Tony Evans - Understanding Spiritual Authority
Our series has been called, is called "Igniting Kingdom Prayer". And the purpose of this series is connecting you with your authority, with your spiritually-endowed authority granted to you by God if you are a believer in Jesus Christ. But for far too many of us, we do not see clearly because we do not understand that it is our shaded view that's keeping us from experiencing what God offers. God wants you and me to have kingdom authority.
Kingdom authority may be defined as the divinely authorized right and responsibility delegated to believers to act on God's behalf in spiritually ruling over his creation under the lordship of Jesus Christ. Let me repeat that again. Kingdom authority is the divinely authorized right and responsibility that's been delegated to believers to act on God's behalf in spiritually ruling over his creation underneath the lordship of Jesus Christ. My purpose today is to clarify our sightline, to clarify and hopefully help us to clean the glasses we're wearing, and if necessary get new ones so that we see things clearly and therefore enter prayer with spiritual authority.
In verses 15 to 18, Paul prays that they will apprehend what they have. He says in verse 17 that God will give you a spirit of wisdom, a spirit of revelation. He prays in verse 18 that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. All that means is so that you start seeing things as they really are and not as you think they are. He wants God to clarify, so I want you to whisper in your mind or with your lips as I'm speaking to you today, I simply want you to ask God to help you see, that the eyes of your heart might be illuminated to see clearly what this authority that you possess, I possess, we possess as believers.
In fact, he uses an interesting word in the end of verse 18, "Which are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints". So, I'm here to declare to you you are rich. He says, "I want you to understand how rich you are in the spiritual realm that you have inherited by virtue of your faith in Jesus Christ". I know as a Christian, your major concern is when you die, you will wind up in the presence of the Lord. However, on your way there, God wants you to know there are riches, rights, and privileges that you can benefit from on your way to your ultimate destination.
Paul says, "I don't want you to go to heaven to see how powerful heaven is. I want you to be enlightened now about the rights and privileges that accrue to you and me and us based on our relationship with Jesus Christ". What God wants you to know, me to know, and us to know that there is more in there to be experienced, not just to be held in your hand, but to be experienced. He says, "I pray that your eyes might be enlightened".
But our problem is we've got fog on our glasses. It's like pesticides being put on fruit and vegetables. When you put the pesticides on the fruit and vegetables, that which was designed to be organic has now become chemically induced, producing another kind of problem no matter how good it tastes. Many of us have put pesticide on what God has for us, and it's contaminated it. That pesticide is called human wisdom. That is man's point of view, the human way to go, the natural way to think. And we have sprinkled pesticide on God's organic truth and wonder why we're spiritually sick even though we're still chewing on the Word. Because it's been contaminated by what the Bible calls the wisdom of man, which nullifies the manifestation, illumination, and revelation of God.
He says, "I pray that your eyes would be open, that you will become wise", that you will become knowledgeable in an experiential way of what God wants to do because you already have the riches. In fact, he says in chapter 1, verse 3, "You've already been blessed with all spiritual blessings". Everything God is ever going to do for you, he's already deposited. So, you already have it. Now, having established what he's praying for, what you and I should be praying for, clear glasses so that we can see, he goes a little bit further. What does he want us to see? Well, he says verse 19, "What is the surpassing greatness of his power toward us who believe".
So, guess what he wants you to see? He wants you to see his power. He wants you not to talk about it, brag about it, he wants you to see it. He doesn't want you just saying, "God is omnipotent". He wants you to see it. He says that I'm praying that you'll see the surpassing greatness, blow your mind power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of his might. He says God wants to show you his muscles. God wants to show you his potency. God wants you to experience his power. He wants you to see him show off his power, demonstrate his power, not just theologize about his power.
Well, how big is this power? Well, he tells you, which verse 20, "He brought about in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in heavenly places far above rule, authority, power, and dominion, every name that is named not only in this age, but in the age to come". Wow. Guess what kind of power God wants you and me as believers, if you're a believer this applies to you, to experience in your life? He wants you to experience, here it is, resurrection power. He wants you to see the power that reverses things, that can take things that are dead and make them alive, take things that are bad and make them good, take defeat and make victory, take loss and wind up with gain. He wants you to see, watch this, that he can change the natural order of things.
Resurrection is changing the natural order of things. Now, that's going to happen to you and me physically like it happened to Jesus when we're given our new bodies at the resurrection. But he's not talking about when believers die, he's talking about while we're still alive. He says, "I want you to see it now. I want you to put on glasses so that you get to see resurrection power". Now, let's go a little deeper. When he raised Jesus from the dead, it says that Jesus being raised, seated him at his right hand in heavenly places. Jesus rose on Sunday, then he ascended 40 days later through the clouds into heaven, where he sat down.
