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18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened (RPPMPA), so that you will know (RAN) what is (PAI) the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing (PAPNSN) greatness of His power toward us who believe (PAPMPA). These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
Will you turn with me to Ephesians chapter 1? I want to preach a message entitled, "That We Might Know His Power." Now he’s writing, as an apostle, to a group of people with whom he has spent three years of his life. He has just poured out his heart to them. He planted seed, and now he’s seeing them come up. He has such a desire for these Ephesian believers. Look at verse 18. He says,
" I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know… "
Now I want to stop right there.
Paul wants them to know something. He says, "I want you to be flooded with light in your inner man. I want you to see it as revealed by God Himself. I’ve got a burden that you know it deep inside of your life." The first thing he wants them to know, which we looked at in verse 18, is "the hope of His calling." This involves everything about our salvation. V3-14 tell us of all the marvelous things that God has done. The word "hope" (Click for in depth study of elpis) there always speaks of earnest expectation. It’s never uncertain when it comes to a believer. It’s something he expects and knows is certain in his life. He sees that receiving Jesus Christ is more than an end in itself.
That’s why I John emphasizes what’s going on now, not just what went on back then. Paul is saying to them, "Listen, the hope of your calling helps you realize that it is the beginning, not an end in itself." It involves everything God’s going to do from A to Z when it comes to our salvation. To the believer who understands this, the hope of His calling means that tomorrow he’s going to be more like Jesus than he was today. It means that tomorrow he’s going to be filled more and more with the fullness of God. He doesn’t get more of God, but he gives more of himself to God. By doing that he realizes more of God. That means he’ll be transformed into Christ’s image from moment to moment. It’s a process. You know, you hear people say, "God loves you just like you are." Yes and No. Yes, He understands you and unconditionally loves you. No, He’s not satisfied with us like we are. He wants us to be conformed into the image of Christ Jesus. That’s a part of the process of our salvation. One day we will have a glorified body, and we’ll be like Him. 2 Cor 3:18 says,
"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit."
"Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is." (1John 3:2)
Salvation is just the beginning. Then you begin to grow up as true sons of God, and you’re conformed into His image, with the ultimate conformity being when He glorifies our body. Believers who don’t understand the hope of their calling are people who don’t under-stand life and the difficulties of life. They don’t understand what to expect and what to look forward to in their calling. You see, a believer who understands he’s growing up and that this is a process and that there are things yet to come, understands that God is in control. He orchestrates events in his life. Difficulties come, and difficulties go, but those things are used as tools by God Himself to shape them and conform them into the image of Christ. When we understand the hope of our calling we understand that life works for us. It does not work against us. Not to understand it is to be a person most miserable, filled with a life of unwanted circumstances and never seeming to understand what the resurrection of Jesus really can mean. Paul says, "I want you to know. I pray that you know what is the hope of your calling."
The second thing he mentions there in verse 18 is not just the hope of His calling. He says he wants them to know
"what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints’"
We’ve looked at three possible meanings of that.
First, he could be saying, "I pray that you might understand all of the riches that are yours because you’re a joint-heir with Christ." Remember, we’re shareholders of all that’s promised to Him. We get a portion of it as a part of our salvation. That’s so marvelous! Could he be saying, "I pray that you might understand the riches of what you have in Christ"? Certainly that would be true. Is that what he’s saying though?
Second, we looked at the possibility he may be praying and saying, "I want you to know that you are His inheritance." That’s a beautiful thought. Jesus is my inheritance as a believer. I’m also His inheritance. It’s hard to understand. Deuteronomy says Israel was God’s portion. First Peter says we are a peculiar people, a people of God’s own possession. Could he be saying that we are now to glorify Him in our life on this earth?
The third possibility is, he could be pointing to all that’s coming one day. He’s talking about everything that’s coming. Eye has not seen, ear has not heard what’s left, what’s reserved for us in heaven. We have the earnest of His inheritance. We don’t have a clue yet as to what’s coming. All the victories we have in the Holy Spirit today are nothing compared to the riches of what’s coming one day.
