By What Authority? Life is a warfare. In that warfare there are many battles to fight. You see people battling with their poverty battling with their sickness fighting to make it in life. But the way you fight these battles determines who you are before God. It takes the grace of God to realize that we are not fighting flesh and blood; we are fighting a person but a person without a body. Satan does not come to you physically and say, “Hand over your sword!”, he comes through doubt and unbelief in your heart. There is not enough physical strength to stop satan. There is not enough mental strength to stop satan. Satan can only be stopped by the strength of the Lord. In other words, the authority and power come when you are not standing in your own name but in the name of Jesus Christ. Are you standing in the name of Jesus Christ or in your own name? Proof text: Acts 19:11-17
We understand that the name of Jesus Christ has power indeed but only among those who are committed to the glory of God. The incident of the seven sons of Sceva provided an occasion for spiritual awakening, especially among those who believe. It is common in Christendom today to profess affinity or closeness to Christ according to the flesh, while we are unchanged in the heart and life. And when we pray to God without a thorough reformation of heart and life our prayer would become a curse to us and an abomination to God.
So, here on one side we have Paul, a genuine servant of God through whom God did extraordinary miracle and on the other side, the seven sons of Sceva who were mere imposters. The Bible says that they were moving around driving out evil spirits by invoking the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. By their magic acts, they seemed to be doing well at first but not as those who really put their trust in Christ and a confidence in his name. Let me tell you what happens when you have confidence in God: when you have confidence in God, you are sitting next to Jesus; it is a seat of power and with power. When you have confidence in God, that is when you know that satan cannot touch you. When you have confidence in God that is when you know that all of heaven is backing you up. When you have confidence in God that is when you know that no matter the situation you are in, you are not alone but you have a friend: The comforter, The Holy spirit.
So, without having any confidence in the name of Jesus the seven sons of Sceva continued to invoke the name as if it were a spell or charm. They would say “In the name of Jesus, who Paul preaches, you demon I command you to come out!”. Greater challenges will soon come and ‘the boys would be separated from the men’. I mean, one day, they were to meet a very stiff opposition that would expose who is who and by what authority they were doing what they were doing. It was a test of legitimacy.
The Bible says that no one can say “Jesus is Lord” without the help of the Holy Spirit. This means that no one can call the name Jesus effectively unless he is led by the Holy Spirit. This does not mean that people would not call the name of Jesus without the help of the Holy Spirit. People would still say, ‘Be healed, be blessed, be delivered, in the name of Jesus’, but without the help of the Holy Spirit. This was the case of the seven sons of Sceva.
The day they came face to face with a stiff opposition, they started chanting the name, Jesus, as usual but to their greatest surprise the evil spirit gave them a sharp reply. ‘Jesus I know, Paul I know but who are you?’ Meaning, ‘By what authority? What authority have you to command us? Who gave you such authority? What have you to declare the authority of Jesus, seeing that you disobey His instructions?’ This shows that satan always wants to know who sent you. Now, if you say that Jesus is the one who sent you, you should also know that the authority in the name of Jesus Christ cannot come alive when you have sin in your life. It is true that within that name of Jesus is the power and authority over every power of darkness but if satan keeps you sinning, he has authority over your life. For the first time, it dawned on these fake servants of Jesus that they were on a dangerous mission , for the man in whom the evil spirit resided pounced on them and gave them the torture and disgrace of their lives. They were only lucky to have narrowly escaped with their lives.
One lesson to be learned from this is that evil spirits also recognize imposters (the fakes) and can distinguish them from those with real spiritual power, such as Jesus Christ and Paul. Paul resisted satan by a genuine and lively faith in Christ Jesus and he overcame. This means that if we resist satan by a genuine and lively faith in Christ Jesus, he would flee before our face but if by empty chanting of Jesus’ name as if it were a spell or a charm, as the seven sons of Sceva did, satan would triumph over us. This is a warning to those who confess the name of Christ but do not repent of their iniquity. It is a warning because no matter our waving of hands, no matter our prayer and fasting, as far as there is sin in our lives, the Bible says that when we sin, satan has a foothold in our life.
My dear brethren, nobody will be able to stand before Jesus Christ and say, “I could not be saved because I could not understand your Gospel”- the way has been made plain. I mean, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is quite simple. Jesus Christ has given us the word of God as a special weapon which satan cannot withstand.
Finally, in Luke 10:19, our Lord, Jesus Christ says to you and me, “Behold I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you”. By this declaration, you as a christian were to share in the authority and power of our Lord Jesus Christ over all forms of demonic princes and principalities. Therefore, the name of Jesus Christ is not to be used as an instrument to get results but to claim the authority of Jesus Christ. That is why we Christians talk as priesthood, a chosen generation. We have authority because Jesus is supporting our position. Because Jesus is supporting our position, we are bold to speak our father’s language. You have authority in the names of Jesus Christ; Use it continuously. TBJ….SCOAN
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