Now, you sit down when you finish something, okay? The Bible says he sat down on the right hand of the Father. The Father's right hand is his power hand, okay? When the Bible talks about the right hand of God, it's talking about his power. So, he sat in the seat of power. Hebrews calls it the throne. So, he's sitting in a powerful seat on a powerful throne 'cause he's a powerful person.
So, now the reversal of fortune from Friday to Sunday led to the ascension, which led to him being seated on a throne. Who sits on a throne? A king sits on a throne. So, Jesus Christ is ruling. Stay with me here. Jesus Christ is in a ruling position, having experienced the physical resurrection from the dead. But where exactly is this throne? He tells you, he says this throne is located in heavenly places. Heavenly places is a euphemism for the spiritual realm. "And he sits high above", it says, "all rule and all authority". Don't miss that, "High above all rule and all authority".
Well, wait a minute, that means he cannot be overruled, 'cause everything he rules over is underneath him. 'Cause he sits high above rule and authority, that's angels and every name that is named, that's humans. Jesus Christ is now ruling from heaven for the benefit of history, and he cannot be overruled, but he possesses veto power. Because why? He can't be overruled. Any attempt to overrule him he can veto, 'cause he sits above them just like courts can veto other courts because they sit above them. So, he wants your eyes to be open, that you got this wealth available to you to experience his power, and that power is demonstrated in the person of Christ.
Hebrews chapter 2, verse 14, which says that in Jesus's death and resurrection, Satan was defeated. So, let's get this straight. You cannot now be defeated by Satan unless he's allowed to do it. And he does it now by deception because Jesus took away his fangs, okay? Bible says he took away the power of death. So, Satan now must trick us to defeat us. He can't just overpower us to defeat us if you're a believer in Jesus Christ. He's got to dupe you. That's why he wants your eyes, my eyes to be open that Satan is down under Jesus's feet.
Look at chapter 2, verse 6. I'm going to read verse 4 to 6, "But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ. By grace have you been saved, and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus". Now, did you just see what I just read? Were your eyes open? I don't believe it, I don't believe it, I got to read it again. "But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved, and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus".
So, guess what? Jesus is not the only one in heaven, somebody's with him, together with him. Not only are there folks with him and together with him, they are seated beside him. It says, "Seated with him". And they are together with him, seated with him in the same location as him. Heavenly places, heavenly places is the spiritual realm. So, guess what Paul is praying that you and I and we understand? You're here, but you're not here. He says, "You have been relocated spiritually, even though you are physically located right here, right now in church". He says, "'Cause if you are saved, you died with him, were raised with him, were seated with him in the heavenly places".
So, here's the problem. If you're seated with him in heavenly places, but you're operating from earthly places, then you're functioning from the wrong location. So, the reason many of us are not seeing the power is we're operating from the wrong location. We're seated in heaven 'cause that's where the power is, but we're operating on earth, and there's no power there. He says but if you learn to operate from where you are truly seated, which is in heavenly places, you're looking at things totally different because you're looking at it from God's perspective, not from man's perspective. He says you are seated with him. Authority works where Jesus Christ rules, where his jurisdiction exists.
We do it all the time, don't they call it Zoom teleconferencing? See, you can be in Dallas and be in a meeting in Chicago without ever leaving Dallas, 'cause technology has set it up that you can really be in Chicago and never leave Dallas, 'cause the way technology has happened is that connections are made between a place you aren't to put you there while you still aren't there. So, you're physically in Dallas, but you're in the meeting in Chicago because technology has put you in two places at one time.
Now, before man ever created all this techie stuff, God had a spiritual system in place to connect us from earth to heaven without leaving your location. And that spiritual connection point has every believer in heaven while they never leave the premises on earth. The problem is we get so used to earth that we never connect the spiritual technology to heaven and wind up with the limitations of earth, and therefore don't see the authority and the power that God has granted believers to experience.
So, how do you get to experience this? Okay, here it is. Notice verse 22, "And he put all things in subjection under his feet and gave him as head all of things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all". Here it is, you will not see the connection open up and the screen come on up there in heavenly places where you are down here on earthly places where you sit, unless you are under Jesus's feet. You have to be under his feet. God has placed all things under his, Jesus's, feet. That means under his authority, under his control, under his rule.
And the one issue that must be settled is the lordship of Jesus Christ over every area of life. That issue must get settled. When you trust Christ for the forgiveness of sins, you're now on your way to heaven. But when you submit to the lordship or the rulership of Jesus Christ over every area of your life, that's when heaven can visit you. And heaven will not visit you if you're not under his feet. Let me read to you right now Romans 14 about the lordship of Jesus Christ.
Here's what it says in verses 7 through 9, "For not one of us lives for himself and not one dies for himself. For if we live, we live for the Lord. And if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living". Until he is Lord, he uses the word Lord four times in those verses. Until he is master, ruler, final decision maker, dictator, meaning you're under his foot.
