THE BELIEVERS AUTHORITY
Members of the Word of Faith Centre gathered for its annual retreat at the Hayes Christian Conference Centre in Derbyshire. Delegates began arriving in the early afternoon of Good Friday, collected their keys, badges, information packs and began to settle in.
The main theme of the conference was The Believer’s Authority and the key scriptures were Eph 2:6 and Ps 149:8-9. The first meeting of the conference was designated as a time of waiting on the Lord.
As the meeting began, Pastor Kenny Ogunji addressed the gathering with several injunctions:
- Watch out for distractions
- Watch out for faith stealers
- Purpose to walk in love
- Walk away from arguments
- Refuse to take offence
- Refuse to criticise your brother or sister
- Purpose to speak only words of encouragement or don’t say anything
- Purpose to treat others as you’d like to be treated
- Let us adopt an attitude of gratitude for it determines our altitude
There was a time of exuberant praise and reverent worship followed by an opportunity to wait in silence on the Lord. As we waited, there were several prophetic words delivered:
- God’s word is powerful and sharper than any two edged sword
- We are to stand upright before men
- I will never leave you, put your trust in Me
- Wait on Me for I alone will renew your strength
- What have you got in your hands? Place it in My hands and I will do something big and then all will know that I am your Lord
- I am your God, there is nothing too hard for Me to do...I will open the windows of heaven for you...I will pour water in the desert for you…trust in Me
- Be still and know that I am the Lord…is there anything impossible for Me to do?
- Be still, despite the turbulence and know that I am God, despite the storm, and know that I am your God
- The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want…
Finally, just before the meeting was dismissed and the delegates headed for their evening meal, Pastor Kenny brought a final word based on Mk 9:14-29. He said that there are some physical conditions, emotional conditions and attitudes that are sustained by demonic oppression. But, he added, if you believe in Him, however seemingly impossible the situation may be to the natural eye (and to natural laws) all things are possible to you.
Later that evening, the officers of the church met together, there was an optional prayer meeting to pray for the conference and the youth met together for fellowship.
An optional early prayer meeting was scheduled before breakfast, during which people gathered to pray about the day’s coming events.
The Saturday morning session opened with a time of praise and worship led initially by guest international worship leader Muyiwa Oluwareju.
There was prayer for those who felt that they had a spirit of gluttony and for those with a spirit of slumber, who felt that they were sleeping when they should be praying.
The teaching session was given by Pastor Emmanuel Mbakwe. He explained that the believer’s authority meant that every believer had been redeemed to rule and reign on earth and in heaven. The aim of the session was to get us to understand what God had to say about our authority in Him, to possess, repossess, claim, reclaim and retain every territory – spiritual or otherwise – that is our inheritance in and through Christ as part of God’s kingdom.
Why do we need to exercise our authority?
Reasons given include:
a) ...we live in a world in desperate need with many areas of satanic activity and human captivity;
b) ...we’re a key part of God’s redemptive programme for the world;
c) ...the church needs to recover and live up to its divine destiny.
What is Authority?
A legal concept, grounded in the law – the legal permission to do something or act in a certain way, within a pre-determined remit.
When you operate in authority, you are walking in victory, delegated power. The power lies in a higher authority. The lesser is walking under the cover and remit of greater power. The word of God is our legal document – and when you are born again, you have the legal right to act on Christ’s behalf.
[Example: An ambassador in a foreign country operates on behalf of his government – but will lose diplomatic immunity if he acts outside of this remit.]
We have a mandate to operate in Christ’s authority – he has clothed and empowered us.
Our authority is:
1) Positional – because we are in Christ, it flows from our redemption
a. Our authority is based on God’s word in which there is purpose, power, progress and prosperity.
b. When we exercise our authority:
i. We reverse every negative trend
ii. Where there is nothing, we bring something – “let there be light”
c. We were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.
2) Relational – because we are connected to Christ
a. The relationship matters, because:
i. We cannot exercise authority unless we are connected (sons of Shiva)
ii. No relationship means no leverage, no power to execute
b. We must obey, live a life of holiness
c. We love – this is the glue that holds us together, loyal and committed (Ruth and Naomi) – this love will make our authority flow.
d. We must be totally surrendered – our lives are not our own, He paid for them
3) Operational – applying what Christ has given to us
After lunch, delegates were free to play games and sports, take a walk in the grounds, visit the nearby towns and villages or simply take a nap in order to be rested and refreshed for the next session.
During the praise and worship, the following prophetic word was given:
Yes, you have declared there is no one else like Me…why are you anxious? There is no one else before Me or after Me…why are you anxious? Trust in Me, surrender all to Me…there is nothing that I cannot do!
Pastor Kingsley Blake introduced his teaching using Gal 5:22 – when you function in the fruit of the spirit, there is no earthly limitation, there is no law that can stop its operation (when you decide to walk in it); and 1 Jn 5:4-5 - What we have from God has overcoming power in it!
He explained the difference between authority and power:
- Authority (exousia) – the right to exercise authority, permission, liberty, access granted (Rom 13:1)
- Power (dunamis) – ability, strength and force
Authority can be increased i.e. more rights can be granted to you. As we mature in God, our authority is increased (Gal 4:1-7) – you can have certain rights, but because of immaturity, you may not be functioning in your authority. (Rom 8:14-20).