I think all those things must be involved in what he’s saying, but I think it goes back to possibly we are His possession. If I’m living in the hope of my calling, and I know that every day God’s wanting to conform me more and more into His image, then all of a sudden I’m able to realize the riches of bringing recognition to that by the way that I live so that others
around me can see, not who I am, but whose I am. It begins to make sense that these all tie together.
We need to remember that we are to bring recognition to Him daily that others can look at us and say, "He is the property of Jesus because he just lives for Him. He doesn’t live for anybody else." The church is Christ’s body. It is Christ’s bride on earth. We are to show forth His glory in the sense that we die daily. John the Baptist said, "I must decrease so that He might increase in my life that others might see the identification I have with Him, that I am His possession." Well, that’s all review. I want to move on. Look at verse 19. He wants them to be filled with understanding. He wants the light to be turned on in their life.
In verse 19 he wants them to know (the third thing)
Now I want to share something with you. Some of you have tried to live the best you can for Jesus this past year. Somehow it hasn’t quite clicked in your mind yet as to what this is all about. Somehow you’ve grown discouraged because it hasn’t worked in your marriage. It hasn’t worked in your job. It hasn’t worked in other situations. Maybe you came this morning as a very disappointed and a very discouraged believer of the Lord Jesus Christ. You don’t understand your hope and the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. Maybe you’ve tried it in your own strength, but now you think that His demands are a little too high. Maybe you want to stand up and shake your fist and say, "I can’t live the Christian life." If you’re saying that, you’re finally at the point that maybe you can understand you were never designed to live it. You can’t, and God never said you could. But He can, and He always said He would. It’s something that’s not taught. It’s something that is caught.
Now folks, I want to tell you something. He gave us power to do what He told us to do. If we were left to do this on our own, then why did He die in the first place? The Pharisees could have worked their way right into heaven. They couldn’t do it. Jesus pointed at a Pharisee one day and said,
"that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mt5:20)
It’s not by doing good deeds. You can’t work your way in. You do not have the ability to produce the things that only God can do in your life. To me, that’s why Paul puts this third point where he puts it. You need to know the surpassing power that He has towards you who believe.
There are three words in that verse. We will only look at one of them now -
"the surpassing greatness of His power" is the first one
"in accordance with the working of the strength" is the second word
"of His might" is the third word
All three of those words are beautiful words. This time we’ll look at the word "power"
"… the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe."
Once people understand what Paul wants them to understand about His power then the Christian life becomes a little different in their perspective. Paul said in
The word "perfect" (epiteleo) means He will carry it to its fullest conclusion. It’s not what I can do for Him. It ‘s what He alone can do through me. Until you see that, you’re going to work yourself to death and misunderstand that the hope of your calling and His inheritance in the saints are made possible by the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. First of all then, His power is unsurpassed.
The word for "power" is the word dunamis. (Click here for in depth study of dunamis) It’s the word from which we get two words. One of them confuses a lot of folks when you use it. That’s the word dynamite. To a lot of people that’s just a big explosion, then everything settles and is gone. Dunamis means "the ability to accomplish something." That’s what power is. Oh folks, you can’t accomplish it. I can’t accomplish it. That’s why he says, "I want you to know His power. He’s the one who accomplishes it." You’ve just got to learn to appropriate that in your life.
The other word is more meaningful. It is the word dynamo. There’s a difference in dynamite and dynamo. Dynamo doesn’t make as much noise. It’s just as powerful, but it’s continuous. It’s constantly there. It never stops. It continues day by day, moment by moment. I like that better. You get the idea from dynamite of its unique ability, but you get the idea from dynamo of the consistency of this word dunamis which means "power to accomplish something." It’s not something you can do. It’s something outside of yourself. Do we realize that the surpassing greatness of His power is toward us? Where was this power that he’s talking about here demonstrated? Look in verse 20:
"… which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead."
He’s talking about the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s something we can experience. It’s something Christ does in us and through us. He accomplishes something we cannot accomplish ourselves.
