(8) Experiencing Our Total, Absolute Spiritual Authority

This is gospel coaching session #8

I am actually amused at all the end time teaching that says Jesus must return to fight Satan again at the Battle of Armageddon. Personally, I think most end time thinking is nothing more than religious fantasy. I think it’s a tactic of Satan to take our minds and hearts off the most important single event in all human history, and the center of all human history: the cross of Jesus Christ.

It’s also designed to sell books. Writers know people want to know about the future. So we get a new ‘end time fantasy,’ as I call them, ever year or two. And they are all fantasies! Every single absolute one of them has been wrong! 

If these end time prophets lived in the Old Testament, they would all be stoned to death. But we live in the age of grace, so we just listen to them and wait in line to buy their next book that will be wrong too. Many Christians are gluttons for the future. They’re addicted to it.

 

Why Does Jesus Have to Fight Satan Again?

 

Jesus says he destroyed all Satan’s works the first time he came (I John 3:8). Jesus made a spectacle of Satan and triumphed over him totally (Col 2:15). Jesus went so far as to give US (you and me) all authority over Satan, if we choose to believe him (Luke 10:19).

Don’t you think Jesus still has a little bit of authority too? We’re told that Satan cannot touch us who have been born of God and are believers (I John 5:18). Don’t you think Jesus has just a wee little bit better edge over Satan than we do?

If a nation is at war against another nation, and if they are beaten, subdued and taken captive, does the prevailing nation then return to fight them all over again? NO! They’ve been beaten, and so has Satan.

 

Jesus Is the Lion, Satan Is Only a Roaring Lion

 

It’s interesting that when John was in heaven to write his book of Revelation, he was told to look at Jesus, who was the LION. But when he looked, all he could see was a LAMB—a lamb that had been slaughtered (Revelation 5). Every other spirit being, both angelic and demonic, saw Jesus as the LION. But John, who was still only human, could only see him as the LAMB.

 

We Must Always See Jesus As the Lamb

 

He died for our salvation. But it is just half the puzzle. Jesus is also the LION who prevailed over Satan, as well as all of earth and all of heaven. I’ve heard it preached that Jesus left here as the Lamb, but he’ll come back in the future as the Lion. This is true, but it’s only a half truth, because Jesus is already the Lion. He has been for 2,000 years.

This thinking is powerful when you truly see what it is saying. The LION has prevailed. He has won the battle. Christianity can be called ‘The Religion of DONE.’

There is no conflict between Jesus and Satan anymore. Satan is merely ‘A Roaring Lion’ (I Pet 5:8). This is because Jesus kicked out all of his teeth (spiritually speaking of course). All he can do is roar. He can’t bite. All he can do is try to instill fear in those who do not know, believe and live the gospel!

Here’s a thought I won’t develop. I’ll just let you think about it, in light of the gospel we’re discussing. SATAN is not the counterpart to Jesus. MOSES is the counterpart to Jesus. Here’s the dividing line between the two: “The law was given by Moses, but grace and (gospel) truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

Also we’re told Moses was the mediator of the first, Old Covenant, but Jesus is the Mediator of the second, New Covenant. Jesus came to do the  will of God –

(1) he took away the first, and

(2) he established the second (Heb 10:9).

This is why Paul refers to the finished work of the cross of Jesus as ‘the time of reformation’ (Heb 9:10).

 

Jesus Saw Satan Fall From Heaven (Luke 10:18)

And not only did he fall, but it says Jesus saw him fall ‘like lightning.’ This was not just a casual fall. He was kicked out on his butt. Satan had been in heaven, as we’re told in Job 1. He’d been accusing Christians before God. This was before the law was given, because as we saw, sin was still in the world.

But this was after the law was given and he used the law as his legal complaint. But Satan lost all power of accusation and condemnation when the law was abolished. So Father finally kicked him out and he hit hard – like lightning.

What was it that did this? It was the cross of Jesus, and the fact that he had come to become sin for us (II Cor 5:21). Satan lost his weapons. As we lawyers would say, Satan no longer has any ‘standing to sue.’

