The Authority of Christ

Satan had succeeded in filling the heart of Judas to betray Christ (see John 13:2). It was to the remaining 11 disciples that Jesus gave the Great Commission. Jesus said to them, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19,20). Nothing could be more comforting than to know that God is with us no matter where we go and that He will be until the end of time.

There are only two criteria that must be fulfilled in order for the great commission to be accomplished. First, we must be empowered. That is why Jesus said to His disciples, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. . . . But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:4,8). All those who are filled with the Holy Spirit are empowered to do His will.

Second, we must have the authority to do God’s will. The Great Commission can only be understood in light of Jesus’ previous words to His disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-19). One cannot delegate responsibility without authority. Jesus never appealed to His own authority until He had to delegate responsibility, even though that authority had been recognized. “The crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law” (Matthew 7:28-29). If all authority has been given to Jesus, then Satan has no authority over any believer. Tragically, many believers don’t know their position in Christ, so evil spirits easily intimidate them.

Satan wants to be feared, because he wants to be worshiped. If we consider his attributes to be equal to God’s attributes, we will believe we are caught in a battle between two equal but opposite powers. Any Christian who believes that is defeated. God is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient, and Satan is disarmed (see Colossians 2:15). Children of God are spiritually alive and seated with Christ in the heavenlies. We are joint-heirs with Jesus and have the authority to continue His work on earth.

When evil forces confront us, we can say with confidence that we are children of God and that the evil one cannot harm us (see 1 John 5:18). Satan will try to intimidate us, and we can easily allow that to happen if we don’t know the truth. He wants us to respond to his attacks in fear, because then he is in control. If we respond in fear, we are operating in the flesh, which is on his level. The fear of anything other than God is mutually exclusive with faith in God. We have lost control if we start shouting and screaming. The authority we have in Christ does not increase with volume. We don’t shout out the devil! We just take our place in Christ and calmly say, “I’m a child of God, and you can’t touch me!”

Dr. Neil

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