Monday, January 25, 2016

Jeremiah 1:4-10 Speaking with Spiritual Authority

KEY TEXT: Jer 1:9-10 Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, "Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant."

KEY THOT: The only way to speak with spiritual authority is to speak only the words God has put in our mouth: "Behold, I have put my words in  your mouth." Spiritual authority has nothing to do with our ability to speak or age (v. 6, “I do not how to speak, for I am only a youth”). It also has nothing to do with our position in the church. Spiritual authority is founded entirely on whose behalf we are speaking: the one who has authority is the one who speaks on behalf of God Himself. The Bible has authority precisely because it is not men’s reflections about God but God’s thoughts about men and God’s words to men. 

Bible knowledge in itself does not guarantee that we will teach and preach with authority. The scribes in Jesus’ time were experts of the Law (Scripture), yet they did not speak with authority in contrast to Jesus who taught with authority: “And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes” (Matt 7:28-29). 

We know we are speaking with authority when it produces life-transforming effects: "Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant." God’s words spoken with authority will transform lives. The difference between just teaching bible knowledge and speaking God’s word is the source of one’s inspiration: if we rely only on commentaries to get our thoughts rather than wait on the Lord for Him to give us His thoughts, then we are like the scribes, for the scribes get their “authority” from other scribes. Jesus did not quote other scribes, but He spoke as the Spirit directs Him to speak. Learning how to speak as the Spirit of the Lord imparts his words is the key to prophetic authority: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).

The one who leads in CG Word discussion should not just rely on CG notes, but rather spend time in prayer seeking the Lord for His specific words to his/her CG members. To regurgitate from commentaries and CG notes without first seeking the Lord means we teach like the scribes--without spiritual authority. 

Father, fill us with Your Spirit, that whenever we handle the Scripture, we might discern what You want to speak through the Scripture to Your people. Amen.

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