Spiritual Power (Eph 3)

Sunday, September 16th, 2007
Sermon Series: Ephesians

Turning the Key to Spiritual Power

Ephesians 3:14-21

Men love power tools.  I love power tools—they get the job done.  Sadly, power tools are not good unless they are plugged in.  Power tools need electrical power.

While I was studying for this message, my computer was fluctuating because of power outages.  A computer is no good without power–it doesn’t work without electricity.

Our vacuum cleaner is a huge blessing when cleaning the carpet, but without power, pushing it back and forth across the rug is hard and useless.  To try would only lead to frustration.

This is how so many Christians live.  It breaks my heart that so many genuine Christians live in quiet frustration and discouragement because they live much of their lives without God’s power.  There is no more miserable person than a Christian who is trying to live the Christian life in his or her own strength.

So let me ask you right now–are you here today without Christ and have no power at all?  Or are you out of gas, Christian, because you are trying to do it on your own?  Today is one of the most important sermons you’ll hear from this pulpit.  The blessings of Ephesians 1 to 3 can only be experienced in your life through today’s passage, and the commands of Ephesians 4 to 6 can only be followed by embracing the verses we will study today.  This passage is the secret to a powerful Christian walk–this is the key to spiritual power.

In our review of the book of Ephesians, we come to the end of Ephesians 3, which is the turning point in the entire book.  Chapter one is our blessed position in Christ, which Paul prays we would understand.  Chapter two is how God saved us and how salvation in Christ removes the wall separating Jew and Gentile.  Now no matter what your culture or race, when you are in Christ, you are literally one with each other, closer than race or family or culture.  So as Paul wraps up chapter three, he gives the Ephesians and us the key to spiritual power.

I love Jean’s car, a little Scion XB–we call it Bubbles.  It has a little hatchback, four doors, an engine, nice interior, has a lot of windows to see out, doesn’t guzzle gas and is a lot of fun to drive.  We have maps, directions, a steering wheel and a desire to drive.  But it requires one thing–an ignition key.  First, to have it, then use it–put it in the slot, turn the key to drive.

The book of Ephesians is just like Jean’s car.  Chapters 1 to 3 are the engine, body, doors, gas, etc.  Chapters 4 to 6 are the maps, direction, and steering wheel.  But Ephesians 3:14 to 21 is the key to the ignition–this passage is the key that empowers the blessings of chapters 1 to 3 to be lived out in chapters 4 to 6.  It comes in the form of a prayer.  My greatest desire for you as a church is to live by God’s power–to not be afraid of the Holy Spirit, but to depend on Him every moment in order to live for Christ.

Some of you are afraid to depend on God’s power, because it means that you are no longer in control, or it will make you do something you don’t want to do, or cause you to show emotion or have to change.  Others of you may have no reaction to this passage, which means 1) you don’t know Christ, 2) you have unconfessed sin in your life, or 3) you are quenching the Spirit by not submitting to Him or obeying what He’s asked you to do.

This passage is a prayer where Paul pleads with us to rely upon the power God has given us.  And in another sense, Paul pleads with God to make us respond, because Paul knows it is God who is the motivator and initiator of power in our lives to live for Him.  My goal is to have our loving God hit you between the eyes as to where you are at, and where He wants you to be.  As with every Sunday, I am going to let the Bible speak for itself–my outline is Paul’s outline, it is only mirroring the original Greek text.  Because it is so pointed and powerful, I want to you see, think and feel God’s emphasis so you can grow to be more like Christ.

Every single one of you today desperately needs this passage.  Some of you are out of gas–you can’t do it all.  You have already convinced yourself that you can’t love your spouse, parent your kids, witness to the lost, attend worship, care for the hurting, and minister your giftedness, and you are correct–without God’s power you can’t.

A few of you have stopped dreaming–you used to dream great things for God, to be used of Him.  But now with life bearing down, you have put your dreams all on the shelf because they are too hard–and they are unless you are empowered by God.

Some of you have not grown to be more like Christ in any measurable way in a long time.  You desperately need God’s power in and through your life.  Others of you have been faithful in ministry but are not seeing God use you to draw others to come to Christ or be more like Christ, and it isn’t going to happen unless God works through you.  How can you experience God’s power?

