© 2022 Philip M Spence (Extract from the Book ‘Kingdom Authority’ © 2019 Philip M Spence)
Authority can only be given by someone who already possesses it, and who therefore authorises another person to function on their behalf. This means that authority must only be exercised for the purposes determined by the giver of that authority. Anything else could be seen as rebellion, and can lead to anarchy.
When Jesus said that all authority had been given to Him, He was affirming that the Father had bestowed the Kingdom upon Him, along with the authority required to fulfil His role as King of the Kingdom (Matthew 28:18-20).
Just as the Father has authorised Jesus to be King of the Kingdom, and ensure that His purposes are accomplished, in the same way Jesus has commissioned and authorised us to represent Him, and accomplish Kingdom outcomes in His name with the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Authorised to Transform Nations
God’s end goal is that the Kingdoms of this world become His Kingdoms, surrendered completely to Him, and glorifying Him (Revelation 11:15). He has given us His authority to enable us to fulfil this dream that comes from His heart.
Our commission, designed to bring about this outcome, is that Kingdom people are to make disciples of the King (Matthew 20:19). However, this is not only about making individual disciples, but about ultimately transforming nations to honour God as their head, and do His will.
Many nations have a clear prophetic destiny in God. My country of Australia is one of them. In 1606, a Portuguese ship captain, under the authority of the King of Spain, declared that he believed there existed a great land to the south as he explored the South Pacific. He had landed at an island in present day Vanuatu.
The ship’s captain, Pedro Fernandez de Queiros, was a godly man who declared by faith the existence of ‘Terra Australis del Espiritu Santos’, or ‘South Land of the Holy Spirit’. He did not see the land mass that is now known as Australia, but he prophesied its existence and its God-ordained destiny.
The church in Australia has a clear prophetic picture of what God’s goal is for our nation. The church’s responsibility is to receive from the Father His blueprint of what the nation will be like as the ‘South Land of the Holy Spirit’. We will need the Father’s
strategies to turn the nation toward Him, to change the culture toward Kingdom culture, to see laws that are counter to God’s ways repealed, and to have a righteous government that upholds the ways of God.
God has authorised His Ekklesia in Australia to do what I have described for our nation. What has been prophesied is the mission of the Australian church, and the commission of every Australian believer. We have been given the authority to do everything the Holy Spirit leads us to do, and to say everything He prompts us to say, in order to shift our nation toward God’s end goal.
The church has not been primarily authorised to build great buildings, powerful world-wide denominations, or large local congregations. The church is authorised to fulfil the blueprints and strategies God has for each nation, and to do it His way.
This will involve philosophical and ideological change in the nation in politics, education, and culture. It will necessitate changes in systems and structures that do not glorify God. It could also include changes in foreign policy, military strategy, economics and more.
We know that ‘righteousness exalts a nation’ but most believers do not fully understand the Biblical concept of righteousness. It is far bigger than having righteous people in government. And yes, it means purity and holiness, but these things are part of a bigger picture of righteousness in God’s estimation.
The overarching concept of righteousness is what is right according to God. We are authorised to disciple nations by instituting God’s right order of things throughout the nation. This is because His ways are higher than man’s ways, and very different outcomes are experienced through God’s ways than through man’s ways. God has authorised us to put His order of things in place!
The Bible says that the Kingdom of God is His right order as revealed by the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:16-18, Matthew 6:33). It is essential that we are led by the Holy Spirit so that we disciple nations into God’s order of things. We are not authorised to do anything else but produce God’s order of things in the nations of the world.
Authorised to Initiate People into the Kingdom
Transforming nations begins with discipling people and bringing them to maturity. However, discipling individuals is not the end goal; it is the first stage in the process of transforming nations. We are authorised to introduce people to the Kingdom of God, and to initiate them into the discipleship process so that they are equipped to do their part in transforming the nation (Matthew 28:19).
This initiation is described as baptism which means to immerse someone or to be immersed. Of course, baptism in water is the obvious application of this concept. This baptism in water is symbolic of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, and signifies dying to self, sin and the past, then burying it, and coming out of the water a free person, released to be able to live a life committed to Christ (Romans 6:3-4).
There are other baptisms mentioned in the New Testament. John the Baptist announced that Jesus would baptise in the Holy Spirit and fire. On the Day of Pentecost, the sound of a powerful wind was the manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s coming, and the flames of fire on their heads confirmed that this was Jesus’ baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).
This baptism was not over in a few minutes like water baptism. It began a life in the Holy Spirit who would be within them, upon them, and with them (Acts 1:8; John 14:17). He would reveal Christ to them, reveal truth to them, and lead them as they learned to hear and know His voice. We are authorised to transform nations in partnership with the Holy Spirit.
Another baptism that is a lifelong experience is being completely immersed into Christ, covered by Him, surrounded by Him, and indwelt by Him. It is being baptised into Christ, which means to be completely consumed by Him and with Him. This is being made complete in Him (Galatians 3:26-27).
This is a baptism into intimacy with God that produces Christlikeness. It is a baptism that identifies and aligns us with the one anointed as King of the Kingdom. It is a baptism into His resurrection and sufferings, and into His authority and power. This baptism, if fully understood, develops disciples who can be an effective part of transforming their nation.
