“God’s Available Power”
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 1.19-23
Turn in your Bibles to Ephesians chapter 1. A few weeks ago, as we all know, we had a wind storm that caused many of our homes to be disconnected. I’m going to milk the value that experience as much as I can.
Some of us lost electricity. The power company still had the capacity to send you electricity. However, the issue was with the connection that caused you to be without power.
I fear that there are some here who are completely cut off from the power of God. You’re in a blackout. Nothing in your life works the way God designed it.
But God has an infinite amount of power available to you, but as of yet you have not availed yourself of His power because of your desire for sin.
Some of us as God’s people I fear are not completely cut off from the power of God, but the lights are either constantly flickering or are totally off much of the time. You’re not in a blackout, but you’re in a brownout for sure. You are trying to live the Christian life in your own strength.
If this is you this morning or ever, this passage is for you.
We are in the last part of Ephesians chapter 1. Our text will be verses 19-23. This passage is part of Paul’s prayer that begins in verse 15. Let’s read Ephesians 1:15-23 15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Now, you will remember that Paul’s main request is found in verse 17 when he prays that God the Father would give to you “a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him.” And we found that what that means is Paul desires that God the Father would give to you Holy Spirit-empowered insight and an unveiling into the knowledge of God.
In other words, Paul is praying that you would really know God.
And Paul is praying that you would know God, not just so that you can sit on that understanding and have a cold academic, encyclopedic knowledge of God. No, Paul is praying for Holy Spirit empowered knowledge. He wants you to have the kind of knowledge of God that changes your life and makes you godly.
But first, this knowledge of God will also reveal to you God’s works. Knowledge of God will reveal God’s works to you.
And there are three of God’s works in the passage. He’s praying that you increase in the knowledge of God so that you will know first of all in verse 18 what is the hope of his calling. He wants our confidence in God’s promises to increase.
Second, Paul prays that we know God in order that we might know “what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in saints.” If we can come to value God’s inheritance that he has in the church, we will value a central medium of God’s grace. God’s design for the church is that the church be a channel of grace to His people.
And now the third reason that Paul prays that we increase in our knowledge of God is so that we, verse 19, come to experience what is the surpassing greatness of his power toward believers.
God’s power is directed toward those who have trusted in Jesus Christ. And that power continues to be available. So, I would like to preach this morning on “God’s Available Power.”
And what’s it going to take for you to be reconnected to the power source? The answer in this passage is Paul’s answered prayer. To come to experience God’s power in a real and life-changing way, you must increase in the knowledge of God.
Paul is praying that we might know God. Let me exhort you and me to diligent prayer! Pray specifically that you know God more.
If you do and God answers that prayer, you will experience God’s life-changing power. For those of us who have been with us I have given that application to prayer previous weeks. Have you prayed that? I don’t give many applications in my messages, and that is partly by design. But do you put to practice the few applications that I do make?
Here’s one: Make knowledge of God the prayer and pursuit of your life. If you do, you will grow.
TRANS: First, from verse 19, we have the magnitude of God’s power. We have the magnitude or the greatness of God’s power in verse 19.
The magnitude of God’s power (1:19)
Ephesians 1:19 [Paul prays so that we would know] what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. …These are […better…this power is…. The phrase “these are” in the New American Standard is in italics, which means that those words are not in the original text. You could supply the words “this power is” instead. Let’s read it that way…. God’s power toward us is ] in accordance with […it is in keeping with] the working of the strength of His might.
The surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe is in keeping with the working of the strength of his might. Paul is praying so that we would come to know greatness of God’s power. That power of God is directed toward believers in Christ. And God’s power that is channeled directly toward us is in keeping with the mighty exercising power that comes from his strength.
EXP: Now, what does that mean?
What Paul does here, as you can tell, is to pile word upon word to attempt to describe the infinite greatness of God’s power. The magnitude of God’s power is infinite that’s what this verse is saying.
Notice that phrase “the surpassing greatness.” It’s not just the greatness, it is the surpassing greatness of his power toward those who believe…. “Paul, please describe this surpassing greatness of God’s power.”
“Okay,” says Paul. This power he says is … verse 19 look at it… In accordance with or in keeping with the working of the strength of his might.
So basically what Paul says … is “God’s power is infinitely great toward you!”
You could literally translate verse 19 at the end this way. “God’s power toward you is in keeping with the power of the power of his power.”
