Tag Archives: authority

Strict Judgment

Many people want to be up front and in the limelight. With social media, more are encouraged to share everything and be in front of everyone. Being in charge, being a leader, being a teacher—these positions of authority come with a great warning. James notes that these people “will be judged more strictly.”

Remember that it is a huge responsibility to have the opportunity to teach others. When given this responsibility, it is important that we share God’s Word and not our own. It is crucial that we do not become a stumbling block. It is also important to share only the Truth, so you do not cause someone to get off course. You will be judged more strictly. Don’t allow your opportunity to be neglected or abused.

Today if you are a leader or teacher, make note of this warning. Even if you are not a teacher, be aware of what you are sharing online and in person. Are you sharing the Truth or lies? Are you making the most of every opportunity or are you wasting your opportunities? Are you focused on telling people what you think or are you adamant about sharing only what God thinks?

“Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.” – James 3:1 [NLT]

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Placed by God

People are positioned by God. We don’t always understand what God is doing with the placement of some people; however, everyone is “placed there by God.” He is the authority and He is the One who allows authority of some over others. As a result, we are expected to “submit to governing authorities.”

God has a great plan. We have seen a lot of great leaders in our lifetime, and a lot of not-so-great leaders. But our faithfulness in God does not rest on these people. We trust Him no matter who is in authority and no matter what is happening around us. Because of our trust in Him, we are able to accept who He allows to be in control of our workplace, our school, our church, our home, our city, our state, and our country. All authority comes from God. Accepting the leadership is accepting who He allowed.

Today, embrace who God has placed in authority. Aim to support your leaders, trusting in God’s plan. You never know how God will use the leader for His glory.

“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” – Romans 13:1 [NLT]

Glory to His Name

We have been given the privilege and authority to share the Good News. We have a great responsibility and a great opportunity to tell people everywhere what God has done. As we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what He has done in our own lives, the Spirit will grow the kingdom of God. When people believe, they will obey. In doing so, God will be glorified.

We have a great role in the Kingdom. It is not something to take lightly. God has sent us to go to the nations and this requires dedication and sacrifice. We have been given everything we need to do what He has called us to accomplish. We simply need to walk in faithful obedience.

Today, embrace the privilege and authority He has given you. Ask the Spirit how you can share what God has done for you. You are a chosen vessel, but remember the Spirit does the rest. Pray that those who hear about Jesus will open their hearts, believe, and obey. To God be the glory.

“Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to His name.” – Romans 1:5 [NLT]

Ephesians Study: Immeasurable Greatness

[Ephesians 1:15-23]

The Power of God – Omnipotence (all-powerful)

  • Parted the Red Sea & the Jordan River
  • Reattached the ear of the soldier
  • Raised the dead – Resurrection Power!

God’s power is GREAT – God’s power is UNABLE TO BE MEASURED

  1. 19 “And what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.” [ESV]
  2. 21-22 “Now He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else–not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.” [NLT]

All things under the feet of Jesus

He is above

  • All authorities
  • All powers
  • All dominions
  • Every name named in this age & the age to come
  • The Church

 

  • God raised Jesus – defeated death / broke the power of death (v. 20a)
  • God seated Jesus at His right hand – and we are seated with Him! (v. 20b)
  • God set Jesus over all demonic powers (v. 21)
  • God gave Jesus as head over all things to the Church (v. 22)
  • Where God rules, we believers rule (v. 23)

The Apostle Paul is praying in this passage. He wants us to know three things:

  • The hope to which He has called you
  • The riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints
  • The immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe

Paul is saying…

  • You have the calling
  • You are heirs – you have an inheritance
  • You have the power of God

He is praying that you may KNOW – that you would know this power toward us

Bible Study Questions:

How would you describe the power of God?

We have the power of God within us. Why does it sometimes seem otherwise? What gets in the way of this power?

What helps us to know the power of God?

How can we use this power within us?

Read 1 Peter 4:11. Why do we want to live our lives with this power?

When you have seen the power of God at work?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

Lights Out

Signing your name to something is often known as an endorsement. When you sign a check, you are endorsing it. By signing your name on the check, you are giving your word that there is money in your bank account to cover whatever amount is on the check. In life we endorse more than just checks. We can endorse people by giving them a written or verbal reference, or by slapping a bumper sticker on our car. We can endorse products by writing a review. When an accountant prepares your tax returns, he endorses the returns by signing them. When a person inspects your vehicle, that inspection sticker is an endorsement, stating that the car passed inspection per the state codes.

