Last lesson we saw how God’s power was demonstrated in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Not only was God’s power demonstrated in His creation and in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, it is also displayed in what He has and is doing for all those who believe. In Ephesians 1:17-19 Paul prayed that the Christians would know (Greek: oida) “His incomparably great power for us who believe.” Oida meant “to perceive, know about, realize, recognize.” Today’s message looks at the five ways Paul says God’s power is at work for us.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.” – Ephesians 3:20-21
- Paul is writing to those who left the Artemis-centered culture of Ephesus for a faith based on the historical facts of the life, deeds, teachings, death, resurrection and ascension to Heaven of Jesus of Nazareth.
- They were a counter-cultural underground movement, a type of revolutionary group
- This revolution concerned the place the spiritual and eternal has in a person’s life and worldview.
- Would it be based on legend, superstition, fear and ignorance? …or on real historical people and events, on a divine revelation supported by genuine miracles, and demonstrated by the transformed lives of those who believed it?
- In this letter, Paul wants the believers in Ephesus to fully understand the power, riches and glory that has been bestowed upon them.
THE POWER THAT RAISED JESUS FROM THE DEAD:
- What event(s) could the citizens of Ephesus confidently point to which truly demonstrated the power of Artemis? Think of the similar contrast between the prophets of Baal and Elijah in I Kings 18.
- What God’s power had done in Jesus:
- Raised Jesus from death to walk the earth again for 40 days
- Seated Him at God’s right hand
- Placed Him above all rulers and powers, present and future
- Put all things under His feet (i.e., authority and power)
- Appointed Him Head over everything for the church
- But what about believers? What has God’s power done on their/our behalf?
THIS MIGHTY POWER FOR US WHO BELIEVE – 5 THINGS:
- Ephesians 2:6 – Seated us with Him in the Heavens (in effect, making us co-rulers with Him?)
- 2:5 – Made us spiritually alive when we were dead in our sins
- 2:8 – Saved us by His grace
- 2:10 – We are totally God’s workmanship (or masterpiece) because the work He has done… not by our power!
- Ephesians 3:7 – His power at work in the Gospel
- I Corinthians 1:25 – The “foolishness” of preaching!
- Romans 1:16-17 – The power of God to save
- Ephesians 3:8 – Paul said it was a gift from God’s grace that gave him the ministry of telling others the Gospel
- Ephesians 3:16-19 – Strengthened by His Spirit in our inner being
- Christ indwells us because of our faith
- We are rooted and grounded (literally, “foundationed”) in His love
- Helps us to grasp, comprehend God’s love; no longer a mystery as it is for those not believing the Gospel
- We are able to know (ginosko – personally experience) Christ’s love
- Filled to the full with all that God intended for us to have and experience
- Ephesians 3:20-21 – His power able to do immeasurably more; Gk. huperekperissos, which means “over and beyond that which is over and beyond that which is itself beyond measurable!”
- More than we could “ask” (aiteo – ask, desire, beg for)
- More than we could “imagine” (noieo – comprehend, perceive, think of, understand)
- Ephesians 6:10 –Equip us to stand against all the power of evil
- Against the “schemes” (methodeia – trickery, wiles) of the devil
- Against the powers of this dark world – evil in places of authority and rule in this world
- Against the spiritual forces of evil in the Heavenly Realms – Satan and his demonic forces
- And having faced it all, the still be standing at the end – VICTORY!
Our image comes from the Wikimedia Commons public domain pictures. It is a 1953 nuclear test at the Nevada Test Site.