“Glory belongs to God, whose power is at work in us. By this power he can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” Ephesians 3:20 GW
This is the verse we studied last week. Impossible is impossible with God. Remarkably God wants to use His great powers through you and me. This is the source BOTH of our worship (Glory belongs to God) and faith, as we see Christ at work accomplishing more than we can ask or imagine.
This is not only true when times are good and we feel great about what we are accomplishing in God’s Name, but also when we are weak.
“God is able to make all grace about to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV
How does this work exactly? What are these powers that God uses to work through us? Today we come to the story of widow and her dead son. Jesus raises the widow's son back to life! Wow!
5 Great Powers Of Life For The Christ-Follower:
#1. The Power of _____________.
“As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow…” Luke 7:12a NIV
This first power might surprise you. We usually consider death as the ultimate weakness. But if you will stop and think about death as the separation between this life and the next life, then death has a motivating power. There are things that we can only do on this side of eternity. Each day we are either becoming more like Christ or less like Him. The reality of death - our own expected mortality - contains a great power for us. We recognize that we are in a season of life that will never again be repeated.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a NIV
The reality of death helps us to make the most of our lives here on Earth.
#2. The Power of ______________.
“He went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him… and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. Luke 7:11, 12b NIV
We don’t know why Jesus was going to Nain. What we do know is that a great crowd was following him and as they were going into the city they rain smack into another great crowd - funeral procession - coming out of the city.
We see a valuable lesson here. We should always PLAN our priorities, but we should also AUDIBLE our priorities. As Christ followers, knowing we have only so many days on this Earth, it’s important to plan our priorities. To really think ahead what we want to accomplish for Christ’s Kingdom while we are here. Jesus was going to Nain for a reason. He had a plan. His plan ran straight into a funeral procession and a weeping widow-mother coming out. So Jesus called an audible. It takes great wisdom to know when to call an audible.
“Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 NIV
This power of priority is something we can learn! We start by recognizing the shortness of life and the worthiness of searching always for the best - and realizing that sometimes we have to sacrifice good things in order to do the best things. (We can’t do it all. We have to choose!)
We continue daily by evaluating our opportunities at the end of the day. What came up that I couldn’t have planned? Should I have changed my plans? Evaluate both when I have changed and when I stayed the course. Pray over it. Ask God if you made the right choice. Ask for that heart of wisdom. Will come more and more naturally!
#3. The Power of _____________.
“And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’” Luke 7:13 NIV
When Jesus ran into the crowd of mourners, saw the woman who had lost a husband and now had lost her son - which meant she lost all of her support - he stopped because “he had compassion on her.”
The power of tears is a very great power indeed. We have focused our lives so much upon the pursuit of happiness that we have missed out on the power of tears. In our culture men are even taught not to cry. What we have forgotten is that some things can only be “fixed” by feeling the depth of sadness that someone else is feeling.
…even when we don’t FEEL like it. This power too is something that can be learned. When Paul is describing what this Christian life is like, he tells us that we should “put on” compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Isn’t it interesting what he starts with…
“You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion.” Colossians 3:12 GNT
Why compassion? Because being able to empathize with someone else’s loss is the beginning of the most God-like emotion. God also has compassion on you and me. He has such great compassion for our lostness that He gave His one and only Son so that we might not be lost.
#4. The Power of ______________.
“Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise.’ And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.” Luke 7:14-15 NIV
The entire reason we can see power in death, which also gives us the power of priority is because - as Christ followers - we have the power of new life. Paul tells us that the old has gone and the new has come. We will be resurrected, but we have new life now. We have eternal life now.
The way we look at life… the way we think about life is completely different. We are no longer just here today and gone tomorrow beings. We know death as only a transition to the life beyond. And so we live this life today differently.
There is great power in new life. Power to live for life beyond today. Power to live for someone and something other than just ourselves. Power to know that there is ultimately good that will come out of everything. Power to know that God is in charge. Power to know that He wins in the end. Power to know that He loves us and that we are on His side. Power to know that whatever grief we may suffer now is temporary and will be replaced by an eternal joy that can never be squashed.
#5. The Power of _______________.
“Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has arisen among us!’ and ‘God has visited his people!’” Luke 7:16 NIV
We don’t often connect the emotion of fear with the act of worship. The truth is that the two should never be separated. Whenever we come into the Presence of God, it should be a fearful, awe-inducing experience. We recognize just how little we know and how much we need God at exactly the same moment when we see how little we are and how great God is at the same time.
Just like the people of Nain, who saw a dead son raised back to life, we should be frightened at the awesome power of God. Ultimately that rightly leads us to glorify God, which is another way of saying we worship God. We realize that we are His people and when we worship Him we realize He visits us with His Presence.