The Authority of the Believer – Luke 9:1-2

I.  INTRODUCTION – The Goal of the Disciple!

RR Luke 9:1-6

II. TEXT

A. Power & Authority

1.  Look at v. 1 . . .

1 Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.

2.  Jesus gave them power & authority. There is a difference between them, you know.

a.  Power is the raw ability to do something.

b.  Authority is the right to do it.

c.  power without authority is abuse / while authority without power is pointless.

3.  A police officer is a great example of someone who has both authority & power.

a.  After the proper training & with an oath of faithful service, an officer is authorized to enforce the law.

b.  The badge is the symbol of that authority; that he/she is an agent of the civil government to keep the peace.

c.  Along with the badge they’re given a sidearm, a nightstick, a can of pepper spray, & whatever other equipment is needed to do their job.

d.  That gear gives them the power to exercise their authority in the face of resistance.

4.  A police officer without any gear is going to have a difficult time doing his/her job.

a.  They have authority, but no power to back it up.

b.  But what happens if you put that gear in the hands of someone who doesn’t have the authority to use them?

c.  That’s a dangerous thing because they now have power but not the right to use it.

5.  Jesus called the disciples together, then bestowed on them both authority & power to enforce the rule of the Kingdom of God.

6.  In order to understand what Luke is saying here, we need to see where this comes in his story of the life of Christ.

B. Context

1.  In the previous ch., beginning at v. 22, Luke relates of 4 dramatic demonstrations of Jesus’ authority & power.

2.  It begins with His authority over the natural realm when He spoke a word of peace to storm on the Lake of Galilee.

3.  Stepping out of the boat on the Eastern shore they were immediately hammered with a different kind of storm – a spiritual one!     Jesus spoke another word of peace to a demon-possessed man & he was delivered.

4.  The trip back across the lake brought them to an emotional storm – a wealthy man’s daughter was dying & he pleaded that Jesus hurry to his house & heal her.

a.  On the way there, a woman who’d borne a chronic medical condition for many years pressed her way through the crowd.

b.  She believed touching Him was what she needed to be made well – & the moment contact was made, she was!

c.  Jesus then continued on to the wealthy man’s house, arriving after the girl had died.

d.  But He sent the mourners away, entered the room where she was, and raised her from the dead.

5.  These healings all take place immediately before our verses.

a.  They show Jesus’ authority & power over

·        The natural realm

·        The supernatural realm

·        Disease

·        Death

b.  It’s no coincidence that Jesus then called the disciples and gave them power & authority over all demons & to cure disease.

c.  He wanted them to understand that the amazing things they’d just seen Him do, they were to do as well.

6.  Remember now – what is the goal of being a disciple?  To be just like the rabbi!

a.  Jesus wanted the 12 to realize that at the same time He was extending the influence & boundaries of the Kingdom of God, He was also training them to do the same.

b.  This takes place 2 years into their training.

1) Jesus will soon be leaving Galilee where He’s been wildly popular with the common people,

2) To head south into Judea where the authorities & religious leaders are concentrated.

3) These men were hostile toward Jesus, seeing Him as a threat to their power & position.  Plans were already under way to get rid of Him.

c.  Jesus knew what lay before Him in Jerusalem, so before leaving Galilee, He gathers the 12 & sends them out on a short training mission.

d.  There’s something crucial they need to learn & they can only learn it by doing it.

1 Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. 2 He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

C. Called & Sent

1.  Take careful note of the way Luke writes this –

a.  Jesus first called the disciples to give them authority & power

b.  Then He sent them to use it in preaching & healing.

2.  Think about what the disciples would be thinking when Jesus gathered them & gave them authority & power, then sent them out.

a.  In the last couple days as they’ve followed Jesus on His treks across the land, they’ve just seen some of the most amazing demonstrations of His power.

b.  And the backdrop of it all was His continual teaching about the Kingdom of God.

c.  As Jesus commissions them, they’d realize they were being told to go out & do the very same thing they’d been watching Him do.

d.  The authority & power they’d been given wasn’t theirs, but His!

e.  So, when they went out and taught, it was His message.

f.   And when confronted with an opportunity to heal, it wasn’t their great faith that would accomplish it – it was simply obedience to Jesus by using the tools He’d given them.