#1  Through humble dependent prayer to our Father

The strong focus of this passage is praying–the most pointed verbs in these verses actually occur in verses 14, 15, and verse 20.  In verses 14 and 15, circle “I bow” and “is named”, then in verse 20 circle “we ask” and “we think”.  These are the certainties of this passage–we need to be a praying people.

Look at verses 14 and 15, “For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.”  Bowing means literally bending the knees.  Though kneeling is not required for prayer, it demonstrates a heart of dependence and humility before God.  It is admitting to God–I can’t do this without you, I need you, I love and worship you.  (It is like saying, “Our Father who art in heaven.”)

Notice the word “family”–it should be translated “fatherhood”—I pray to the Father from whom all fatherhood is named.  Our God is the Father of all fathers in heaven and on earth.  In chapters 2 and 3, Paul just finished telling us there is no difference between Jew and Gentile in Christ.  By telling us to pray to the Father of all fathers, Paul is again emphasizing we’re in the same family, making us all brothers and sisters.  Once we are in Christ, there is nothing that separates us—Jew, Gentile, southern rebel or northern Yankee, red, yellow, black, white–nothing.

And we bow before our heavenly Father because He is a tender, gracious, all-powerful Creator who is the source of all power and ability.  Nothing will get done unless we depend/bow before Him.  Nothing counts for eternity unless He empowers it.  So, Christian . . . who’s your daddy?  The Father of all fathers.  All of us should be able to function together as one, because we all have the same daddy.

And don’t miss the implication!  Spiritual power is hindered by those who don’t look to God dependently.  If you are independent, isolationist, racist or divisive you’ll not experience His power.  If you are dependent upon the Father of all, our all-powerful Creator in humble prayer, you individually and we as a church are taking the first step toward spiritual power.  Are you?  No really, are you praying for your spouse, kids, church, city, government, unsaved relatives and friends?  This is the first step.

But what do we dependently pray for?  I am glad you asked.  There are three main requests in verses 16 to 19–A, B and C.  (Again, I am following the Greek text as it is laid out–three aorist subjunctives that make up the three major prayer requests, then there are a bunch of infinitives that describe the specifics of those requests and a few participles which clarify those requests–ready?)

A.  To Give Out of His Unlimited Resources

Notice verse 16, “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory.”  Paul could have asked God to give us out of His riches, but he didn’t.  He asked God to give us according to His riches, and there is a big difference between out of and according to.  What is that difference?

If I wanted $25 from a rich man, and came to him and requested $25, and he answered my request by giving me out of his wealth, he would give me the $25.  But if he gave me according to his riches, he probably would give me $25,000, because that would be according to his wealth.  You know, if you’re a rich land owner, we would ask, “Can we have some land according to your wealth so that we can start other churches for His glory in places of great need?”  (like Hemet)

In verse 16, the riches of His glory is the wealth of God’s character.  So in this prayer Paul asks, Father, how much grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, kindness and goodness do You have?  Unlimited–however much that is, give the Ephesians and us “according to” Your riches, to be like You!  What do we need from His unlimited resources?

First  Inner spirit strength

Finish verse 16, “to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.”  Most Christians never experience God’s power.  Like a child with his little toy car saying, “Brum, brum,” making noise and cute actions, but no real power.  Many of us feel inadequate–we try to be like Christ, but we falter and never experience.  Ephesians 3:20 says God does “exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.”  The energy is there, but the problem is many never turn the key.  It is one of the main reasons why the world doesn’t take Christ seriously.

So Paul prays for our inner man–that’s your spirit, the eternal part of you, the real you.  We live in a world that is pre-occupied with appearance–the outer person, the externals.  We run, diet, exercise, go to the gym, worry about our looks, wear make-up, color our hair, tighten our wrinkles, all of which profits little.  I see it in the mirror–the gray, the wrinkles, the jiggle, oh no!  Paul is not saying wearing make-up is wrong—hey, a coat of paint can make even an old barn look good, but the focus of our lives should not be external.  We need strength for the inner person, we need to pray about getting internal strength from our wealthy heavenly Father.

Read 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”  Whether you’re 18 or 80 today, the good news is your outer man is decaying but your inner man is renewed as you live by the Spirit.  As we ask our wealthy Father and depend upon His Spirit, we are inwardly renewed, revitalized, deeper and stronger internally.

