Learning to Respect Spiritual Authority

Adrian Rogers

Sermon Overview

Scripture Passage: 1 Samuel 24:1-22

Proverbs 16:32 says: “he that ruleth his spirit (is better) than he that taketh a city.”

We see this exemplified through King David, a man after God’s own heart. David was a man that lived by principle, not by appearance. He was a warrior who knew many victories. But, perhaps, his greatest victory was the one over his own spirit when he became subject to spiritual authority.

In 1 Samuel 24, David is hiding in a cave after King Saul has put a bounty on his head. King Saul comes into the cave, unaware that David and his men are hiding just out of sight. David has the opportunity to kill Saul, the man actively trying to kill him. But he does not.

He refuses to take vengeance and acts as according to Scripture: “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

We should learn by David’s example in recognizing authority.

David knew that he had no right to take Saul’s life because Saul was David’s king. A bad king, sure, but he was God’s chosen and anointed king. There is no king, no power, no ruler that has not been ordained of God. Therefore, to rebel against authority is an act of rebellion against God. Submit to leadership.

You should respect authority. But what if the authority in question commands us to do something that is contrary to the Word of God? Don’t do it! The Bible says we should obey God rather than men. But make certain that even when you disobey your appointed leader that you have a warrant from Scripture, and that you still respect authority.

Finally, we should rest in authority. God took care of Saul. And God will take care of your enemies as you learn to rest in the Lord.

Apply it to your life

Is there anybody or anything that you have a rebellious spirit about? Let me ask you this question: Have you submitted to the King of kings? That’s where it all begins—by giving your heart to Jesus Christ. And when you get under the authority of Jesus Christ, under the authority of the Word of God, under the authority of those that God has put over you, you’re going to find yourself living, praying, speaking, and acting with incredible authority.

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