By: Larry Payne
Understanding God and knowing God is understanding and knowing His authority. God has a structure and a concept of getting to you all the power and sustenance you will need in serving Him. To receive the greatest benefit from God, the very best He has to offer, proper channels and avenues indicated and ordained in His Word must be taken. In His Word He is giving us a guide to live by. This word and revelation of Him tells us what He expects of us, what He has for us and just what He accepts from us. Also
He defines areas and levels of governments and authority in the church. Many aspects of God’s Word, revelation and power will only be given us in our collective involvement in the church. Yes, much can be gained in private prayer and private Bible study. Yet many truths and blessings will only be given in the assembling or gathering of the local church. For a person to be fully developed and perfectly fit together, he must attach himself to a local church and submit himself under it’s authority and direction.
I. THREE BASIC PURPOSES FOR AUTHORITY – Romans 13:2
When Paul warned that “whatsoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and them that resist shall receive to themselves damnation” (Romans 13:2), He was referring to many more factors than we realize.
A. TO GROW IN WISDOM AND CHARACTER – Luke 2:52
The only recorded incident in the life of Christ between the ages of two and thirty was a discussion with His parents which involved authority. This occurred when He was twelve. Should He follow His spiritual calling and be about the Father’s business (Luke 2:52), or should He become subject to His parents and leave His ministry at the temple? He did the latter and the following verse states “and Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)
B. TO GAIN PROTECTION FROM DESTRUCTIVE TEMPTATION – I Samuel 15:23
The essence of submission is not getting under the domination of authority but rather getting under the protection of authority. Authority is like an umbrella of protection, and when we get out from under it, we expose ourselves to unnecessary temptations which are too strong for us to overcome. This is why Scripture compares rebellion and witchcraft. “Rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft.” (I Samuel 15:23)
C. TO RECEIVE CLEAR DIRECTION FOR LIFE DECISIONS – Romans 14:23
Correct decisions are based on faith; that is, visualizing what God intends to do. “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). One of the most basic aspects of faith is to realize how God gets His directions to us
through those He has placed over us.
After the centurion asked Jesus to come and heal his servant, it occurred to him that just as his life was structured around a chain of command, so the kingdom in which God operates must have a similar structure of authority. When Jesus realized that he understood this, Jesus “marveled and said to them that followed, verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Our faith multiplies as we see how God speaks to us through those He has placed over us.
II. THREE BASIC CHARACTER QUALITIES FOR SUCCESS
A few days ago, a young man in another area of the country that I was visiting, came to me with some vital questions concerning life decisions. These are three areas of character developing I shared with him.
These basic qualities are a must for success, especially in the Kingdom of God. A man may seemingly succeed in other vocations, such as a salesman, carpenter, mechanic or whatever; however, unless these three basic areas are developed, he will be a cripple in meaningful human relations and most of all in his relationship with God. Do not minimize the value of these vital areas for they may determine your future usefulness to yourself and to the Kingdom of God.
We are living in a day when there is a tremendous shortage of loyalty. This precious commodity is in very short supply. We see a lack of loyalty in marriages, in business agreements and associations, to our great country, to neighbors, to the local church, to local church endeavors, to self and finally to God. We see evidences of an AGE OF INDEPENDENCE all around us. I’m doing my own thing. I’m going my own way. I’m doing what I want to do. No one will tell me what I can or cannot do or say.
Disloyalty is a sign of 1) an unbroken will. 2) an independent spirit, 3) a result of moral impurity or 4) pride.
A marriage is only as strong as the two individual’s commitment to the marriage. Your local church is only as effective and powerful as the men and women who are committed to it. Committed to membership. Committed to financial support. Committed to prayer. Committed to revival. Committed to the leadership of the assembly. We must find a place to pledge ourselves to whatever we find important in life. Whether it be marriage, friendship, etc. or we will never be loyal. Loyalty must be developed. A man cannot demand loyalty from his fellowman.
It can only be given. We need a “baptism” of loyalty. Loyalty to the brotherhood, etc. What are you pledging your life to? What causes?
There is nothing that will take the place of honesty. It seems so much easier to be dishonest in our day. Especially in filing our unemployment forms or filing or annual income tax forms or making an insurance claim. Could our system of social security, welfare and unemployment compensation foster a degree of dishonesty in us? Nothing will take the place of honesty.
God is not nearly as interested in what we go through as our response to what we go through. Your attitude involved in a test or hardship is of much more consequence to your character and to God than a bent fender on a car. If we can learn to look at life through God’s eyes and see what He sees, we would be much further ahead. Ahead, that is in our Christian character development.
The details we get hung-up on are not usually what we are having problems with. Most likely, we need to look at defective attitudes. Personal honesty helps a man be a strong and powerful man.
We must learn to be wholehearted and pure in our motives. Sincerity will not assure salvation; however it will produce a certain clear ring. If a man is wrong, he needs to be taught or lead. But if he is insincere, he is deceiving himself and wasting his potential. That is tragic.
We need to get to the right places the right way. Why we accomplish our goals is as important as what we accomplish. Pure motives are a must to stand in our day of insincerity, dishonesty and disloyalty. The Bible
teaches us to “glorify God in our body and our spirit.”
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
1. What is God’s principle channel of getting to you all you will need in
2. Write out in the space below Ephesians 5:20-25
3a. How did Jesus, being God incarnate, respond to His parents authority?
b. Was He under their authority? __________________________________________
c. What areas did Jesus, in His youth, increase in? 1)_____________________
d. How did these relate to authority? ____________________________________
4. In what way is authority an umbrella ___________________________________
5. Rebellion is as the sin of _____________________________________________
6. Being under authority offers a tremendous amount of 1) security and 2)
7. Correct decisions are based on _________________________________________
8. How does our faith multiply ____________________________________________
9. Your faith is only as large as your __________________________ in those over you.
10. What are the three basic character qualities for success mentioned in the lesson?
1)_________________ 2) _________________ 3) ________________
11. Disloyalty is a sign of an 1) _________________ and an 2) _____________
spirit and often times a result of 3)_______________ impurity and
12. Give some of your personal feelings on loyalty ________________________
13. Give some of your personal feelings on honesty ________________________
14. Give some of your personal feelings on sincerity ______________________
15. Where in the book of Corinthians is the scripture found that refers to “glorify God in your body and spirit?” ____________________________________
Please write it out in the space below:
LOOKING AT AUTHORITY
The next six questions are personal questions you may answer as you feel it applies to you.
1. Who has God brought into your life that has a responsibility for you?___
2. In what areas?________________ ________________ _________________
3. To what extent have you had conflicts with those exercising authority over you? _________________________________________________________________
4. Can you describe (in your mind) in detail clashes you’ve had with authority?_________________________________________________________________
5. Would those in authority over you say you have a strong stubborn will and tend to resist their decisions? _______________________________________
6. Was their ever a time when your will was broken and you obeyed authority? ________________________________________________________________
7. Do you believe God is bigger than those who are responsible for you and can even work thru their mistakes to develop Christ’s character in you? ___
(The above material was published by Word of Faith Ministries, Azusa, CA.)
Christian Information Network