The Power Of Christ In Us
We come to the end of Ephesians 1 today. For nine Sundays we have preached out of this great chapter. We have learned much about ourselves at Christ followers. We are blessed, chosen, adopted, redeemed, insiders, and heirs. We learned how to pray for each other - thankful for them, that they may know God, His hope, His inheritance and His power.
Once more Paul stops, raises his stylus and thinks about this power from God available to us individually and collectively. Then Paul writes one of the greatest endings in the Bible.
Before we read this, I’d like you to think of two things. First, how do you view yourself as a Christ-follower? Someone who is weak? Can’t follow through? A failure? Or as someone connected to THE Someone so powerful that He and you cannot fail or fall?
Second, how do you view your church? As small and rather insignificant? Not very important in the large scheme of things? Or as a unique church whose Head is none other than Christ Himself? How we answer these questions impacts the way we live!
Let’s consider the DESCRIPTION of this power, the COMPARISON of this power, and the APPLICATION of this power.
#1 - Description - RESURRECTING and EXALTING
“That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 1:19b-20
As we begin talking about the description of this power, let’s make sure we know what it is in reference to. “That power” refers to the power that is available to us NOW as Christians. This is not just talking about God’s power to be used for Christ. Remember Paul is praying that the people in the Ephesus church (and us too) “may know… his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Why is it so important that we get this description correct? Because it is for us! And for us NOW!
Again to reiterate, Paul writes “that power is the same as…” So what Paul is about to describe as both a resurrecting power and and exalting power is for us as well. Do you know this power in your life?
This power is a resurrecting power. Paul describes it as the mighty strength when He (God the Father) raised Christ from the dead. This resurrecting power is for you and me as Christians too! And NOT just for a someday in the future when I will be resurrected. It is very clear from Paul’s writing and where he is going, that this resurrecting power is already a part of who we are as Christ-followers. Allow me to skip ahead a few verses to Ephesians 2:5-6a:
“God made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ.”
Do you see that this is written in the past tense, not the future? This is something that has already happened! You have already been resurrected. You have already been saved. You have already been raised up. You just haven’t physically died yet. But you are alive in Christ because of the resurrecting power of God that is alive and well in you!
Do you understand the significance of this resurrecting power in your life? Do you understand how important it is that you know you are a resurrected being alive in Christ? Paul describes this significance in our water baptism in Colossians 2:12 - You can now RESPOND to God!
“Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding To God. God brought you alive - right with Christ!”
This power is an exalting power. Paul writes about the power it took to not only raise Jesus but to also seat him at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. It’s hard to imagine but it is clear that Paul IS SAYING that the same power that raises and exalts Jesus is available to you and me as Christians too and raises us with Christ to God’s right hand. Again let’s move forward to Ephesians 2:6 -
“God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”
I will be the first to admit that I don’t know exactly what this means. Surely only Jesus is Lord. He is supreme. We never want to venture near to the sin of making us equal to God in any way. If we are there in the heavenly realms seated with Jesus at God’s right hand it is by invitation only. But it is God’s invitation to you and me who believe in Jesus! I think of it like a wedding reception. There are guests who are invited and seated with the bride and groom along with the best man and maid of honor and all the wedding party. We are guests right there! Because we have been invited.
This is what it means to be exalted. We are there by invitation only. Not because we earn it or deserve it, but because it pleases God - in His mercy and grace to include us! So what does this mean for us here and now? Does this mean we are to walk around like we are something special? Look at me! I’ve been raised up! I’ve been exalted! I am seated with Jesus at God’s right hand! NO WAY! God forbid! The correct understanding I think can be found in Colossians 3:1-2 -
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthy things.”
Where is your mind at these days? Are you consumed with the politics of the day? With the sports teams you cheer for? With the stresses that come with a difficult job (or no job)? With tough family relationships? It doesn’t have to be that way.
God has given you the power, the invitation, the exaltation to see things from His point of view. To work towards His goals and to be a part of His solution. Pauls says this same resurrecting and exalting power that raised Jesus is available to you. Not just some day. But this day!
