21-Life in the Kingdom of God - Our Authority As Citizens
When Jesus left this world he did not leave us alone and defenseless against the powers He knew would be coming against us. He told us for certain that as long as we are in this world we will have trouble. But then in the next breath he made clear that he had overcome the world and it's ruler. (John 16:33B) "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace." (John 16:33A)
It's "in Jesus" -- abiding-- living-- and staying ever so close that we are not parted for even a second--- that is where peace and safety will always be for us. Christ's Spirit indwelling our own is that close relationship we are to have throughout this life. But along with his presence, Jesus has given us his authority and the power of God behind it to use on a daily basis.
Many of us haven't a clue that we have Christ's authority to deal with Satan's schemes against us or how this all works out in practicality. This study is one to be mastered and used every day and throughout our whole life.
1. When Jesus sent the early apostles out to preach the good news, he gave them the same authority that he had to be able to feed the minds and hearts of people, but also to help them physically, and deal with anything coming against them.
Mark 16:17-18 / Luke 9:1-2
This is meant for all Kingdom of God citizens today as well. The issue today is whether or not we will use our authority.
2. These early disciples came back to Jesus after their first trip out and were elated. Why?
But Jesus knew that the enemy would not sit idly by while people were being helped into the Kingdom of God. What did Jesus promise these disciples that reaches to us today?
We may not be dealing with snakes and scorpions, but we are dealing with lies, deceptions, the sting of disease, and intractable problems of all kinds. Jesus has not let us be defenseless against our enemy.
3. We are living in the Kingdom of God to advance the will of the king and therefore we have need of his wisdom, strength and resources. What does our citizen authority ultimately rest upon?
The literal translation is that we are to have "the God kind of faith". And what is that?
The King Father speaks his will through his Word and then we in confidence speak that word back to Him. "Dear Father, You said......and now I'm asking for this." Or, "Father, you promised ..... will you fulfill that now in this situation?"
4. Jesus goes on to show us how to exercise this God kind of faith. In the next verse Jesus tells us that if we do three things, He will do the one thing that we need. List those three things.
Notice the important phrase in this verse, "...that what he says will happen, it will be done for him." So often we think one thing and say another thing. And that is what we get. Here are some examples:
You think: In order to have the money I need for my ministry I need to have God's blessing on my business.
You say: "This economy is so bad. It could be years before it lifts."
You think: I need God's healing in my body to be able to do the work I am called to do.
You say: "I feel so horrible this morning that I can't get out of bed."
You think: My son needs a breakthrough so he can concentrate and learn.
You say: "It's impossible for my son to keep his mind on one thing for more than 5 seconds."
Do you see that how you talk can negate your faith in God? It's not just a game of positive thinking. It's standing in the truth of God and believing His Word over whatever physical reality you are facing.
5. Remember the definition of faith?
Real faith is taking God at his word and staking your life on it. We are absolutely certain that our loving and faithful Father will do what He says whether we see it this moment or not.
And so, based on our firm stance of faith, Jesus sums things up for us in ...
"Whatever you ASK for in prayer" -- this means specific and definite requests -- not generalities.
"Believe that you have received it" -- this is past tense! It's already yours and now you watch for the fulfillment.
"...it (your specific request) will be yours!" -- As sure as God's word on it.
6. There is one condition to this kind of asking and Jesus tells us in the next verse.
We must make sure that we let go of the offenses and wrongs that others have inflicted on us. We forgive them just as God has forgiven us of much greater and graver things.
7. WHO are the only people who will defeat Satan and his world system?
1 John 5:4-5
John amplified the fact that every child of God (or those born of God) who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, will be the ones to defeat the enemy. Jesus as the Son of God defeated Satan at the cross and because are are "in Him" we share in Christ's victory.
8. God has called Kingdom of God citizens out of the darkness of Satan's kingdom and into the light of His own kingdom. What are we because of that?
1 Peter 2:9-10
9. The Apostle John in his later years in exile on the Island of Patmos heard a loud voice from Heaven speak. This voice confirms for all of us that we have an enemy who for a time is able to go before God. What is his main occupation?
How the believers at that time could overcome Satan's accusations is the same way we will overcome. This voice from heaven John was hearing tells us three things.
A. By the blood of the Lamb.
The only basis for spiritual warfare is found in:
Colossians 2:13-15 (especially verse 15)
B. By the word of their testimony. Once we know that Satan has been soundly defeated at the cross, then we can boldly proclaim that. We do so by speaking the truth whether we see it right at that moment or not.
C. Did not shrink from death. We are willing to stake our life on the truth of God if we are called to do so.
10. Jesus absolutely promises us that if we follow him and become his witnesses in the world that we will face opposition and persecution.
By standing firm on the truth that Satan has already been defeated, what does Jesus also promise us?
11. In ourselves we have no power and might to defeat Satan and his world system. That's why the Apostle Paul warns us to do what?
It's always the LORD'S mighty power that will take us through.
12. What are WE called to do on a daily basis and why?
13. Paul describes the six pieces of armor that must be put on in:
A. The belt of truth -- walking with Jesus in the light brings integrity to our entire life and keeps us always ready for work or conflict. This belt of truth holds everything else in place.
B. The breastplate of righteousness --a conscience void of offense towards God and man which we can have because of Christ' work on the cross. We put on the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
C. Feet shod with the gospel of peace -- Since we walk with Jesus in truth, our life should result in a testimony to others. We must always be ready to give that.
D. Shield of faith -- we block the arrows Satan shoots at us -- especially our minds -- with the word of God's truth. We say back to Satan just what Jesus said. "It is written!"
E. Helmet of salvation -- Satan knows that if he can get us thinking wrong then we will act wrong. So he aims his arrows straight to our head (mind). But we can quickly refuse them by staying "in Jesus" as our fortress and salvation.
F. Sword of the Spirit -- this is our only offensive weapon and it is the Word of God. We will not be able to use the Word of God unless we know the Word of God. And so every Kingdom of God citizen must study it diligently.
14. There is finally one more thing to add to our armor.
This is extremely important because God will not violate your free will. He will not step in to help you and those you are responsible for UNLESS YOU ASK! He wants to walk in a partnership with us and He wants to be involved in absolutely everything. So don't miss the fact that he wants us to be praying on all occasions and with all kinds of prayer and requests.
You and I are here on earth to continue the work that Jesus started, for "as He is so are we in this world" (I John 5:17b). Just as they persecuted Jesus, they will do so to us. So we shouldn't be surprised at problems. But victory will be ours if we do the following:
A. Abide (live, remain) in Jesus by learning to live with and love his dear Spirit indwelling our own.
B. Put on the full armor of God so we can stand against the attacks of the enemy.
C. Study the Word of God so we can know the will of God and be able to wield this sword against the enemy.
D. Ask God to be involved with everything we are involved with. Don't assume he will act for us without our asking him.