The Mystery of Authority
Scripture: Ephesians 3:10–12
10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
In this passage, Paul is speaking specifically about the Gentiles being included in God's grace. The Gentiles of that age would be the not-yet-Christians is this generation. Paul is addressing the reality that it is through the Church that those outside the fold are entrusted. And the announcement to the "rulers" and "authorities" in the heavenly realms is a proclamation to the spiritual realm on earth (the powers of the air - Ephesians 2:2 ... i.e., the "Dark Side") that they are – or have been made – subservient to the authority of the Church.
Isn't that a kick in the pants?! The Church is charged with taking the gospel to the spiritually ignorant (lost, wanderers, far from God, unbelievers, unchurched, not-yet-Christians, Nones, Other-beliefed – use whatever term suits you) and the spiritual realm must be submissive to the Church's authority. But the Church today largely behaves as if it has no authority – that it has no power over anything or anyone ... and especially over the "rulers" and "authorities" of the spiritual realm (note principalities/powers are not mentioned here – see Ephesians 6:12). And yet, we have been given specific authority over that realm, and thus, the power to march confidently into the places of the imprisoned in victory.
The gates of Hades will not overcome [be able to stop the advance of] the church.
Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Take your stand against the devil's schemes.
Submit yourselves therefore to Gd. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
He gave them authority to drive out impure spirits ...
All authority on earth and in heaven have been given to me. Therefore, you go ...
Having authority and responsibility and power to "march into hell for a heavenly cause" doesn't mean that anything is being done. Instead of mobilizing for the sake of the Kingdom, we have – the Church – become embroiled over petty preferences and distracted by "doing" church rather than "being" church. By focusing on "us" and our preferred styles and traditions and personal comforts, we have become so earthly minded that we are no heavenly good. The Church has become inwardly focused rather than implementation focused. And when that happens, our authority and responsibility and power is not just wasted, it is squandered. And the Dark Side can ... and has ... leveraged our impropriety as an opportunity to blind, imprison, and torment those around us – to the point that the fasted growing segment of "religions" are people who have no faith claim whatsoever.
Lord, remind us that we have the authority over even the angels – that we bow only to you. Reveal to us the mystery of the power and authority you have entrusted us with. Show us our place in the battle for the hearts and souls of those around us.