Using Your God-given Authority

Chapter 8 out of the book titled

Spiritual Warfare

by Dean Sherman

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"It is possible to become discouraged by the size and sophistication of Satan's forces. However, God has established an even stronger army. It is us- every Christian; it is you. Maybe this leaves you even more disheartened! But there is hope. If we are not confident in God's army of Christians, if we are unsure of ourselves, it is because we do not yet know who we are, or in whose authority we operate.

If I were to ask you if Christians had authority over the powers of darkness, you would probably say, 'Amen, brother!' But what would happen if you were suddenly confronted by a demonized person? You might call your pastor for help, and he might in turn call another pastor! We are not convinced we have authority. We know it mentally we're the first to say we do. But we cannot walk in spiritual authority because deep down, we doubt it. Why? Because we have mistakenly confused our authority with our emotions.

What Authority Is Not

There are some days when we come out of church brimming with confidence. The teaching was great, the worship was wonderful, and we're ready to take on the devil. Two days later, we're wondering if we are saved. We confuse our authority with our feelings.

Some think of authority as a personality type. We speak of someone as a "man of authority". What we are really saying is that the man has the kind of personality we associate with authority. Perhaps he's tall, has a deep voice, knits his brow, clenches his fist, and talks firmly. Shy and retiring types say, "Well, I'm not the authoritative type". But the basis of our authority is not personality or feelings. It is not the product of our maturity, or of how long we have been Christians. Every Christian needs to know the basis of his or her spiritual authority.

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The enemy will do everything he can to keep us from becoming convinced of our authority. If he can make us think authority is a feeling, he can keep us from acting when we don't feel confident. We are no threat to Satan if we are uncertain. We will constantly waver unless we rely on the fact that we have authority. Perhaps Satan's greatest fear is that we will come into the assurance of our authority and walk in that assurance.

In this chapter we will see that the basis for our spiritual authority is a legal one. It is a legal reality that does not waver because of our unbelief, and is as real as any transaction. In fact, it's a legal arrangement much like marriage. When I ask people if they are married I never hear, "Well, I'm not sure. Sometimes I feel married, and sometimes I just don't know". They will always say, "Yes" or "No". If we are married, we are totally convinced of it at all times, and have a legal document to prove it. Feelings, thoughts, and personalities do not change the reality of that legal arrangement. Our spiritual authority is just as real and legal as marriage. It is not just a concept; it's an actual thing.

How We Lost It

In order to understand how authority works, we must go back to the beginning. When God made mankind in the Garden of Eden, He created him different from the animals. He gave man free will, as well as dominion or authority. All authority was in God's hands, but in the Garden a limited portion of that authority changed hands. God delegated some of His authority to man and He has never taken it back. This is why people are now doing all kinds of evil and God is not stopping them.

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Some feel this transfer of authority has diminished God's authority or sovereignty. It has not. God had, God has, and God always will have all authority. He has total jurisdiction over everything. He is all-powerful, and rules without limit or question. God is able, however, to delegate portions of His authority.

Presidents of large corporations hire people and give them jobs as directors, managers, and supervisors. With each position comes a set of responsibilities and the authority to fulfill them. The authority is a portion of the president's. It is still under his control, but is delegated to various employees. Similarly, God has delegated authority to man, but still reigns over man.

Satan in the form of a serpent was in the Garden when God gave authority to man. Later the devil approached Eve. Why? Why did he go to such lengths to deceive her? He did so partly to get back at God- to hurt Him. But there was more. Adam and Eve had something of tremendous value to Satan. Satan wanted the authority God had given to man. Although he was on the planet, the devil did not have authority and jurisdiction over the planet. Satan realized that authority is a legally based reality, so he went to Eve and tempted her. What he was really saying was, "Why don't you sign over some of your authority to me?"

Satan knew that man could use or misuse the authority given to him. When man disobeyed God, Satan was able to usurp man's authority. Just as God transferred some of His authority to man, so man passed it on to Satan.