Disciples who have been initiated into the Kingdom through these baptisms understand that they have a high calling to live a life like Christ. They know they are authorised by Him to multiply themselves and bear fruit that can be part of transforming their nation. They make disciples of others in their spheres of influence and facilitate for change to be produced. They are engaged in God’s corporate Kingdom endeavours.
If every member of the Kingdom of God in a nation was to be the kind of disciple I have described, together we could ultimately shift our nation into God’s right order. We would all be the light and salt needed to ultimately bring about the discipling of a nation into God’s right order. Our individual influence would become a corporate force for change.
Authorised to Teach the People of the Kingdom
The process of discipling believers requires each believer to be well taught in the Word of God and the ways of God (Matthew 28:20). This process is about instruction and indoctrination that forever changes the believer’s values and deeply held beliefs. It is about permanently changing a believer’s position on everything.
Teaching in the Kingdom is about instruction in the Word that washes a believer’s mind clean, then renews and restores it into God’s right order of thinking (Ephesians 5:26, Titus 3:4-7). This is not just a lofty idea; this is what the King has authorised us to do. We have been commanded to do these things as part of God’s methodology to transform nations.
The other important element in teaching disciples is to teach by example. This means that we must model the principles we teach to those we are discipling. This is because discipling is caught as much as it is taught. In the Kingdom of God, we do not practice
what we preach; we preach what we practice!
We are not authorised to teach disciples our favourite theology, our fascination with end time prophecy, or the most recent fad amongst celebrity preachers. Jesus has given us authority to make disciples that are just like Him, have compassion like Him, proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom like Him, do miracles like Him, exercise His authority, and shift culture like He did.
We are commissioned and therefore authorised to teach disciples to guard what Jesus commanded us, and that we then pass on to them. We are authorised to focus on the core themes of the message of the Kingdom, and their outworking across the planet, in order to bring about God’s right order in nations. We are to teach people to observe, imbibe and outwork the doctrine of the Kingdom (Matthew 28:18-20).
Authorised by His Abiding Presence
The authority we walk in is not a once only endowment followed by a struggle on our own, hoping we are doing it right. The amazing thing about being authorised by Jesus is that He said He would never be apart from us, and would never abandon us like orphans because we are sons of God (Matthew 28:20; John 14:18).
Jesus committed Himself to always being with us to the end of the age. There has been much debate in certain circles regarding what Jesus meant by the ‘age’, but I believe that the age Jesus was referring to here is the age that He announced at the beginning of His ministry (Luke 4:18-19).
Firstly, Jesus said that the Spirit of God was upon Him.
Secondly, He affirmed that He had been set apart by the Father for His mission on earth.
Thirdly, He outlined what the Father had given Him authority to speak and do, and how it would impact on individuals and the society as a whole. Jesus’ mission would change the nation one person at a time from the inside out. The end result would be whole nations transformed.
Finally, Jesus declared that He had been anointed and empowered to proclaim the age of God’s favour. Interestingly, Jesus was quoting the prophet Isaiah who prophesied far more than what Jesus stated as His mission. Jesus stopped quoting Isaiah when He declared that He was authorised to usher in an age of God’s favour upon the planet.
The prophet Isaiah went on to talk about an age of judgement and vengeance. This is an age to come when the age of favour has been finalised, and God moves on to judging sin, sinners, and the devil. It will be an age when God will deal with those who have rejected Him and dealt unjustly with His people (Isaiah 61:1-2).
However, we have not yet come into the age of judgement and vengeance. We are still in the age of His favour and have the liberty to function fully in His authority to accomplish His eternal purpose on Planet Earth. We must capitalise on this era of God’s grace in the earth (John 9:4-5).
Throughout this age of favour, Jesus will always be with us via the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. While ever we are in this age of favour, and His abiding presence, we have His authorisation to fulfil the will of the Father. The age of judgement and vengeance will come once all that the Father has determined should be done has been accomplished.
In the meantime, we are stewards of His authority, with which we are to do His will. The greatest thing Jesus has given us is His authority. Because of it we have power and favour, and we can become people of great weight and fruitfulness in His Kingdom.
Jesus taught a parable about a great man who travelled very far from his home and business ventures. The business needed to continue to grow in his absence, so he delegated the responsibilities for the business to three of his most trusted employees. When the great man returned, he asked each of these men to report on their progress. They did not have equal responsibility, but they were equally accountable for what they did with the responsibility given to them (Matthew 25:14-30).
This great man delegated his authority to his trusted employees expecting that they would use it to advance the family business in his absence. In the same way, Jesus has given us all the authority we need to advance His Kingdom, which is our Father’s business, and He will hold us accountable for this great entrustment.
Kingdom Authority is the greatest gift the Father has given to His sons. Tragically, many believers do not know of the authority they have for everyday life. The result of this ignorance is that they do not function in the areas of authority that Jesus said only require us to believe, such as speaking in tongues, casting out devils, healing the sick, and living in victory (Mark 16:15-18).
And there are far greater dimensions of activity for which we have been given Kingdom authority. It is way past time for the church of our day to understand this, and function
Philip M Spence
Author – Speaker – Mentor – Musician