Boy, when you think of the resurrection of Jesus, wouldn’t you like to have been with them that morning when the ladies went there and saw those two angels? They came running back to John and Peter. Then John and Peter came running back to the tomb. Peter couldn’t help himself. He just ran on inside and said, "Where did He go?" It says in Matthew, Mark and Luke they had mixed emotions. They were excited, and yet they were confused. One of the Gospels says they were afraid. They had mixed emotions. They didn’t know what to think about this whole thing. The miracle was absolutely incredible. A person coming back from the dead was something the mind just could not grasp that. Not only that, He had told them He was going to do it. He told them He would see them on the other side. He had to be either a lunatic or something else. These men believed Him, but even though they believed Him when He did it, they still couldn’t quite grasp it all.
"But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power." (Acts 2:24 )
He put an end to the agony of death. Death could not hold Him down. It appears that the Lord Jesus dismissed His own human spirit. They didn’t have to break the bones in His body to make Him suffocate on the cross. He dismissed His own human spirit. God-man died on that cross, and God-man raised Himself from the dead. The miracle, His resurrection power.
Paul says it can be in you, and it can be in me. We can experience that on our own In other words, out of the deadness of my life He brings newness of life. What he’s talking about here is the person of Jesus manifesting Himself in you and me. In (John 11:25) He told Martha …
"I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,"
"I’m the one who can bring out what you’re not. I can put in what ought to be. I can transform you. I can do what you cannot do. I can accomplish what you cannot accomplish." The unsurpassed power of God was demonstrated when Christ arose from the dead, conquering death and conquering sin.
Look at the verse. The verse shows us the condition of this thing. Why is it some people don’t seem to understand that power? It says, "… what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us… " Now watch the last phrase. Who what? "… who believe." That’s not in the perfect tense, "who once believed." It’s not in the aorist tense, "who believed at one point in time." It’s a present participle which means "we believe and keep on believing and keep on believing and keep on believing."
Who are the people who keep on believing? They’re the people who keep on obeying and trusting what God says in this Word. Don’t tell somebody you believe in Jesus if you’re not willing to obey what He says. That’s the bottom line of what belief is all about. I can talk about how I believe. Talk is cheap. Watch how I live. That will show you what I believe.
What I’m willing to obey determines what I believe in my spirit.
So who realizes the power of God? It’s those who are willing to obey what He says. As I was praying over this passage a thought came to my mind. You may be thinking, "It just doesn’t work in my life. I’m not experiencing that. What’s wrong with me? I can’t forgive. There’s somebody in my life who has done me wrong, and I’m bitter. I think I’ve got a right to be bitter." They’re just miserable as a Christian.
You may have a financial problem, and it’s so great it’s overwhelming. You can’t seem to solve it. The harder you try, the deeper you get instead of coming out of it. Or maybe you’re in a situation to where you have a lustful problem. It’s just eating you up and driving you down. You can’t get out from under it. "What’s wrong with me?" you say. May I ask you some questions?
Number one, have you identified what it is that’s defeating you? Have you put it into a category where you can understand what it is that causes you the biggest problem in your life?
Number two, have you looked in Scripture to find out what God says about that? Let’s put it in an area of relationships. You know God said, "Be at peace with one another." God says, "Forgive one another." The word "forgive" is the word that means "to do an act of grace, do something they don’t deserve, let them loose." Have you looked to see what God has to say about it? I find that 90% of the people that have problems in these areas never bother to see what God says about it. If we’re going to experience His power we’ve got to get in tune with His Word. Once we get into His Word He tells us clearly what He thinks about it.
Then number three, once you’ve identified the problem, and once you’ve identified what God said to do, have you done it in your life? Have you purposed in your heart to forgive your brother who caused you all that problem? Have you purposed in your heart to lay down your hatchet, bury it under the blood of Jesus and not pick it up again and trust God to take it from there? Have you trusted Him to do something in you that’s far beyond what you could do yourself? Have you trusted God to manifest Himself in your life? Once you choose to do it, once you choose to obey His Word, then God will manifest His power and His life behind you. He’ll put something there that wasn’t there before. People will look at it, and they’ll know it’s not you. It’s got to be Jesus in you.