 

Isaiah Was Amazed When He Had A Vision of Satan (Isa 14:16)

 

Isaiah prophesied about those who will see Satan in the future, at the return of Jesus: “They who see you shall narrowly look upon you and consider you and will say, ‘IS THIS the man who made the earth tremble, and made kingdoms shake’?”

Isaiah was amazed and shocked by what God showed him. We will be too when we see him for who he is: “This CAN’T be the guy I was afraid of in my earthly life! Can it be? I’m much bigger than he is!”

 

The Gospel Attributes Three Things to Jesus (II Tim 1:10)

II Timothy 1;10 says about Jesus:

(1) he abolished death

(2) he brought us abundant earthly life, and

(3) he brought us immortality (eternal life in heaven).

We’re told Satan believes and trembles (Jam 2:19). He trembles

because he knows gospel truth, and as we will see, he trembles at US too, if we know and live gospel truth! He fears gospel truth!

 

We Are Given All Authority Over Satan (Luke 10:19)

 

Satan fell like lightning from heaven (Luke 10:18), so we have now been given all authority over him. Jesus also has all the authority he has delegated to us reserved to himself. Just because he delegated it doesn’t mean he lost it. It’s quite the contrary. The person delegating has more power than the one he delegates to.

This is one of those things you either believe or you don’t. If you believe, then you experience your total spiritual authority. If you don’t believe it, you never experience it. Satan just continues to run over you.

So again, there is no need for another big battle between Jesus and Satan. I’ll bet Satan gets a big laugh out of all the talk about the Battle of Armageddon. Satan wants us to believe Jesus must return to fight him again, thus making us think Jesus has not really defeated him!

There is only an enforcement coming when Jesus returns the same way he came (Acts 1:11). He will wrap up earth’s history when he returns, and he will throw Satan into the Lake of Fire. But there won’t be any battle. Jesus will just have some mopping up to do.

 

Look At A Bible Illustration for Clarity

 

Acts 19 tells about some Jews, and some vagabond Jews (they had converted to believing in Jesus). They were all trying to take authority over a demon, but the demon beat them up, and set them running off naked. This was true even though it says ‘they used the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches.’

The demon said, “I know JESUS. I know PAUL. But who  are you?”

 

First, let’s talk about using the name of Jesus.

We all know it’s important to use the name of Jesus, just as they did. But why didnh’t it work? We’re told by some ministries that using the name of Jesus is ALL we need. There is so much power in his name we don’t need anything else. But if this is true, why did Jesus call people who were using his name working iniquity? We read this in Matthew 7:22-23. Jesus says it is because he NEVER KNEW THEM.

It’s obvious there must be personal relationship with Jesus for someone to use his name in authority and power. But in the case of Acts 19, at least the vagabond Jews knew Jesus and believed IN him. But we are not if they truly believed in the finished work of his gospel, or anything about their relationship with him.

Don’t miss this! Recall we talked about John 3:36 early in this message: “He who believes IN the Son has everlasting life, and he who DOES NOT BELIEVE THE SON shall not see life, but God’s wrath is on him.” The pure and hard fact is this: you cannot believe Jesus unless you believe his gospel, because this is what he came to bring us.

It was what was predicted by God to Moses centuries before the New Testament (Deut 18:15-19). Acts confirmed the exact same thing (Acts 3:23-26). Paul and Jesus say we’re judged by our gospel belief (John 12:48, Rom 2:16). Plus II Thes 1:7-9 says we’ll be judged for not believing it. The gospel is in the spotlight, nothing else!

Gospel belief is what might be called ‘phase 2’ of our relationship with Jesus. We can believe IN Jesus, without truly believing his gospel that is so good it is impossible for some to believe. ‘Phase 1’ is believing IN Jesus. You can believe IN Jesus without BELIEVING Jesus: the words he said and preached. I know it’s a fine-line, but it is true. ALL Christians believe IN Jesus, but not all believe his gospel that he gave his life on a cross to deliver to us. In fact, Paul indicates not very many do.

