(By Jan-Aage Torp)
Authentic Christianity is to release the love, authority and power of Jesus to people today. That means a full confrontation with satan´s wickedness.
When Jesus started His earthly ministry (Mark 1:15ff), He proclaimed that God´s Kingdom had arrived. This was not the consummated, physical Kingdom, but the spiritual rule of God on earth now. The future had invaded the present!
George Eldon Ladd´s groundbreaking book, «The Gospel of the Kingdom» (Paternoster Press, 1959), established that «we live in the presence of the future».
Now the battle must be waged. However, today most of the Church is not even aware of the war. Or if we are aware of it, we are concerned about how we may remain civilians in the midst of war! Instead, we become the victims of war. Cfr. John Wimber/Kevin Springer: «Power Evangelism» (Harper & Row, 1986).
Jesus announced the Kingdom. It had come! War had been established between two kingdoms: God and lucifer! This warfare continues until today.
In practical terms, Jesus has given the keys to God´s Kingdom to the Church. We must recognize, utilize, and exercise that authority and power. «An army that hasn´t even reported for duty, that´s never been armed, that´s never received basic training to even fight the good fight, will fight a losing battle» (John Wimber). But today God is activating that army. We´re like a great, sluggish giant that is being called to warfare.
The two main keys are (in Greek) «dunamis» (power) and «exousia» (authority). Jesus said that we would be given these keys (Acts 1:8), and at Pentecost they became available.
Our authority in Christ is like the authority of a policeman, which lies in his commissioning. He wears a badge, a gun, and a uniform, but this has effect because of who he represents. The same applies to Jesus Christ and us! The Church is an instrument of God´s Kingdom. The works of the Kingdom are performed through us. The purpose of the Church is to witness about what God has done, what He´s going to do, and what He is doing at present.
A tug of war is going on for the lives of human beings. As humans on earth, we are born under the kingdom of satan (1John 5:19). There is a constant conflict, an interaction, between the two kingdoms of God and satan. Satan suppresses people with bondage, affliction, spiritual ailments, physical and social problems. As Christians we are called to set the captives free (Luke 4:18-19), to break the power over their lives. This is the gospel of the Kingdom!
Jesus always preached the gospel of the Kingdom. He not only said it, but demonstrated the Kingdom through miracles. Words and works are interrelated.
Jesus demonstrated His power and authority in five dimensions:
1) Power over demons: Expelling demons is Jesus´ direct attack on satan. Expelling demons goes together with healing sickness. «Learn to deal with demons, less they deal with you» (John Wimber).
2) Power over sickness: Sickness is the work of satan.
3) Power over nature.
4) Power over death: Satan´s final rule, a fearful weapon of the devil.
5) Power over sin: Jesus´ intent was to save the whole man, not just the soul. Jesus came to undo what had been done by the Fall. He came to restore man in his fulness and completeness. This includes sin, but is not limited to it.
Jesus preached the imminent arrival of God´s Kingdom. Then in His acts He brought in the Kingdom. He routed out the demonic hosts, and reinstituted the rule of God.
That´s the mandate and challenge for Kingdom people today, the Church!
We have declared WAR against satan´s kingdom!
We are training and commissioning God´s people for victorious battle. The Kingdom of God has come to demolish the kingdom of satan. We are learning now to operate under the unction of the Holy Spirit, and in so doing we are seeing Jesus glorified!