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Bible Articles > TEACHINGS IN ENGLISH > Submission and Authority!
Submission and Authority!
Submission and Authority!
Dedicated to my beloved best friend and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Submission and Authority!

“Submission!? Don’t talk to me about submission. I am free in Christ and I’m not going to submit to anyone or even to you! I only submit to God!”

How often have I heard people say the above statement? I can even humbly say that I used to be also part of this group for some time in my early Christian walk and even felt ‘proud’ about it. I just had come out of a religious system that had it not been for the abundant grace of God, I may have easily turned out to be a complete rebel and turned against God. I had come out of a religious system that all my life I was expected to always obey my leaders, believe everything that they told me and if I ever made a question of interest and of genuine hunger for God’s truth, I was often met with a reprimand that I even dared question those above me. I was always given the impression that asking such questions put me in a bad light and I was left feeling like I was a bad person. Hmm!

Well on the 1st June of 1995 I knelt beside my bed in my apartment in Huston Texas at about 10.30pm, and I asked the Lord to come into my life and save me. Oh boy what a joy! What great weight of a burden and fear had just lifted off of me! I felt like a ton of bricks were taken off my chest and I now was free as a true Child of God and free in Christ. Now, no one was going to tell me or dictate to me how I was going to serve God, because now I knew that Jesus lives in me and I have the Bible and the Holy Spirit to lead me not some human being with a huge religious ego!

Free in Christ! Or was I?

I was hungry for God and I was more than just reading the Bible. I was devouring it and memorizing scriptures weekly that in time I became like a walking concordance. As a matter of fact my friends jokingly often called me ‘the walking ‘ConGordonce’, which describes the hunger God had put in my heart!

I loved God from my heart and I delighted to serve the Lord early on in my walk with Christ, and though I have made innumerable mistakes, I wanted to live for Jesus and I wanted Him to use me for His glory, and that He did more than I even imagined, even as early as a month or two after my radical conversion when I led the first person to the Lord who was a lost. Wow, I was happy! I knew that Jesus loved me and that He had walked into my life and was using me to seeing many receive Christ and get born again. (Now to this day I have literally have been used by the goodness of the Lord to witness with my eyes thousands receiving Christ into their hearts!)

In all this time I was still not living exactly the victorious life that a Christian should be living and I was very often attacked in my sleep with demonic dreams and still lived in fear from various things in my life, and was not aware of all the benefits I have in Christ yet. I had gotten saved a few months ago and my life was a lot better than ever before thank God. I was happy that I was getting to know Jesus personally through the Bible and through time spent alone with Him and also attending a small non-denominational Christian Church. Yet, it seemed like that there was a freedom that I was supposed to have been walking in which I was not yet experiencing! How come? What was the problem? Was I not free in Christ or what?

From babyhood to adolescence

God had plenty of mercy on me and slowly, with great patience He guided me as a loving Father and never gave up on me. I had experienced a genuine conversion in my heart. My old life style had passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17). I knew that the Bible told me that I was now free in Christ, yet I was not totally free as God had designed for me to be up to that point.

I knew the scripture in Galatians 5:1 very well which says, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (NAS).

Another translation says,“...do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”(NLT).

Now in His love and mercy God was taking me to a higher plane; a higher level both in my walk with Him and in the spiritual authority that He had intended for me from the foundations of the world. (Jeremiah 1:5, Galatians 1:15).

As time passed I knew that I was no longer bound in the same chains of sin that I had gotten myself into for some years but I began to learn that though I was not a slave to those sins anymore because indeed Jesus had set me free, yet the Lord started doing in me a heart surgery so that I can see that I was in bondage still to a more deadly sin than the ones I had been delivered from. This was a more subtle type of sin and not one that is noticeable from the outside. This was a sin that only God could detect and by time just like He says in His word, He brought it to the open (Luke 12:3) where I could deal with it and crush it under my feet so that the freedom that I longed for in Christ, would become more than just skin deep, but would pierce the very core of my being and set me on a path where I could become all that God had purposed for me to be. This was the sin of rebellion against God’s established authority.

I would have never imagined that the thing that I feared to do for some time would eventually become one of the things that would bring most freedom in my life in Christ, plus security and a greater level of authority. This was submission!

Truly there is freedom in submission and bondage in rebellion! How many more people would be set free in their life and achieve greater freedom in Christ if they learn to submit to God and to His established and ordained authority!

1 Peter 2:13-17, “Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond slaves of God. Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.” (NAS)

My eyes were opened

A few years now had passed since I had given my life to Christ back in Huston Texas and I was now living in Oklahoma City. I was dancing full time as a professional ballet dancer and God had blessed me with a decent job for a year’s contract with Ballet Oklahoma. I had prayed that God would lead me to a good church where I would be fed some solid food of the Word and indeed God was faithful leading me one step at a time in His way. God had brought me to ‘Church on the Rock’ under the leadership of Pastor John Benefiel. I was really happy that I had found this church and I was quickly welcomed and accepted in the family. I started attending faithfully and regularly ‘Church on The Rock’ and God started stripping me of ‘Gordon’ bit by bit. The year before I had been blessed attending ‘River of Life’ in El Paso Texas, where under my Pastor there Tom and Sonya Brown I learned some life changing truths about my authority in Christ over Satan and the works of the evil one.