But what happens when one endorses something but it turns out to not be good? Often when a person’s word was trusted but found to be unworthy of trust, there is a loss of moral authority. This past week, I was on the bad end of a faulty endorsement. My family was blessed with a new van; however, the fellow that sold the vehicle promised to inspect it so it could have a fresh inspection sticker good for another year. I was happy and appreciative of the gesture. I was not happy a few days later; however, when I found myself being pulled over by a police officer for malfunctioning lights. They would have been checked with the inspection. What do you mean a few are out? How could that be? Today a different mechanic looked at the van and said he never saw anything like it. So many bulbs that weren’t working, among other items that would have failed with a state inspection. It was clear that I would never do business with the man that sold the van again. He lost my trust.

Integrity and moral authority are important; however, the world does not pay much attention to these items anymore. It is so often that one can lie and cheat their way to the top. We have accepted some sins as not-so-bad and traded the truth for a lie. We will endorse anything, not caring what it will do to our moral authority. Doing our best for God’s glory is put on the back-burner. Power, pleasure and possessions trump grace and truth. Today, remember God’s word reminds us we are not part of this world. We have a higher calling. Walk with integrity friends. You may be the only gospel a person reads. Point to Jesus.

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” – Proverbs 11:3 [NIV]

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2 [NIV]

Let Peace Rule

The word rule means absolute power or control over something. In this world, we can allow many things to rule over us. No matter what is said, something rules you. I know some people ruled by anger while others are ruled by pleasure. Some are ruled by anxiety and worry. Others are ruled by doubt or emotions. The list goes on and on. Whatever rules you controls your actions and your attitude.

I have seen many people being depressed, get fired from jobs, or have a huge fight with their spouse because they were ruled by something like fear or anger. Paul speaks of being content in all circumstances. That is not possible when we allow the world to have power over us. The Bible tells us to let the peace from Christ rule. Wow! The peace of Christ. How differently is life when the peace of Christ rules!?!

When the peace of Christ rules, it doesn’t matter our circumstances, we are content. When the peace of Christ rules, doubt is replaced with confidence. When the peace of Christ rules, security and trust reign over past fears and struggles. When the peace of Christ rules, you surely can have the peace beyond understanding. It’s a real thing. It’s a possible thing. It can be yours. The key word in this passage is “let.” Let the peace from Christ rule. How? Surrender. Be intentional. Allow it. Speak it. Breathe it. Own it.

“And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].” – Colossians 3:15 [AMP]

More Than A Story: Obedience

[The Vineyard Workers: Matthew 20:1-16]

Isaiah 1:19 – “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land.” [HCSB]

God uses EVERYONE obedient to Him – Peter asks “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME”?

“Then Peter chimed in, ‘We left everything and followed you. What do we get out of it?’ Jesus replied, ‘Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.’” – Matthew 19:27-30 [MSG]

“Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous? So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”- Matthew 20:15-16 [NIV]

1) This parable is not about salvation or eternal life

Salvation is not earned by works

Ephesians 2:8-9“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” [NASB]

Titus 3:5-6He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.” [NLT]

2) This parable is not about rewards for service

God rewards differently

1 Corinthians 3:8 – “He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.” [ESV]

LABORERS WHO BEGAN AT 6AM FAILED TO BE THANKFUL – SELF-SERVING ATTITUDE

We all will receive great rewards for following Jesus (see Revelation 22:12)

OBEDIENCE – act of obeying, words or actions denoting submission to authority, dutifulness

  • Obedience expresses faith in His wisdom and love. (Hebrew 11:6)
  • Obedience expresses hope in a future blessing. (Mark 10:29-30)
  • Obedience expresses love (John 14:15, 2 John 1:6)
  • Obedience glorifies God (Matthew 5:16)

Bible Study Questions:

1) In this parable, we read about a Landowner, Laborers, a work day, a Vineyard, and the end of the work day. What do you think these people/things represent?

Landowner –

Laborers –

Vineyard –

Day of work –

End of the work day –

2) Those who were hired last were unworthy of what they received. They were receiving a day’s wage despite working less than a day’s work. They were paid first. They were treated equally.

How does this resemble God’s grace?

What reminds us of our unworthiness?

3) Those who were hired first were paid last. It was their opinion that they were treated unfairly though they were paid an equal amount and given exactly what was agreed upon.

Why was it difficult for these workers to accept God’s grace towards others?

What made this an unfair transaction (from their vantage point)?

4) Before this parable, Peter asks what the disciples will gain for leaving everything behind. Jesus twice speaks of the Great Reversal. Those who are first will be last; those who are last will be first. It wasn’t about the difference of the reward. We should all be thankful.

How can we obey with an attitude of gratitude? What does this look like?

What should be our motivation of service?

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

Bold Confidence

When we approach God in prayer, we are to approach with humility but we also are to approach with bold confidence. When praying, it should not be reciting a list of what we think we are supposed to say. When praying, we should not be following some tradition without our heart saying what our lips say. There are many people who pray but do not even believe the prayer will be answered.