Yet Satan does not have complete authority. He cannot simply rule the world. He operates the same way today as he did in Eden, usurping what God has given man. Man gave his authority to Satan, but Satan can only use it through man. He can only influence the world to the degree that man chooses to sin and live in disobedience to God. This is what we might call the balance of power.

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After man sinned in the Garden, God rebuked all parties involved and said, "And I (God) will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel" (Genesis 3:15).

God promised to bruise Satan's head- not directly, but through the seed of the woman. The seed of Satan would in turn bruise mankind's heel. This established the grounds for spiritual warfare. Satan is working through mankind to do his business on the planet. And God is working through mankind to defeat the enemy. This is what has been happening throughout history.

The Attack on Children

Enmity means a barrier of contention or strife. The "seed of Satan" is that which Satan spawns. Since he cannot have children, his seed is that which he is able to bring forth in men. The seed of the woman is three things:

It is, first of all, all who are born from Eve- the human race. Satan's attack on the seed of the woman is seen primarily in his attack on all human children. It is easy to see throughout history and today that Satan zealously targets children, seeking their bondage and destruction. The enmity between children and the enemy is especially strong. Children are new and innocent, the "seed of woman". From the fires of Moloch in Old Testament times, where parents sacrificed newborn babies on the red-hot arms of idols; to present-day war atrocities, abortion, drug addiction, and child pornography; children are under direct attack from Satan.

Second and third, the "seed of the woman" refers to the children of Israel, and to the Lord Jesus Christ.

God proclaimed that the seed of Satan will bruise man's heel. If a man has a bruised heel, he will not be able to go as far or as fast as he might. The results of sin have bruised the heel of every man. Our hair falls out or becomes gray. We get wrinkles and lose our eyesight. Our strength wanes and our minds slow down. From the moment we are born, we head for the grave. Romans 5:12 says, "...Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men...." This is our bruised heel.

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Why Is`the Old Testament So Violent?

God also promised Satan that the seed of the woman would bruise his head. I think Satan was quite concerned with this promise of judgment. He began to keep his eyes open, looking for the seed. Sure enough, Eve brought forth "seed". She gave birth to two boys: Cain and Abel. As they grew, Satan was able to influence Cain, but saw that Abel was much like he knew God to be. Remembering that the seed would bruise his head, and perceiving a threat from the seed, perhaps Satan provoked Cain to slay Abel. But even that didn't stop God's plan. Eve gave birth to Seth, and eventually through Seth came the nation of Israel and ultimately, Jesus.

The story of Cain and Abel is really the story of the whole of history. In fact, from a spiritual warfare perspective, the Old Testament can be summed up in two statements:

1. It is the historical record of God bearing the seed of the woman through the nation of Israel to bring Jesus Christ into the world.

2. It is the history of Satan's attempts to corrupt and destroy the seed that would bruise his head.

This is why there was so much fighting and violence in the Old Testament. From Adam and Eve, through Noah, Abraham, David, and Mary, God brought the seed of the woman onward, while Satan did all he could to destroy it.

So many Christians puzzle at the violence and the brutality of the Old Testament. Some even avoid it for fear it will cause them to doubt the lovingkindness of God, as shown through the New Testament. But we need to see that the battles of the Old Testament were for the preservation of the seed of the woman that would result in Jesus Christ.

A Battle for the Human Race

Throughout the Old Testament, Satan tried desperately to either destroy or corrupt the seed of the woman, which he knew was in the children of Israel. It seemed everybody was fighting Israel. Why would people like the Amalekites attempt to destroy Israel unless demonic forces incited them, hoping to destroy the seed of the woman? The battle to preserve the seed was a flesh and blood battle. Blood flowed and little mercy was shown for those who threatened the seed.