But you say, that’s not true of me–I’m getting older, my outer person is decaying, but I am not renewed inwardly every day.  How come?  Sadly, because you choose to sin.  When you grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30), and you sin by a critical attitude, a broken relationship, pornography or uncontrolled speech–you will not grow strong in the inner man.  Or if you quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19), where you are not doing what you’re supposed to do, ministering your gift, loving your spouse, serving in ministry, caring–you’ll also not be renewed in the inner person.

So how do I get this inner strength?  Look at verse 16–to be strengthened with power through His Spirit, Paul literally says, go to your wealthy Father in prayer so you can be internally powered with power through the Holy Spirit.  All true Christians are indwelt with the Holy Spirit–He is God living in us and through us producing fruit and works for God’s glory.  He uniquely empowers evangelism and empowers our gifted service in the Church.

Later in Ephesians, we are told in 5:18 to be filled with the Spirit, literally be being kept filled–which is moment by moment dependence upon the Spirit for everything.  Then if we develop a lifestyle of being filled, the Bible says we will walk by the Spirit, and Galatians 5:16 says, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”  Get this–a pattern of being daily filled with the Spirit leads to a walk in the Spirit, which Galatians 5:16 says will result in you seeing some victory over the sins that discourage us.  So as you pray to your wealthy Father to enrich you with inner spiritual strength, cooperate with Him by . . .

1 Being aware of your need of the Spirit for everything

No matter what you are doing, in order for it to glorify God, in order for it to encourage your inner man, in order for it to look like Christ, it must be empowered by the Spirit.  When you are not in the Spirit, you are in the flesh, you are not living by faith nor manifesting love.  Are you driving in your strength or driving in God’s strength?  Working, talking, vacuuming, schooling, hanging out, video gaming–write an “S” on your hand, do whatever, but be aware and do all for Him.

2 Being dependent–affirm your inability, depend then obey

Say, “Lord I can’t but You can–I can do all things through Christ”

3 Being saturated

A huge part of the filling of the Spirit is being saturated with the Word of God.  The parallel passage to Ephesians 5:18, “Be filled with the Spirit,” is Colossians 3:16 which says, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”  Like Psalms 119:11, “Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee.”

As we hide the Word in our hearts, it saturates our lives and begins to control our thinking, which leads to Spirit-empowered behavior.  Then, and only then, will you experience spiritual inner strength.

How much time do you spend on the outer man, dressing, washing, make-up, hair, exercise, eating?  How many men here get ready in 15 minutes or less?  30 or less?  The secret to spiritual power is invest an equal amount of time on the inner man, communing with Christ through His Word.  The church family can help–discipleship, Bible studies, equipping classes, but being aware of your need, dependent upon the Spirit and saturated in the Word in order to tap into spiritual power.  In humility, go to your wealthy Father in prayer so you can be internally powered with power through the Holy Spirit.  What else should we ask God to give out of His unlimited resources?

Second  Loving communion with Christ

Verse 17, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”  Paul is not talking about salvation here, because the word dwell is from two words, “oikeo”—which means “to dwell at home”, and kata—which means “down” or “with”.  Are you down with that?  Together they mean to really settle down and be at home.

After a tough day I come home, sit in my big ugly chair, drink a cool something and gain that sense of settling down and being at home.  Paul says, pray to our wealthy Father of us all and ask Him if Christ would truly be at home in our hearts, in our lives and in our church?  Would you agree there are many Christians within whom Christ dwells where He is not very comfortable?

Remember 1 Corinthians 6:15 to 17, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?  Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot?  May it never be! 16 Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a harlot is one body with her?  For He says, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ 17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.”  When a Christian commits adultery, they join Christ who lives within them to a harlot, making Him very uncomfortable.

In the life of a Christian and a church, unrepentant, unconfessed sin in your life makes Christ uncomfortable in you.  Obviously if Jesus who lives in you is always having to get up to clean up the place, He can’t settle down and be at home.

An old pamphlet I enjoyed was called “My Heart, Christ’s Home”–it was an allegory of the Christian life.  Your mind is the library, your appetite and desire the dining room, your social relationships the living room, your gifts and service the workshop and so on.  In the booklet Christ gets this one life all cleaned up but He discovers there is something that still stinks.  (You ladies know all about that–you are going to hunt down the smell until you find it.)

Finally they discover it’s in the closet–there is some rotten secret sin in there, something that has not yet been dealt with.  And the Christian says to Jesus, “But I want it, I like it, it’s too hard to give it up.”  But Christ will not be comfortable until Christian lets Him clean it up.

