Qualifications For Spiritual Authority

Although Jesus gave the 12 disciples power and authority over demons and sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God (see Luke 9:1), they could not free a father’s son from demonic control (see verses 37-45). Jesus had to reveal to them several Kingdom-killing attitudes. The first attitude concerned their sense of self-sufficiency. When Jesus withdrew with the disciples to the town of Bethsaida, the crowd followed them (see verse 10). It grew late, and the disciples showed concern for the people, so Jesus said, “You give them something to eat” (verse 13). The disciples made a common error when given a humanly impossible task. They looked at their own limited resources and concluded it couldn’t be done.

Jesus took what they had and multiplied it. There was so much food left over that each disciple had a basket of his own (see verses 11-17), but they gained no insight from the experience (see Mark 6:45-52). When they struggled against the storm at sea, the Lord intended to pass them by (see verse 48). Jesus intends to pass by the self-sufficient. If we want to row against the storms of life, He will let us row until our arms fall off, or we can call on the name of the Lord and depend on Him.

The second attitude Jesus warned them about was being ashamed of Him and His words (see Luke 9:26). It is easy to imagine that Jesus could be ashamed of us, but how can any person who knows the truth be ashamed of Jesus? If we are ashamed of Jesus, He will be ashamed of us when He comes again.

The third Kingdom-killing attitude was unbelief (see verses 37-45). The disciples were ineffective in helping the demon-possessed boy because they really didn’t believe. Jesus implies some moral impurity on their part with His stinging rebuke, “O unbelieving and perverse generation” (Luke 9:41). The power we have in Christ is only effective when we repent and believe ourselves.

The fourth attitude that made the 12 disciples ineffective was pride (see Luke 9:46-48). They were arguing among themselves as to who was the greatest. According to Jesus, the greatest are those who humble themselves and come to God with childlike faith. Humble people are confident in God and put no confidence in the flesh (see Philippians 3:3).

The fifth Kingdom-killing attitude was possessiveness (see Luke 9:49-50). We may be driving different cars in the kingdom of God, but we are all getting our gas from the same station. No one person or ministry is superior to another, and what God has given us we should freely share with others.

The sixth attitude the disciples displayed the wrong spirit (see verses 51-56). What kind of spirit requests permission to use the power of God to destroy? It may be human nature to retaliate against those who reject us, but it is not God’s nature. If it were, we would all be doomed.

 The seventh Kingdom-killing attitude was a false confidence (see verses 57-58). It is better to have a few followers who have counted the cost and will endure to the end than to have a crowd who will leave before the task is done.

The eighth Kingdom-killing attitude was lame excuses (see verses 59-62). Jesus tells us, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (verse 62).

Dr. Neil

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