Gifts, Power, and Authority

Matthew 7:28-29 NIV

“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”


Matthew wrote these words as he remembered the Sermon on the Mount, taught by Jesus to a crowd of people on a mountainside near the Sea of Galilee. Notice that Matthew did not say the people were amazed at the humor of Jesus, the exegesis of Scripture or how Jesus was dressed. They were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority.


No one has ever confused my teaching skills to those of Jesus, but I am wondering if the same authority Jesus taught with is available, in some measure, to the rest of us. It is clear in Scripture that all of us who follow Jesus have been given spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12) and there are times when each of us is given power from the Holy Spirit to use these gifts (Acts 1:8).  But how do we get this authority that Jesus obviously had?


Recently, I watched a young lady minister whom I have known for several years. She has always had recognizable spiritual gifts, and she has, for years, ministered with the power of the Holy Spirit.  When I saw her this time, though, she had authority. Her words had weight. She spoke and the words seemed to carry more punch and connected not only to the minds of those who were listening, but to their hearts.


I believe this authority is given to those whose hearts have been radically changed. We cannot give away what we do not have and we have only as much authority as we are under. When we really surrender our hearts to God, and submit to His authority in heaven and on earth, we are given authority.  I believe a lot of people want this authority, but few are willing to pay the price.


I have a position and title as Senior Pastor of New Life Church. I have spiritual gifts and the Holy Spirit has given me the power to use them, but I am asking God for a changed and submitted heart so my words have more authority. Not to impress people or build a spiritual reputation, but so I can be more effective in the assignment He has given me.  I suspect this journey will be painful at times, but I believe it is worth the risk. I sense as I write this that many of you who read this are about to take the same journey. Let it begin today.

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  1. Carol Prentiss

    July 29, 2009 at 9:59 am

    I think God is bringing a lot of the body, including myself, to the place where all we really want is to do His will here on earth no matter the cost. What is more important than doing His will and being who He made us to be and do what He called each of us to do? Recognizing Him as our highest and final authority is an absolute necessity to accomplishing His will in our lives.
    Thanks for posting!

  2. I have asked myself these same questions and these are some of the scriptures that the Holy Spirit magnified to me as I read His Word over time.
    Jesus taught with authority but He only did what He saw the Father do. He spoke from revelation not intellectual study.(John 5:19; John 17:7-8) He was one with the Father.( John 17:21)
    Paul said in
    Romans 1:15 So, as much as is “IN ME”, [I am] ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.

    I think too often our approach is to study the Word then repeat it back in a polished fashion and thanks to the mercy of God seeds are planted. But I think Paul is explaining a different method in verse 15. The Word he is speaking of was part of him….he had revelation of Jesus so he could impart eternal life through the sharing ….now that is authority! (John 17:3)

    2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone [is] in Christ, [he is] a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
    This verse says we are “new” something that never existed before. The only part of me that this could be is my spiritman. And this is where I know God fully and can worship Him in spirit and truth. This is where Paul spoke Romans 1:15 from……confirming scriptures…….
    1 Corinthians 6:17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit [with Him].

    Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the [life] which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

    1Corinthians 2:16 For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” [fn] But we have the mind of Christ.

    Ephesians 2:24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

    Colossians 2:9-10 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

    Ephesians 3:19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

    The question is then HOW did he release what was in his spiritman……
    He made himself a living sacrifice Romans 12:1

    He abided in His Word John 15

    He transformed his mind Romans 12:2

    The Truth of the revelation of Jesus sets us free…These actions allow our soul man to know the Truth ……it opens the valve from our spiritman that is one with Christ and His Truth and Grace flow into our soulishman. We can then speak with authority because the soul is no longer in bondage to the enemy when we have Revelation of Jesus in that area of truth……I have been rereading 1 and 2 Peter in light of this and I can see him explaining it in those letters…..

  3. “I have spiritual gifts and the Holy Spirit has given me the power to use them, but I am asking God for a changed and submitted heart so my words have more authority. Not to impress people or build a spiritual reputation, but so I can be more effective in the assignment He has given me.”

    I am going to let this truth settle in my heart today and also ask God to take my heart on the same journey…to be changed and submitted like never before.


  4. Your comment, “I believe a lot of people want this authority, but few are willing to pay the price.” is so true because the price to pay is death to self.

    Only those who pay such a price can be of service to the Lord, for it is only when we die to ourselves that God can loose us from the bonds of self and entrust us with His authority.

    The psalmist said it this way, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. O Lord, truly now I am your servant: I am your servant, and the son of your handmaid, You have loosed my bonds.” (Psalm 116:15-16)

    Verse 16 [Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints] is often read at funerals for believers who have passed away – but this is not the context of the passage.

    The Hebrew word for ‘precious’ in this verse means ‘rare and valuable’ as in ‘precious’ stones or gems. In other words, we become ‘valuable’ for service to the Lord when we die to ourselves because this is when we can be entrusted with His authority.

    Psalm 116:15-16 shouldn’t be read at funerals but at life changing moments such as when believers submit to water baptism, or are ordained into ministry, or re-dedicate themselves to the Lord. This passage is about a celebration of death, deliverance, and dedication: a celebration of dying to one’s self for the Lord; a celebration of being delivered from the bonds of self by the Lord, and a celebration of dedicating one’s self to the Lord.

    For some, dying to one’s self seems formidable when it is actually one of the most exciting things a believer can do. Is dying to self a one time decision that remains? No. It is a decision that must be made every day. Will it be difficult at first? Yes. That’s is why there is a price to it, but in time the words of Psalm 40:8 [I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart] will become a reality.

    I am a bit of an adrenaline junky [some say a I am more of a risk taker] and have been on the Royal Rush Skycoaster at the Royal Gorge, jumped off 80+ foot cliffs into abandoned rock quarries filled with water, jumped from the top of 50+ foot pine trees onto the boughs and let them take me in a rapid succession to the ground, and free style down white rapids without a life preserver (feet first). Some day I want to hang glide, bungee jump, base jump in a wing suit, and jump from a plane with a wing suit. But nothing compares to dying to one’s self.

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