Speaker: Pastor Ronnie Monakali
Series: July 2015
Scripture: Luke 7:8; 1 Corinthians 11:3
The Roman Centurion who called for the Lord Jesus Christ to come and heal his servant was a man who operated under authority. He had soldiers under him. He had troops accountable to him. He had regiments under his command. As a man with authority, it was not difficult for him to recognize other people’s authority. The centurion understood the limits of his own authority, that is why he had to appeal to a higher authority than himself when he realized the situation regarding his servant required someone of a higher rank than himself in spiritual matters. No wonder he said Lord, Just Speak The Word – there is no need for you to come to my house. He was a man who was prepared to take the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ whole-heartedly. The reason why we lose blessings and spiritual benefits of the Word is because of the failure to recognize authority. In the local church there is the local Pastor, who is the highest authority in the local body of believers. He occupies a spiritual office, and that office is greater than our weaknesses, which is why we should go to the man of God when we come to the end of our strength and abilities. He is ordained to see us through as the shepherd of the flock. That is why Paul explains clearly that the head of Christ is God, and the head of the church is Christ and the head of the woman is man. The whole creation account in the Bible is an expression of authority. God is the one who created all things Himself and for Himself. One cannot kill at will any of the creations of God because they will be killed also in return. Those who destroy the earth will be destroyed according to the scriptures. For example, as human beings we have angels around us, and we have to respect one another as a display of the respect for the heavenly authority that we operate under. Only if there was recognition of this obedience under authority, the world would not experience so much pain in the form of divorces, break up of churches and other social and spiritual challenges. Obedience under authority creates that harmony between God and man, which is a perfect reflection of the millennial reign of Christ when peace would prevail upon the earth. All authority, according to scripture, is for our good. The Police service itself is for our good as a nation. Authority is not for evil. The minister gave an example of how his church appealed to higher authority of God when challenged by a local gang which robed his neighbourhood. After calling the unemployed youth who operate in this gang and suggested to open a car wash for them so they can work, and to have bursaries for those who wanted to study further, the Pastor realized the end of his authority when none of the gang members accepted his proposals. Then he went to God, together with his church, and prayed that either these gang members get converted or go to jail in order to get rid of their terror in the neighbourhood. Because none of them wanted to be baptized and be converted, all of them were jailed by order of the higher authority of heaven. God has given us the opportunity to exercise authority over demons. When the Lord Jesus Christ came to earth, he did not kill the demons or eliminate them altogether. He only cast them out so that they will still come back again. It is the turn of the church now to cast these very same demons out of God’s people. What is sin? It is a challenge to authority. For a child to leave home, they need to first challenge the authority of the home. For a church to split apart, someone must challenge the authority of the local Pastor of the assembly. For one to break the Word, they must first challenge the authority of the Word in their lives. Before one commits adultery, they have to challenge the authority of the Word of God which outlaws this illegal union outside holy matrimony. The devil always operates by challenging the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. That authority of the Lord Jesus Christ has been delegated to the church through the order of the scriptures. That is why we cannot replace God’s authority with men; doing so will simply be the case of blind men leading other blind people. When we question the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are challenging the throne of God. When authority has been expressed, what follows logically is respect and subjection to that authority. That is why the Lord Jesus Christ preached that we must die to ourselves and be born again so that we are able to subject ourselves to authority. The training of soldiers illustrates how one must die to self. Soldier training aims to kill the civilian and, in the process, give birth to the soldier. A civilian operates by feelings whereas a soldier operates by principles. The work of a soldier is not to kill, but to exercise authority. That is why in their training, they do not start off with wielding the gun or other weapons, they carry buckets, polish the floor, polish the shoes etc in order to kill the civilian out of them. Pastoral advice is given with a view of the future in spiritual terms. It is not only a decision taken NOW but has bearing on one’s spiritual future in the Word. We should take Pastoral advice as Thus saith the Lord, for God speaks to and through His church. That is why the church is the home of all solutions we need in life. We do not need to run to social workers when we are emotionally troubled, nor rush to hospitals when we are ill. The visiting Pastor gave an example of how he and local ministers prayed for a boy in the Congo who had had a number of operations on his tummy. After the series of operations, the operation would still come open. But after prayer, the boy was miraculously healed – there was not even a trace of the stitches where the surgeon’s knife had cut the boy’s tummy. There is need for revelation in order for us to accept the authority of the Word. There is need for a revelation of our very own local Pastors. There is need for revelation of our own deacons in the local church. It is that spiritual revelation which Jonathan had in his dealings with David, and was prepared to go against his own father’s instructions to destroy David. Jonathan knew David by revelation, and he could not be moved to act against him. Jonathan was not prepared to believe the evidence against his spiritual brother David. This is what the Prophet says, that we should be prepared to disbelieve the evidence that is contrary to our own brothers in faith. We must be under obedience to the Prophet, whom we have not seen. We have not been to the United States of America, where he was born, and we have never seen him but nevertheless we still believe in him as the mouthpiece of God for this generation. We believe he was caught up in the mystery cloud as he says on tape. We do not care what the critics say about the cloud. We know we are living in a shaking time, where the devil wants to shake our faith. It is a shaking time for the home. It is a shaking time for the church. It is a shaking time for the ministry. There is a shaking against wife, a shaking against church, a shaking against Pastors and ministers etc. We need to learn from the Lord Jesus Christ who respected authority during His earthly ministry. When they brought Him before Herod, before Caiaphas, before the Chief Priests etc, He still respected their offices. When He healed the lepers, for example, He told them to go and show themselves to the Priests and offer sacrifices according to the Priests’ instructions. The Lord believed in the law of reciprocal behaviour, which