All those different words at the end of verse 19 can be translated “power” in other passages of Scripture.
And Paul’s point is to pile on those terms so that you understand how great God’s power is toward you. Paul wants us and he prays so that we would come to experience the surpassing greatness of his power. And that power is in keeping with the power of the power of God’s power.
In other words, God’s power toward you is really great!!! The surpassing greatness of God’s power is toward you, …you who have trusted in Christ. And it is in keeping with the power of the power of his power.
TRANS: Ah, come on Paul, is that power really that great? Did you really have to tack on all those extra words for power to try to tell us this is really a great power? Paul says …. “Well, let me tell you more about this power and how it was demonstrated.”
I would like to see this kind of power in action!
The manifestation of God’s power (1:20-23)
And, so what Paul does in the rest of the passage is to show and demonstrate this kind power and action.
And in short in verses 20 to 23, God displayed his power in the resurrection and exaltation of Christ. That kind of power … resurrection power…. is directed toward you.
The kind of power God used to raise Jesus from the dead is the same power that, like a tsunami, rushes toward you as a believer. But your lack of knowledge of God will hinder that power.
We experience the power of Christ’s resurrection (1:20a)
Let’s look at it. Verse 19, his power is toward you. It is this power verse 20 that he brought about in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places.
God’s power is directed toward you. What kind of power you ask? Verse 20 the kind of power that raised Jesus from the dead and the kind power that exalted him or seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places.
A decisive demonstration of the power of God was the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus Christ.
EXP: Let’s talk first about the resurrection of Jesus. The power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead is the same power that believers have directed toward them.
So, we get resurrection power! Someone might think, “Well, I thought it would be creation power. I thought the greatest display of God’s power was in the fact that he created everything.” Imagine the sheer volume of infinite strength that must have created everything that we see.
Most certainly God displayed His power in creation. But in this passage, Paul is going some where so that we understand what happened when we first trusted Christ. When we first trusted Christ in a saving way, we received resurrection power.
Every time that someone repents of their sin and trusts Christ to save them, this resurrection power is demonstrated.
In fact, you could look quickly over into chapter 2 and see where Paul’s going with this.
Ephesians 2:1-5 1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
And so the point is that trusting in Christ raises you from the dead in a very real and spiritual way. You were dead in your trespasses and sins.
All who have failed to repent of their sins and tell God “I hate my sins I do not want anything to do with my sins … I am filthy before you …” Anyone who can pray that with sincerity and desire and then turns away from their sins, and anyone then who goes to Jesus Christ and asks him to save them from their sins … That person has been born again.
This person experiences regeneration and new life in Christ. I remember when I repented of my sins. Before then, I had intellectually believed in Jesus that he is God and he was raised from the dead and that he died on the cross for my sins.
But my problem was that I still loved my sin! And when the kindness of God led me to repentance, I received marvelous power that I had never known before. There was power …. Power, wonder working power in the blood of Jesus Christ that cleansed me and washed me free from all my sin.
And God broke the power of that canceled sin and he set my feet upon a rock and establish my goings and I have never turn back! There is glory in my soul, joy in my heart, and a spring in my step… Ever since I turned from my sins and turned my back on my own self and clung to the cross.
So, first believers receive regeneration by the power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead ….
And a second benefit, is the promise of future bodily resurrection because of Christ’s resurrection.
1 Corinthians 6:14 Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.
1 Corinthians 15:43 [our body one day will be] sown in dishonor [put into the ground … but … ], it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power
Philippians 3:21 [Christ] will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.).
Believers get to be raised from the dead and made like Jesus’ body.
APP (repent): So if you have not done so, repent of your sins and trust Christ and be born again!
APP (connected to power): Believers have an obvious freedom from the power of sin. But as we grow in Christ, we sometimes get disconnected from the power source of God. We need to pray for ourselves that we might increase in the knowledge of God.
APP (deathbed): And the promise of God that he will raise your dead body from the grave one day that you might forever live with him will give you comfort when nearing the end of life. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead, my fellow believer, will raise your mortal body from the dead and you will be raised to immortality.
That will comfort you on your deathbed. This world will pass away… Are you living for what will last?
TRANS: But not only do we receive resurrection power, but we are also under the gracious leadership of Christ. Believers receive resurrection power and are under the gracious leadership of Christ.
At the end of verse 20 to verse 23, we are under the gracious leadership of Christ. And the reason that we are is because of Christ’s exaltation.
