Section 8: The Church
Week 2: The Church’s Authority and Power
Day 1: The Church’s Authority and Power is an Extension of Christ’s Authority and Power
We saw last week that Christ gave the Church a mission. In doing so, he implicitly gave the Church authority to carry out that mission. We’ll flesh out what that authority looks like in the upcoming days. For the moment, we simply want to take time to remember our authority is ultimately Christ’s authority. He’s the one who has the plan. He’s the one who has the power. Not us.
In the book of Acts, it’s not a coincidence that, when we see Jesus passing his ministry on to the Apostles, he tells them to wait for the Holy Spirit. Why is that? When we studied the Holy Spirit, we said in general his role is to complete the work begun by the Father and the Son. So it makes perfect sense that Jesus would send the Spirit to carry on the mission he started.
The Holy Spirit’s presence has important implications for how we understand the Church’s power and authority. Christ gave us a mission, but it is not as though we do our work independent of him. Christ is still working to fulfill his mission through the Holy Spirit.
It’s easy to lose sight of that fact, though, because when we look around it looks like we are the ones who in are in control. We do the preaching. We do the teaching. We do the evangelizing. So, at first glance, it looks like we’re running the show.
But, as we know, looks can be deceiving. In reality, God is the one who is in control of everything. We can preach, but do we really think we can control whether any given person responds to our preaching? The way someone responds to any given message in large part is determined by what has been going on in their lives long before they sit down in their seat on Sunday. Are the circumstances of people’s lives within our control? Of course not. That means the success of our preaching doesn’t begin and end with us. No matter how great our delivery or how vivid our illustrations, we could not be effective without God’s work. The same goes for any ministry in the Church.
Christ gave us a job to do, but we should never think of ourselves as doing it apart from him.
Do you agree that it is easy to focus too much on ourselves in ministry? Why is that? What can we do about it?
Pray that you and your church would keep your focus on Christ’s power rather than your own power.