says that what you do to others comes back to you. Imagine if the Lord Jesus Christ wanted to break churches during His time of earthly ministry! He had the gift of discernment, which showed Him all the wrongs of the church leaders of the time. But the Lord Jesus Christ did not expose them at all. He just went ahead and preached the gospel. That is a good principle to learn and adopt. People should not be moved by the evidence of error or wrong doing in their respective churches. Rather, a minister should just preach the Word, and it is the Word which should convict the hearts of the people. Even those still bound in denominations simply need to see the Word presented to them, and the Word Itself will inspire them to move out of their denominations. The Lord Jesus Christ respected the law and authority. There was a tax issue and He resolved it by saying Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. He taught people to give their tithes and offerings according to the laws of God. He was obedient under authority. He went wherever He was invited, and waited for the host to give Him a place to seat instead of assuming a position of authority without permission from the host. That is why He sat with unwashed feet in the house of the Pharisee who invited Him. When brought before judges, the Lord did not speak to expose the wrongs of the accusers. The accusers were fulfilling scripture in falsely accusing Him. If He wanted to prove He was in the right, He could have easily done so and expose the accusers. But by proving He was right, He would have broken other scriptures in the process. The Lord accepted to be in the wrong in order to fulfill the scriptures as written of Him by the writers who wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. A man governed by obedience under authority is not selfish. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He accepted the cup. When one is obedient under authority, there is no competition with others. There is no competition in preaching. There is no jealousy against others whom the Lord has blessed. If one is blessed with a car, the others should thank God for those blessings, and buy nice accessories for that car in gratitude to what God has done for the believer. They can buy nice mag wheels or car polish. If one has been blessed with a house, others can donate flowers for the garden to beautify the home. Such conduct is possible under obedience. It is the behaviour of the millennium, which we should practice right now while in this body. For we are not simply ushered into the millennium but we qualify for it by our conduct and behaviour. It takes obedience to know when to talk and when to keep quiet. The Lord Jesus Christ did not answer Herod, who was a political figure. He only answered Pilate when questioned over religious matters for which He had religious authority. Joshua spoke to the Sun while in battle because he was on his post of duty. We should not keep quiet when being led into sin. We should speak out and tell our friends and invite them to church instead of accepting invitations that would defile our testimony. In the Garden of Eden, the devil challenged the authority of God Himself. The serpent questions what God said, the highest authority in all creation who has influence over Eve. And Eve does not refer the discussion to the local authority in Eden, which is Adam the husband and Pastor of the local church. The serpent interpreted the Word to her, and became her husband in the process of that interpretation. Eve skipped that line of authority to Adam. By skipping that authority she fell. In falling, it turned the whole universe upside down. For now the hierarchy is overturned, with Serpent on top, Eve below and Adam at the lowest level because Adam stooped to the level of sin. We grow by what we hear from the local Pastor, even though visiting ministers come by and bless the congregation. And we should not esteem the visiting ministers higher than the local leadership of the church. Visiting ministers come to support the vision of the local husbandman, whose preaching and ministering is responsible for the growth of the saints in that church. For what the resident Pastor preaches is like one brick on top of another brick in moulding the believers into the stature of a perfect man. Church break-ups sow discord in the body of Christ, causing families to split apart. Children may have friends in the church, and are now forced to ignore them and get new ones. Existing marriages and new inter-assembly marriages are strained between the splitting groups as people are not sure whether to regard their fellow believers as enemies or not. When Amran and Jochebed cried out to God for a deliverer, God sent them Moses who was born in troublous times. He was placed right in the midst of all the trouble of Egypt as he grew up, which reminds us of how things seemingly get worse when we pray. And when God presented Moses as the deliverer, still people saw mistakes and errors in the man. But that was God’s man nevertheless. The Prophet says that God actually brings trials in our lives to make us take the right decisions quickly. When we are slow to act, God sends a trial to get us up to speed. The conduct of David teaches us a lot of obedience. After Paul disobeyed God, the prophet Samuel was sent to anoint David. God did not remove Saul from office, although He allowed David to be anointed for that very same office. Therefore David had to wait on God. There was a sitting king on the throne. Despite the anointing, David needed to build up character in order to rule. He needed a burning bush experience. So God sent him to herd his father’s sheep. He killed the lion and bear, risking his life in the process. A man who is prepared to die for his father’s sheep, which do not belong to him – that man pleases God. And when David later faced Goliath, he was prepared to die for his brethren, God’s heritage of Israel. It was easy to fight against Goliath, an outsider. But God now teaches David how to deal with a brother in the same church, which is Saul, who began to persecute him. And when David cuts the cloth from Saul’s garment to prove how easily he could have killed him, to prove how vulnerable and weak at his cave, David’s heart smote him with guilt. This teaches us that it is not good to show and display the weakness of our brothers. Authority only seeks to fulfill God’s righteousness. That is why John the Baptist agreed to baptize the Lord Jesus Christ in water at the river Jordan. And Christ was prepared to go into that water where a man preaching a strange doctrine was baptizing. Christ went to that man who did not wash his teeth, a man who ate wild food and lived in the wilderness, a man with no miracles in his church at all. But obedience under authority only seeks to please the heavenly father. The Prophet was obedient under the Baptist church. He did not ask for the pulpit from Dr Roy Davies. By God’s providence, his turn came to preach. And when he realized that he could not preach a different doctrine from the local pastor (women ordination), he departed. He shook hands with the Pastor as a gentleman, in good faith and with a good conscience. He did not leave with the church members. He came out alone and remained friends with his former Pastor. That is why later, the same Pastor, Dr Roy Davies, referred the Congressman William Upshaw for healing. We should respect our church authority. For when we misbehave as believers, it is the name of the Pastor that gets into disrepute. When we relocate to other places, we are always identified with the pastoral ministry of the home church we came from.