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Many people believe that God withholds miracles. They think God only dishes out miracles as He wants to, when He wants to, or when we’ve done everything perfectly. And this kind of incorrect thinking prevents miracles from happening.
The miracle already exists. He promised you healing. He promised you protection. He promised you provision. If you don’t have these things in your life, it’s because you haven’t figured out how to receive His promises.
So step one to seeing miracles is, we have to stop blaming God. He’s not withholding these things from you. It’s your own fear and unbelief that keeps you from receiving the things He’s already provided for you.
The core scripture for this series is found in Mark chapter 11. In this chapter Jesus gives us four things we need to do to see miracles. Let me read it to you:
Mark 11:22-25 NLT – Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.
In this short lesson from Jesus, He gives us four things that determine our ability to receive miracles from God:
We’ve talked about all four of these in detail already. But today I want to talk about something that helps us with all four of these things.
Just two weeks ago, my dad talked about the difference between power and authority. We often get them confused. Even those who translated the Bible interchanged the words power and authority for the same Greek word.
And I get it. They seem synonymous but it’s important that we understand the difference. There’s no better way than to examine the original Greek words translated to power and authority.
- Exousia (authority, power) – power of choice, mental or physical power, power of influence and of privilege.
- Dunamis (power) – inherent power, power for performing miracles, moral power.
You can see why authority and power are often interchangeable words, but did you notice the difference? Exousia has to do with power in the physical realm and dunamis has to do with power in the spiritual realm.
Both of these types of power have the ability to bring God’s promises into your life. And we all understand how dunamis, God’s miracle working power, has the ability to work miracles in our lives. Most of us have even seen it happen.
But what about the power and authority we have in this physical realm. It’s quite obvious we don’t understand this because most Christians just sit around and wait for God to work a miracle, when He might just be waiting on you to exercise the authority He’s already given you.
Today I am going to help you understand this God-given authority. And get ready because we’re probably going to uncover a lot of wrong thinking today, but that’s a good thing because that’s what we gotta do to get rid of doubt.
Have you ever noticed how there is always a battle for authority? Between you and your kids. Between you and your spouse. Between the manager and the supervisor. The physical world is an all-out fight for authority.
So, if we are going to understand our God-given authority on the earth, we have to start by understanding who is putting up a fight to take it away from us. You probably know who it is. It’s Satan, or the devil, or whatever you want to call him.
The Origin of Satan
The most common understanding is that Satan was once an angel called Lucifer. He was a mighty angel and most likely the worship leader of heaven. The Bible leads us to believe that he even had musical instruments built into his angelic being.
You’ll find all this described in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. And although we have limited information about the origin of Satan, so far, all this seems accurate.
But then there is one scripture found in Revelation 12 where popular theology seems to get off track. Let me show you:
Revelation 12:4 NLT – His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth.
There’s an idea out there that Satan convinced one-third of the angels to join in his rebellion against God and this one very symbolic scripture is what they base it on. You don’t find mention of it anywhere else, and in no way is it clear how this one scripture should be interpreted.
To base an entire doctrine on one symbolic scripture is nonsense. In Bible school, you are taught that all doctrine should have at least three clear references in the Bible. Far from it in this case.
Nevertheless, people read into this and even start to believe that Satan and the angels rebelled and were cast down to earth before Adam and Eve were even created.
They fill in the gap with their own ideas between Genesis 1:1 where it says God created the heavens and the earth and Genesis 1:2 where it says the earth was formless and empty and darkness covered the deep waters.
They propose that Satan and the angels were thrown down to the earth between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 and the earth was actually re-created in Genesis 1:3 where God said, “Let there be light.”
You see that this is foolishness, right? We have no scripture to back this up. This is simply an idea that people use to describe Satan. And it’s destructive because it leads us to believe that God put Adam and Eve on the earth when Satan was already here.
I think we all know this doesn’t really make sense, but we kind of write it off as, “Well, if Satan weren’t here, there would be no way to know if Adam and Eve truly had free will or not. Evil had to exist so that had a choice.”
That’s a bunch of bull. God didn’t need Satan to prove mankind had free will. He used a tree for that:
Genesis 2:16-17 NLT – But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
What I am trying to show you is that there is really nothing that leads us to believe that Satan was here on earth before Adam and Eve. The only thing that makes us believe this is someone’s stupid idea that people latched onto and then spread it around.
Just like the idea that you can choose your gender. Or the idea that we evolved from apes. Shall I go on? I better not.