Unless you believe his gospel, you only believe in him, and can’t really say you believe Jesus! This was Paul’s distinction between ‘saints’ (those born again), and those ‘faithful in Christ Jesus.’ You can apparently use Jesus’ name if you only believe IN Jesus (as these men were doing). But it may take a deeper level of belief in what Jesus SAYS to be known by Satan, and by his demons.

 

How about Paul being mentioned by the demon?

Why did the demon say PAUL? We know why he said Jesus, but why Paul? Why didn’t he say Peter, James or John, who were the high-ranking public figures in the church? They were almost revered: the disciple who walked on water, Jesus own brother, and the disciple whom Jesus loved best. What a lineup! You can’t get much closer to heaven than this!

But the demon mentioned PAUL. Now why was this?

 

Paul was still wet behind the ears, spiritually speaking. He wasn’t seasoned like the other apostles who had walked and ministered with Jesus. Paul was what might be called ‘the new kid on the block.’ He even says of himself that he was not fit to be called an apostle, and later that he was ‘the least of the apostles.’ Paul wasn’t called by Jesus until he was on the Damascus Road, about six months after his crucifixion. The others had known him for about 4 years longer than Paul. He was still in kindergarten, spiritually speaking. OR WAS HE?

Don’t forget this! Remember Paul was called by God to reveal the finished work of his Son to (Gal 1:15-16). He spent 3 YEARS all alone with Jesus in the desert (Gal 1:18). Then we talked about how he spent 14 YEARS additional in on-the-job training  with Jesus by his side (Gal 2:1). Then we talked about Paul being given a trip to heaven to consult with Father on the gospel (II Cor 12:1-4).

The demon said Paul because he knew Paul had revelation of the gospel of the finished work of Jesus, that the demon also knew.

 

See this too: Whatever the other apostles learned of the gospel, they learned from Paul, just like you and I have to do.

He knew Paul because he had revelation of gospel authority!

This same reality transfers to us who know and live the total authority of the gospel. Demons don’t send us running off as they did the guys in Acts 19. Instead, they sit back, look at us and declare with distain: “I know Jesus. I know Paul.

And I know YOU too!”

 

Paul says the greatest thing is not that we know God, but that he knows us (Gal 4:9). The same thing applies to Satan and his demons. We know who Satan is, but does he know who WE are? The only defining

element is the gospel. Outside the gospel we’re of no concern to Satan. It is the gospel that gives him nightmares, takes authority over him in all ways, and throws him into a state of trembling.

 

Ephesians 3:10 Defines Spiritual Warfare

I’ve never heard this thought on, but I think this verse really does show us how spiritual warfare occurs in the heavens. This is true spiritual warfare for the true believer.

Here’s what it says: “God’s intent is that through the church (you and me), his manifold wisdom (the truth of the gospel) should be made known to the authorities and rulers in heavenly places (Satan and demons) according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The gospel is the central focus of Jesus, who commands that we believe it. It is also the central focus of Satan, who tries to blind us from it. Remember: Jesus had just spent 40 days in the wilderness with Satan. He came out and his very first words were, “Believe my gospel.” You know Satan got evidence of it in the wilderness with Jesus. Both Jesus – and Satan – had the same priority: THE GOSPEL.

Here is the BIG Judgment question when I said above, ‘don’t miss this.’ Their agendas were totally different:

(1) Jesus’ ministry was to reveal the gospel,

(2) Satan’s ambition was to conceal it.

 

The battleground is not Armageddon. The battleground is the cross of Jesus, revealed by the gospel of Christ’s finished work! “When the Son of man returns, will he find faith in the earth?” The faith he seeks is not faith in his second coming. That’s a no-brainer if you’ve read Acts 1:11. What Jesus seeks is faith in his truth!  (Selah)

 

Allow Jesus and Paul to REVEAL it to you. Don’t allow Satan to CONCEAL it from you. He has a whole lot of pulpits helping: ‘10,000 instructors in Christ’ – plus a whole lot of church denominations.

Roger Himes

Roger Himes

The Gospel Life Coach

The Gospel Life Coach

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