Authority of the Believer: Ephesians 1:19-23, 2:6
God has given the believer authority and victory in both the natural and spiritual realm. Notice what it says in these verses, “What is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us that believe” (1:19); “Far above all principality, and power, and might and dominion, and every name that is named” (1:21); “And hath put all things under His feet” (1:22). God gave all that authority to His body, the church (1:22-23. We are seated in heavenly places with Him (2:6), where he is head over all things (1:22-23).
I challenge you to read, meditate on and memorize the above scriptures (see also Hebrews.2:5-8; Luke. 10:17-19; Ephesians 2:6 & 4:27; Joshua 1:3; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; Revelation 12:11; 1John 4:4 and 5:4-5; Romans 8:37; Deuteronomy 28:7-13). These verses will build your faith, and encourage you because of who you are — and what you have in Jesus.
The devil has been attacking many of us. I love Romans 16:20 which says, “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly”. Notice it says, God of peace. Sometimes the only way to make peace is by fighting. I believe this is a prophetic word for many who are reading this. God is (even now) fighting on your behalf, and is about to place Satan and all his demons (who have been coming against you), under your feet.
Here are some areas Christians should exercise authority over:
Life and prosperity (John10:10; Deuteronomy 30:15 & 19; 3 John 2; Jeremiah 29:11). Jesus came that we might experience life more abundantly than we ever could outside of Him. This has to do with much more than just finances. It has to do with every area of our life – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically and materially.
Health and wholeness (Isaiah 53:3-5; Psalms 103:1-5; Romans 8:11). “By His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). The context deals with more than physical healing but emotional and mental as well. Someone who is reading this is battling emotional scars that God is completely healing right now. Someone else has been told you have a mental illness that God is healing as you read this. Receive it now by faith. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is about to bring life to someone’s physical body (Romans 8:11).
Finances (2 Corinthians 9:6-8; Mal. 3:8-10; Phil. 4:18-19; Deuteronomy 8:11-20). “It is He who gives you the power to make wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18). Listen for Him to speak to you. If something pops into your head, it may be Him giving you just what you need. Seek counsel, pray and if everything seems to be a go, run with it.
He is able to make all financial grace (favor) abound toward you ( 2 Corinthians 9:8) and open the windows of heaven blessing you until there is no longer room to receive it (Malachi 3:10). He promises to supply all your need according to His riches in glory (Phil. 4:18-19). It should be noted that in the context of each of these verses it deals with giving. We cannot expect God to bless and meet our needs if we are not willing to first be faithful in our giving.
Salvation of our family and loved ones (Acts 2:38-39; 16:31; Is. 59:21). The devil has robbed us of our loved ones long enough. Let’s start standing on the Word of God for them to be brought to Jesus. He can even reach “those that are afar off” (Acts 2:39).
Growth of the church body (Isaiah 43:5-7; Acts 2:39; Ephesians 4:16; Acts 2:47). Pastors, leaders and congregants it is God’s desire and will that your church grow both spiritually and numerically. If you will be faithful, pray, witness, follow up on the wayward, work hard and believe God, He will make your church body to grow. He has “ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit (multiply) and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16). Notice, you have to go in order to multiply. It will not happen with you sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing.
Peace and joy (John 14:27; 16:33; Ephesians 2:14; Is. 26:3; Phil. 4:6-7; John 16:23-4; Is. 35:10; 52:9; 60:5; 1 John 1:4). Read these scriptures. God wants you to have peace and joy. All of what I have listed here and above may not be manifest in your life at every given moment. God wants to give you peace and joy even when these things aren’t a reality in your life. There are times when we have to “break forth into joy” (Isaiah 52:9), even when there is nothing to be joyful about.
Implementing Our Authority as Believers
Now that we’ve discussed the authority given to us through Christ, I want to share how we can implement that authority. Read the book of Ephesians and count how many times Paul mentions “in Christ”, “in Him” and “in Jesus.” The entire first half of Ephesians Paul is trying to help us realize who we are in Christ — before ever telling us what we are to do for him.
How to implement the authority given to us, in the spiritual (heavenly) realm, into the realm of reality (Ephesians 1:19-23; 2:6; Josh 1:3; Ephesians 4:27; Mt. 4:8-10; Col. 2:15).
“Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all things in subjection under him, he left nothings that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him” (Hebrews 2:8). It is clear in this verse that God has placed all things in subjection to us, under our feet. “But now we see not yet all things put under him,” also reveals it hasn’t completely materialized yet. Therefore, there must be something we can do to bring this into the realm of reality. Below are a few things to help us start moving in that direction.
Tenacity and discipline (2 Timothy 4:6-8; Galatians 6:9; Luke 18:1). This is not necessarily easy. It is something I have struggled with, especially in recent years. Therefore, much of what is said in this message, I will be preaching to myself. The real struggle is in maintaining your authority. It takes fight, discipline, and down right stubbornness. It is hard, when we face battles and things don’t go right, to continue standing firm and exercise (implement) our authority in the situations of life. It is easy to become discouraged, fainthearted and give up instead of continuing to fight the good fight.