We are under the gracious leadership of Christ (Eph. 1:20b-23)
Ephesians 1:20-22a 20 [God’s power toward us is that same power that] He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet…
So we are under the gracious leadership of Christ because God, end of verse 21, seated Christ at his own right hand in the heavenly places far above all rule.
No matter what, we are under the gracious leadership of Christ because God has seated Christ above all the other authorities.
This is Christ’s exaltation.
Psalm 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
After Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, he appeared to many. First Corinthians 15 tells us that after his resurrection, he appeared to more than 500 brethren at one time.
And he did that for a period of 40 days and then He ascended and went back to His Father and was enthroned …. Seated at the right hand of God.
It was at that time that the Lord accomplished what is in Psalm 110:1 … When Yahweh says to my Lord … The Lord Jesus …. Yahweh says to Him … “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
Jesus claimed that verse for Himself in Matthew 26:64 when Jesus spoke to Caiaphas the high priest, “… I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.”
And he has the position of authority over the whole universe. As verse 21 says Ephesians 1:21 …. [That Christ is seated in His authority] far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
What this means is that Christ has the position of authority over the whole universe. He has that authority in this age but also in the age to come. He has universal authority for all of time and eternity.
And now, all things are in subjection under His feet.
And so God did not subject the world to spiritual powers, which is what the rule, authority, power, and dominion … refers to. God did not subject the world to the angels or demons. All things are in subjection under His feet.
And the spiritual world of demons and angels are even right now under the rule of Christ, in this age.
Well, why would Paul want us to know such things? Look again at Ephesians 2:4-6 4 [Even though you were dead in your sins …. ]But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and [here it is …] seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
So we are raised with Christ because Christ has been raised. And we are seated with Christ because Christ has sat down at God’s right hand. Believers will reign with Christ b/c we have trusted in Him.
And Paul wants us to know about Christ’s authority over every dominion and power and “name that is named”… so that we are enabled in spiritual warfare. Christ is ruling but his people are yet in warfare. This is why Paul writes what he does in Eph. 6:10ff. Please turn over there with me, Eph. 6:10.
This is where Paul launches into his teaching on the armor of God. It is true that we are in warfare. But Christ is over all. He is seated above all rule and authority and power and dominion. There is no spiritual being that is not already right now subjected to Jesus Christ.
And so this gives us confidence as we attempt to stand firm against the schemes of Satan.
Ephesians 6:10-13 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
And then he discusses each piece of the armor of God. And these are all used in the battle against those authorities and powers and wicked forces …. But Christ has the power over all of those demons.
APP: And so there is no such talk aloud that “the devil made me do it.” No no, “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” Christ has the power over all of those evil forces and that kind of authority is exercised over you and that demon.
APP: But this does not allow us to “in Jesus’ name” verbally rebuke those demonic forces. We simply do not have that commission from God. Christ has the authority and he is working in the heavenly realm. We are merely called, Ephesians 6 says, to stand firm against the schemes of the devil, not to rebuke him verbally.
APP: So, put on the whole armor of God in confidence. One of the pieces of armor is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The phrase the “word of God” there refers to specific statements of God’s word. We are to use specific statements of God’s word with confidence knowing that Christ rules over all of those wicked authorities in the heavenly places. As we meditate consider God’s words and own them we will be empowered to stand firm against the schemes of Satan.
So memorize and meditate upon God’s word. Make specific statements from God’s Word your source of comfort and joy in your specific trials and to overcome sin.
And another one is prayer. Ephesians 6:18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
We must be praying for one another that we have success underneath the Lordship of Christ in our spiritual battles.
TRANS: Now, back to the Ephesians 1 and we will finish up the passage.
Christ has complete authority over all of the universe both physical and spiritual. He is the King over all the kings and he is Lord over all of the Lords. Everybody, whether human or angel, is underneath his authority. He exercises that authority and all things have been put under subjection under his feet.
And it is this supremely powerful individual … end of verse 22 now… It is this infinitely powerful individual who has been given as the head over all things … to the church!!
There will come a day in the future, when he will be specifically the leader… The head over all things. All things will be summed up in Jesus Christ in a future administration of God, whether they be things in heaven or things on the earth.
But now the One who has all of this authority for now, He is the direct leader of the church. All the power all of that authority is directed toward the church.
