Sunday 21 June 2015

Praying for power (Ephesians 1:18-22)

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the age to come.
Ephesians 1:18-21

  1. The context is prayer. Paul prays for three things for the Ephesians - that they might know the (1) hope of God, (2) the love of God (the “riches of his inheritance” is the measure of their worth in God’s sight, ie. they are precious to Him) and (3) the power of God.
  2. From verses 19 onwards, we can understand God’s power in three way - in terms of strength, authority and endurance.
  3. Firstly, strength: “This power is like the working of his mighty strength”. Imagine God flexing his muscles.
  4. What is the most powerful thing that God, the most powerful being in the entire universe, could do?
  5. It is not creation. Neither is it displays of miracles. Verse 19 says there is something infinitely more difficult and powerful that God did in history.
  6. God demonstrated the full extent of his power in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “Which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead.” The picture is of God reaching down to the depths of death to raise Jesus to everlasting life. That is the true measure of the full extent of God’s power.
  7. Secondly, power is synonymous with God’s authority. “He raised in from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion.”
  8. God hands over all his authority, all of his executive power to Jesus. At his resurrection, God raises him from death and brings up to the top management floor, and essentially makes Jesus CEO of the universe.
  9. Verse 22 reads, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church.” Meaning: Jesus’ rule over creation is presently seen in the church’s submission to him as Lord. It is a preview of his Kingdom that is to come.
  10. Finally, power is seen in the believer’s endurance. Paul prays the we might know God’s power “for us who believe.”
  11. Paul wants the Ephesians to know that God is sustaining them in their walk with Jesus. We were dead in our sin. We were enslaved by the world and the devil. But God raised us up with Jesus and seated us with him in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 2:1-6)
  12. In other words, the same power that worked in Christ works in us right now.
  13. It is God’s power that enabled us to trust in Jesus. It is God’s power that enables us to continue on trusting in Jesus. It is God’s power that makes it possible for us to say no sin and to say yes to his commands.
  14. A believer who continues to walking in obedience, humility and submission to Christ displays the full extent of God’s power and authority that nothing else can in our individual lives. Paul wants us to see that, to know that and to live that out for God’s glory.
  15. In summary, Paul prays that we might see God’s power - (1) most powerfully displayed in the resurrection of Christ, (2) clearly and presently seen in the submission of the church to the Lordship of Christ and (3) internally and individually experienced through our sustained walk with Christ.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

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