POWER PRINCIPLE NINE: POWER OF AUTHORITY
Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:
C Write the Key Verse from memory.
C Explain why you must be under authority in order to exercise authority.
C Explain how Jesus was a man of authority under authority.
C Identify structures of authority God has established in the Church.
C Identify structures of authority God has established in the home.
C Explain the structure of authority God has established in work relationships.
C Give a reference which explains the relationship of believers to government
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1)
From the creation of the world, God has worked to bring order out of confusion. One
way He has done this is to establish structures of authority in every area of life. The
greatest and highest authorities are God Himself, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy
God has also established structures of authority which affect your life. These authorities are important if you desire spiritual power. If you are not properly under authority then you cannot exercise authority.
A MAN UNDER AUTHORITY
One day in Capernaum , Jesus had an interesting encounter with a military leader. We are not given this leader’s name. We only are told that he was a Centurion and had a servant who was quite ill. Read the story of the Centurion in Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10 before proceeding with this lesson .
The Centurion was a man under the authority of Rome. He also had authority, as he was the military leader of 100 men. Because of this he immediately understood the spiritual
relationship in which Jesus worked with the Father. It was similar to his own natural relationship as a Centurion with his commander.
Jesus was a man of authority. He acted with authority. He forgave sins, healed the sick, cast out demons, and did miracles. But Jesus was also under authority. He was under the authority of the Father:
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, Verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what
things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself;
And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man. (John 5:26-27)
For I came down from Heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me. (John 6:38)
. . . My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. (John 7:16)
And He that sent me is with me; the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please Him. (John 8:29)
The Centurion recognized the power of this authority structure and, because of it, he knew it was not necessary for Jesus to come to his home to heal his servant. He knew Jesus had enough power to just speak the word and healing would come. Jesus
commended the Centurion for his great faith and healed his servant.
Wherever authority is manifested , there is a chain (proper order) of command. This is
why the scribes and Pharisees questioned Jesus, "By what authority doest thou these
things?" (Matthew 21:23). Whenever men see lives filled with power and authority, they seek to discover the source.
JESUS UNDER AUTHORITY
God sought for someone to go forth with His authority:
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?. . . (Isaiah 6:8)
God gave a measure of His authority to men and women in Old Testament times, but the full revelation of His power and authority came through Jesus Christ. Jesus knew He had this authority :
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in Heaven and in earth. (Matthew 28:18)
Jesus demonstrated that He had authority:
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith He to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. (Matthew 9:6)
Jesus received His authority from God and with it He triumphed over all the powers of the enemy.
Jesus is the head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:1 0) because . . .
. . . having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:15)
Jesus is under the authority of God and in authority over all other powers and authorities. As you previously learned, Jesus has delegated authority to you:
For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left His house, and gave authority to His servants, and to every man His work, and commanded the porter to watch. (Mark 13:34)
You come under the authority of Jesus and, by doing so, you are also under the authority of the Father . Believers are people of spiritual authority who are under authority .
AUTHORITIES SET BY GOD
You already learned that God is the source of power:
For by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible, and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or
principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him.
God is also the power behind all authority structures He has established in the world:
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but
of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1)
In addition to the supreme authority of God, believers are under other structures of
authority He has established. These include authorities in the home, Church, work place, and government.
Each person’s situation differs from others . Some women have no husband. Some people do not work and have no master or employer. They are not involved in these structures of authority. But it is important to recognize the structures which do relate to you because God has established them. You must be under the authorities He established in order to function in authority. Legitimate authority is always delegated from some source.
When you are under authority , you have a legitimate source from which your own
authority is derived. For example, the wife in a home derives her authority from the
husband. The deacons and elders in a Church derive their authority from the men God
sets in spiritual leadership over them . An employee has limits of authority set by his
employer. But all these chains of command lead ultimately to God, who is the source of
All authorities are instituted by God . When tracing authorities back to their source , we always end up with God. Because of this, rebellion against authority hinders the flow of God’s power in your life. When you rebel against those in authority you are actually
rebelling against God:
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but
of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to
themselves damnation. (Romans 13:1-2)
To be a person of authority, you must be under the authority of God and of those whom God has sets over you. These are some authority structures established by God:
AUTHORITIES IN THE HOME:
The very first structure of authority established by God was the home (Genesis l-3). Here is God’s structure for the home:
The Bible teaches that the husband should be the head of the home. The authority of the husband in the home is to be based on love:
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the
church; and He is the Savior of the body.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it. (Ephesians 5:23,25)
The wife is to be under the loving authority of the husband:
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22)
Together, the wife and husband are to be in authority over the children :
Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right.
Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. (Ephesians 6:1-3)
But parents are warned:
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
All authority carries with it responsibility. Parents must exercise godly authority with
love. Husbands must exercise leadership that is like that of Christ for the Church. They are not to be bossy and cruel and require the wife and children to serve them like slaves . They are to relate to their family as Jesus does to the Church.
Husbands should listen to their wives, as they are a gift from God and a "helpmate.” How can a wife help a husband who never listens to her and disregards her opinion? There are Biblical records where God told men to listen to their wives (Abraham) and where God
spoke first to the wife before speaking to the husband (Manoah ). This is why it is
important for a husband and wife to respond properly one to another. It is interesting to note that one of the reasons God called Abraham to the great responsibility of ministry
was that his home was in proper order.
