LESSON 9 29/4/2018
MANIFESTATION OF AUTHORITY
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 70, 83
Devotional Reading: Lk. 10:17-20
Topic for Adults: Empowered to Perform
Topic for Youths: Put Your Authority to Use!
Topic for Intermediates: You Have The Power
Lesson Scriptures: Lk. 10:17-20; 12:11-12; Acts 6:8-15
MEMORY VERSE: “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Have Faith In God
Our faith in God’s power to turn things around is essential for miracles to happen. You must have a strong belief that what you are asking for will be given to you. Though you are yet to see it physically, you must believe in your heart that you have received it, having asked for it in Jesus’ name. Sometimes, there may be a gap between the asking time and the release of the requested blessings. When you experience any such delay, you should not allow any doubt into your heart. It takes faith to walk with God. It equally takes faith to receive from Him. In James 1:5-7, the idea of asking in faith is stressed. We should not doubt when we ask from God otherwise, we may not receive our request. When you pray for one miracle or the other you must believe that God will do it as you ask in the name of Jesus. Whatever you ask from God, always believe that He will give it to you if you ask in faith.
Point of Emphasis: It is by faith you can receive miracles from God.
Prayer Point: Lord, increase my faith in You.
Authority is the power to do something. It may also mean the power to give orders to people or entities. In the context of this lesson we shall focus on the authority Christ Jesus vested in His church to perform signs and wonders while preaching the gospel of the kingdom. It is by performance of miracles in their diverse forms that the authority is manifested. We must, therefore, not feel comfortable when miracles are not happening as we preach the word of God. Miracles attract people to the church and when they are saved, their lives are open up for further blessings. Miracles are necessary tools for church growth. This week’s lesson centres on manifestation of the authority which Jesus empowers His glorious church with.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
PART 1: THE AUTHORITY OF THE CHURCH (LK. 10:17-20)
Jesus Christ sent out seventy-two disciples to the city ahead of Himself to preach the gospel of the Kingdom. He sent them out in twos and gave them detailed instructions on how to carry out the assignment. One clear arm of the work was to heal the sick as they went. As they gave report to the Master, they stated that demons were subject to them in His name. Demons recognised them as people vested with enormous authority and they bowed to the disciples because of the name of Jesus. It is mandatory for Satan and all his agents to fall under the authority of Jesus’ name. The power or authority was all in the name and person of Jesus Christ. (Matt. 28:18)
Jesus transfers the authority to His church when He declares “Behold, I give you power to tread on serpent and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy” (Verse 19). In Mk 16:17, the Lord Jesus succinctly stated that in His name the disciples:
(1) will cast out demons
(2) will speak with new tongues
(3) will take up serpents with their hands
(4) will take deadly drinks and will not hurt them
(5) will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.
Obviously these will happen as the church carries out the Great Commission. Conversely, these things will not happen if the church neglects to go out to preach and teach as the Lord commanded. But if we are preaching and these signs do not follow to confirm the Word and presence of the Lord, it calls for concern and we must go back to the Lord in prayers. After all, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:18). He remains the only source of the authority of the church at all times.
PART 2: SPEAKING WITH AUTHORITY (LK. 12:11-12)
The Lord spoke about the confrontations His followers would have with the Jewish religious authorities as they practised their new faith. However, our Lord taught them not to panic or worry when they were called upon to defend themselves. The Holy Spirit would teach them what to say.
The world is turning more liberal on freedom of religion and worship, but some nations still impose restrictions. In those regions where freedom of religion and worship is not guaranteed and protected, such cruel trials as the Lord talked about can happen to believers. In that situations, believers must rely on the power and authority of the Holy Spirit to defend themselves. We must also quickly remember that wicked spiritual powers equally put believers to test and when that occurs, we must speak with God’s authority.
It is essential for believers to know that even though the Holy Spirit will teach us what to say in each circumstance, there is need to study and equip ourselves with the Word of God. It is when we study and fill our spirit man with God’s Word that the Holy Spirit will help us to apply the Word to our trials and tests. We must not neglect preparation because it is when we have the Word in us that the Holy Spirit will bring it to our mind to address each situation. The Word of God acted upon by the Holy Spirit through believers’ fervent prayers generates power.
In every situation, believers should pray, speak and rely on the authority which Christ Jesus has vested in His glorious Church. Victory is assured.
PART 3: AUTHORITY FOR MIRACLES (ACTS 6:8-15)
Miracles are evidence of divine power and authority. They are manifestations of authority. The church of Christ is a repository of power for miracles. Any one that believes in Christ and is filled with the Holy Spirit is equipped with power to perform signs and wonders. Stephen was a member of the early church; he was filled with wisdom, faith and power; through him amazing miracles and signs were performed among the people. The people were unable to withstand the wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke.
The authority that Jesus gave the church was huge and extensive. It provides for all forms of circumstances. It was by this authority that Stephen performed amazing miracles and signs. Miracles happen when we speak and act by the Holy Spirit influence. Whenever miracles happen through us, let us give the glory to God because He alone is the Miracle Worker.
In Acts 8:6, it is reported that Philip was at Samaria where he preached and the listeners were eager to see the miraculous signs he did. Both Stephen and Philip had been baptized with the Holy Spirit. They simply proceeded to enact the miracle working-power of the Holy Spirit all to the glory of God. Jesus has given the authority to His church and said the church could do more than He has done. Christ’s glorious church must rise up to experience the true manifestation of God’s authority by giving room for an atmosphere conducive for miracles.
The power is available in the name of Jesus. Christ’s glorious church should continue to exercise this authority. Let us avoid sin and shun evil; let us embrace holiness, faith and depend on God’s authority to do great signs and wonders.
The church received authority from Jesus to do exploit in soul-winning through effective evangelism. Jesus vests the church with power to heal, deliver, restore and do all signs and wonders. What we see in the church today is less than what Jesus promised. We can have more manifestations of the power of God in our lives and church since we have God who is backing us, we need to speak His Word to enjoy the release of His power. All must be done only in the name of Jesus and to the glory of God’s name.
(1) Explain where the church derives her authority from.
(2) What is the nexus between evangelism and miracles?
(3) List five miracles that can happen when we engage in evangelism.
(4) Mention two things that may hinder miracles from happening in the church.
(5) What is the link between miracles and church growth?