What’s wrong with us? We make up our minds that we can’t get out from under our problems. That’s ridiculous. We can. The same place we met Jesus at the cross is where we stay daily. If I’ve got a problem with my flesh I run to that cross. I bow down at that cross, and I say, "God, this is sin in my life. I’ve looked in your Word. I have transgressed your will, and God, I ask You to forgive me." At that very moment some of that resurrection power begins to spill into your life.
Are you experiencing God’s resurrection power in your life? Is He transforming you daily? Is He the one conforming you in the image of Christ Jesus? Does your wife look at you and say, "Hey, you know, something’s going on in your life. I know one thing. It’s not you because I know you. There’s something different about your life today." That’s the resurrected power of Jesus working in your life.
Paul says I want you to know the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who can believe and continue and continue and continue and continue to believe. We trust Him. We obey Him. He takes the rest of it and does what we could never have done. Oh folks, we must know the resurrected power of the Lord Jesus Christ and what He does in newness of life that we could not do ourselves so that we might walk in the hope of His calling, so that we might demonstrate the riches of His glory in His inheritance in the saints. We can’t do it without that power. He’s provided it for us. Are you walking and
living in it?
Will you turn with me this morning to Ephesians chapter 1? We’re going to continue a message we started earlier, talking about "That we might know His power." Let’s read v18-19:
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened (RPPMPA), so that you will know (RAN) what is (PAI) the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing (PAPNSN) greatness of His power toward us who believe (PAPMPA). These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
Recently we celebrated resurrection Sunday, the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead, proving without a doubt that He is and always has been the Son of God. The thing that we’re trying to see here in this passage is that the very power of God that raised Jesus from the dead can be experienced in our own lives day by day. In Philippians 3:10 Paul says, "that I may know Him." The word "know" means not just about Him: I want to experience Him and the power of His resurrection. We can know His power; Jesus is the embodiment of that power. He told Martha,
"I am the resurrection and the life" (Mt11:25)
Putting verses 18 and 19 together Paul has a concern that they might know the riches of the glory of His inheritance and also the hope of His calling. We looked at the word "calling" [klesis]. through the New Testament. We found that His calling has to do from the time we’re saved, sanctified, one day glorified, and on. The word "hope" means "expectation," that which the Christian can look forward to and should be looking forward to. It means to understand that in Christianity salvation is just a beginning. It’s not the end. It all starts at salvation, it doesn’t end there. Part of the hope of His calling for the Christian is to realize that today is one day, but tomorrow he is to be more conformed to the image of Christ, that he is to be filled constantly with the fullness of God. Then one day in the marvelous expectation of Jesus coming forth, his body will be glorified, taken up to be with Him and then on and on and on and on. We live in the hope of our calling, but not only that, we’re the inheritance of God. We’re to show forth the riches of the glory of being His inheritance. There are different ways we could look at that phrase. I believe he’s saying, "You are God’s possession while you’re here on this earth." We’re to live that way and therefore, to show forth the riches of the glory of being His possession while we live on this earth.
Well, if that’s true then God certainly did not leave us powerless to do it. He didn’t say, "Do it in your strength." Oh no! He gave us the power in which to live that out. He says, "I want you to know the power. Dunamis is the word that is used there. It refers to the ability to see something accomplished. We can know that awesome power of God in our lives on one condition. He says, to know "the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe." That’s in the present tense, who believe and continue to believe. What does it mean to believe? Simplified, it means to obey. If I obey Him, I’m believing Him. That doesn’t mean I understand everything about Him. That doesn’t mean I understand everything I’m obeying, but if God says it, that settles it. Somebody said there was a sign in a church that read, "God says it. I believe it. That settles it." No! That’s a bad statement. God says it. That settles it. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not. When you start doing what God’s Word says, you’re expressing your belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.
When we start obeying we start realizing the power that He has in us. It’s not what I can do for God, it’s what God can and will do in and through me. My cooperation is absolutely demanded. I must be willing to surrender and bow and obey.