Now in Oklahoma City, God was bringing me to another level of learning concerning my authority in Christ and this time joined also with ‘Submission to Christ and His Established Authority’.

I had never seen it before! It is amazing how God will allow you to see things just when you are ready to receive them depending of the season of your life. [This is called progressive revelation of God’s Word – and character] It jumped out of the page for me when I read the passage in Matthew 8:5-13, “Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented." And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him." The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you." And his servant was healed that same hour.”“Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented." And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him." The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you." And his servant was healed that same hour.” (NKJV).

Here we have an account that most preachers I heard preach from it use it for the faith message that it has, and it is good and I even have been blessed with it when I heard faith teaching from this passage, however there is a higher truth revealed here in the passage, that it even moved Jesus (who is God incarnate) and cause Him to marvel! Wow! Not many people that I know or I have read about have made such an impression on God as this man who was outside the commonwealth of Israel and without a covenant with God! What is it?

Submission to accomplish the Mission

In the passage above there is a lot we can learn from. To begin with, it is important that we mention that the centurion was a Roman Soldier who was not even a covenant man. That means that He was neither a Jew nor a Christian (indeed because Christianity had not yet begun). How did this ‘dog’ (meaning a person without or outside the covenant of Israel) make Jesus the Messiah, The Son of The Living God, The Logos-God made flesh, marvel! We know that Jesus came first to the people of Israel (Matthew 10:6, Romans 1:16) however this covenant-less man got Jesus’ attention, received from Him his miracle and amazingly enough made Jesus marvel and astounded! Why? Here is a vital lesson that many dear Christians can learn. This man understood ‘authority’ and the power it gives to that person, when he/she is submitted under a higher authority. This man understood that with authority comes responsibility and with responsibility comes influence and with influence comes power! Jesus understood this principle more than any everyone else. Now it’s p to us, his followers, that need to grasp this powerful key of the kingdom of God and how God operates! This is called ‘Theocracy’ not ‘Democracy’ as many well meaning Christians think.

The centurion was in other words saying to Jesus something like this: “Jesus I understand well what is authority about, because I am also submitted to a higher authority than myself, which is the Roman government and I am aware that because of the authority that I am submitted under I get this power and authority that I practice as a Roman Centurion. This is why soldiers fear me and obey me and carry out the commands I give them as the one over them. And Jesus, I know and recognize that you are a man who is submitted under a greater authority, whom I believe to be YHWH the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jocob. So Jesus, just like when I give an order to my servants and those under me, they obey me at once, I know since you are a man who is submitted to God, you will not need to come to my house and take all this unnecessary hassle. Just give the word of command, the word that will bring about the miracle that I need for my servant and he will surely be healed. I know Jesus, that sickness, disease and every devil is subject to you because they see the great authority that you are submitted under, who is God the creator of this universe and there is no one above Him!”

You see Christians everywhere need to realize that when they are submitted to God Himself, to His Holy Word, To His Holy Spirit and their God ordained and appointed Pastors, leaders, parents and governing authorities, they are not going under, but truly they are setting themselves to go over, higher and set themselves up for a lifestyle of protection, promotion and prosperity! Glory!

Sadly I see many Christians who still walk carnally. While they think they are free because they do what they want and when they want to and not able to receive instruction and correction, truthfully they are by far setting themselves up for bondage and not freedom. In my own experience, if I have met 10 people who claimed to be free by not submitting under the spiritual leadership of their Pastor, and who can’t stick to be accountable and committed in one church congregation, I have observed that not one of them was really free and enjoying the abundant life that Jesus came to give us! (John 10:10).

When it’s ok not to submit!

The only time that I see in the Bible where people of God are not required to submit is when those in authority go against the Word of God while claiming to be Pastors, Priests, Evangelist, and Bishop etc. That is, when they are preaching heresy and wrong doctrines that clearly contradict the Word and Character of God! (Galatians 1:10, Acts 5:27-32)

“And when they had brought them (the apostles), they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood on us!" But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” NKJV (Acts 5:27-30).

