The authority of the believer
Mark 6:7, 12-13
Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits…. They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. NIV
Research have shown that people will believe even the most outlandish lies if they hear it repeated often enough. As the former dictator of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, once said, “repeat a lie often enough and it soon becomes truth.” A lie repeated constantly has great power because people will believe it. It was an effective propaganda tool that the Soviet’s deployed to create doubt and manipulate people.
We may not realize it but Satan often tries to sow doubt and unbelief into our hearts about who we are in Christ and the authority we have been given as believers. His goal is to render us helpless and ineffective, confine us to the pews, always hearing but never doing. He doesn’t mind us studying our Bibles or talking about faith just so long as we don’t go out and act on it.
We need to be on guard against the lies of the enemy. I meet many Christians, for example, who believe in the power of God to heal and cast out demons but somehow have trouble believing that God has given ordinary Christians like them the authority to heal and destroy the works of the enemy in His name. They admire the great healing evangelists like Charles Finney and John G. Lake and perhaps even dream of being like them but that’s all it ever is – a dream. Why? Because they have believed the lie that they have no authority to act in Jesus’ name.
I remember that when I first got saved so many well-meaning people tried to discourage me from believing in signs and wonders. It was not for today, they said. I even got kicked out of one Bible study group because of my “erroneous” theology. But you see I came to Christ through signs and wonders: He broke through to me one day in a most awesome way. You could never convince me after that signs and wonders were not for today.
In Mark chapter 6 we see that Jesus gave His disciples “authority over evil spirits” and sent them out. And they went out and preached, healing and casting out demons. There is something here that I think is so important – they received the authority and they went out and acted on it. As they laid hands on the sick, the sick were healed. As they confronted demons, demons were cast out. They would never have known the authority they had if they had not gone out and acted on that authority.
As a believer, we have received the very same authority that the disciples were given:
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well” (Mark 16:17-18).
If you are a believer then you have been invested with the authority of Jesus. The question then for each of us is whether we are going to be influenced by the lie of the enemy or the truth of God’s word? That is what it comes down to.
How we need to confront the lie of the enemy that we are spiritually impotent with the truth of God’s word… “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon” (Acts 1:7) and rise up in the authority and the anointing that God has given us. We can make a difference, a huge difference. God is waiting for us to make a difference – to heal the sick, cast our demons and touch the lives of those around us with His love. We will never know the power of God until we start laying hands on the sick and stand against the enemy. We will never understand who we truly are in Christ, or the true nature of our calling, until we go out and do what He has given us the authority to do.
I believe that somehow the kind of life we live – in weakness and doubt or in strength and faith – depends upon this going out and doing the works of Christ. Remember this: As you go, it will grow; if you stay, it will decay.
Rise up mighty man of God! Rise up mighty woman of God! Preach the gospel. Lay hands on the sick. Cast out demons, Destroy the works of the devil. Freely you have received, freely give. Go, and the Lord will work with you and in you and through you, to confirm His word.