Well, when we’re willing to do that, He transforms us and conforms us into the image of Christ Jesus. It is the power to be what God wants us to be. Before we leave that thought, turn to 2 Peter 1:2-3. What does this power do in our life? What does He grant to us because of His divine ability to do what we cannot do?
"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power (dunamis) has granted (perfect tense ~ He granted it at a point of time in the past & the effects & results of that gift continue) to us everything (first word in Greek for emphasis ~ each & every = no exceptions) pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge (epignosis) of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.."
I don’t know if you’ve heard the story of C. T. Studd the great Christian missionary. He went to a fair years and years ago and was captivated by a man pumping a well. The thing that grabbed him was how fast he was pumping and how long he was able to pump. He said to himself, "No man can do that. What kind of vitamins does he take? What kind of exercise program is he on?" He walked over to get a closer look. He found that the man dressed in Oriental garb was not a man. He was a stick figure. His elbows were hinges. He was not pumping the well, the well was pumping him. It was an artesian well. You see, there was a power that turned the man.
I believe that’s exactly what Paul is saying. He says, "I want you to know something. I want you to know it’s not you doing it for God. It’s God doing it in and through you as you bow before Him." Listen, it’s a 200% relationship. It’s 100% my willingness to obey, yield and bow, but it’s also 100% His power, His presence and what He can do in and through me that I cannot do and certainly will never deserve.
There are three words in verse 19 that we need to look at. We’ve already looked at "power." His power is unsurpassed. Paul uses two other words that are directly associated. He says in the last part of verse 19, " These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might." There are three words there: power, strength and might. You say now, "What’s the difference? They’re all the same thing." No they’re not. Why are they there? If they’re all the same thing why doesn’t he just leave it as "power." He didn’t do that, and so these are important to understand.
We see His power is unsurpassed. His ability to accomplish something that we do not have is unsurpassed. God can do it. You’ve heard us say,
"I can’t. God never said I could.
He can. He always said He would."
"Resurrection power, fill me this hour.
Jesus be Jesus in me."
We’ve been singing this for years, and one day God is just going to turn that little light of revelation on in our hearts, and we’re going to see it and just get free in Jesus to be what He wants us to be. I can’t, but He can.
Secondly, His strength is unchallenged. Now I don’t mean that somebody hasn’t had the audacity to try to challenge it. The Anti-Christ is going to try. Revelation tells us that. By saying it’s unchallenged I mean nobody has ever even begun to approach His strength. Even though they’ve tried to challenge it, it’s unchallenged. There is no one who can equal His strength. The word for strength is the word ischus. The word ischus refers to the inherent strength of someone. Without strength there would be no power. You’ve got to understand how these words fit together. The power is the manifestation of the strength.
Do you remember Paul Anderson? At one time he was known as the strongest man in the world. As far as I’m concerned he still is. I’ve never seen anybody any stronger. Paul Anderson came to a church I was serving once. I’ve never seen a man with such power, but I’ve also never seen a man with such strength. He took a table and had twelve guys get on it. They had to weigh at least 200 pounds each. He got underneath it and picked up the table with twelve people on it weighing at least 200 pounds each. That’s over 2000 pounds that man was able to shoulder and pick up on his back. He was a powerful man. He had the ability. Where did it come from? He was the strongest man in the world. The power is directly related to the strength.
There are several examples of strength in Scripture. First of all let’s look at human strength. What are we supposed to do with the strength that we have? All of us have some kind of strength and power. What is it supposed to be used for? Look in Mark 12:30. Some people think, "Well, I’ve got strength, so therefore, I need to use it in serving the Lord." Don’t say that too quickly. I’m going to show you a Scripture that says, "No you’re not." Very clearly the Lord Jesus shows us where our human strength is to be used, and the direction it is to be put.
"AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH."
What is my energy to be used for? To put it in His direction, to make sure that I have abandoned myself to Him with all the strength I need to turn my life towards Him. That doesn’t mean I serve Him in that strength. It means that I channel everything in my life within my power towards Him to love Him with all of my strength.
