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-- © GodSpeak International 2001 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Rodney Hogue <RodHogue@aol.com> http://www.restorationdepot.org
Teresa Seputis <ts@godspeak.net> http://www.godspeak.net
Editors: Teresa Seputis & Bob Hawley
Transcriber: Nichole Marshall

Prayer-School Course #17

Getting In God's Order

Lesson Five

Understanding Authority and Order

By Rodney Hogue

God has called us to be a priest. Every one of us, if we have a relationship with God, is a priest. Intercession is a priestly role. But even those who are not called as an intercessor are still one of God's priests, if Jesus is their Lord and Savior. We know this because the word of God says it in I Peter 2:9: "For you are a chosen people, you are a kingdom of priests, God's holy nation, His very own possession. This is so that you can show others the goodness of God, for He has called you out of darkness into His wonderful light." So, we are a kingdom of priests. Revelation 1:6 affirms the same truth: "But He has made us a kingdom of priests to serve His God and Father. To Jesus Christ be the glory and power forever and ever. Amen." So, you are a priest.

We may have to change some of our concepts of what priests are and what they look like. Priests have a unique job because they stand between God and man, and the priest intercedes on behalf of man to God, but he also represents God to man. As a priest we simply reveal God to the world. So we are this "in between" this "go between" between God and the world. That is what a priest does.

God gives gifts to the church to help us walk out our priestly duties. It says in Ephesians 4:12 that the responsibility of church leaders is to equip God's people to do His work and to build up the Body of Christ. The call God has for our lives will include our priestly duties. Each of us is a priest.

In a previous lesson, we looked at the large things God is doing to give us an idea of what God is up too. When we begin to understand God's call on our lives, we don't start with the very specific things. We want to get down to the specific things, but we always start with the big things. We start with the large purposes of God because we know we have to stay within those parameters and we also look to see if any of these things are in us. Do we want to do any of these more than the other?

The truth is, if we feel God has called us to do something and it isn't within the parameters of those five purposes, then it wasn't God who spoke. So, we used the five purposes to set boundaries for us, but we need to begin to move a little bit closer, a little bit narrower to what God has called us to do. We're going to continue with that thought of the "big picture" and we're going to understand authority in God's order in the church, because as we begin to fulfill God's purpose for our lives there's going to be connection and relationship to the church and we want to have God's authority whenever we do whatever God has called us to do. I'm sure all of us would like to have that authority.

None of us would say we would like to do ministry and have no power and authority; we wouldn't sign up for that one. We'd say, "I want the power of God. I want the authority of God." How can we have God's authority whenever we're walking out the ministry and calling God has for our life?

We need to begin talking about the authority in the church and we need to understand what the church is, the church Christ died for, His bride. First, let's talk about what the church is not. The church is not a building! It's not an organization! Sometimes we think of it that way -- that's what we've been geared to. The church is not a building! It's not a location! The church is an organism. It's a body. It's the knitting together of individual parts to function as a body with Christ as the head. There's one sense in which the church is very universal in scope, but the church is always manifested locally.

The larger picture we'd call the "church universal" and that's simply the redeemed people of God throughout every age, the Body of Christ everywhere. If we traveled to India to meet with some believers there, there's a relationship that we have, a church relationship. But the universal is always manifested in local covenant relationships. The word "church" is used in the New Testament 116 times and two or three of those times it's simply talking about people getting together -- just the word "assembly." About 14 of those times it talks about the church as a whole, the "church universal." But most of the time when the word "church" is used to imply the universal church, it is in Ephesians chapter 5, which talks about the difference between Christ, the church, a husband and a wife. This passage compares the way Christ loves the church and the way a husband should love a wife.

However, most of the time that the word "church" is use in Scripture, it is talking about the local expression of people who are knitted together. So we give a working definition that the church is a body of believers who walk in covenant with each other to fulfill the purposes of God on earth. The characteristics of this church is that they are in covenant relationship with each other and they are different parts in their place fulfilling their function.

Whenever our parts are in their right place, our body works better. If our heart weren't in its place we would be in big trouble. If it decided, "Well I think I would like to take a trip down to the leg for a while," we'd be in major trouble because those arteries just don't stretch like that. So, this is the way the physical body is and this is the way the spiritual body is. So long as we know our part and place, the body functions well. Problems come when we get out of our place, out of that order, the body doesn't work too well and that's what we're talking about, finding our place in God's order, and the benefit of that is having authority.

When we look at the New Testament, we see Jesus has all authority. Matthew 28:18 says Jesus came to His disciples and He said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me." Jesus has all authority. He doesn't get it later. He has it now. All authority in heaven and on earth belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ.

But Christ chooses to give that authority to the church. Ephesians 1:22, 23 says, "He put all things in subjection under His feet and gave Him his head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who filled all and all." So, even though all authority is in Him, Christ manifests His authority to the church, through the people of God. The bible describes this kind of authority in Matthew 16 when Peter made the confession that, "Thou are the Christ, the son of the living God." Jesus said to Peter, "I can guarantee that on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not overpower it. I will give you the keys" (and that is talking about authority) "of the kingdom of heaven and whatever you imprison, God will imprison and whatever you set free, God will set free." That is quite a bit of authority! Whatever we bind is already bound; whatever we loose is already loosed.

Christ is giving that authority to the church. How do we have that authority? How can that authority be released in our lives? We see it laid out in the New Testament, in Acts. They understood New Testament authority. They were an organism, like an amoeba, because it's moving, it's fluid, not confined, it doesn't have a set parameter. Remember amoeba in high school biology? That amoeba still had a nucleus. It still had a head, an order, a system, but it was fluid and was moving and that describes the church. The church still had order, even though it was fluid, even though it was mobile, they had order in the house.

In our next lesson, we will look at how Jesus disperses His authority in His church.

-- © GodSpeak International 2001 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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