High impact lives not only instigate change, they tear down walls of resistance.
Early in his ministry, when Jesus healed a young man who was paralyzed, he said to him, “Take heart, your sins are forgiven.” The people who overheard were horrified! “Who do you think you are? Only God can forgive sins!”
The Jews believed that the only person with the authority to forgive sins was God himself. Jesus completely destroyed their way of thinking. Not only did he teach with authority, he exercised it.
Later, the Pharisees questioned him about who had given him this authority.
24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?” Matthew 21:23-27
They couldn’t answer the question, so neither would Jesus answer theirs.
Jesus consistently destroyed the arguments of his opposition.
Jesus gave this authority to the apostles and taught them to use it as they ministered to the people in the surrounding villages and proclaimed the good news of the gospel throughout the world. Matthew 10:1, Mark 6:7, Luke 9:1, Luke 10:19, 2 Corinthians 10:8
Paul later wrote these words to his friend Titus –
Titus 2:15 (ESV)
15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
It is true – to have a lasting impact on the world, our lives must be more than words. But the right words are powerful tools. Jesus did not give us a spirit of timidity, but one of power. We should not feel ashamed to speak words that tear down walls of injustice or destroy pretenses of superiority.
Paul’s instructions were to declare, exhort, and rebuke. All three must be done verbally.
- To declare – comes from the Greek word laleó which means to chatter, to speak about, to talk about at home, at work, wherever you are.
- To exhort – comes from the Greek word parakaléō which means to summon or to entreat – literally to call someone so that they will be close enough to have a one on one conversation. It means to strongly encourage someone.
- To rebuke – comes from the Greek word elégxō – to reprove or to expose the truth, as in to give convincing and compelling evidence in a court of law. Usually we think of this word as a form of discipline, but that is not the original intention. It has more to do with refuting false information.
Titus was not a biblical giant – he was not Jesus. He was just a guy in the church. Yet Paul told him to speak and lead with authority and to not let anyone disregard what he said.
Most of us are not preachers in the sense that we have been called by God for that specific task. But we all have the ability to speak the truth, to encourage friends, to stand up for what is right. When we consistently live this way, we will impact our world.
Here we go again; it’s a new week. Time to grab a full mug and set out to change the world!