Angels have strength. Look in 2 Peter 2:11. Let’s back up to about verse 4 and see if we can kind of catch the thought. Verse 4 says,
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;
5 and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;
6 and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly thereafter;
7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men
8 (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day with their lawless deeds),
9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,
10 and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties,
11 whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord.
2 Peter 2:11 says that angels have greater strength than men. So we see men having strength that have turned every bit of it into energy serving the Lord, not depending on it to serve Him, but to love Him, to commit themselves to Him. Angels have strength, and it’s greater than men’s. By the way, Satan is an angel.
Look at Rev 5:11-12. God has strength far greater than the angels or men. The word is not translated "strength," but it is the same word, ischus. It’s the word in verse 12 that is translated as "might." It should be translated as "strength." Verse 11 says,
"And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain (perfect tense = has been slain at a point in time = crucifixion & results or effects persists throughout eternity) to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing."
What it’s attributing to Him is His strength that is far beyond angelic strength. His strength is far beyond human strength.
Look in Rev7:11-12. Again this is showing that God’s strength is far exceeding to human’s or even to angel’s.
And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might (ischus), be to our God forever and ever. Amen."
I love these creatures up there, the four living creatures. They’re the Amen corner. "Amen. Amen." Everything you see going on up there, "Amen. That’s right. Amen. Let it be so."
We see that God’s strength is far beyond angels’ strength, and angels’ strength is far beyond man’s strength. Now what important point am I trying to make? Well, look in I Peter 4:11. Whose strength are we to serve in then? Man’s strength, angels’ strength or God’s strength? How are we suppose to serve Him? Who is it we’re supposed to turn to? What is it that’s our source of serving Him?
"Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies."
We are not to serve in our own strength. We’re to serve in His strength. So, what do I do with my strength? I turn it towards loving Him, abandoning myself to Him in every way that I possibly can. In my own strength I turn to Him. Then He infuses His strength in me to do what I could have never done myself.
Look at the verb form in Philippians 4:13. This makes it as clear as a bell. Paul says,
"I can do all things through Him who strengthens [ ischus] me."
So where does my strength come from to serve Him? It comes from the one who lives within me. Paul said, "I want you to know the power." The power, the ability to do something, is directly measured to the strength of the one who’s doing it. The Lord Jesus lives in me. "Jesus be Jesus in me; no longer me, but Thee. Resurrection power."
He’s the one who has strength far beyond me and angels. Say to God, "God, You in Your strength do in me what I could not in myself do." I love the thought that Satan is an angel. But folks, greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. Why in the world would we run around worried about an angel? He is greater in strength than we are; I’m not making light of that. We have a God, though, who is only going to send one angel to grab him by the nape of the neck and throw him in the abyss for a thousand years! Put your eyes on the one who has all strength and then you learn what victory in the Christian life is all about.
Well, let’s go back to Eph 1:19:
"These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might."
In other words, everything He said there is all tied into the strength of His might. Well, His power is unsurpassed. His strength is unchallenged. A man would be a fool to challenge the strength of God for the power that He has to do what He does in our life. Finally, His might is unparalleled. I love the way these words fit together.
Dunamis is the power, the ability to accomplish something.
Strength is the inherent strength. It measures the power. Someone is as strong as the measure of the power they have. This other word, kratos means "manifested dominion." You see, "power" is just a manifestation of these other two words.
"Might" is the word that means "dominating might, dominating strength."
That’s what he’s talking about here. In other words, it’s the word that nothing else could ever challenge, nothing else could ever parallel. It’s the excelling strength of someone.
You’ve probably seen arm wrestling competitions on television. Watch the ones who challenge each other. Finally one wins, and nobody can beat him. Nobody can come close to him. Well, get that in your mind. He’s the one who has dominion in arm wrestling on that contest. But buddy, when it comes to power, when it comes to strength, there is one who dominates. That’s our Lord who bodily has made Himself visible in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has might that is far beyond anything that anybody could ever imagine.
Look in Luke 1:51-55 at Mary’s song, the Magnificant. She’s praising the mighty God, the one who does what nobody could ever think about doing, much less attempt it. She says, "
52 "He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble.
53 "HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; AND SENT AWAY THE RICH EMPTY-HANDED.