You know, when somebody puts their foot on somebody, they want to hold them down, okay? Unless God can hold you down, unless you are willing to say, "Yes Lord", to his authority, unless you and I are willing to say, "I am not my own, I've been bought with a price. And that buying with a price covers all of my life, my personal life, my financial life, my attitudinal life, my relational life. It covers all of my life 'cause I am not my own". He says, "I want to be Lord while you're living and when you're dead. I don't want to just be Lord when it comes time to go to heaven. I want to be Lord on your way there".
Until we are under his feet, we will not see his authority being manifested in our experience. We won't see his power, we won't see change. See, 'cause that, look, the way you know that this Christian thing is working is God demonstrates his power. See, when Jesus was on earth, how did they know he was the Messiah? 'Cause of his powerful demonstrations, okay? So, if you really want to know how real he is, plug into his power. But you can't plug into his power unless you're under his foot. You got to be under his authority.
In other words, he must have the right to veto you. He must have the right to overrule you. He must have the right to dictate to you. He must have the right to consume you, because he died and rose to be Lord, not just to be Savior. He died and rose to take you to heaven, but also rule you on earth. And if you want to see his rule on earth, then he must be Lord over all of life. The problem today is we have AM/FM Christians. They switch frequencies. You see, they heavenly on Sunday, then they go secular on Monday. You see, they keep switching frequencies back and forth and wonder why they don't get to hear the whole tune because they keep switching frequencies.
And God says, "I ain't going to let you two-time me now. You have to decide if I am Lord or if I am not. Now, if I am Lord, that means final say so, veto power. And then when it comes time for me to do something, I don't have to go far since you sitting next to me, I can just turn. 'Cause you're already sitting next to me in the spiritual realm". But if you're not operating from that realm, you don't even hear him talking. You don't see the riches. You don't experience the power. And Jesus just becomes a religious experience that encourages you, that inspires you, but you never see the authority, the overruling.
But I will tell you this, there's nothing like seeing it. 'Cause when he shows up and you get to see it and you get to say, "Whoa, I just saw God do a switch on me. I just saw God take something dead and raise it from the grave. I just saw that. I was dying in this situation, dying with this problem, dying with the resources, dying, and I just saw God flip the natural order of things". See, then you won't have to lean on somebody else's testimony 'cause you'll be able to say, "I've seen it with my own eyes".
So, right now in closing, I want to switch a word, I want to switch a word. I want to change out a word, okay? Now, the word I want to change out is a great word, it's a good word, but it's a problem word, but it's a natural word. The word I want to switch out is the word commitment. See, we call on people to make a commitment. There's a problem with a good word. The problem with the word commitment is you still in control. See, when you make a commitment, you're in control. Like we committed to lose the weight we gained over Christmas. We committed, we committed. I'm going on a diet, and I'm going to lose that weight. We committed to start working out. And our commitment began to wain not because we were sincere, but we were in control. And when the control got weak, the commitment got weak.
So, I want to switch the word out. I want to switch the word out from commitment to surrender. See, see, if a man holds a gun up and says, "Put your hands up", he just trumped commitment. I don't need commitment, I'm surrendering. I'm throwing my hands up. I ain't thinking about it, I ain't going into, "Do I really want to commit? Do I really want to do this"? You know why? 'Cause somebody else is in control. Somebody else got the gun, he says, "Sit down". You don't have to tell me twice. I'm going to sit down. Why? 'Cause I'm not in control.
You know what you do when you surrender? What you told. You see, 'cause when you surrender, somebody else is in control. Somebody else is calling the shots. So, commitment is a great word, but we get shaky with commitment. So, let's go to surrender so that it's not up to us, it's whatever you say, boss. You the boss man, whatever you say. Yes sir, I surrender. I hold up my hands 'cause you're the authority. 'Cause now it doesn't depend on my commitment, it depends on my obedience to the authority who's telling me what to do. So, I surrender. And once you surrender, heaven wakes up and say, "We got one, we got one who's ready to see my power and my authority".
As Christians, we've been seated with Jesus Christ in heavenly places. Jesus died on Friday, he arose on Sunday with all authority. That authority for history has been designated to Christ by his Father, but we are seated with him. So, we get to share in the authority that's been given to Christ that he delegates to us when we're operating in the will of God. Boy, there that ought to raise up excitement in your soul that Jesus wants to share his authority with you. Getting to know Jesus and piggybacking off of his authority for your benefit in history, in time and space, and not have to wait till heaven to see it, ah, that's an exciting, exciting thought. Let's make it more than a thought, let's make it a reality. Jesus's authority he shares with his disciples. Make sure you're one of them.