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Power and Authority

Power and Authority

Words of Faith 6-21-18

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Luke 9

    When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, [2] and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

 

       The sweep of Jesus' ministry included preaching and teaching about the Kingdom of God, a trip across the lake where Jesus demonstrated power and authority over demons, the healing of sick woman and the raising of a child from the dead.  Suddenly Jesus called the disciples together.

       We don't know what the disciples were expecting when Jesus called them together for this staff meeting, but it probably wasn't what they got.  After clinging pretty closely to Jesus and watching Jesus do ministry-- watching Jesus preach, teach, and heal-- they probably did not expect that it was time for them to do all this on their own!

       In reality, Jesus had been training the disciples all this time.  Everything that He did, every word, every healing, every activity, had demonstrated what ministry as a disciple is about.  Now it was time for them to do it.  This gathering was more than a graduation, it was also a commissioning.  Jesus gave to the disciples everything that they would need for the mission: Power, authority and a plan. 

       When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases.  There is a very important relationship between power and authority.  Though the two words are used interchangeably they are not the same thing.  But both are vital and precede the plan.

        Power is the word dunamis in Greek from which we get the word dynamite.  It means abundant strength, ability and might to do something.  Power is the ability physically emotionally or spiritually to do something.  Authority is from the word 'exousia' in Greek and means the right to do something.

       Power without authority is improper, illegal and even dangerous. In the political realm, power without proper elected and legal authority leads to tyranny and despotism.  Historian Lord Acton's epic warning that "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is often verified in the Biblical narratives.  Saul, Solomon and even David were seduced by power.  There was a reason to resist having kings.   

      Absolute power is power that has no authority or fails to be under authority.  In our human experience, such power easily gives way to selfishness and sin.  Power that has no authority becomes bullyish and sick.  That can happen even in many relationships and even in the family and in the church.  Power must have proper authority to be legitimate. 

       A vigilante has power but no authority.  A criminal has power but respects no authority and has no authority.  In ministry, power without authority can give way to dangerous heresy.  Biblical authority brings with it accountability.  Power without authority is chaos as seen in Judges 21:25.  "In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit."  We cannot all be our own authority.  We have a delegated authority from God or we have no authority at all.

        On the other hand, authority without power is useless!  It is impotent and meaningless.  Authority without power actually erodes faith.  In the church, it leads to empty and impotent institutions.  In the realm of government, a properly elected government can have authority, but if it has no power, the authority has no effect.

        Authority is the right or freedom to do something.  But remember there is only one ultimate authority, God.  Romans 13:1 "... there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God."   All other authority is delegated.  Jesus of Nazareth had the authority of God.  But even the Scripture is a delegated authority.  The word we use has authority that comes from the Author.  Only the Author has ultimate authority. 

         The Apostles had to learn how to be under authority before they could receive delegated authority.  Followership always precedes leadership.

 

         Lord, help me to walk in a right relationship to Your authority.  Teach me Your ways, Your Truth, and Your Life.  May I grow to understand rightly the authority that I have in You, as well as the authority that I do not have. Team me followership that I may grow in leadership. May I not be found grasping for authority or power that is not delegated to me.  In Jesus’ Name.