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Those battles were physical and took place in the earthly realm, and yet Israel was also in the midst of spiritual warfare. The battle was physical because the seed of the woman was a physical seed that would bring a physical manifestation of God into the earth to die physically on a cross. In order for Satan to destroy the seed, it would take a physical victory. It was a battle which would determine whether or not the Messiah would come into the world. It was a battle for the salvation of the human race.

Why Did Babies Have to Be Killed?

Why did God have little babies killed? And why did He have Israel destroy one tribe and leave the next alone? Did God just have bad days- was He cruel one day and kind the next? Was He so angry and vengeful that He lost His composure? In answer, we have a number of choices: We can question the character of God, thinking Him to be cruel; we can ignore these things, refusing to ask questions and denying that we have doubts; or we can trust God's character, knowing that if He ordered entire tribes killed, He had good reasons. Because God is righteous in all His ways, and kind in all His deeds (Psalm 145:17), we know that even when He brought judgment, He had good purposes- life purposes.

The struggles in the Old Testament often had sexual implications. A large part of the heathen religions was sexual. For instance, sodomy, lesbianism, and bisexuality were not only encouraged, but commanded in rituals of worship to Ashere and Baal. Satan, knowing the weaknesses of men, enticed them to worship idols- worship that almost always included sexual activity. Using sexual enticement and perversion, Satan sought to corrupt the seed before it could bruise his head.

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It is possible that this sexual activity also brought about a tremendous amount of venereal disease, which produced retardation, deformation, and even death. Unchecked, venereal diseases could wipe out an entire city. Could this have been why on occasion God ordered the total destruction of Israel's enemies? At times God commanded that every man, woman, and child, and even the livestock, be put to death.

A Radical Act of Mercy

God has always been kind and just. He wasn't mean in the Old Testament and kind in the New. He has never changed. I believe that on occasion, Israel was confronted by tribes riddled with disease. These tribes lived in total disobedience to God, worshiped the vilest of gods, and were being used by the devil to destroy Israel, perhaps even the entire human race. The only way to rid humanity of the threat and to protect the seed from corruption was for God to remove these tribes from the face of the earth. It was a radical act of mercy and love for the whole of mankind.

Although Satan's attempts to destroy and corrupt the seed did not work, there were a number of times in Israel's history where they succumbed. They often sinned, following after false gods, but there were always some who remained true, preserving the seed. Eventually, when the time was absolutely right, God fulfilled His promise. Galatians 4:4 says, "But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman" (the seed of the woman). When Satan failed to destroy the seed of the woman before the Messiah's birth, he redoubled his efforts to destroy the Christ child. He incited Herod to kill all the baby boys in Bethlehem under two years old (see Matthew 2). Thousands of infants were slaughtered- all in the attempt to destroy the seed. Joseph and Mary were forced to flee to Egypt to keep baby Jesus from certain death.

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Jesus grew up in Nazareth, but we have little information about those years. We can be sure, however, that Satan sought His destruction, both physically and morally. The Bible does tell us in Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus was "tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin". It would seem that Satan continued his efforts to corrupt the seed. Jesus really was tempted. He didn't just go through the motions. As He grew up and entered adulthood, He was confronted with everything that is common to man. There is no temptation we have experienced that Jesus did not also experience. And yet, Jesus prevailed without sin.

The Bible tells us that Jesus went to be baptized by His cousin John in the waters of the Jordan River. When He was baptized, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove came upon Him and a voice from heaven said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased". After thousands of years of battle, God proclaimed to the world that here stood the Son of God, the seed of the woman.

The Devil's Feverish Attempts

Jesus went from the Jordan River into the wilderness to be tempted. For the first time in human form, and truly as the promised seed, Jesus stood before Lucifer, the fallen arch-angel, and probably a multitude of other demonic powers. What followed was not a ceremony, but a pitched, fevered battle. Satan exerted all the influence he could muster to corrupt the seed that would bruise his head.