This is particularly difficult when we have faced continuous hardships and reversals in our life and ministry. It is easy to get tired and worn down. Even when we have been very tenacious in the past, we have a hard time stirring it back up and maintaining it again. We must reach deep within ourself, as David did, and encourage ourself in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6 KJV). This was a major turning point for David. If he had not done this he would have missed God and the greatness God had prepared him for. It is in the very beginning of 2 Samuel that David is crowned King. This materialized partly because of his tenacity.
Choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19). Life and victory is ultimately a choice. Things will not always go right for us. We will be attached and at times viciously. We may get and feel beat down and defeated. We may even get discouraged and depressed. We may feel there is no way out and no hope.
It is at these times we must choose life. This is the only way to pull out of the pit we are in and begin to head toward and experience victory. Shout it out, at the top of your lungs, “I choose life”. We must choose life and keep choosing life until we have taken authority over our situation and victory has come.
Visualize your victory (John 5:17 & 19; Judges 6:11-12; Prov. 29:18). As with Effective Praying, we must see the victory in the spiritual realm before it can become an outward reality. Jesus saw the Father working and therefore He worked (John 5:17 & 19). Gideon was hiding in the wine press for fear of the Midianites. When the angel called him he said, “The Lord is with thee thou mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:11-12).
I remember when my oldest son was going through a really rebellious time in his life. As he would leave the house, I would say, “see you later you mighty man of valor.” I’m sure he thought I was crazy but I was trying to see him as the man God had called him to be, even though everything in his life was contrary to it.
Exercise faith (2 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 11:1; 6:13-15; Romans 4:18-21). If we are to implement the authority given us in Christ, we must be men and women of faith. It was said of Abraham, “Who against hope believed in hope” (Romans 4:18). “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). To assert our authority in the affairs of life, our faith must be expressed in four ways:
- Have vision (Proverbs 29:18 and Hebrews 12:2). We not only must see God doing something in the spiritual real but we must have a vision for what we want to see God do, accomplish or what He has promised. We perish and experience defeat without vision (Proverbs 29:18a). Jesus kept his eyes on the joy that was set before Him of what God had promised (Hebrews 12:2). Paul kept his eye on the prize set before him (Philippians 3:14).
- Claim your promises (Joshua 1:3). “Every place the sole of your foot shall tread” speaks of putting your foot on (claiming) all that God has promised. In whatever area you are needing to assert your authority over, find out what God has said about it and claim His Word and promise. Stand on (claim) it saying, “this is mine” by the authority of His Word and the promise of God, who cannot lie (Hebrew 6:18).
- Resist the emeny (1Pet. 5:7-9 and James 4:7-8). “Resist the Devil and he will flea” (James 4:7-8); “Whom resist steadfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8). We must resist, in faith, the enemy, negativism, our situation and all that is coming against us and that opposes God’s Word and promise with all we have.
- Take action (Mark 2:5 and James 2:17-19). We must take action. We have to move in faith in order to adequately place things under our feet. “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). Jesus saw the faith of those carrying the paralytic and was moved to intervene in their situation (Mark 2:5). The Word must be mixed with active faith if it is to profit us (Hebrews 4:2).
Be agressive (Joshua 1:3). “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it bay force” (Matthew 11:12). It is incumbent upon us to take aggressive action if we are going to implement the authority Christ has given us over the things of this life.
Aggression means, “A forceful action as an unprovoked attack when intending to dominate or master.” (Winston Dictionary) The problem is that the Devil is the one who has initiated the attack against us and done the provoking. We need to begin to initiate the attack against the gates of hell and stop waiting on the Devil to attack us before we do spiritual battle (Matthew 16:18). Gates don’t attack but are there to keep us out.
“Place” in Joshua 1:3 is topos in the septuagint and is where we get our word topography. It is “used of a region, locality, room, of a place which a person or place occupies.” (Vines Expository Dictionary of N T Words) We are to take aggressive action, in this realm that was handed over to Satan as a result of the fall, and once again start to occupy what God originally gave into man’s care.
Move forward (Phil. 3:12-14; Hebrews 6:1; Hos. 6:3; Isaiah 43:18-19). Standing still and/or looking back cannot be an option. This only leads to more reversals and going backward. Even if we just stand still, sooner or later we will begin sliding backwards. We must therefore continue pressing on and moving forward in all areas of life.
Watch what you say (Matthew12:36-7; Proverbs 18:20-1; Mk. 11:22-4; Deuteronomy 30: 11-16; Romans 10:8-10; James 3:5-6; Ephesians 4:29; Luke 6:45; Judges 6:11-12). What we say does matter. This is an area I have personally struggled with. If we get discouraged and begin speaking negatively, criticizing and complaining we will retard, if you will, the implementing or exercise of our authority, and our occupation of the land or promises of God.
Our words can build up the kingdom, God’s church and one another, or tear down and destroy. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:20-21).