Here is a perfect example of where we see the apostles not submitting to the orders of the high priest or the authorities, who commanded them not to preach Jesus anymore! Well thank God that the apostles did not obey the high priest, because the high priest was going strictly against the Word of the Living God, as some still do till this day unfortunately! This is one of the main reasons I left the religion that I was brought up in as a child, because every time I asked genuine answers in search of the truth of God, I was reprimanded and scoffed at for asking, ‘since I was just a poor sinner’ and only they knew the truth (just like the same thing that the Gnostics used to adhere to in their belief). And, when I was ever given an answer to my thoughtful questions, I was answered with some unbiblical based answer which always contradicted the Holy, unchangeable, eternal and established Word of God-The Bible! (Psalm 119:152). To this fact I was and always will be unwilling to submit! With the apostles I would declare, “I would rather please and obey God than men”. We are required to love and show respect to the authorities above us, and we see here in Acts 5 and even in Acts 23 where the apostle Paul makes it clear when he says, “You shall not speak evil of a ruler or of your people” (vs.5)

Pride: Cousin to Rebellion

In another passage of scripture one day the Lord Jesus rebuked His disciples for not being able to cast out a demon from a young man for not having faith and even called them ‘perverted!’ Not exactly the sweet loving words that we often think of the Lord Jesus Christ saying!

Let us look at the whole passage: Luke 9:37-10: “The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. A man in the crowd called out, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not." "O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here." Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.” “While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, "Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men." But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it. (Now notice as their hearts are about to be exposed) An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. (Oops! Did you get it?) Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all-he is the greatest." "Master," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us." (??? Excuse me, “one of who?”) "Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you."

“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?"(By now, it’s likely that Jesus had enough of their prideful and rebellious [religious] attitude so…) But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village.” (NIV)

From the passage above it is clear that when one is in rebellion he/she is not in submission to those above him/her, nor even to God Himself in fact. Actually The Bible calls this ‘lawlessness’ and in some passages it is called ‘the sin of lawlessness’. This explains why the disciples of Jesus Christ even while they were so close to Him in person, still could not cast out the evil spirit from a young man. How could they, when they were walking in pride – which I normally call it, ‘religious pride’. And pride, my friend, is twin sister to ‘rebellion’. Isn’t that what the Bible tells us regarding Lucifer, that with pride he was lifted up and that led to his (dumb) rebellion against God Almighty!? (See Isaiah 14 & Ezekiel 28).

How true it is, that when people resist the ways of The Lord, they automatically succumb to the ways of Satan. No wonder the scripture is so explicit in this area of rebellion. Satan is actually called ‘the mystery of lawlessness’ in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8. Lawlessness, because Satan is the greatest law-breaker there is and when one rebels or goes against the established Word of God he/she is walking in lawlessness. Quite honestly anyone who sins or even lives in sin is committing lawlessness and that brings him/her directly under the dominion of the ‘Lawless one’ – Satan. How true and clear do the words of The Lord stand out now in Matthew 7:21-23 where He rebukes some ‘so called’ - disciples and tells them, “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven [will enter]…And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”(NAS) And what is lawlessness? “Sin is lawlessness – lawlessness is sin!” (1John 3:4)

How much we need to heed the warnings of our Lord, not to be willfully disobedient and rebel against His authority and His established authorities both in government and church! What better example do we have than Jesus Christ Himself who, never rebelled against the will of the Father and till death He obeyed fully, even to the death of a cross. (Philippians 2:5-11)

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.” (NKJV). 1 Samuel 15:23.

So here we see that when we submit to God and walk in obedience to His Word and to His ways, God blesses us and positions us, yet when we rebel against the authority of His Word, His Spirit and His Ordained appointed ministers, we come directly and literally under the lordship of Satan, and instead we cast him out of people and resist him, we end up under his rule and oppression. This may be hard to ‘swallow’ however when we lift up ourselves in pride and rebellion, not only do we find ourselves oppressed by Satan but even God himself will resist and oppose us, even as His words clearly states!

“…Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:6-8 (NKJV).

Many Christians I have met personally do not understand the real battle over our souls. The battle between Jesus Christ and the enemy Satan is the issue of Lordship! Who is Lord over my life? Who is Lord over your life? It is either Jesus Christ or Satan and that depends by whom I decide daily to follow and obey. That was exactly the battle that Jesus faced daily and culminated in the garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion, and praise be to our Lord and Savior Jesus the Son of The Living God, He crushed Satan and sealed his fall and his defeat, when He uttered the determining words, “Father…nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42 (NKJV).

I have come to really appreciate and truly love walking in obedience to the Lord and in submission to those who are above me in the faith! There are few more important lessons that I would recommend serious Christians to learn, than this one. Once it is learned, it is truly liberating and it sets you on a course that makes you untouchable from the evil one! (Luke 10:19, 1 John 5:18)

As I daily endeavor to grown in closer intimacy with the Lord in my life, I am delighted to know that I can bring pleasure to my Lord by daily walking in obedience to His Word, His Spirit and His Established authority.

By the grace of the Lord, once we grasp the revelation and the reality of who Christ is and who we are without Him in our life, [i.e: nothing] we would not find it a bit of a problem to say with the Apostle Paul;

“For me to live is Christ”
Philippians 1:21.
Gordon-John Manché
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