3.  This commissioning we find in v. 1 was specifically for the training exercise Jesus gave the disciples in v. 2.

4.  But it became permanent at the Last Supper when Jesus turned over His mission to the disciples and told them they were to carry on after He was gone.

5.  In John 14:12-14 He said to them –

12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

a.  Jesus made it clear He was giving them authority & power to carry on His mission.

b.  His “Name” represents Him.  To do or ask something in Jesus’ name meant to present yourself as His agent – doing His will.

6.  This is a key to the locks of this building.  With this key I have access to every room.

a.  We’ve been very careful to give keys only to those who need one.

b.  When a key is given, we’re authorizing that person to use it.

c.  They have some ministry to perform, and the key is a tool that helps them accomplish it.

d.  That key is a symbol of authority, someone has authorized them to perform their work & gave them the means to do so.

e.  That’s what Jesus’ name is – a key to spiritual authority & power.

7.  But we dare not think of the word ‘Jesus’ as a kind of magic formula.

a.  Jesus’ name speaks of a relationship.

b.  Let me explain it this way – I have a friend who moved His family back to the States from New Zealand yesterday.

c.  He emailed me a couple weeks ago & asked if I had a place for them to stay last night.

d.  I asked around & found that one of the families in our church left town for the week & offered their house.

e.  Now, I’m not using the house, my friend is – but the request to use the house was made in my name.

f.   While the host doesn’t know my friend, they know me – and offered their place based on the relationship we have.

8.  When Jesus told the disciples whatever they asked in His name He would do, they understood that He was saying that based on their relationship to Him as disciples, they would be carrying on His mission, His work.  What they did would be consistent with Him.

9.  If after service you came up here, jumped on the drums & started mashing them with the drumsticks, I’d hurry over & ask what you were doing.

a.  If you said Peter’d given you permission – I’d say NO WAY!

b.  Just because you wave Peter’s name at me doesn’t mean I’m going to buy it.

c.  Because I know Peter would never authorize the use of the drums in that fashion, specially right after service when people are praying up here.

10.     In the same way, requests in Jesus’ name have to be consistent with Jesus’ nature.

11.     But here’s the deal – if they are, then Jesus has given His followers amazing authority & power.

12.     In John 17, we find Jesus’ prayer to the Father.

a.  He tells how He’s faithfully given the disciples everything the Father had given Him & how they will carry on the work He’d begun.

b.  In v. 18 He says . . .

18As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. . . . 20“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

b.  Though the original disciples died, the mission of Christ goes on.

c.  The authority & power Jesus gave the disciples has been passed on to each new generation of disciples so they can accomplish that mission.

13.     What we need to take hold of today is that just as Jesus called the 12 and gave them power & authority, so when we’re called to Christ, we too are given power & authority.

14.     They’re given so that we can then go out & advance the mission of Christ, extending the influence & boundaries of the Kingdom of God.

III. CONCLUSION.

A. The LAPD & The Church

1.  The LAPD has had a tough time the last few years.

a.  Numerous reports of police brutality & office involved shootings have brought the LAPD under close scrutiny & intense criticism.

b.  Though it happened 13 years ago, most of us can well remember the riots that took place in 1992 after the Rodney King verdicts were released.

c.  More recently there’ve been other cases of suspects who’ve been seemingly mis-handled by the police.

2.  But a few police officers on the LAPD aren’t the only ones to have a problem with the abuse of authority.

3.  The Church has been mis-using its authority & power far longer than the LAPD.

4.  And while there is the occasional case of a too harsh use of authority in the Church, the far more common error is the failure to use the authority & power God has given her.

5.  You may remember that during the riots in 1992, the big complaint was that the police were no where to be found.

a.  People ran amuck, looting & burning & no one stopped them; the police retreated.

b.  Though they’d been authorized & equipped to keep the peace & protect the innocent, they held back & stayed in their stations.

c.  Their failure to resist the rioters was every bit as great a mis-use of authority as abusing a suspect.

6.  A failure to use the authority & power God has invested in His people is the more common error of the Church.

7.  When we respond to the Spirit’s call to faith in Christ, we’re given His authority & power.

8.  Then we’re sent into our world, our sphere of influence, with the mission of proclaiming the message of Christ & giving evidence to its power to change lives by the power to heal.

a.  God uses healing as a way to verify the authority & power of the message of Christ.

b.  Healing is a sign that points to the sufficiency of Jesus.