Do you have something like that–something no one knows about?  What is there in your life you’re refusing to allow Jesus to clean up?  What is that rotten thing hiding in the closet of your life?  There will be no loving communion with Christ and no extraordinary spiritual power until you confess and repent of that issue.

This is a church family that wants to help–we are not going to judge you, attack you or shoot our wounded.  No one here is any better than you, and all of us have things in our lives to some degree or another that (as the King James says) stinketh.  At the same time, we are certainly not going to allow you to remain sick in your spiritual hospital bed forever.  We want to come alongside, hold you up and help you heal by dealing with sin.

So how do you enjoy loving communion with Christ?  How do I experience Christ being at home in my life–in our life?  When I pray, should I say lots of “thee’s” and “thou’s”?   No!  Verse 17 gives the answer.  Through faith!  That’s a will, mind, heart and life entrusted to God.  Like a doctor, you willingly put your life in His hands.  With Jesus, you depend and obey and enjoy and acknowledge.  You practice His presence, dialog with Him, follow His Words.  Just like Jesus said in John 14:23, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.”

This is what Paul is praying for–in humility, go to your wealthy Father so you can be internally powered through the Holy Spirit and relationally experience the personal presence of Christ–all three persons of the trinity empowering a dependent you.  So what’s the second empowering truth Paul prays for?

B.  To Own His Amazing Love

Read with me starting in the middle of verse 17, “and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, [here is the main verb of this section]18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge.”

The phrase “may be able to comprehend” literally means to lay hold of, to seize, to catch, to win.  The best translation is not to comprehend.  Paul is praying for more than mere understanding, but to own it, live it, enjoy it, make it your own—seize it.  So what are we to make our own?

First  To receive the vastness of Christ’s love

The last phrase of verse 17 belongs to the truth of verse 18.  Look at the end of 17, we have been rooted and grounded in love.  Literally, Paul says we have a fixed foundation in love.  When Christ saved us, we received His love, we’re immersed in His love, His love is shed abroad in our hearts–all that love is ours.

Now Paul prays we might be made thoroughly strong in Christ’s love.  God wants us to own the immense love of Christ for you and for us.  His saints are to live each day as vastly loved ones.  You are to believe there is no ceiling on His love for you.  To own Christ’s love for you is so great it can’t be measured.  Christ’s love for you has no limit–no height, depth, breadth or length can contain it.  God’s love is so vast it stretches from eternity past to eternity future–it can take a rebellious, dead, helpless, hopeless and heartless sinner and make them into a son or daughter.  His love can bless us with every spiritual blessing, and His love can even make Jew and Gentile closer than brothers.  And Paul is praying you start, live and finish every day in the reality of Christ’s love for you, genuine Christian.

One of the secrets to the Christian life is not that you love others, but you so live in the reality of Christ’s great love for you that you can’t help but love others as the New Testament commands us to.  We love, why?  Because He first loved us.  I used to say love, now I say know His love.

I remember Ray Stedman, a pastor now home in heaven, mentor of Chuck Swindoll, telling me how he started each day.  He’d get up, go to the mirror, wash His face, then smile and say ten times out loud until he owned it in his heart—“Jesus loves me.”

One of the biggest problems with well-taught Christians is their willingness to live unloved–to know facts, truth, information, but to walk through life without a sense of Christ’s love for them.  I have done it, and you have too, and it is bad for you and me.  It’s like holding your breath–you are slowly suffocating spiritually.  And it’s bad for a church—you start looking elsewhere for happiness . . . in your spouse, your kids, at work.  Living in Christ’s love is so important.  Paul prays for the Christians . . .

Second  To experience the intimacy of Christ’s love

Notice verse 19a, “and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge.”  Paul wants us to know the love of Christ, but not intellectually know, academically, theologically, rationally.  He doesn’t use the Greek word for knowledge of facts, but for knowledge of relationship, experience and intimacy.  The word is not oida but ginosko.  Paul prays the Ephesians would know Christ’s love personally.

When courting your spouse, do you remember when you became aware that they actually immensely, intensely, over the fencely loved you?  I remember being really sick with the lay-down-and-want-to-die flu and Jean came over in medical greens to read me books.  I could tell the way her gorgeous eyes lit up when I was around.  She actually loved me, almost as much as I loved her.  Wow!

