SCHOOL OF ISRAEL
Mini-Study Guides, 1994-5
"More Than Conquerors"
18. Trouble With Authority
Scripture Meditation: Mark 12:1-17
Continuing our study of the things that might make us think they have power to separate us from the love of God, we come to: "nor any powers." Here again we do not know precisely what Paul was thinking about, but most probably he had in mind the powers that are over us in authority. A political power, for example, or even a dominant person.
There will be some hearing me or reading these words who have to live out their lives day after day under a totalitarian régime. They have to be able to adapt themselves inwardly to this kind of tyranny. Surrendered to the supreme totalitarianism -- the Kingdom of God -- they are free amid any tyranny, for they are inwardly and spiritually free. Then the "powers" Paul mentions have lost their power over them. "I have the power to put you to death," said a cruel ruler to a Christian who was brought up on charges of preaching the gospel, "and I am going to use it." The Christian replied: "Ah, but I have the power to die triumphantly." There is no doubt in our minds, is there, as to who had the greater power?
Maybe you are married to a dominating husband or wife, or have a dominating father or mother, teacher, boss, or someone else who wields power in your life? If you do, then you can still live victoriously inwardly. It doesn't have to be a dominating person or government that is limiting your outer freedom. It may be the very nature of your job or even the geographical surroundings you find yourself in. Maybe life is just a question of surviving from day to day. If you find yourself in any of these situations, find a way to intelligently praise the Lord, for they are given to you to refine your spirits, to make you creative and adaptive.
Next Paul goes on to talk about "height". I wonder what he means by this? The apostle is thinking of never being able to rise to a height where we can get beyond God's loving reach. David had the same thought in Psalm 139:7-8 when he said: "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there..." (NIV). The psalmist knew nothing of manned space probes with the potential of going to other planets, but that makes no difference. God's love spans the whole creation; there is nowhere it is not to be found. So even in the unlikely event that you are kidnapped by a UFO and taken off to some strange planet in a far off galaxy, separated from other human beings and life as you have known it since you were born, God's love will reach you there too. Let us pray:
Father, I see so clearly that "the powers that be" lose their power over me when I am gripped and held by Your power. You do not want me to withdraw from living under authority, but You do want me to see Your authority as the highest. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Postscript on Kadesh
Brethren and sisters, today is 5 February 1995. May I remind you that last autumn we set ourselves a goal to know the location of Kadesh, God willing, by 1 May, which we are calling Kadesh Day. That's in exactly 3 months' time. May I also remind you that it is every member's responsibility to seek guidance and revelation on this very important matter and not to expect a final statement to come from the Holy Order. We walk together as one Body in Christ. Let us not let this golden opportunity to realise one of our greatest quests to slip us by but earnestly repent and seek the Lord our God. Amen.
Invitation to Baptism
Brethren and sisters, if there are any of you who have never received Christ as your personal Saviour, and would like to do so, I invite you to come and stand before the altar and make your request known, where you will be helped to make a prayer of commitment to Him. If there are any who have received Christ and who have been led by the Holy Spirit to unite themselves with this people, then I invite both them and those who are meeting Christ for the first time to receive water baptism at the soonest possible opportunity, as commanded by Scripture -- the first to be baptised into Christ, and all to be baptised into the New Covenant.
If there is anyone who would like to have private counsel first, they too are invited to come up to the stand. We will now have a few minutes of spiritual music to allow those who wish to commit themselves to come up to the altar...
Prayers of Commitment
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the gift of eternal life. I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for my sins and rose again from the dead. I now put my complete trust in You alone for eternal life. Thank you for delivering me! In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Dear Heavenly Father, I want to be Your child and I want to be completely free. I confess that Jesus is Lord, I believe You raised Him from the dead and I confess my need for the new birth and freedom He alone can give. I want this. I renounce (the occult, drugs, rock music, sexual obsession, homosexuality, etc.) and all its lifestyle and activity. I renounce all things connected with (the occult, drugs, etc.) that have touched my life recently or have come into my life through my family or friends. I renounce it all, turn from it and ask you to forgive me, free and deliver me from all its consequences. I ask you to fill me with Your Holy Spirit and lead me in the way I should go. I count this done, and thank you for it, in the mighty Name of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
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Updated on 16 May 1998
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