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-- © GodSpeak International 2004 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Teresa Seputis <ts@godspeak.net>
Editor: Elvi Glass

Prayer-School Course #28

Bits and Pieces
Miscellaneous Teachings & Testimonies
On Subjects Relevant To Intercessors

By Teresa Seputis

Lesson 2
Holiness and Authority

Keys And Authority

"Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades." (Rev 1:17)

Have you ever read this verse and thought to yourself something along the lines of "Gee, I hope Jesus never loses His keys?" Of course we know that He has all authority and that being God, He would never lose anything He has been given. We can trust Him to keep us, just as He promised He would in John 6:38-40. All the same, being human and knowing how easily my own keys wander off from me, that thought did cross my mind one day...

The Lord often speaks to me through object lessons, and He gave me an interesting one some time ago. I was a lay leader at my church and led some meetings there. So I had a set of keys: one to get into the building, one to get into the office area and another one to get into the room where the sound equipment was stored. I need these keys to open the church and to get things ready for the meeting.

One Friday it was my turn to lead the Friday night renewal service. I had been in a car accident a few weeks prior and my car was still in the shop. So my husband dropped me off at the BART station (San Francisco's version of a subway) that morning to commute to work. My work was only 1.5 miles from the Church and I had arranged for a friend who attends the meetings to give me a ride home afterwards. I said goodbye to my hubby and got out of the car. Just after he drove off, I realized that I'd forgotten my keys at home, but it was too late to flag him down. So I went on to work and tried to figure out how I would handle this situation. Without keys, I would not be able to open up the building or to lock it up afterwards. I could not take a taxi home to get my keys since I didn't have a key to get into the house. So I was sort of stuck without them.

So I called the church and asked for one of the associate pastors. I mentioned how I forgot my keys and had the meeting to run and was not sure what to do. The bottom line was that they arranged to lend an extra set of keys for that evening, telling me to return them on Sunday morning. All I had to do was to get to the church office before it closed to pick up the set of keys. I was relieved that this was taken care of. I was surprised at how easy it was to borrow an extra set of keys.

The only reason it was easy to borrow them was because I was on the list of people who were supposed to have them.

I had thought "Without my keys, I am nothing. I will not be able to get into the building and do my job." But it was not the keys that made me able to get into the building, it was having been granted the authority to be there. Even though I did not physically have my keys with me, I was still granted the authority to be in the building. And because of that authority, arrangements were made to enable me to be there.

Then the Lord began to speak to me. He showed me that having the keys was not the sign of "authority" to be in the church building. The keys themselves were incidental (and easily replaced if forgotten or misplaced). It was the fact that I'd been granted authority that allowed me to have the keys. It was the authority that was significant, not the keys that represented this authority.

Likewise, in God's kingdom, it is our relationship and standing with God that counts, not our gifting. God grants us His authority in certain areas. Often manifestations (like keys) will follow ... things like seeing people miraculously get well if you have been granted the authority to heal, frequently seeing prayers answered if you have been granted authority in intercession, seeing folks saved if you have been granted authority in evangelism. The "key" to the whole thing is the authority that God grants to us. Those things which accompany this authority (such as the set of keys to the church building) are incidental to the authority and are not the cause of it. And the Lord grants us that authority out of a deep commitment to Him and relationship to Him and desire to give Him Lordship in our lives -- out of a sincere commitment to live for Him and to honor and obey Him.

So, we are not to seek the manifestations of authority but to seek the One Who gives us that authority. The more we pour ourselves into following Him and being committed to His Lordship in our lives, the greater authority He will grant to us. Then the things that accompany the authority (like a release in the prophetic flow, signs and wonders, power and boldness, walking in His miraculous power, etc) will begin to happen in our day-to-day lives.

Isaiah 4 And Holiness

Isaiah 4 has this wonderful promise of the manifest presence of the Lord in it: "Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain." (Is 4:5-6).

That promise is very similar to the cloud (or pillar) of smoke by day and of fire by night from the book of Exodus. That was how God led His people Israel through the wilderness. The cloud and fire were His manifest presence among them. So, the Lord is promising a time when His manifest presence will be on all who assemble in His name.

But there is a condition that they must go through for cleansing and purification first, so that they may be holy before their God. Check out verse 3-4: "Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called Holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion, He will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire." (Is 4:3-4)

When I read that, I remembered thinking, "Ouch! That is a terrible thing to go through to be purified." I remembered the judgments that fell on Israel and the death and destruction and misery that came to them. I started thinking, "Gee, Lord, are we so rebellious that You have to hurt us before You can use us?"

The Lord seemed to answer by reminding me of some lessons I'd learned months before regarding the concept of judgment. I had read "The Final Quest" by Rick Joyner, where He had said that the process of judgment (at least while we are still living) is not really about reward and punishment. It is about being realigned to do things His way. Coming under His judgment means turning from things that are not His way to those things which are His way. It means letting go of things we value that He does not value and embracing what He values. If we will cooperate willingly with Him in this, it does not have to be a terrible process. But if we resist, He will turn up the pressure to help us turn back to His way.

The Lord started reminding me about 1 Corinthians 11:31-32. I had read it some time before this discussion. It says, "31But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world." When I read that, I had asked God just what it meant. He put it this way to me: "Judge yourselves now so that you will not be judged before Christ's throne."

I had begun to ask God to come judge me now, since I was not so sure I could judge myself accurately. Right after I did that, I ended up doing something stupid and rebellious. After I came back to my senses, I was sure that He was going to punish me... after all, I'd just prayed for Him to judge me a few days before. But He spoke love and mercy and restoration instead and filled me with an increased awareness of His presence on me. I really expected to get "clobbered" but there was love and mercy. Why was there love and mercy instead of punishment? It was because I was willing to turn from my rebellion back to Him and to be in charge of how things were done. I was willing to do it His way.

In short, judgment and punishment do not become synonyms unless we refuse to repent and to realign with His way of doing things. (At least it works that way while we are still alive and here on earth -- I am not sure how this all works out after we die, having not done that yet.)

Then I was reminded about those verses that talk about being baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire. I began to think about how painful it was to be burned. So my impression was that being baptized with the fullness of the Holy Spirit could be a painful process. Then God began to speak to me about fire. Fire consumes things, it burns them up until there is nothing left. And there is much in our lives that needs to be consumed. We need to let go of our selfishness, of our rebellion, of our pride, of those secret sins, and on and on. In the Bible, the effects of being in the fire was purity. For instance, an angel took a burning coal to touch Isaiah's lips to purify his mouth so that he could speak God's words. In short, Isaiah went through the fire and was consecrated to God for His use.

Likewise, we must be willing to let go of those things we hold that are in the way of being used by God. We must become consecrated to Him. The good news is that He knows we cannot do this by our own power or strength. So He sends His indwelling Holy Spirit to transform us to be more like Jesus.

To summarize: God has given us the opportunity to live with His manifest presence on us. But if we want to reside in His manifest presence, we must align ourselves with His way of doing things and must release those things in our lives that displease Him and hold us back. We must consecrate ourselves to Him.

-- © GodSpeak International 2004 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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