54 "He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his offspring forever."
In Col 1:11 that word "might" is used to show you what God can do that nobody could even come close to. It’s in accordance with what Paul has already said in Colossians. He says if you’re filled with the knowledge of His will, with spiritual wisdom and understanding, and if you are walking worthy, pleasing Him in all respects, something’s going to take place in your life. He says in v11 you’re going to be
"strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously."
Do you know what steadfastness is? It’s the ability to bear up under circumstances no matter how difficult they are. Do you know what patience, makrothumia, is? It means to have long-suffering. Even when people treat you like dirt, you can love them and still continue to put up with them because God is strengthening you "according to His glorious might," His domination of what He can do that nobody else could ever attempt.
Are you going through a circumstance, and it’s just whipping you? Maybe you’re going through a job change. Maybe you’re going through a difficult financial time. Maybe you’re going through a difficult time in relationships, and you’ve come to the point where you say, "Wayne, I’ve heard you say this. I’ve heard others say this, but I’m so defeated I can’t quite grasp it all." Hey, folks, do you realize you’re in the best spot that you’ve been in a long time? Do you realize that by God’s grace He has allowed you to see how weak your strength really is? It’s only by His grace He’s allowed you to get to this dead end street in your life. Why? Because He wants to reveal to you what His strength can do, the might of His strength." "Strengthened with all power by His glorious might… " Why? So we can bear up under. The world looks at us and says, "Man, there must be a God around here somewhere. Look at that person. We know it’s not him because we know what human strength is. We know it’s not an angel. That’s for sure. No angel could do that. It’s got to be God."
Look at Revelation 1:8. Jesus takes center stage here. The whole Trinity has been introduced, but in kind of an opposite order. It says the Father, the Spirit and then the Son. Usually it’s the Father, the Son and the Spirit. However the Son is the focus of Revelation. It says in verse 8,
"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "Who is and Who was and Who is to come , the Almighty."
The word for Almighty is pantokrator. That is a form of kratos, but it has panto (pas), which means "all or everything," in front of it. In other words, He’s the ruler over everything. Let’s put it another way. "I dominate everything. There is nothing that can parallel Me." Wait until we get to the last few verses of Ephesians where it talks about God has put every authority, every principality up under His feet. He’s subjected everything to Him. That’s the One we serve, folks. That’s the One Who lives in our life. Paul said, "If you could only understand, if you could just know the surpassing greatness of His power which is in accordance with the strength of His might." In back of every purpose of God there is the power, strength and might of God Himself to accomplish whatever God said to do.
Go back to Ephesians. Verse 19 says,
" These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might"
In verse 20, the word for "brought about," (energeo) and the word for "workings" is the same word. It’s the word from which we get the word "energy." It refers to something that is operated and something that is active. Paul is saying His power has already been seen in its operation, and His strength and His might have already been seen in its operation. When? When He raised Jesus from the dead. He says, "I want you to know this same power in your life everyday."
God uses those three words again in Ephesians 6:10. Since he uses them, they are very important. In verse 10 when we get into warfare remember that warfare is not some mystical thing. Warfare is nothing more than living the normal Christian life like it ought to be lived. It’s Jesus who is our warrior and who has the strength over angels regardless if it’s Satan himself. In verse 10 he says, "
Well, we can know His power. "You can’t. God never said you could. He can, and He always said He would." "Resurrection power fill me this hour. Jesus be Jesus in me." My prayer is that we’ll start realizing this. Do you know when you will realize it? It’s always in a crisis. It’s always at a time when God allows you to get to the point where you realize you can’t do it yourself. You become a candidate now for the grace of God, and the grace of God turns on the power of God according to His strength, according to His might in your life.
What has life dealt you? Are you at the bottom? Wonderful! You can’t go any further down, can you? You know that He won’t let you go because He’s the anchor to your soul. So the best place to go is up. Once you’re down that’s the only way you can go. Isn’t that right? God’s got to bring me down. The only way up is to get down. If God’s got you down, thank
God. Now you can find His strength, His power and His might like you’ve never ever known it before.