You know, some even think that God sent Satan to tempt Adam and Eve as some kind of test. But this would be equivalent to telling my two-year-old to go play in the backyard when I knew there was a hungry lion hiding in the bushes.
We’d consider that irresponsible! You guys would call DHS on me if you found out that I did something like that. Yet, we passively latch on to the idea that God did the same type of thing with Adam and Eve.
I’m going to call it. BS. There’s no way that God put Adam and Eve in the garden with Satan so that Satan could tempt them. This made-up theology is ludicrous and destructive to your faith. Time to erase the lies.
So, what really happened?
How did the worship leader of heaven become Satan?
The Bible doesn’t totally explain it, but there are scriptures we can look at to get a more wholesome view.
We know that Satan was once an angel called Lucifer:
Ezekiel 28:14 NLT – I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian…
We know that angels have the assignment of caring for mankind:
Hebrews 1:14 NLT – Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.
We also know that, before Satan’s rebellion against God, when he was still an angel, he was in the garden of Eden:
Ezekiel 28:13 NLT – You were in Eden, the garden of God. Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone — all beautifully crafted for you and set in the finest gold.
From this, we can see that Lucifer (the angel) was there in the garden with Adam and Eve. Keep in mind, we are talking about the angel here before he rebelled against God.
Since angels are sent to care for mankind – to serve them – that must be what Lucifer was in the garden for. He was here to serve Adam and Eve. Quite a different perspective than what you’ve been told all your life, huh?
So, if all was fine and dandy at this point, what caused Lucifer to become Satan and deceive Eve into eating from the forbidden tree?
Ezekiel 28:15,17 NLT – “You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you… Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor.”
Uh oh. It sounds like the fall of Lucifer was simply because he elevated himself above God. He was quite awesome already, but it wasn’t enough for him. He wanted to be even greater and he wanted everyone to notice.
Earlier this year, we talked about how all sin is rooted in elevating self. It’s when a woman’s body becomes more important than the baby in her womb. It’s when my sexual desires become more important than the clear guidelines in the Word of God.
I know you guys understand this. But now you see where it comes from. Satan started all this. The first sin on the earth was all because Satan elevated himself above God. And look at our culture now. It’s unreal how far it’s gone.
So, when Satan was here as an angel, he was here to serve mankind. But since he was full of himself, I imagine he didn’t like his assignment very much.
I mean, have you ever encountered someone who didn’t want to clean the restrooms because they were too important or something? I imagine this was the same type of thing going on in Lucifer’s head about serving Adam and Eve.
On top of this, he had to watch God hang out with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. God even gave mankind all authority over the earth.
The angels didn’t have that! And based on what we know about Satan, he probably wanted it, so he took it by deceiving Eve.
Now that we’ve cleared all of this up, you are ready to understand exousia, which simple means: the authority we have in our physical world. So, let’s talk about authority. Go ahead and write this down:
1. God gave authority to mankind.
When God created us, he gave us complete authority over all the earth. Sounds too good to be true, but it’s absolutely true. Take a look:
Genesis 1:26 AMPC – God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth.
Notice there are no restrictions on the authority God gave us. He didn’t say, “You can have all authority over the earth as long as you behave and do what I tell you to do.” Nope, there are no conditions.
God simply said, “You have complete authority over all the earth and everything on it. No conditions. This physical world is yours to rule and reign.”
Imagine how much more you could get done if your boss treated you the same way – if you were given complete authority over your position. I imagine your work would be much more effective and efficient.
God knew what He was doing. He knew we could (and would) mess it up. But at the same time, the alternative was just annoying. If he didn’t give us all authority, we’d have to ask for approval to cook a meal, or have sex with our spouse, or whatever.
It’d be like that job that we’ve all worked where the manager wanted approval for everything. Ugh. Talk about a waste of time and energy.
Anyways, God wants you to exercise the authority He’s given you. He’s given you complete authority over your physical world. He’s given you authority over sickness. He’s given you authority to provide for your family.
Let me show you one more scripture:
Psalms 115:16 NLT – The heavens belong to the Lord, but he has given the earth to all humanity.
God has given you complete authority over the earth with no conditions. Yet, here’s what we do with it:
2. Mankind gives authority to Satan.
Seriously. This is exactly what happened with Adam and Eve. God gave them complete authority and they just handed it over to Satan. And now look where we are:
2 Corinthians 4:4 NLT – Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe.
Question. Who made Satan the god of this world? We did. And we still do.