In Acts 12, we read of an “earnest prayer” that was made for Peter to be released from prison (v. 5). Peter was sleeping bound in chains between soldiers but an angel led him to freedom. He went to the house of Mary (John Mark’s mother) where they were gathered in prayer. He knocked and Rhoda came to the door. When she told everyone that Peter was standing outside, they called her “crazy” (v. 16).

The Roman Centurion in Luke 7 approaches Jesus with bold confidence. He realized that he was unworthy to have Jesus follow him to his home, but he believed that Jesus could heal his servant by just speaking. He said, “Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed” (v. 7 NLT). Just say the word. He had faith in the power of Jesus. He had faith that Jesus could speak and it could happen. Jesus commended his faith as faith that He had not seen in all of Israel.

If you are not confident in your prayer life, pray for help. In Mark 9, there is a son who was possessed by a spirit. He was mute and the spirit would cause him to get thrown down, to foam at the mouth and grind his teeth. The disciples were unable to cast out the demon. Jesus told the man, “All things are possible for one who believes” (v. 22). The man replied, “I believe; help my unbelief” (v. 24).

Today I encourage you to boldly approach the throne of God. Pour out your heart in confidence. Boldly claim the Word of God by speaking the Word in your prayer. Claim it for your own. Pray for the Spirit to reveal any unbelief. If you are dealing with something that is limiting your prayer life or not allowing God to move in an area, speak these words – “I believe; help my unbelief.”

Our Birthright Message with Outline

Main Passage: Genesis 25:29-34 [ESV]

Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom. Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

What is a Birthright? What did it mean for Esau?

The birthright was for firstborn son.

PRIESTHOOD – This was before the Levites were the priests. Holy. Set apart. Priest for family.

PROMISE – Promised double portion of father’s estate. Reason was because the oldest son was to take place of father, to care for mother and sisters. This particular promise to Esau meant a double portion of the Promised Land (or 2/3 of the Promised Land)

POWER – He had authority in family – would have been seen as head of family

Esau’s Momentary Pleasure – Unholy Choice

Esau valued temporary pleasure / thrill over responsibility and blessing of being set apart

Hebrews 12:15-17 [NIV] speaks of a Call to Holiness

See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.

 

Embrace Your Birthright

PRIESTHOOD – PROMISE – POWER

We are children of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26)

We are co-heirs with Christ – Romans 8:15-17 [ESV]

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Holy Spirit – Down payment / Guarantee of Inheritance to Come

The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. (Ephesians 1:14 ESV)

Every Spiritual Blessing – Ephesians 1:3 [NASB] – You have ALL YOU NEED

Redemption. Forgiveness. Grace.

  • Remember you are set apart.
  • Boldly claim the promises of God.
  • Walk with a confidence that comes from power of God.

Ephesians 1:11-14 [ESV]

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Download Embrace Your New Birthright Outline from Dropbox

Bowed in Reverence

We do not always have a great respect for authority but God desires for us to respect people, especially those in a position of authority. God has placed them in the position of authority for a reason. I know I am not going to question His judgment. He has a great plan.

When we look at David and Saul, we see this cat and mouse chase that goes on for years. Time and time again, Saul is trying to kill David. He became obsessed with hunting David down and killing him. This obsession consumed him. But David did not let it turn him away from God.

David had chances to kill Saul. Twice Saul was right within reach but David refused to take his life. He would not kill God’s anointed. Instead he cut Saul’s robe and took the things that were beside his head. David even “fell to his knees and bowed in reverence” before Saul, though Saul was certainly not acting like a man deserving of respect. David showed respect anyway. There are moments when we don’t think someone should be in an authority position, when we do not consider the person deserving, but we must remember this person is in the position for a reason and be respectful despite our personal preference.

“Then David stood at the mouth of the cave and called to Saul, ‘My master! My king!’ Saul looked back. David fell to his knees and bowed in reverence. He called out, ‘Why do you listen to those who say ‘David is out to get you’? This very day with your very own eyes you have seen that just now in the cave GOD put you in my hands. My men wanted me to kill you, but I wouldn’t do it. I told them that I won’t lift a finger against my master—he’s GOD’s anointed. Oh, my father, look at this, look at this piece that I cut from your robe. I could have cut you—killed you!—but I didn’t. Look at the evidence! I’m not against you. I’m no rebel. I haven’t sinned against you, and yet you’re hunting me down to kill me. Let’s decide which of us is in the right. GOD may avenge me, but it is in his hands, not mine. An old proverb says, ‘Evil deeds come from evil people.’ So be assured that my hand won’t touch you.’”
-1 Samuel 24:8-13 [MSG]

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