HIS GUARANTEE FOR SUCCESS IS GOD’S POWER WORKING FOR US — THE SAME POWER THAT RESURRECTED AND EXALTED CHRIST TO HIS POSITION AS HEAD OVER ALL — BOTH IN THE UNIVERSE AND IN THE CHURCH WHICH IS HIS BODY
Message of Ephesians: SINCE GOD DESIGNED THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST FOR HIS GLORY AND BLESSED IT WITH THE RICHES OF HIS GLORY, LET US WALK WORTHY OF OUR HIGH CALLING
Why do we need the Enabling Power of God?
1) We are in a war! We are attacking Satan and his world system and sin with the standards and purposes of a holy, sovereign God. We are under attack as well (Ephes. 6:10-13). Do we feel the pressure of the battle? Are we actively fighting? The purpose of the church is to equip soldiers to fight.
We need to tap into God’s resources and power in order to live victoriously — otherwise we will be discouraged and become casualties — rendered ineffective and useless for fighting. Soldieres are not concerned with their comfort or quality of life during the conflict, but are oriented towards the future in expectation of the higher quality of life that will be enjoyed at that time. Our expectations should be focused on the future as well.
2) Our commander-in-chief is invisible! The Apostle Paul had been taken prisoner by the enemy. He is concerned that the believers don’t lose heart at his tribulations (3:13). He is still actively fighting effectively behind the lines as an ambassador in chains relying on the same power of God (6:20). Paul points the saints to the exalted Lord Jesus Christ as their commander-in-chief. We do not want to have an unhealthy dependence on human spiritual leaders.
The enemy will try all sorts of propaganda techniques to try to discourage us. God’s answer = We have the same POWER available to us as was evidenced in Jesus Christ (just as we saw that our spiritual blessings and privileges are identical to those of our Lord Jesus Christ).
GOD’S POWER IS MORE THAN SUFFICIENT:
– BY DEFINITION
– BY ILLUSTRATION
I. GOD’S POWER IS MORE THAN SUFFICIENT — BY DEFINITION
A. The Nature of This Power
Paul presses all the words for power in his vocabulary into service in order to convey something of its all-surpassing character.
4 different Greek words (but the emphasis is not on the different nuances of meaning in each; rather the cumulative effect of these words):
1. “dunamis” — strength, might, power — general word to introduce the whole subject
2. “energeia” — power in action; working power
3. “kratos” — the strength exercised in the activity; over-powering master; dominion
4. “ischus” — inherent ability — whether exercised or not; strength possessed
B. The Measure of This Power — “the exceeding greatness”
You cannot measure it or exhaust it; it goes beyond all that we could ask or think (3:20).
Why would anyone fight on the other side? Let’s make sure we are not fighting against the power of God. If we have such unlimited power available, let’s do some significant fighting. The victory in the war is assured; the only question is which soldiers will get the medals.
II. GOD’S POWER IS MORE THAN SUFFICIENT — BY ILLUSTRATION
4 great acts of God described (2 groupings of 2) — what He already did for Christ:
1. raised Him
2. seated Him
3. put all things under His feet
4. gave Him to the church to be head over all
A. The Resurrection
Represents the best proof of God’s might; only God could do this. When the NT writers wish to show the fullness of God’s love, they point to the death of Christ (Rom. 5:8); but the chief demonstration of His power is the resurrection.
Romans 1:4; 2 Cor. 13:4; Heb. 11:19
3 Reasons God wants us to look at a risen Christ:
1. God’s Supreme Seal Upon His Son
a. As to His Person — Christ linked His claim to Deity to His resurrection — Matt. 16:14ff; God validated Christ’s claims by the resurrection — Matt. 12:38-40; John 10:18; Matt. 27:40, 63-64 — all His enemies had to do was to produce Christ’s body to prove it was a hoax
b. As to His Work — validation of His death; accepted as sufficient sacrifice — Romans 4:25; 8:34; 1 Cor. 15:13ff
2. God’s Guarantee for the Believer’s Future — Answers man’s questions about:
a. Death — it’s been transformed — Rev. 1:17-18; 1 Cor. 15:54-57; sting of death is gone because the penalty and guilt is gone; 1 Pet. 1:3-4; the law calls for the execution of God’s judgment on sin
b. This Body — His resurrection is the guarantee of mine — 1 Cor. 15:20; Phil. 3:21
c. Believers in Glory — assurance of inheritance and place with Him — 1 Pet. 1:3-4
3. Provides Power in the Believer’s Life Right Now —
Rom. 6:4-5 — we partake of His very nature
Response of people makes all the difference: some mock; some say it’s impossible; some believe
Transition: Christ is not only alive, but reigning; the resurrection and the exaltation are always linked in Scripture
1. Significance — restored to His manifest glory; Sitting was a mark of honor or authority in the ancient world in the following contexts:
a. King — sitting to receive his subjects
In Revelation, God is pictured as ruling on His throne; Mark 14:62;
Heb. 1:3-4; we will reign with Christ
b. Court — sitting to render judment
c. Teacher — sitting to teach — Matt. 5:1; Christ taught with evident authority
d. High Priest — always stood — but Jesus was the exception — Heb. 10:11-14
2. The Measure of His Exaltation
“above all principality and power …”
a. ranks of good angels
b. includes different orders of demons as well (6:12 supports this)
c. all grades of authority — both human and super-human
Maybe not precise terms to specify graduated ranks, but rhetorical terms brought together in order to express the unique supremacy and absolute sovereignty proper to Christ, and meaning simply that whatever powers or dignitaries existed and by whatever names they might be designated either now or at any time in the future, Christ’s dominion is above them all.
The world loves power and seeks after titles and honor and authority. Christ has it all. That same power of God is working for us and is more than sufficient to meet our need for significance and security.
C. The Dominion of Christ over the Univers
“put all things under His feet” — Ps. 8:4-6; 1 Cor. 15:27; Heb. 2:8-9
Remember the charge given to the first Adam — exercise dominion over the world; the purpose of God has always been dominion
cf. the song: “Master of the Universe”
D. The Headship of Christ over the Church (next message)