Jesus submitted Himself to temptation. After fasting for 40 days, He was tempted to turn stones into bread. It was a temptation to use His spiritual power to feed Himself. Unfortunately, many try to use the miracle-working power of God for selfish purposes. But Jesus said no.

The second temptation was for Jesus to jump from a high place, knowing that God would stop His fall and protect Him. It would be a publicity stunt that would bring Him the attention of the world. Jesus' importance would be evidenced by the fact that He could even move the hand of God to protect Him. The crowds would come and Jesus would have His following that very day. It was an appeal to pride.

Some of us often do things to get attention. We'll promote ourselves to people, highlight our gifts and talents, and make lots of noise just to get a following. We often raise ourselves above the purposes of God and set out to prove our self-importance to the world. But Jesus said no to this. He would serve humanity by laying His life down, not by manipulation for the attention of man.

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The third temptation was to gain authority. Satan offered Jesus the very authority he had stolen from men, if Jesus would worship him. Some contend that Satan was telling Jesus a lie. But it was true. It had to be true in order to be a temptation. As long as man lived in sin and selfishness, the authority was Satan's.

Satan's offer was a temptation for power, prominence, control, and governmental authority- without the suffering and shame of the Cross. Jesus said no. He was going to defeat the enemy, not through power, but through humility. The desire for power never accomplishes the purposes of God. The Church does not need power without humility. The Church should only use the power of God in the humility of Christ.

Throughout the three years of Jesus' ministry, the Bible records many attempts to kill Him. He escaped until His ministry was complete. At the right time, Jesus willingly handed Himself over to evil men to do with Him whatever their evil minds could devise. Jesus said in John 10:18 concerning His life, "No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative".

Why Did Jesus Have to Suffer, Too?

Whatever could enter into the minds of men- the most evil, depraved, obscene, torturous crimes that hell could inspire- all such acts must have been done to Jesus. We have no idea of the pain and humiliation He suffered. In discussing the sufferings and death of Jesus, the Bible uses generalities: He was "despised", "rejected", "unjustly treated and accused", and "mocked and scourged". Why did God allow Jesus to go through these unspeakable sufferings before His death? Could it be that Jesus not only died for our sins, but as stated in the description of Jesus' atoning work, "the punishment that brought us peace was upon him" (Isaiah 53:5 NIV)? Jesus became an object of hate and rejection, suffering outrageous injustice, that we might have peace when we suffer the same. Just as we have by faith received forgiveness and cleansing from sin, so we need to believe that God will give us peace during our times of grief, humiliation, and betrayal.

Jesus suffered for us. Finally, He was nailed to a cross and, slowly and painfully, He died for our sins.

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The Bible tells us that upon Jesus' death, He went to Hades. Opinions vary about Hades, but it seems evident that it consists of two sections. One section, called Paradise, is the place Jesus referred to when He told the thief on the cross beside Him, "Today you shall be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43). It is the place where the spirits of the righteous await the Resurrection. The other part of Hades is the place where the spirits of the wicked wait. While in Hades, Jesus paid a visit to both sides. While in Paradise, He preached to the captives. These spirits were captive because Satan held the keys to sin and death, but they were not in torment. Ephesians 4:8 says, "When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives".

The Legal Basis for Our Authority

Jesus also went to the other side of Hades, the domain of Satan. While there He established the legal basis for our authority. He stripped Satan of the authority he had stolen from man.

Colossians 2:15 reads, "When he had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him". Jesus now has the keys to death and Hades, and Satan is no longer legally in control.

Revelation 1:18 says, "I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades".

Jesus took from the devil the legal right to the balance of power on this planet.

This is why God had to become a man.
He came primarily to atone for sin. Authority had been given to man in and through his free will. Man had then used that free will to give away his authority. Therefore, God had to either
cancel man,
cancel free will, or
become a man Himself.
He chose to become a man
so that He could say no to temptation for 30 years as a man, reject the enemy in the wilderness as a man, and choose to lay His life down and give up His spirit as a man. He was willing to humble Himself to the point of death as a man so that as a man, He could qualify to take back what the first man chose to give away.