The session opened with praise and worship and the congregation took communion. Afterwards, Sister Vicky Sowah, a former member of WoFC visiting from Canada encouraged us not to take things for granted and to ensure that we appreciate what we have at WoFC. Then a short film was shown in which a young man called Zac, from Sister Vicky’s church, gave his testimony. Pastor David Shosanya had a powerful prophetic word for Sister Vicky and she received prayer.
Pastor Kenny Ogunji opened the teaching session by explaining that the mind is a gateway to the spirit. He then stressed the centrality of the cross. Without it there is no salvation and no authority and it makes us distinctive as believers – everything begins at the cross and it is the answer to the human problem. [See Rom 3:23; Rom 6:23; Heb 7:27; and Acts 20:28.] Christ went through it all for our benefit (Col 2:13-15). There is no other way, but through Jesus. There is no other name, but the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12).
When was the authority given?
- Jesus had to take the authority from the one who had it legally but illegitimately – it was transferred to the enemy through the first Adam’s sin. (Lk 4:5-6).
- Therefore, it is essential for you and me to have this authority back; Jesus had to take it legally and legitimately from the devil himself. (Heb 9:11-12).
- The restoration of the authority had to occur through the last Adam – through His death and resurrection and ascension. (Matt 28:18-20; Rev 1:18).
Why was the authority given?
- The basis upon which believers function (on earth) before Christ returns (Matt 28:20)
- That we might work the works of God (Mk 16:17)
- Greater works than this shall you do (Jn 14:12)
- Destroying the devil’s works (1 Jn 3:8)
- Recognise the believer’s position (Eph 2:1, 4-7)
Conditions of use of our authority
- Know who you are (2 Cor 5:21)
- Know what He has done (1 Cor 6:20)
- Know what He is doing (Heb 7:25)
- Submit your will to God (Jas 4:7)
- Do His will (Ps 40:8)
- Keep on the new man (Col 3:12-17)
How should we use our God given authority?
We must never lose focus of the need for evangelism – the gossiping of the gospel (Mk 16:15-18).
After he’d finished preaching, Pastor Kenny called forward those who needed salvation and those who had never been filled with the Holy Spirit. Several people prayed the prayer of commitment for the first time. During this session, there was the mighty presence of the power of the Lord to heal - many with back problems were healed. Members of the congregation also had the opportunity to pray for each other for any needs that they had.
The final afternoon session began as usual with a time of praise and worship, after which Pastor Mbakwe continued his discourse. He said that believers are to evict Satan, possess our possessions, and usher in Christ’s rule and reign in every area. (Matt 10:1, Jn 14:12; Ps 149:8-9). Jesus has already pronounced the judgement and all we have to do is serve notice to the enemy (Eph 3:10).
Pastor Mbakwe pointed to three aspects of the believers’ authority:
1. Proclamation of the gospel (Lk 19:9-10; 2 Cor 5:19);
2. Demonstration of the gospel (Isa 61:1-3);
3. Re-establishment/restoration of God’s rule in people’s lives e.g. restoration of broken marriages, healing for sick bodies; resurrection of life (Matt 5:10).
We have six weapons of enforcement:
1. The word of God, which is the will of God – we must use His word to enforce His will;
2. The Holy Spirit – the breath of God, the life of God;
3. The name of Jesus – there is power in His Name (Matt 1:21; Mk 16:17; Acts 3:6);
4. The blood of Jesus – life in the blood, secures, seals, saves and delivers (Lev 17:11; Heb 9:22; 1 Pet 1:19; Ex 12:13; Is 53:5);
5. Our testimony – it will build your faith, establish your credibility, and change the atmosphere. (1 Sam 17:36-37) We are to rehearse and retell the story or stories. Our authority is enforced through our testimony.
Attitudes and motivation
- It should be one of total submission and humility before God, counter-balanced by boldness before Him
- Love – anything outside of love is ineffective
- Spiritual aggression
- Desire for God’s glory
When he had finished, Pastor Mbakwe called forward people for prayer – first, those in the field of education and learning, followed by people in business, executives and people working from home, with their own businesses.
After that the pastors and elders gathered round Pastor Emmanuel and Sister Helen Mbakwe and prayed for them. Then they prayed for Pastor David Shosanya and his wife Yvonne.
After the final session, the hall was packed up, keys and badges were handed back and delegates began to make their way back home. That was the end of the conference for another year - thanks be to God for all He’s done.
The Retreat has always been a wonderful and exciting time for the adults and children in the Junior Church, and this year was no exception.
On Friday, all the young children were led by the youth in a joint session under the direction of the leaders of the Junior Church. This allowed the individual group teachers an opportunity to remain in the main service and wait on the Lord, in final preparation for the next day’s workshops and classes.
On Saturday, following the weekend’s theme “Believers’ Authority”, and by using different teaching and learning styles (including role play, videos/DVDs, drawing, writing, etc), the children in their different groups learnt what authority is about i.e. the authority figures that we might daily come into contact with and the authority that believers have as a result of the finished work of Christ and redemption.
Praise Jam 2009
For the junior church and the youth ministry, one of the highlights of the retreat is the Youth Ablaze Night, where the youths lead us to celebrate and worship in a youthful style with a variety of activities such as worship, sketches, dances, poetry and sharing a word of encouragement. Under a new title Praise Jam 2009, the youth led another wonderful night of celebration full of songs, dance and drama. The difference this year was that Praise Jam was open to contributions from all, regardless of age. A great time was had by all. It was wonderful to see the different generations lifting up the name of the Lord together, whilst displaying their God-given talents.
We want to use this opportunity to thank the Church Leadership for their constant encouragement in the work of the Junior Church and Youth Ministry.
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