by Deanna Reynolds M.D. (ret.), Corpus Christi, TX
This article will address some of God’s purpose that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms (Eph. 3:10).
I ask that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know the hope of His calling, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and the surpassing greatness of His power to us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And God put everything under His feet and made Him head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all… And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus… For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life. (Eph. 1:18-23, 2:6,10 – Berean Study Bible)
Most Christians today in the Western world lament that we must suffer disease and the works of the devil because “we live in a fallen world.” That is, most Christians erroneously believe Jesus’ words in Luke 10:19 do not apply to us today: The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.” So He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:17-19)
But Ephesians (above) and other Scriptures make it clear that:
- All the authority that was given to Christ belongs to His Body.
- The Head (Jesus) needs the other members to carry out His will just as in a human body the brain requires the other members of the body to carry out its will. As the members of His Body we are to carry out His work upon the earth!
His work was preaching the coming kingdom, healing the sick, and casting out demons. We know from Luke 10 and Matt. 10 that He taught and authorized His disciples to do that (catch this) before the cross, His resurrection, and ascension.
Now consider this: Does the Church have less authority today, after the cross, Christ’s resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of God in the heavenly realms, than His disciples were given before those pivotal events occurred?
As Paul would say, no! By all means, no!
Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12) Note that our Lord did not limit this promise to apostles, nor did He limit it to First Century believers!
His works – and thus ours – are to destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3:8) during THIS age, not the next: Satan will be bound during the Millennium! Think about that!
Of course, the early Church with its numerous signs and wonders quickly fell away with only remnants persevering, as apparent in Christ’s epistles to the seven churches of Asia in Rev. Chs. 2 & 3; sadly, most believers are unfruitful because, as Jesus explained in His parable of the seed and the soils, they either have no root, or succumb to the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and desires for other things (Mark 3:17,19)… The deplorable state of the world today is the result of the failure of most members of Christ’s Body to know their authority in Christ and destroy the works of the devil by the mighty power of God within them!
Note that drive out demons is the first such work our Lord specified would be done in His authority by those who believe (Mark 16:15-18). God gave us at least three more NT witnesses that we are to do so, not pray for Him or the Father to do it:
- James: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (Jas. 4:7)
- Peter: Be sober-minded and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in your faith… (1 Peter 5:8-9a)
- Paul: and do not give the devil a foothold. (Eph. 4:27)
And of course the way we resist the devil was demonstrated by Jesus Himself during His temptations in the wilderness: with the word of God itself! “It is written…,” “it is written…,” “it is written.” We must know and believe God’s word to use it against our enemy! The sword of the Spirit… is the word of God (Eph. 6:17).
- We Christians thus are to obey and glorify God now by knowing and using Christ’s authority against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:12), not suffer mental & physical illness and premature death from them, and lament during fellowship and Bible study that “we live in a fallen world”!
- We resist the devil but do not resist an evil person (Matt. 5:38) – know and apprehend the difference! Love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18 – THE most-quoted OT Scripture in the NT!)
- Our authority pertains to OURSELVES, but also to persons whom God considers “within our tent”, such as our children, unbelievers He has us encounter, and, to varying extent, the less mature Christians the Lord has us discipling. (My understanding is that since God holds each Christian accountable for his own actions, if you and I are of the same maturity in the Lord, then you couldn’t cast unforgiveness out of me any more than I could cast it out of you.) Yes, it is mainly SELF – our old Adam – that we must overcome (see Two Selves: One Cannot Be Improved, the Other is Perfect in Christ (Part 1) and Two Selves: One Cannot Be Improved, the Other is Perfect in Christ (Part 2).
Now behold Jesus’ alarming warning to disciples in His conclusion of the parable of the unmerciful servant (told to Peter, NOT unbelievers): In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should repay all that he owed. That is how My Heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart. (Matt. 18:34-35). The jailers are demons, and as a pathologist-turned-disciple, I assure you many chronic diseases, including many cancers, are due to unforgiveness…
Which brings us back to our Lord’s words before His ascension, when He also said they will place their hands on sick people and they will get well. (Mark 16:15-18). Regardless of the belief of some that Mark 16:9-20 should not be included in the cannon of Scripture, this promise of our Lord to those who believe is illustrated multiple times throughout the Acts of the Apostles, AND is also witnessed via James: Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. [that requires placing hands on him] And the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick. The Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power to prevail. (James 5:14-16)
(Note the relation of sin to sickness therein? Recall Jesus telling the healed paralytic, Stop sinning, or something worse may happen to you in John 5:14? Please read and understand in its context of the exodus the key verse Exod. 15:26. Then read Deut. 7:12-15 noting esp, vv 12 & 15. Then read Deut. 28, esp. vv.15, 18, 21-22, 27-28, 34-35. Now read Psalm 32:1-6, Psalm 38, and Psalm 103:3. Indeed, God’s word reveals that disease is not His will for us, and is usually due to sin. For more on this whole matter, please bookmark and study later the Bible Study the Lord led me to write, Looking Into God’s Word on the Cause and Eradication of Disease.)
The Lord has taught me through such Scriptures to do as David did and immediately seek Him as to whether I have sinned whenever I sense sickness/infirmity coming on. (He is always faithful to reveal when we have sinned if we truly seek Him!) If sin is ever revealed to be the cause of an oncoming dis-ease, I simply repent – change my mindset to be in accordance with His – and am healed and rejoice! When the Lord does not reveal sin, THEN I stand firm on His word, believe, and speak forth (literally speak aloud to the devil when I am alone) in Jesus’ authority that the specific ailment must leave me – and it does, and God is glorified, for His manifold wisdom has been made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms through me, that is, through the church (Eph. 3:10)! (For how the Lord did this with me, a physician-turned-disciple, see this testimony in this series.)
So, in summary, our Lord’s message today through me, a simple servant, is this: The deplorable state of the world today is the result of the failure of most members of Christ’s Body to know their authority in Christ and destroy the works of the devil (the old Adam) by the mighty power of God within them! This sleeping church of Sardis must wake up, repent, and apprehend these words of LIFE (healing, deliverance, sanctification) so that more than a few of its members may glorify God* by overcoming self now! It is critical that we apprehend the authority entrusted to us – that we DO these good works our Father has prepared for us to do – as led and empowered by the Holy Spirit!
So very much love and encouragement in Christ, our Head, who is waiting for us to act in His authority, your sister deanna
*AND escape all that is about to happen and… be able to stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:34-35) – or, as He puts it in Rev. 3:10, be kept from the hour of testing that is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth, i.e. be one of Christ’s few overcomers, the mature firstfruits, who will be raptured pre-Trib. The majority of the Church, resistant to our Lord’s call to suffer death to self with Him (because of having no root in the word, or succumbing to the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and desires for other things) will have to undergo the horrendous testing of the Tribulation in order to mature sufficiently. My understanding after much Holy Spirit-led study of Revelation is that these Christians will be raptured out pre-wrath as part of the great multitude; please bookmark and read the series Resurrection, Rapture, Judgment, and Millennium for THOSE Scriptures. Until then, know that it is only to those who overcome that Christ promises His great and glorious rewards of Rev. Chs. 2 & 3, including not be[ing] hurt at all by the second death, being dressed in white and never having their names blot out… from the book of life, being kept from the hour of trial that is coming upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth, and being give[n] the right to sit with [Him] on [His] throne during His 1,000 year kingdom!