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Jesus also established our authority, destroying the devil's works. First John 3:8 says, "The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil". The works of the devil are the "bruised heel of man", or the results of sin in the human situation. Disease, suffering, depression, ignorance, fear, broken hearts, wounded spirits, war, famine, and hatred- the sum of what Satan has been able to achieve in and through men. Jesus destroyed these works.

This is why Jesus spotlighted the portion of Isaiah concerning Himself: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor [those in need]. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are down-trodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19). According to Acts 10:38, "You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him". Jesus healed, helped, delivered, and ministered to everyone He met who was oppressed by the powers of darkness.

By destroying the works of the devil on the Cross, He also enabled us to do the same- to reach out to the oppressed, the downtrodden, and the brokenhearted. Before ascending back to heaven, He gave us a mandate to reverse the works of the devil. Included in the Great Commission were the statements: "In My name they will cast out demons...they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover" (Mark 16:17-18). This is our stewardship of the authority Jesus retrieved on our behalf.

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We've Changed Neighborhoods

Our authority is not only based on what Jesus did to the devil, but on what He did for us. Colossians 1:13-14 tells us that God "delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins".

We need to recognize that no one has ever come to Christ without first of all being a child of the devil, living in the kingdom of darkness. We have all been there. Being a Christian is not just thinking new thoughts or acting new ways. It is not a product of our heritage. Christ didn't simply make good men better. Every Christian has packed his bags and taken up residence in a new place. We have been delivered from sin, selfishness, death, darkness, destruction, and ourselves. We have been delivered from a dominion of darkness and transplanted into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Every day of our lives we should remind ourselves of our old neighbor-hood and thankfully remember who it was who delivered us.

We are presently in either one of two places. There is no middle ground. We are either in the kingdom of darkness or in the Kingdom of God's Son. Christians who have repented, who believe in Christ's atonement, are definitely in the Kingdom of God's Son. We need to reassure ourselves that our new home is in the kingdom of light, and never doubt it. Often subsequent work needs to take place in our lives. But the effectiveness of Christ's further work in us is based on our confidence that we have indeed been transferred.

Not only did Jesus deliver us, but He gives us power to live life He called us to live. We can consistently live through anything we might face by the power of God dwelling within us. First John 4:4 says, "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world". Many Christians have never lived a minute of victory or peace since their salvation. They simply do not know that the same power that brought them out of sin can keep them through Mondays and Tuesdays. How are we going to take on principalities over nations if we can't be victorious through Tuesday?

Do we really know that greater is He who lives in us than who is in the world? I'm not sure many of us really believe this wonderful truth. I hear Christians grumble and complain about their situations. They believe they are victims of leadership, victims of unfair rules, victims of the church they attend, victims of their husbands, or victims of their children. But what they are really saying is, "Greater is he who is in the world and in all my circumstances than He who is in me!"

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Christians are quite impressed with the works of the enemy in the world. One man told me, "I recently went to New York. You wouldn't believe the oppression there! I could feel the enemy all around me. I just had to get out of there". I've heard Christians argue about which place, country, or city was the darkest and most oppressive. Why are we so impressed with the oppression when there is something greater in us?

Avoid compromises-
never give Satan an inch

Jesus In Us Won't Shrivel before Satan

We seem to think that Christians have a low threshold of tolerance to oppression. We are convinced that if a young Christian attends a secular college, he won't survive. It's true. He won't survive unless he truly believes that within every Christian is a power far greater than anything the world and the enemy can muster.

