms collide there is conflict. Don’t be afraid of the conflict as we’re on the winning side! I challenge you today to obey the Holy Spirit and ask Him where Satan has propagated his deleterious agenda into your life. It’s time to command him to leave through forceful expulsion in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth! Don’t ‘put up’ with works of darkness any longer, and let the Lord reveal to you if you’ve lost ground through repetitive sinful decisions as now is the time to reclaim it!
|Senior Pastor Carl Joseph desires to see God move in power in the downtown Denver area. He is joined in the ministry by his wife, Amy. In his spare time, he rides his motorcycle and plays golf.|