9.  But what have we done with the power to heal?

a.  Well, instead of taking it out to the world, we’ve pulled it in to the Church.

b.  Instead of typical, average, run of the mill Christians realizing the authority & power of Christ God has given them,

c.  We’ve appointed a few special Christian “celebrity healers.”

d.  Then we hold huge gatherings of believers in convention centers where these celebrity healers hold forth in flamboyant style.

10.     Let’s be honest – there’s precious little similar between what we read Jesus & the disciples did here, and the way healing is used today.

a.  Today healing isn’t used on unbelievers as an evidence the gospel it true.

b.  No – today it’s become a religious sideshow used to entertain carnal Christians.

11.     God wants us to understand healing this way: It’s part & parcel of our calling as His disciples – it’s the natural expression of our supernatural authority & power.

a.  God has called us & given us His authority & power,

b.  Then He’s sent us – all of us, back into our world, with the mission of carrying on the work of Christ.

c.  As we share His message, He’ll confirm it by His power to heal.

12.     When you go to work this week, live a life of joyful obedience to God.

a.  That’s how you lay the platform & earn the right to speak about Him to the Lost.

b.  As you live the life and share the Word, ask God to show you practical ways to love the people around you.

c.  When the opportunity arises, give testimony to your faith in Christ.

d.  When you learn of a need someone has - PRAY –

e.  Use the authority & power God has given you to extend the influence & boundaries of His Kingdom.

f.   Question: Who wants to see those lost co-workers saved more

1) You or God?  God does – way more.

2) So you don’t have to sweat whether or not God will come through.

3) The answer that comes will be exactly the right one to accomplish God’s work in that person’s life.

g.  Once you’ve prayed for that person & that need, follow up with them.

13.     Listen: Those co-workers have probably seen the televised miracle-meetings with the flamboyant celebrity-healers.

a.  It all looks like a lot of hooey to most of them.

b.  They’ve heard of the scandals & the funky financial shenanigans of the televangelists.

c.  They’ve seen the big hair, the ostentatious display of wealth, & the weirdness & their not interested.  All that turns them off.

d.  But what happens when YOU, someone they know as a normal human being, just lives out your faith in a natural and humble way, and God touches them with His power?

e.  Now they can’t deny it because they’ve seen it first-hand.  They or one of the other workers has been touched by the power of God & they KNOW it!

14.     Maybe you stay at home. Invite the neighbors over for coffee.

a.  Build a normal relationship with them, earning credibility with them to be able to speak into their lives.

b.  When they share their burdens with you, pray for them.

15.     Now, let me be clear – I’m not saying that it’s wrong for us to pray for each other & seek God’s touch when we gather as the Church.

a.  On the contrary, James says the sick are to call for the elders to pray for their healing.

b.  It’s not wrong to pray for one another & to seek God for healing in the Body of Christ –

c.  But we must realize the primary sphere God intends us to use His authority & power is among the lost –

d.  And that all of us have an equal measure & share of that authority & power.

16.     You & I have no less power than Billy Graham or Rick Warren, because it’s not OUR power; it’s not OUR authority – It’s God’s, as is the mission.

17.     The only issue is whether we’re doing it.

B. Gifts, Not ‘THE’ Gift of Healing

1.  My brothers & Sisters, we need to move away from this idea that there are special healers in the Body of Christ.

2.  There is just nothing in the Word to support that idea. On the contrary, healing is something that is part & parcel of the authority & power we all have as disciples.

3.  Go with me to 1 Cor. 12:9.

a.  Paul is speaking about the various manifestations of the Spirit’s presence & power.

b.  in v. 9 he says . . .

 . . . to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,

c.  Take careful note of that – Paul doesn’t say, “To another the gift of healing.”

d.  It’s “gifts of healings.”

e.  Paul doesn’t see God appointing someone as a healer – rather, specific healings are given out as evidences of the Spirit’s power.

f.   The ones who receive these gifts are the ones who need them because they’ve encountered a need God wants to meet.

g.  Look at v. 31 where Paul wraps it up –

But earnestly desire the best gifts.

1) The best gift is the one that’s needed at the time.

2) If your neighbor has just told you her child has a medical condition, what gift would be best?

3) It’s reasonable to assume healing is the ticket.

4.  So pray & ask the Lord to heal.

5.  Use the authority & power that was given you when He called you to Himself, and that He’s sent you into the world to use.