Do we really believe that Jesus and any one Christian are stronger than any force in the universe? Is there any place I can go where the forces around me are stronger than Jesus in me? What good is having Christ in me and His authority at my disposal if I can't handle my job, live in New York, witness in the red-light district of Amsterdam, walk in the slums of Bangkok, or sit in the home of a Hindu? Jesus in us does not shrivel up when confronted by oppression. There is no place, no circumstance, and no pressure in which Christians are not greater. This secular, humanistic, and even satanic society is less than that which is in every Christian.

Satan knows that if we can be kept from confidently believing in the authority God gives us, then we will be out of the race, sidelined by our doubts, fears, and weaknesses. We must know that the Spirit of the living God dwells in us. It is a reality that Satan's lies cannot change. But if we don't embrace the truth- that greater is He who is in me- then it might as well not be true. We will agree with Satan's lie, victims of our circumstances and the powers of darkness. Greater is He who is in us. This is either true or false. We must believe it. We must speak it out to the enemy. We must agree with God and with the truth. And we must live the life He has called us to live, knowing that He can and will maintain us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, "For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered".
"But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For l am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord". Romans 8:35-39

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Jesus Handed Back What We Had Given Away

Jesus also gave us authority to exercise. Luke 10:19 reads, "Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you" (emphasis added). As individuals we have authority over all the combined powers of the enemy. This is an incredible, wondrous truth. Everything at Satan's disposal--every demon, every coven, every cult and religion, every work, and every influence--is subject to the authority given to us by Jesus.

When Jesus rose from the dead after ripping the usurped authority from Satan's hands, He did not immediately go to heaven. He stopped off to see the eleven remaining disciples. These very human, very weak men had fled, frightened out of their minds. Peter had denied even knowing Him. Unbelievably, Jesus sought out these men. Jesus did not rebuke them. He didn't say, "I told you so" to Peter. He affirmed them and did something quite amazing. He breathed on them, saying, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained" (John 20:22-23). Jesus handed to them the authority He had taken from Satan. The authority legally changed hands once more and belonged to man again.

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I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:18-23

Now It's Up to Us

Man again has authority, based on what Christ did on the Cross and through His resurrection. Man can still employ Satan through selfishness and sin, but the balance of power on the earth rests with man in the name of Jesus Christ. The authority is complete in man as long as man is in relationship with God through Jesus Christ. With our authority comes the responsibility to use it for God's purposes. If we don't rebuke the devil, he will not be rebuked. If we don't drive him back, he will not leave. It is up to us. Satan knows of our authority, but hopes we will stay ignorant. We must be as convinced of our authority as the devil is.

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We need to go ahead and exercise our authority in Jesus' name. For instance, the police in my town have been given legal authority by the city. It is authority which ordinary citizens do not have. They wear symbols of their authority; uniforms and badges. They have their authority all the time, even while cruising calmly down the road or while parked at a doughnut shop. Occasionally, however, they are called to the scene of a crime where they exercise their authority by apprehending an offender.

What if I were to arrive home and find people stealing my possessions. I call the police from my car phone and they rush over to my house. But to my surprise, they line up along the sidewalk and begin to sing about their authority, declaring it to one another. All the while, intruders finish cleaning out my house! This may seem ridiculous, yet that is often an accurate picture of what we do. We talk about our authority. We sing about it. We even proclaim it loudly. But we don't exercise it. We must recognize that there is a difference between having authority and exercising it.

Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb

Five Methods For Exercising Our Authority

1. The Name of Jesus as a Weapon
We need a revelation of what happens among demonic powers when we speak the precious and powerful name of Jesus. It's not a magic word. We must be wholly submitted to Jesus to use it. But this name represents the same Jesus who made demons cry out in terror and beg for a trip into a herd of swine. The name of Jesus has been given to us by the resurrected Son Himself: "In My name they will cast out demons" (Mark 16:17, emphasis added). The name of Jesus carries with it all the victory of the Cross and the Resurrection.

