Prologue | Table of Contents | Chapter 7

Historically, when one king defeated another, the victor paraded the vanquished king through the streets naked. There is a simple lesson we can learn from this-- authority belongs to the victor. Likewise, Christ's lordship and authority are directly related to His victory. His authority was not just inherent but was won by humility, servanthood and utmost obedience to the Father. Because of His obedience, God gave Jesus complete authority; the name above every name. At His name every knee shall bow. Jesus could not be Lord if He had not overcome. It was the way Jesus conquered that set His victory apart from all others and in His conquest is the secret of kingdom authority. In utter defiance of human logic, Jesus conquered the world by dying for it. Jesus came as a servant and laid down his life for the world, and in doing so He led captivity captive. Jesus did nothing through strife and vainglory. From his humble birth to his grave, he emptied Himself. This is the victory that overcomes the world! This is the true Christian life! This is the kingdom Christ confers upon you! There is no other. Those who climb up by another way are thieves and robbers in the body of Christ (See John 10:1).

Unlike the kings of the earth who conquer by might and domination, Jesus disarmed principalities and powers, triumphing over them through the cross.

[Christ] having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:14-15, NKJV).

The Greek word (apekduomai) translated disarmed in this passage means to "wholly put off from one's self."

The Weymouth New Testament reads, "He shook off from Himself. . ." Christ's victory over principalities and powers began with His rejection of the kingdoms of the world. He stripped them off. And then, as Mr. Peterson so eloquently put it, "He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets" (Colossians 2:15 Message Bible).

Jesus Washing Feet

Here we see the twofold victory. First we must reject or put off from ourselves the authority paradigm of principalities and powers, and say with Jesus, "the prince of this world comes and he can find nothing in me." Then we can stand against all the works of the enemy. Throughout His earthly life and ministry Jesus repeatedly put off from himself even the appearance of worldly greatness. In the wilderness of temptation the devil took him to an exceedingly high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. "I will give you all of these things", Satan said, "if you will fall down and worship me." Jesus firmly declined, "Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve'" (Matthew 4:8-10).

After wholly putting off from Himself this earthly authority, Jesus came out of the wilderness in the power of the Spirit. How much of the impotency of churches today is the result of trading the Spirit's power for worldly power? Serving Mammon has its price. Jesus warned us that no man can serve two masters. A contemporary of Francis of Assisi named Dominic was shown around the Vatican and all its finery by the pope of his day and this pope said to him, "Well, St. Peter can no longer say, 'Gold or silver have I none.'" To this the wise servant of God said, "Neither can he say, 'Rise and walk.'"

In his usual insightful manner, Norman Park wrote,

"By its actual behavior, organized Christianity throughout history has held Christ's choice in the wilderness to be wrong. The Roman Catholic Church took over Caesar's system and remains the most impressive religious power structure. The Reformation produced a galaxy of power structures." (Dr. Norman Park, It Shall Not Be So Among You)

Indeed, the magnificent power structures of today's Christendom exist because in each case somebody accepted Satan's deal. In fact, from all we have studied of church history, men were falling all over themselves to accept it. They borrowed all the necessary accessories from Rome: titles, robes, the royal court and all the trappings--the whole kingly kit and caboodle, complete with throne to sit on while ruling the kingdoms of the world in the name of Christ, but in defiance of His example.

How can we claim to walk in Christ's victory when we are in open rebellion to His teachings? How can we claim victory when we have not put off from ourselves the authority paradigm of the prince of this world? It was through the putting off of the sham authority of this world and taking on the form of a servant that lordship was conferred upon Christ. Our Lord laid down His life and conquered. We are called to the same victory. Christ conquered Satan, the world and the grave without once lifting the temporal sword. He conquered through weakness, through lowliness, through meekness, through obedience unto death. He was "crucified through weakness" (2 Corinthians 13:4). If we attempt to climb up any other way we become enemies of the cross.

In the cross, Satan and his kosmos (world) are defeated and wholly stripped away from those who share in Christ's humility and victory. This is not to say that we will not be tempted with the glitter, glamour and glory of the kingdoms of this world, but if we chose the way down, the way of the cross, we will overcome the worst of our enemy's temptations. These are the true overcomers, whom Christ will invite to sit with Him in His throne. Jesus said, "In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). We overcome through His life and victory. Before we can know true authority we also must pass through the wilderness and overcome in those very areas as Jesus did. We must be led into the wilderness by the Spirit before we can come out of the wilderness in the power of the Spirit. The Lord has given exceedingly great and precious promises to those who do. This is the path and the due order for the overcomer.

Consider Jesus' words in the book of Revelation:

"To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life" (Revelation 2:7).
"To him who ovecomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it" (2:17).
"And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations" (2:26). "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels" (3:5).
"He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name" (3:12).
"To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne" (3:21).
"He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son" (21:7).

And how do we overcome?

"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." (Revelation 12:11 NKJV)

We see a common thread throughout these passages. Only the overcomer may sit with Christ's on His throne. What does it mean for us to overcome? It means exactly what it meant for Christ. Just as Christ overcame and the Father invited Him to sit down with Him in His throne, Christ grants such authority only to those who overcome and that victory is through the cross. We will never know heavenly authority until we strip off from ourselves the sham authority of principalities and powers of this world. We must take up our crosses and follow Him who stripped himself of His divine prerogatives, humbled himself, took on the form of a servant and became obedient unto death. This is the victory that defies the grave itself. "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" (1 Corinthians 15:55 NKJV)

Prologue | Table of Contents | Chapter 7

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