God gave us complete authority over the earth. He didn’t give it to Satan. He gave it to us. And we handed it over to Satan and allowed him to become the god of this world.
You want to know what’s most crazy about this? We still do it!
Satan still has no authority of his own. He only has stolen authority. But there are so many people in the world that hand over their authority that Satan has become the god of this world.
How do we know when we’ve given our authority to Satan? Well, it’s really clear in scripture:
Romans 6:16 NKJV – Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?
In other words, you are either Satan’s slave or you have authority over Satan. And the only way you become his slave is if you choose sin over righteousness.
We live in a really challenging time. Sin is celebrated in our culture and if you speak against it, you are accused of a hate crime.
There’s definitely a loving way to confront sin and a hateful way to confront sin. But let me tell you this: if you celebrate sin alongside culture, you are basically celebrating slavery to the devil.
When you tell someone, “It’s okay. I know the Bible says it’s a sin, but you know, Jesus loves everyone, so don’t worry about it.”, you might as well just say, “It’s easier and more comfortable to be a slave to the devil than to pursue righteous living, so yeah, just stay a slave.”
It’s like telling someone who was released from prison to stay in prison because it’s more comfortable there. You may not have any freedom, but at least they feed you and take care of your basic needs.
When you live a life of sin, you give your authority to Satan and become his slave.
Simple as that.
You know, we all sin from time-to-time. Even myself. But there’s a difference between living in sin on purpose and living a life of continual repentance where you turn away from sin and towards God as many times as it takes.
So, God gave us complete authority, no conditions. And then we willingly hand it over to Satan. All this time, you thought that Satan has some kind of superior power and authority over you, but here’s the truth:
“The devil is not using a superior power and authority against us. He’s actually using the same power and authority that God gave mankind to rule and reign with over this earth.” -Andrew Wommack
Bam. Satan has no power of his own. He depends completely on mankind to empower him by handing over their authority through a life of sin.
Listen to me. Satan is absolutely powerless to do anything on this earth unless he gets a person to cooperate with him. So, quit being so afraid! He’s a wimp! He’s got nothing! Don’t give him your authority.
Maintaining Your Authority
Now, the good news is, if you’ve given your authority to the devil, you can take it back today. But once you have it in your possession, you have to maintain it. So let me give you some practical ways to maintain your God-given authority. Here’s the first one:
I will resist sin.
This seems obvious, but if we’re honest, it’s really easy to dismiss this one with a blanket statement of, “God loves me, so He understands that I sin.” Let’s talk about this idea, starting with an awesome scripture:
Romans 5:8 NLT – But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
There you go. God’s love is greater than sin. Sin will never keep God from loving you. Your good behavior or your bad behavior will never make God love you more or less. God loves you regardless. Isn’t that good news?
So, let’s just stop reading because, well, this feels good. I am so glad to know that I can keep doing what I want to do and God will still love me. And He will! God will always love you.
But we are mature believers here, so let’s go ahead and look at the very next chapter in Romans:
Romans 6:1-2 NLT – Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?
Aw man… we’re caught dead in our tracks. God knew that we would try to use his love as an excuse to keep sinning. But He loves you too much to let you believe that lie, so He made it really clear for you.
When you get saved by believing in Jesus, it’s more than a ticket to heaven. Let me tell you what really happens. You die! When you say yes to Jesus, you put to death the person who existed before Jesus.
And then, Jesus gives you new life. That’s why it’s called being “born again”. Your old sinful nature dies and you are born again with the ability to live a life free from sin for the glory of God.
Romans 6:7,11 NLT – For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
We’ve gotta stop celebrating sin. We gotta stop tolerating sin. If we want to maintain the authority God has given us, we have to resist sin every day of our lives. Get rid of it. Kill it. Slay it.
James says it really well:
James 4:7 NLT – So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
We’re talking about how to maintain our God-given authority. First, we must resist sin, also known as resisting the devil. Here’s the next one:
I will pursue righteousness.
When resisting sin, all of a sudden, you have all kinds of time on your hands. You are no longer watching that raunchy TV show every night. You are not spending hours a day looking at porn.
And if you don’t replace all your new free time with the right things, you’ll end up doing the wrong things again. This is true with anything in life. The more you sit around, the less you feel like getting up and getting something done.
This is why so many people keep falling back into sin. They are successful in resisting it for awhile, but they don’t pair it with pursuing righteousness, so eventually they end up right back where they started. Here’s the answer:
2 Timothy 2:22 NLT – Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.
Run! Resist sin and anything that would lead to sin. And in its place, pursue righteous living. Be faithful to God. Look for ways to love others well. Do whatever it takes to maintain peace.