2. The Word of God in Warfare

The second way to exercise authority is to use the word of God. "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17). The Word of God is not just a book. It is like a sword. It is sharp, two-edged, and has a genuine effect against the enemy. Jesus used the Word of God in the wilderness when dealing with Satan, and we too need to speak out Scripture, using it as a mighty weapon.

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One of my first experiences in dealing with demons deeply impressed me with the power of the Bible. I was with Frank Houston, praying for a teenage girl in Australia. The usual voices and strange mutterings confirmed that the girl had at least one demon. Then, instinctively, I quoted I John 3:8 aloud to the demon in the girl: "The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil."

As soon as I quoted that verse, she screamed and spat and screamed again. I was surprised at the demon's volcanic reaction- simply from my quoting a Bible verse.

3. The Power of the Holy Spirit

The power of the Holy Spirit is an essential method for exercising our authority. When Jesus breathed on the disciples in John 20:22, saying, "Receive the Holy Spirit", this was the legal authority of the Spirit. He then told them to wait in Jerusalem until they received dunamis or "power".
"You shall receive power (dunamis) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Dunamis is the ability to carry out authority. A policeman may have the city's authority to enforce the law. However, he also needs the muscle to carry out that authority.

Jesus said in Matthew 12:28, "I cast out demons by the Spirit of God". Since He did it by the power of the Holy Spirit, then we also need to "pray at all times in the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:18) in order to drive back and break down the powers of the enemy.

4. The Blood of Jesus

The fourth way we exercise authority is to remind Satan of the blood of Jesus. "They overcame him [the devil] because of the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 12:11). We remind Satan of his defeat at the Cross when the precious blood of Jesus was poured out to atone for sin, reversing the curse and the enemy's hold on mankind. The declaration of His blood seems to have a powerful effect on the enemy. It brings that defeat into each and every situation- freshly applying it for this time and place. There really is power in the blood.

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"Truth does not become more true by virtue of the fact that the entire world agrees with it,
nor less so even if the whole world disagrees with it"

5. Telling the Truth

The last method through which we can exercise our authority is the word of our testimony. Revelation 12:11 also speaks of overcoming the enemy by our testimony. This means a couple of things. First, it's a declaration of the great acts and character of God. The devil's purpose is to discredit God. He lies to us, telling us God doesn't exist, or that He isn't to be trusted. We defeat his lie by testifying of what God has spoken, how God has moved, what His real character is like, and what great things He has done for us. We proclaim the mighty heart and deeds of God.

Another meaning of the word of our testimony is, to proclaim the truth about ourselves- both negative and positive. When we are honest and open, sharing what is truly in our hearts rather than pretending, we break through darkness into the light. We defeat the work of the enemy who can only function in the darkness of pretense, deception, and hypocrisy. We must always be open, proclaiming the truth, and sharing our hearts and our needs with one another. We must walk in the light.

I've seen people set free and healed just by declaring what was really in their hearts. To stay in balance, however, the positive is equally important. We must proclaim the positive truth about ourselves: who we are in Christ. We can declare to the enemy all the truth of our lives in Him. We can proclaim, "I am washed by Jesus' blood. I am a new creature in Christ. I am acceptable to God as a bride. I am more than a conqueror".
This testimony of truth is a mighty weapon. It will shatter the intimidation and accusations of the enemy, which constantly drain our confidence and keep us from exercising our authority.

We must deal with the enemy. He is a defeated foe, but will successfully hold his ground until we exercise our God-given authority against Him."

Title of book= Spiritual Warfare For Every Christian

author is Dean Sherman

Published by YWAM Publishing, 1995, Seattle, Wash 98155

Shared with you by Kraig J. Rice and his Bread On The Waters Ministry (BOW)

BOW links to authority articles

  • Put On The Whole Armour of God article

  • Our Throne Rights article

    Additional links you might be interested in:
    Proof for the Existence of God The Bible Is Special
    Teaching Creation Versus Evolution Testimonies of Former Homosexuals

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    As of April 5, 2005