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Authority of a Believer

Sermon on 29 August 2021 by Rev Dr Samuel

Jesus is the lamb of God but is also the lion of Judah to face the enemy. Jesus told his disciples that he is sending them as lamb to the wolves. There is a part of us that needs to know we are lambs but we need not be in fear because of this, we are given power and authority to use if necessary as the lion of Judah. Jesus made us into a new being when we were redeemed. God made us a king priest, which means we are both a priest and a king. As a priest, we are gentle, kind and we bring people to God and as a king we are seated in the heavenly place and have to stand up against the devil. We cannot always just think we are just a sheep and not do anything in the face of the enemy. David is a shepherd boy, but when necessary, he stood up against Goliath.

Matthew 8: 5-13, Luke 7 – The faith of a Centurion

5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” 7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.

In verse 10, Jesus marvelled and said. In the bible, there are only a few instances where Jesus was marvelled. Jesus also affirms his great faith. Why did Jesus marvel? This was something He could not see in the people of Israel. In Mark 6:6 Jesus also marvelled at His own people when He saw the unbelief in his own town. The Centurion is a gentile and not in covenant with God because Jesus came first to the Jews then to the gentiles and this was the primary focus of His ministry. But the Centurion still had steadfast faith and he could see something that the Jews did not see in Jesus. Jesus hometown saw Him as a carpenter and could not believe Him, but the Centurion saw Him as the saviour and Lord. Jesus remarked the Centurion’s faith as a great faith. Who is Jesus to you? We were redeemed by His blood. There is also another incident where Jesus shared about great faith with the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:22-28.

22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”

23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” 24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

This woman did not let go of Jesus and even associated herself with a dog to just take the scraps from the masters’ table and Jesus said her faith is great. From the 2 stories above, they are both gentiles, they are not in covenant with God but yet Jesus commended on their great faith.

The Roman Centurion came pleading for his servant even though he knows he is not in covenant with God because he said he is not worthy. He knows he is not a candidate for the healing but yet he told Jesus to just speak the word and to not even go to his home. The historians said that such a decision is not easy for the Centurion because he has over 100 soldiers under him and he is of a high authority in the Roman army like a command in chief. But yet, he still humbled himself before Jesus and he besieged and pleaded for Jesus. Do we plead to Jesus? How we see Jesus determines our attitude and actions to Jesus. The gentiles saw Jesus had the authority and saw Jesus in action. The centurion has compassion in his heart and he came for his servant because he saw something in Jesus that others did not see. When Jesus wanted to go and heal the servant, the centurion said he is not worthy and told Jesus to just speak the word.

The centurion is someone who knows and understands authority and how it works. Only a man under authority can exercise authority. If we come under Jesus’ authority, then we can exercise authority. In the bible when God created Adam, He created Adam in His image and likeness and called Him man. God told Adam to be fruitful and multiply, replenish the earth, subdue and have dominion. God gave the authority to Adam but Adam sold his authority to Satan. But when Jesus comes into the story, Jesus perfectly obeyed while Adam disobeyed so He received the authority back from Jesus. Jesus died and rose again and He gave this same authority back to us. Paul explained in Philippians how Jesus got the authority back and it was not easy to get it back that only someone under authority can exercise authority.

Philippians 2:5-11

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it [a]robbery to be equal with God, 7 but [b]made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The son of God became son of man. Jesus is first the son of God but He became the son of man by humbling himself to take up human flesh, blood and was born so that He can save all of us. Therefore, God exalted Him above all things because of His obedience to always do according to the will of God. Jesus is the only person to be fully obedient to God and never spoke anything that is not according to the authority of God and He never does any miracle unless through God and never says anything until He hears from God that He even tells Philip that when you see Jesus, you are seeing God. Jesus is dead to His will because until you die to yourself, you cannot exercise the authority. The Centurion knew this because he was under authority as well.

When Jesus was resurrected and visited His disciples, He entered the room and the first word He said is “shalom” and He said as my father had sent me, now I sent you. He gave them the authority and to use Jesus name and the Holy Spirit to go. When did that authority come to us, it is when we humble ourselves and said to Jesus that He needs to be our Lord. This means we are submitted our will to Jesus and we are inviting Jesus into our heart to save us from the sins. When we humble ourselves and call Jesus as our saviour and Lord, we are saved and have been given the authority.

So we are the lamb and the sheep but we are also the lion of Judah. We are God’s children. In Acts 1:8, But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be [a]witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

When someone asked Peter and John for alms, they said they did not have silver or gold, but they can offer to him the authority of Jesus. Jesus has given authority to us over the sickness, over the demon, and when the time comes, we need to stand firm. We cannot always say we are a sheep and we need help because we are also a lion and we are called to have this dominion. All the apostles continued to use this authority. Philip preached the word of God and saw the whole town getting saved. Paul healed the legs of someone. When the time comes, don’t ask God for the authority because God has already given it to you. We need to sit in our heavenly places where we are supposed to be.

James 4:7

7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Many people want to resist the devil but the devil may not go away. The issue is that people do not submit to God so they cannot exercise the authority. So we need to submit ourselves to God then we have the right to exercise authority. We are all sheep so we need to follow His leading, we need to humble ourselves but as the children of the lion of Judah, we need to stand our ground. But in order to do so, we need to know we are under authority and without humbling, we can never exercise the authority. Submit to God and His word and nothing can go against you because God has given you power and authority and the permission to use this power.

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