Each authority structure is to be a fair and loving one. Unfortunately, in every structure,
authority has been abused and people do not always act in a loving and fair way. The
authority structure God has established in the home vitally affects ministry. If the home is not in order then one cannot exercise proper leadership in ministry which is a greater responsibility . This is why God established a properly ordered home as a requirement for leadership in the Church:
A bishop then must be. . . one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) (I Timothy 3:2,4-5)
. . . the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused or riot or unruly. (Titus 1:6)
The Bible also speaks of prayers being hindered when there is disharmony between a husband and wife.
AUTHORITIES IN THE CHURCH:
When we speak of the authority structure in the Church, we are not talking about
organizations of man. We are not talking about denominations and the way they
organize, hire, or vote on leaders. We are referring to the Biblical structure of the Church established by God.
The head of the Church is Jesus Christ and believers are . . .
. . . the body of Christ, and members in particular. (I Corinthians 12:27)
God sets in the Church special leadership gifts:
And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets: and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. (Ephesians 4:11)
These leadership gifts are set in the Church by God. When you become part of a local church, then you come under the authority of the men set by God as leaders in that
particular fellowship. These special leaders are assisted in the local church by elders and/or deacons who are to serve under their direction. You can read about the duties and qualifications for these men in I Timothy 3 and Titus l.
God also gives to each spirit-filled believer spiritual gifts. These gifts are to function in the church under the authority of leadership for the purposes of edification and the work of the ministry. You can read about the gifts in the following passages: Romans 1 2:1-8 ; I
Corinthians 12:1 -31; Ephesians 4 :1-16 ; I Peter 4 :7-11 . You can study these special gifts in detail in the Harvestime International Institute course, "Ministry of The Holy Spirit."
The Church is the spiritual body of Jesus Christ. Each member of the Church has a different responsibility , just as parts of a human body. Each part comes under the direction of the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ .
In the human body, each part receives direction from the head. The same is true in the spiritual body of the Church. There can be no unity in the body without the authority of the head, Jesus Christ.
Members of the body are to submit one to another , just as they do in the natural body.
For example, when it comes to reading in the natural body, the eye takes authority. When it comes to walking , the feet take authority. Members of the spiritual body are to submit in a similar way one to another to enable effective functioning in ministry.
AUTHORITIES AT WORK:
The Bible establishes the structure of authority for those who work either as employees or as employers. An employer is one who is the master, boss , or one in charge of workers. An employee is a worker who is hired and has the responsibility of doing a certain job.
The Bible teaches:
Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ:
Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart:
With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. (Ephesians 6:5-8)
The work of a servant or employee is to be done as unto the Lord because God is the
source of all power. Instructions are also given to masters or employers. The structure of one in authority under authority is again clearly reflected in this passage:
And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in Heaven, neither is there respect of persons with Him. (Ephesians 6:9)
Employers are to treat their servants fairly, even as they are treated fairly by God from whom they derive their power.
AUTHORITIES IN GOVERNMENT:
According to Matthew 20:25-28 the power structure of the world is not that of the
Kingdom of God. But even though we are believers and part of God’s Kingdom, at the present time we still live in the world. Each one of us live in a village or city which is part of a larger county, province, state, and country. Each of us live under local and national government and there are laws and government leaders in authority over us.
You previously learned that the Bible teaches God is the source of all power. Romans 13 explains how this relates to governmental authorities. Turn to this chapter in your Bible.
Verse 1 teaches that God is the source of all power and you are to be subject to these powers.
Verse 2 indicates that when you rebel against these powers, you are in reality rebelling against God.
Verses 3-4 explain that government leaders are a terror to you only when you disobey them. They are actually compared to ministers of God.
God brings government leaders to power and can dethrone them at will:
And He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings: He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding. (Daniel 2:21)
. . . that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over the basest of men. (Daniel 4:17)
Daniel tells the story of a King named Nebuchadnezzar who did not recognize the source of his earthly power until God taught him :
But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him.
. . . till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that He appointeth over it whomsoever he will. (Daniel 5:20-21)
God sent a prophet to King Amaziah to instruct him when he was planning to go to battle:
But there came a man of God to him, saying, O King, let not the army of Israel go with thee; for the Lord is not with Israel. . .
But if thou wilt go, do it, be strong for the battle: God shall make thee fall before the enemy: For God hath power to help, and to cast down.
(II Chronicles 25:7-8)
These verses clearly illustrate that God sets up government leadership. He is at work
even in the battles of this world, raising up one, casting down another. Unfortunately, just as authority structures are sometimes abused in the home and church, they are also
abused in government. Wicked and ruthless leaders have seized power in many nations.
They refuse to acknowledge God as the source of power and cause suffering for believers. When any government or regulation contradicts that which is taught in God’s Word, then
you must obey God rather than man. When the Disciples were told they could not preach
in the name of Jesus . . .
Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)
They realized that this request was contrary to the commandment of Jesus which told them to preach the Gospel in all the world. In other areas you are to . . .
. . . be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
For this cause pay ye tribute also; for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
Render therefore to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
Because of their great responsibilities and the potential for their abuse of power, you are to pray:
For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. (I Timothy 2:2)
ALL POWERS BECOME GOD’S POWER
God is the source of all power in the natural and spiritual worlds. All power is delegated from Him. He delegated this power to establish structure in the home, Church,
marketplace, community, and nation. But there will come a time in the future when all delegated powers again become His power:
Then cometh the end, when He (Jesus) shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father: when He shall have put down all rule and all
authority and power. (I Corinthians 15:24)
And when all things shall be subdued unto Him (Jesus), then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him (God) that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. (I Corinthians 15:28)