He is the leader of the church universal. And naturally, this would apply to any local manifestation of that universal church. Each local church has as its head or leader, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the leader of this church. This is Christ’s church. This will always be Christ’s church so long as He retains His claim of authority over it. Christ could choose to remove His candlestick from this assembly because the members of this church are not regenerated or have chosen to embrace false teachings and false practices.
But so long as this church contains truly regenerated people who are committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in doctrine and practice, Jesus Christ would choose to be the leader of Northlight Baptist Church.
And he exercises his authority through His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, and through His word. We are governed by the Holy Spirit that finds its footing in the Scripture.
So to the degree that this church is submitted to God’s word, to that degree we are submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
APP: So what does that mean concerning how serious we take the life of this church? Last week, we discussed the importance of the local church as being a part of his own inheritance. If the church is Christ’s inheritance, how seriously should we pursue valuing this church?
And so now, if this supremely powerful individual rules over this church, how serious are we to take our lives as we relate to him and this assembly of believers? Who is it who rules over this church? He who has infinite power rules over this church. He who has infinite power over heavenly and not-so-heavenly beings! How serious, then, are we to take the proclamation of his word? How diligent ought we to be to meet together and to encourage one another?
Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves and when you do assemble, be careful to encourage one another and strengthen one another.
TRANS: And now in our final verse, verse 23, we hit a little more personal with how serious we should take our lives in this church. End of verse 22 … the church … which is …
His body(!) the fullness of him who fills all in all. If the church is the body of Christ … , we must be careful to treat one another with tender care.
As each member of the body serves, we must be careful not to injure one another. Who would injure a part of his own body? And so we must not complain or anger one another, but let us restore one another and encourage one another and be patient with one another in love. When we see sin in the body of Christ, let us be careful and diligent to restore one another. You don’t wait to fix an injury, do you?
ILL: On Thursday at church, our little Haddie fell down and her teeth cut into her lips. We didn’t wait, my wife quickly took her to the washroom and dabbed the wound with a wet paper towel, trying to get the bleeding to stop.
Haddie is doing fine now. But we should be the same way with one another. If we see sin or an issue in somebody’s life, let’s be careful to pursue one another in tender love and care.
EXP: The church is Christ’s body. And the church is Christ’s fullness, verse 23 says. “His body” which is “the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” So, the church is Christ’s fullness.
The church is Christ’s body. The church is also Christ’s fullness. And He fills all in all. In other words, that difficult phrase means that Christ graciously rules over the church … He fills the church entirely … all in all … He fills the church entirely in a special way with his Holy Spirit with grace and gifts … The church is full of Christ’s Spirit, grace and His gifts. He has filled us and He rules us.
Ah, we don’t deserve such a gracious master! When the world chooses its own governors who are corrupt, I’m sure glad I have a perfect master over this church, Jesus Christ!
He has filled up his church with exactly what this assembly needs in order to grow. The question is, will this assembly submit to his rule and authority as it is clearly revealed in his Word?
APP: Will you come underneath the gracious authority of Christ? He has all the authority and power and dominion over all the earth physical and spiritual.
And he exercises that kind of power toward the church.
And so, it’s a humbling thing to be a part of a local church. It’s humbling knowing who rules over is infinite in His power and was raised from the dead. It is also humbling to be a part of a local church because the local church is His inheritance and His body.
So only by his grace will I see that I don’t deserve to be a part of any local assembly of his people …. I see that this is a huge privilege. By God’s grace I will come to appreciate it and by his grace and only by his grace will I do an effective job in it!
And you must come and encourage us!
APP: But you say, I can’t do it! I’m inadequate… I’m not capable of living for God. Okay, you are right, but don’t forget you have the power of God directed right towards you to accomplish his work! You have resurrection power at your disposal!
How is that power going to get connected into your heart!? The answer to that is prayer. Again, Paul prays that we would know God … that we would have Spirit-empowered insight into who God is so that we might increase in our confidence in God’s promises that we would value God’s inheritance as it’s found in his church … And that we would come to personally experience the glories of Christ’s power toward us… His power in His resurrection and His authority in His exaltation.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 1.19-23
Believer in Christ, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Count all things but loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus your Lord! Oh….that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection! Greatly long for knowledge of Christ and for the power of His resurrection.
Let’s bow for prayer …
We’ve been talking about the need for prayer. Let’s have a moment of silence now where we pray. Pray that you come to increase in the knowledge of God.
And if you haven’t repented and trusted in Christ, now is great time to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved.
#up from the grave