#2 - Comparison - BEYOND COMPARISON
“… far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Ephesians 1:21
We need to understand this power and just how powerful it is! I know. Words fail me when I write (speak) God’s power is powerful. Duh! But I think sometimes we need to be reminded. Because if we accept the fact that God does extend this power to His beloved Christians, but then we live out our lives in a defeated, can’t-catch-a-break kind of lifestyle, then we must not think much of this power.
But Paul, in writing to the church in Ephesus (and us as well), will have none of this middle of the road power kind of life. How does Paul compare this power of God to us? It is BEYOND COMPARING!
Do you have a ruler or authority that you are underneath? The Bible says this power God grants you is above it! FAR ABOVE it!
There is another power or dominion that is attempting to divert you away from your worship of the one true God? God says His power and dominion are FAR ABOVE it!
Is there another name that is trying to be invoked in your life as more important than the name of Jesus? God’s Name is FAR ABOVE it! Not only now but for all time to come!
Bottom line - whatever it is that you are facing. Whatever trials, whatever challenges, whatever difficulties, whatever attacks, whatever disappointments, whatever brokenness, whatever it is that wants to put you down, keep you down… whatever it is is as nothing compared to the power of God for you as a Christ-follower!
We just cannot talk about this without referring to Romans 8 and being encouraged by Paul’s powerful words.
“If God is for us, who can be against us? … Who then is the one who condemns? No one! … Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No! In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
So, again… let me stop and ask: How are you living your Christian life these days? Are you down? Defeated? Broken? Hurting? Hey, I get it! We’ve all been there! It’s only human. Sometimes our circumstances can be overwhelming.
But we don’t have to stay there. We don’t have to linger. We do have a power in our lives - available to us, promised to us - that tells us that we have no enemy and no power that can raise itself victorious over our life. No matter what we face, God is for us! And His power is mighty and great and is enough. It’s not JUST that this is available to us, BUT ALSO that God’s wants us to have it!
#3 - Application - FOR US IN THE CHURCH
“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Ephesians 1:22-23
Paul wraps up his teaching to us in this glorious first chapter of Ephesians with some glorious words. All things are placed under Jesus’ feet. God has appointed Jesus to be head over everything for the church. When you and I use the words “all things” and “everything”, we really don’t know the extent to what is included. Because we don’t know all things. We don’t know everything. But God does!
That’s why this application is so important. Because this is one of the few places in Scripture where “the church” is specifically mentioned. And just so we don’t miss it, Paul stops for a moment to re-iterate just exactly what he means by “the church” - it is the body of Christ!. It is the fullness of Who Jesus is! Again to be clear - that’s you and I together as we worship our Lord and Savior Jesus as one body!
So what is it that you think of when you think of this small gathering of Christians who come together on Sunday morning, both physically in person and spiritually via the online streaming? Do you think of something small and weak? Do you see this as just a small gathering of friends who like and encourage one another? Do you see Church Requel as JUST a small church?
Or do you recognize your church as what Paul describes in these last verses of Ephesians 1? Do you see Church Requel as the body of Jesus? Do you see this togetherness on Sunday morning and throughout the week as the “fullness of Him who fills everything in every way?”
Wow! Talk about a possible identity crisis! This is how God sees this place. As holy. As full. As filling. As the very body of Jesus lived out in our city! Incredible!
Conclusion: Over these last 9 weeks I have invested in each of you with these sermons. It is so important to know who you are in Christ! Do you know that you are blessed, chosen, adopted, redeemed, an insider and an heir?
And do you know who we are collectively as a church? There is more to Church Requel than the numbers of attendees or the offering. This is THE BODY OF CHRIST! You are a part of that! All the prayer. All the thanksgiving. All the worship. All the help. All the fellowship. All the power of God Himself - THE SAME power that resurrected and exalted Jesus is available to each one of us and to all of us collectively! Wow!