And I love the last part of this verse. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. Y’all, we don’t spend enough time together. Our lives would be much more fulfilling if we gave up some stuff in order to build relationships with those right here at church.
Alright, so we are going to resist sin. We’re going to pursue righteousness. And here’s the last one:
I will put on God’s armor.
This fight for authority against the devil is not a physical fight. There is not a special kind of underwear we can buy to keep us from committing sexual sin. There’s no shock collar we can buy to keep us from speaking evil.
We must recognize this is a spiritual fight. Actually, everything we come up against is a spiritual fight. Our fight isn’t against people, it’s against the spiritual forces influencing people. Let me show you:
Ephesians 6:12 NKJV – For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Now that you see this is a spiritual fight, let’s back up one verse:
Ephesians 6:11 NKJV – Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
The word “wiles” here literally means “deception”. In other words, Satan’s only power is deception. He can’t force you to do anything. He can’t make you sin. All he can do is try to deceive you.
And he’s good, he is really good at deception. He’s been at this awhile and he knows just what to do to get you off track. And if you don’t put on the armor of God, you won’t stand a chance against the deception of the devil.
This has never been more clear to me than this year. Deception is on steroids right now and there are so many people that don’t even see it. Even Christians aren’t able to perceive the deception.
Why? Because they don’t have their armor on. Instead, they clothe themselves in what the media is telling them and Satan is just having a hay day.
This doesn’t have to be you. All you need to do is put on the armor of God. You may have heard about this in Sunday school, but let’s do a quick review:
Ephesians 6:14-17 NKJV – Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth,
Without truth, we stand no chance against the enemy. We must believe that the Word of God is truth and everything else is a lie.
The easiest way to understand this is with the LGBTQ movement we hear about almost every day. The Bible tells us, homosexuality is a sin and it is destructive. So are you going to choose truth, or are you going to agree with culture?
Without truth, the rest of the armor doesn’t even matter. Because the belt is what holds everything together. Without truth, everything else falls off.
Ephesians 6:14-17 NKJV – having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
Now we are talking about obedience. Now that you’ve settled that the Word of God is truth, you must apply it to your life.
We were made righteous through the blood of Jesus, but it is still something that we need to pursue. Because righteousness protects our most vital organs – it protects the things that keep us alive in God.
Ephesians 6:14-17 NKJV – and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Peace is a gift given to us by Jesus. It is what enables us to stand firm when everything around us is falling apart.
When we allow worry or fear into our lives, we lose our footing against the devil. But peace enables us to stand firm.
Ephesians 6:14-17 NKJV – above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
We talked about faith in detail the first week of this series. And basically, faith is confidence in God’s Word. It’s when we believe God’s Word even when our circumstances don’t agree.
Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God. So, if we have not taken time to hear what the Word of God has to say about healing, we get hit by the fiery dart of sickness.
Everything always comes back to your commitment to the Word of God. If you are not hearing it every day, multiple times a day, you are doing yourself a disservice.
Ephesians 6:14-17 NKJV – And take the helmet of salvation,
Do you ever struggle with negative thinking? That’s what the helmet of salvation is for – to protect your mind.
The way you overcome negative thinking is to remember your salvation. Jesus already paid the price for you to be free. You didn’t do anything to earn salvation. It was all a free gift from Jesus.
Counter every wrong thought with this simple truth.
Ephesians 6:14-17 NKJV – and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
Finally, a weapon. And what we are talking about here is speaking the Word of God out loud. When the enemy lies to you and you speak the Word of God out loud, it’s like you are throwing swords right out of your mouth.
Actually, I encourage you to visualize it that way. Makes it a lot of fun to speak the Word of God knowing the enemy is getting pelted with flying swords.
Wow. We covered a lot of ground today. Here’s the bottom line:
I will use and maintain my God-given authority.
God has given you authority over sickness. He’s given you authority over your own finances. He’s given you authority over all the work of the devil.
Keep in mind, God has not given you authority over other people. So don’t pervert this message and try to go control the people in your life. No, you don’t have authority over them. But you do have authority over your own life.
And because you have authority over your own life, I encourage you to exercise that authority today by making three commitments:
- I will resist sin.
- I will pursue righteousness.
- I will put on God’s armor.
Go ahead and take a minute right now to make these commitments between you and God.