This is what Paul wants the Ephesians to experience–that Christ loves them intimately, relationally—both personally and corporately.  This is where spiritual power comes from.  If you experientially know you are loved by the Creator of the universe you can do anything.

And just so we don’t gravitate toward our weakness, Paul adds a participle to make sure we don’t misunderstand–see it in verse 19?  This love of Christ surpasses knowledge–it exceeds knowledge.  It goes beyond instruction to intimacy, transcending from doctrine to devotion, rules to relationship, facts to fellowship.  Ever known someone so close to Christ that Christ’s love leaks out?  This is what transforms marriages, families and churches.

Many years ago, Jean and I were really burdened about a marriage that was breaking up.  As we were talking, Matthew at 7-years-of-age was listening.  So I asked him, “Do you think Mommy and Daddy would ever split up?”  He dogmatically said, “NO!”  I asked him, “Why not?” and he said, “Because your marriage is just too powerful.”

We laughed, then reading each other’s minds, Jean and I put our rings together and went, *&^%$#@#%^. Then Matt, embarrassed by us said, “No, I meant Jesus powerful!”

Listen Christian couple, the love between you and your spouse–if it’s hurting, it’s not because you can’t get along, or you have a personality conflict, or you’re incompatible or co-dependent.  It is because you are not dependent in prayer on your wealthy Father to be internally powered through the Holy Spirit and relationally experience the personal presence of and love of Christ.

And because Christ’s love surpasses knowledge, there’s no way human beings can ever know this love apart from Christ.  The world doesn’t have it, you don’t have it, a good body won’t get it, material wealth won’t secure it.  It can only be known by those who have come to Christ, and then those who depend on Christ.

And be warned, Christian–you will drift from Christ’s love.  Instead of a love relationship, you will drift back to an external religion.  You will turn your intimacy with Christ into intellectualism.  Beware–we can go that way as a church, and you can drift that way as a Christian.  Do not ever forget–the Ephesian church is the one that later in Revelation chapter 2 left its first love.  If they can do it, so can you.  Maybe today you will need to heed Revelation 2:5, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first.”  (Notice the three R’s to regaining your first love.)

1) Remember where you used to be, 2) repent of your externalism and lack of heart, and 3) return to the lifestyle that intimately loved Christ.  In humility, go to your wealthy Father to be internally powered through the Holy Spirit and relationally experience the intimate love of Christ.  Finally, Paul makes a third request.

C.  To Overflow with God Himself

The third main request is found at the end of verse 19, “that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.”  The entire trinity is involved in our spiritual lives.  It’s one thing for me to be filled with the Spirit in verse 16, and another thing to be filled with Christ in verse 17, but now to be filled with the  Almighty God.  The God who made all and fills it all can fill me?  That’s incredible!

God’s desire is to overflow out of you towards those He loves–the saint and the ain’t, the Christian and the lost so that there will be less of you and more of Him.  The Greek word “filled” in verse 19 is used in the New Testament of someone filled with emotion, filled with joy–meaning joy dominated them.  It also has the idea of complete saturation or moving someone along like wind moves a boat along by filling the sail.

Paul, praying that we be dominated by God Himself, saturating every aspect of our lives and moving us toward God’s Will in everything, is not praying that you experience a little of self will and a little of God’s will, or a little of God’s presence and a little of you.  He prays for all of God and none of you.  What a prayer–God’s wisdom, God’s love, God’s truth, God’s grace, God’s kindness, God’s compassion and patience filling you, dominating you and saturating you.  Like John the Baptist desired–He must increase and I must decrease.

But it can only happen if, in humility, we go to our wealthy Father to be internally powered through the Holy Spirit and relationally experience the intimate love of Christ, that will not only allow for God’s fullness to be experienced and seen, but requires that as we pray, we pursue two truths–God’s ability and God’s purpose.

#2  Pray believing our Father is able and purposeful

Slowly read verse 20 with me, “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.”  The emphasis in the original is fascinating–the strong emphases are the verbs whatever “we ask” and “we think”, supported by “to do”, which is expanded by God’s ongoing ability and ongoing working.  As a Christian and as a church, all that power is working within us.

In case you are not getting it, the emphasis here is upon you and me continually asking and thinking, continually praying, and continually believing God for those things that are beyond us because He is able.  Remember John 14:12, Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.”

We will do greater things than Jesus did.  He was not talking about quality but quantity.   All around the world, repeatedly through the centuries, the Church has been able to see the power of God manifested in a far greater way, quantitatively, than Jesus ever did, during His three-year ministry in one small location.

