Next, let’s consider corporate authority. As mentioned above, we are to function as one unit. Jesus told His disciples:I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.Matthew 16:19 NASBJesus was speaking to all of the disciples. He saw them as a company. Although they eventually went to different geographical destinations, they had one Commander who had given them their marching orders and their mandate for victory and success. They spoke the same word and carried the same authority: The Word and the authority of their Lord and King.The story of the centurion in Matthew 8 gives us one of the clearest illustrations of authority in the Bible. The centurion came imploring Jesus to heal his servant. Jesus was willing to go, but the centurion said: “Lord, I am not worthy . . . only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.” (Matthew 8:8 NKJV). The centurion understood authority as a man who had authority and who was under authority. He understood that Jesus was under a greater authority than Himself. As the centurion would say to one, ‘Go!’ and to another, ‘Come!’ so he knew that was all Jesus needed to do for the healing of his servant. Jesus marveled at this man’s faith and said to those following Him, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (Matthew 8:10b NKJV).Roman soldiers were protected from arrows by the shield they carried. Although that shield provided individual protection, their greatest protection came through the fact that the shield was linked to the shield on the soldier’s right and left. Together they were even more effective in deflecting the enemy’s arrows. So it is with the shield of faith that the Lord has provided for us.Paul spoke of this shield in Ephesians 6 when he addressed the subject of the armor of God. I will deal with this in greater depth in chapter twelve of this book. However, for our purpose here, I want us to understand that this shield of faith not only covers us from head to foot, but also covers our sides through our covenant relationship with those to whom the Lord has joined us. Relationships with other brothers and sisters in Christ are vital to achieving victory in our battles. Our submission to those given authority over our lives is also vital to understanding the shield of faith. I cannot emphasis enough how important it is to not be a “lone ranger” in the spiritual battles we are fighting.
Paul talked about understanding that all the saints are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone. The foundation came from the prophets in the Old Testament as they looked ahead to the coming of the Messiah. The apostles understood, by the Holy Spirit, what the prophets had prophesied so they laid the foundation for the house of God which was made up of believers who were called living stones by Peter in (1 Peter 2:5). Everything must be squared with Christ, the Chief Cornerstone, for the building to be perfectly lined up. Paul wrote:In whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.Ephesians 2:21–22 NKJVPaul used words like fitted, grows, and built with great intention. In another place he used the words “every joint supplies.” Through the different metaphors, Paul drove the point home that we are not independent from one another. God fits us with other saints who are also fitted. As we picture an army, we see one fighting unit and not just individual soldiers fighting independently. The spiritual battle in which we are engaged is no different. It is meant to be fought together with other believers, as a well-trained unit in rank and file.