I recently had the privilege of hearing Pastor Alexandre Guzzardi preach. Pastor Guzzardi is one of those rare individuals with an honest-to-goodness supernatural gift for preaching God’s Word. Not everyone who preaches has a gift for preaching, which doesn’t make them bad preachers, it just means that they may be more scholarly, and therefore, lean more toward the teaching gift than the preaching gift. There’s nothing wrong with that. I enjoy teaching, too. In addition to his gift, Pastor Guzzardi is also a delight to hear because of his bust-a-gut-laughing hilarious delivery (not all of which translates with such hilarity into English, and some is purely visual).
Pastor Guzzardi, who is Brazilian, lives in England, and has for many years. But he preaches in Italian. Since the pastor of my home church in Milan is Brazilian, I am used to hearing Brazilian-accented Italian, but it really throws some people.
The “it” in my title is the Body of Christ, and “Destined to Reign” was the title of Pastor Guzzardi’s sermon. In Genesis 1:20-21 God filled the waters with fish and other sea creatures, and the air with birds. In the Amplified version it says, “Let the waters bring forth abundantly and swarm with living creatures, and let birds fly over the earth in the open expanse of the heavens,” (emphasis mine). And in verse 24 it says, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creeping things, and [wild] beasts of the earth according to their kinds,” (emphasis mine). The sea creatures are actually made of water, and the land creatures (including humans) are actually made out of earth, and in Genesis 2:7 we actually get to see God at work making the first man, and indeed, he is made from the earth.
Pastor Guzzardi said that when a creature gets too far away from the environment it was made from, it is in mortal danger, for example a fish out of water or a land animal in the middle of the ocean. Then in Genesis 1:26 it says:
God said, “Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth,” (emphasis mine).
(Note that the word “tame” that the Amplified version inserts is something I disagree with. Before the fall (and this is clearly before the fall), all the animals were tame.)
Other versions use words like dominion, rule, and reign, it all amounts to the same thing: humans were made to rule over the earth and all the creatures on earth and in the sea and skies. Then Pastor Guzzardi showed a picture of a flower, like this one:
He said, “People sell their souls, rob from their mothers, and even kill to have this. It’s an opium poppy. If you don’t reign over the earth, the earth will reign over you.” Then he showed another picture:
He said, “People sell their souls and lose their families to have this, too. Paper money is made mostly of cotton. If you don’t reign over the earth, the earth will reign over you.” Then he showed other pictures:
He said, “Men sell their souls and walk out on their families to have this. Women sell their souls and leave their children to have this. We just read that these bodies are also made from the earth. If you don’t reign over the earth, the earth will reign over you.”
Anything you can think of comes from the earth and can rule over you, if you don’t rule over it.
We have been given the authority to reign on the earth and over the earth. When sin entered the picture, we forfeited that authority to the devil. But through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, He bought back our right to reign. But we have to take authority, which is an active thing. It won’t do us any good just to know that we have authority, we have to take it and use it. If we don’t reign over the earth, the earth in one way or another will reign over us.
The only one who doesn’t have any legal rights on this earth is the devil. True, he tempted and tricked us out of our authority, but without a physical body made from the earth, he has no legal right to rule over the earth. He is called the prince of the power of the air because he has no physical body.
And here’s how I took authority over the earth: when I was almost too tired to keep going, and do what I needed to do, I took authority over the earth (specifically the earth that my body is made of), and I said, “I speak strength to keep going over my body. Thank You, Jesus for giving me back the authority to reign over the earth!” And I did feel stronger and was able to complete my work. Then it occurred to me that we can do the same thing with sickness, injury, and any other earthly need. Jesus was the perfect example of a man who reigned with authority over the earth.