Now look again at verse 20 in Ephesians 3.  Are you asking?  Are you thinking?  Do you believe God is able?  Some of you have never had a vision or a passion or a burning desire to see God do great things, things beyond what you can ask or think.  I am praying our church will be filled with love and grace and truth, be a place where we see God save souls, change lives, rescue marriages, repair families, be a family to the single parent and unequally yoked, and a vehicle for the single to be undistracted in their devotion to Christ.

I am praying God will use us to plant churches in the surrounding towns, even Hemet, Orange County and overseas–that we would grow in our compassion to the weak and downtrodden and so much more.  Will you believe Him for great things with me?  Do you believe God is able?  But you say, “Chris, God really doesn’t do that.  God can’t help me in my situation.  You just don’t know my spouse.  Chris, you don’t know what I’m going through, or God, you can’t use . . . or Father, I am not able.”  Right, but He is able–He can and He will!

One more time, look at verse 20.  Look at just how great God is.

1. He is able

2. He is able to do

3. He is able to do whatever you ask

4. He is able to do whatever you ask or think

5. He is able to do ALL you ask or think

6. He is able to do beyond all you ask or think

7. He is able to do abundantly beyond all that you ask or think

8. He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all that you ask or think

You see, Christian, once you go to your wealthy Father in humility to be internally powered through the Holy Spirit, relationally experience the intimate love of Christ, and experience God’s fullness, then you are going to see God do great things because He is able.  I have seen God work this way in a church and in my life to the point that it is addicting.  When you begin to depend on the Lord in this manner, it is the key that starts the engine to really move out and see God do some amazing things in you and in us, through you and through us.  What’s your dream for God’s glory?  Come on, He is able–are you willing?

And what was God’s purpose in all this?  Look at verse 21, “To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”  Don’t miss the obvious–not only is all this spiritual power meant to show off all of God’s character, to bring Him glory, but you might miss that Paul prays that this power and glory be displayed not only in Christ, but also in the sphere of the Church, in us here in this group gathered today, the Bride of Christ.

Because we see ourselves as sinners, we’re usually hesitant about God doing great things through His Church, but not God.  He didn’t transform you to sit around for the next bus to heaven–we together are to experience His power and see Him do great things now, if we pray.

But, you say, this is written to the Ephesians.  True–but Paul wanted to make sure you knew, FBC, that he meant this to you as well since he wraps up verse 21 with, “to all generations forever and ever.”  That means us–that means you–and all God’s people say the last word of verse 21.  Let’s say it together, “AMEN! So be it!”

Ronald Regan said we are too great a nation not to have great dreams.  Paul the Apostle has just said we are too great a church not to have great dreams of our great God doing great things in us and through us.  But . . .

First  There is no spiritual power unless you are in Christ

Some of you today have never experienced God working in and through you–you know about Christ, you go through routines, but God never does anything because you have not been born again.  You need to recognize that your independent heart and lifestyle, doing your own thing, not following God’s will but your own has made you God’s enemy.  He must condemn you forever for your sins unless you turn to Christ, who took the punishment for sin on the cross, died for your sins, rose from the dead, and can forgive you and empower you.  Turn to Christ.

Second  Being dependent upon the Spirit is the source of strength

Moment-by-moment admit you can’t, but God can through you.  As a way of life ask, “What does God say in His Word we should do?”  Trust God’s ability and willingness to bring Himself glory through you.  Be a man or woman of prayer.  Like a child, trust in your Father, walk with your hand in His hand through all of life and you will see Him do great things.

Third  God is able to deal with your difficulty

Whether it is a trial, temptation or crisis, hopefully you see from today that God is able.  The moment He wants your struggle to end it will end.  He is working out His purposes for your good and His glory, and He will do exceeding abundant beyond all that we ask or think to those who are looking for Him to use their difficulty to show Him off.

Fourth  Honor God by dreaming about Faith Bible Church

Let’s not be ordinary, average, a good doctrinally sound church–let’s abandon our ideas, our thoughts, or what we’ve seen Him do in some other places.  Let’s dream about Him doing things we’ve never seen or thought of.  Let’s let Him do what He wants, and honor Him alone as the head of FBC–Amen?


ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church – Murrieta.

Tough Stuff
Membership @ FBC
1 Peter
FBC iTunes podcast