The Bare Soul
December 13, 2009
The following is the message
text and audio recording of a sermon titled "Joyous Authority" delivered to the
at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on December 10, 2009.
Joyous Authority - December 10, 2009
Luke 10:19 - I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
When the seventy returned from their commission to the cities where their Lord would soon preach the Gospel, they were overjoyed with the results. The scripture tells us in Luke 10:17 that they returned with joy stating that even the demons were subject to them in Jesus' Name. Quite possibly, this group of disciples went forth with the desire to minister in their Lord's Name, yet did not come into the true realization of their ministry until they stepped out in faith. Once they began to minister in the Name of Jesus, they were both surprised and delighted that even the demons were subject to them in the Lord's mighty Name. To experience this epiphany, they merely had to obey Jesus as He sent them out to perform the miracles of God with the same authority that He received from His Father in heaven.
In our opening scripture, Jesus doesn't say that He will give us authority to timidly tip-toe around the enemy of our souls with fear and intimidation. He doesn't say that we should create some sort of detente' with the power of hell, establishing a sort of quasi-truce with respect to one another. He DOES say that He HAS GIVEN all power by His jurisdiction to tread or to literally trample upon demonic strongholds of serpents and scorpions. There is no possibility of negotiation or diplomacy with the enemy of mankind. Nothing is to move us to the right or to the left from our walk with the Lord and the ministry He has called us all to fulfill. We are to trudge confidently and with determined resolution a straight path, not concerning ourselves with what might be ready to strike at our heels, for it has no power over our lives. In ancient Palestine, serpents and scorpions were a source of constant fear and continual vigilance to protect both human and livestock from their deadly poison. A variety of snakes such as puff adders, pit vipers, and cobras were a constant plague to farmers and shepherds. Of the various Middle Eastern scorpions, many possess more venomous toxicity then those in any other area of the world. So, when Jesus proclaimed that His authority commanded the ability to trample the most notorious and nefarious creatures afoot, He was comparing these loathsome reptiles and arachnids to demonic principalities. Our ability to exercise God's authority over the so-called powers of hell renders them powerless in comparison to the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe (Ephesians 1:19).
To first comprehend and then to walk in the authority that the Lord has given to all who call upon His Name, is to begin to experience the joy of the Lord and the strength of that position. Even as the seventy "returned with joy", so we too can live in a place of joyous victory once we begin to walk as the Lord has ordained for us all as believers. The Holy Spirit is present in our respective lives to fulfill His great commission through us. He is a joyous being that rejoices in the vanquishing of Satan as we move with faith and power against our ancient foe. To be in God's presence is to understand the fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). To know His authority and to walk in it, trampling upon all the power of the evil one, is joyous authority. It is a place of victorious understanding that God has already won the battle and He rejoices with us over the defeat of our enemy (Zephaniah 3:17). And a remarkable phenomenon occurs once we begin to live in this new found authority. The joy we experience from the presence of the Most High God gives us a spiritual strength that defies explanation. We will find that our spiritual confidence and boldness to minister the Lord Jesus will take on a new power and resoluteness. The joy of living in His authority will energize our lives and strengthen us to live for Christ in a whole new way (Nehemiah 8:10). Quite literally, it will propel us into a new dimension of Christian living that we never dreamed possible.
So, how does one get to this higher existence in Christ? How does one begin to live in His authority to trample upon all the power of the evil one without injury? The answer is simple but it's not necessarily easy -- we must believe! One might say that they have sought God on this very point and yet He failed them. I would counter that they did not believe until the breakthrough or the epiphany flooded their life with this truth. God is not a respecter of persons. He has given us the same authority as He did to the seventy, but we must believe. Like the disciples He sent forth, it will take a walk of faith to begin to materialize before the realization of the reality becomes a part of our lives. Satan fears that we would even start to make movement towards this end. He trembles when a believer begins to agree with God's word that he has Jesus' authority on this earth. When believers start stepping out in faith and speaking life and hope into a dying world, it causes the demons to run for cover in anguish. Conversely, those who set out with the power of God have Holy Spirit joy as their strength. What would this world look like tomorrow if today every saint (true believer in God) would speak boldly the Gospel to the lost, lay hands on the sick and trust that God would heal them, or pray over those demonically oppressed? We would see a world turned upside down for Jesus in short order.
If joy is the evidence of being in God's presence (Psalm 16:11), then we should all desire a continual dwelling place close to His bosom. As the seventy demonstrated, joy came by exercising Jesus' authority to a devil-ridden world. In like manner, the Holy Spirit desires to bear witness to Jesus Christ's victory over sin and the devil by continual shouts of joys through the accomplished work of Calvary. He can only do this as we submit to the joyous authority established for us through Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. What could be simpler? To walk with joyous confidence, trampling down all devils and demons as one would not give a thought to crushing serpents and scorpions with the steps of our feet! He has given all who know the Risen Lord this authority. It is our responsibility to then exercise this authority with the joy that comes from abiding with Him.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for Jesus' authority to live as our Savior lived when He walked this earth. Anything less than this is an affront to what Jesus and the Holy Spirit accomplished. Lord, help us to believe that we are "authorized" to command hell to do the bidding of heaven -- that we are empowered with the authority of Jesus to trample down all the power of the evil one in our respective lives. Thank you Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen!
Your Barefoot Servant,
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