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← God's Mighty Power Demonstrated - Tim Conway

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Showing Revision 9 created 05/22/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. Ephesians 1.
  2. Let's pick up in verse 16
  3. through the end of the chapter.
  4. "I do not cease to give thanks for you..."
  5. the Apostle Paul speaking
  6. to the Ephesian Christians.
  7. The saints who are in Ephesus.
  8. "I do not cease to give thanks for you..."
  9. So Paul is actually speaking to them
  10. about his own prayer life.
  11. I don't cease to give thanks for you,
  12. "remembering you in my prayers."
  13. This is a window into the prayers of Paul.
  14. And he's going to tell them
  15. about certain petitions that he makes
  16. on behalf of these Ephesian Christians.
  17. "...Remembering you in my prayers
  18. that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
  19. the Father of glory,
  20. may give you..."
  21. See, he wants and he prays for
  22. these Ephesians that God would
  23. give them something.
  24. It's a petition.
  25. May God give you "the spirit of wisdom
  26. and revelation in the knowledge of Him."
  27. He's praying for the spirit,
    or a spirit your Bible may say
  28. of wisdom and of revelation
  29. in the knowledge of God.
  30. "...Having the eyes of your
    hearts enlightened."
  31. And he's asking specifically

  32. that their eyes would be open
  33. to three realities.
  34. One, "that you may know
  35. what is the hope of your calling."
  36. Or "the hope to which
    you have been called,"
  37. or "He has called you."
  38. "What are the riches of His
    glorious inheritance in the saints."
  39. That's the second petition.
  40. The third, "and what is the
    immeasurable greatness
  41. of God's power toward us who believe,
  42. according to the working
  43. of His great might that
    He worked in Christ
  44. when He raised Him from the dead
  45. and seated Him at His right hand
  46. in the heavenly places
  47. far above all rule and authority
  48. and power and dominion,
  49. and above every name that is named,
  50. not only in this age,
  51. but also in the one to come.
  52. And He put all things under His feet
  53. and gave Him as head over all things
  54. to the church which is His body,
  55. the fullness of Him who fills all in all."
  56. I want to draw your attention
  57. to verses 20 and 21.
  58. Let's go to the Lord.
  59. Father, it's Your Word.

  60. Thank You, Father,
  61. that You've given us a Bible.
  62. Oh Lord, You have given us a treasure.
  63. I pray for these my brothers and sisters,
  64. for myself,
  65. that we might have the eyes of our hearts
  66. enlightened and made aware
  67. and kept freshly cognizant of the fact
  68. that we possess the very words of God
  69. in a book.
  70. Father, I pray that this Word
  71. would be preached in this place today.
  72. That is the charge
  73. that You have given to me,
  74. and I pray that I would be able
  75. to be faithful to preach this Word
  76. as You intended it to be preached.
  77. I pray that You'd give us that help.
  78. Amen.
  79. Verses 20 and 21.

  80. Look at them.
  81. "...That He worked in Christ
  82. when He raised Him from the dead
  83. and seated Him at His right hand
  84. in the heavenly places
  85. far above all rule and authority
  86. and power and dominion
  87. and above every name that is named,
  88. not only in this age,
  89. but also in the one to come."
  90. Loaded.
  91. Loaded with foundational doctrines
  92. of our Christianity.
  93. Think about the doctrines specified here.
  94. One being that Christ was indeed dead.
  95. You don't raise Him from the dead
  96. unless He was dead.
  97. Two: That He's been raised from the dead.
  98. Three: Christ was raised from the dead
  99. by God the Father;
  100. by the power of God the Father.
  101. A fourth truth here: Christ
    has ascended up to glory;
  102. is enthroned at the right hand
    of the majesty on high;
  103. the right hand of God the Father.
  104. A fifth truth here:
    Christ has been exalted
  105. far above all rule and authority
  106. and power and dominion.
  107. He is Lord. He is King.
  108. He is above all.
  109. And sixth, Christ now reigns supreme,
  110. not only through the end of this age,
  111. but out into the eternal age to come.
  112. Forevermore enthroned.
  113. He is there.
  114. This is the ultimate fulfillment
  115. of Him being seated on the throne
  116. of His father David
  117. at the right hand of His Father
  118. forever - this age and the age to come.
  119. These two texts -

  120. what a Christology is contained
  121. just here in these truths!
  122. Paul may go through them very quickly.
  123. Brethren, this is the bedrock
  124. of what we believe.
  125. I mean these truths right here -
  126. I'll tell you this,
  127. these truths fly in the
    face of Catholicism.
  128. Do they not?
  129. I mean, they want to exalt Mary.
  130. Everything about this text is
    the exaltation of Christ.
  131. Flies in the face of Islam.
  132. Does it not?
  133. This is it.
  134. Well, you know what Paul's talking about?

  135. He's talking about
    the power of Christianity.
  136. And what I want to do is tie
  137. verse 19 through verses 20 and 21.
  138. You remember, we've been looking
  139. at these three petitions.
  140. They all start with the word "what."
  141. The third of them:
  142. What is the immeasurable
  143. or the exceeding greatness
  144. of this power of God.
  145. He wants us to have the eyes -
  146. how's he praying?
  147. God, enable Your people to see this!
  148. A power that is towards the believer.
  149. We're talking about the might of God
  150. that was worked in Christ.
  151. It's according to that.
  152. Not only that raised Him from the dead -
  153. you don't want to stop there.
  154. Many talk here that this is basically
  155. the power of resurrection.
  156. Brethren, it's beyond that.
  157. It's the power of ascension.
  158. It's the power of enthronement.
  159. It's the power of the
    ruling supreme Christ
  160. over every rule and authority
  161. and power and dominion.
  162. And it's forever!
  163. It's not just temporary.
  164. It's not a temporary enthronement;
  165. a temporary kingdom.
  166. It is forever.
  167. This age and the age to come.
  168. This is taking Christ not
    only out of the grave
  169. and up into life,
  170. but ascending up into supremacy.
  171. This is the power that is
    being put on the table.
  172. And what he's saying is,
  173. the power at work or towards you
  174. that is directed at the believer
  175. is in accord with this reality.
  176. We're talking about the
    power of Christianity.
  177. Have you come to know this?

  178. Have you come to know
  179. of a Christianity
  180. in which the power of
    God Almighty is real?
  181. That's the reality.
  182. Is there some sort of power
  183. that accords in your life
  184. that is somehow or another
  185. a reflection of Christ
  186. being raised from the dead?
  187. Make no mistake about it,
  188. this is the Christianity of Scriptures.
  189. We're not talking dead religion here.
  190. This is the authentic thing.
  191. This is the real thing.
  192. We need to come to
    grips with that reality.
  193. I think we are.
  194. I think we are largely.
  195. But brethren, don't be satisfied
  196. with powerless Christianity.
  197. Not in others.
  198. Not in yourself.
  199. Not in this church.
  200. Don't be satisfied.
  201. I mean, do you see what God is inspiring
  202. Paul to say to us?
  203. Brethren, we have every reason to expect
  204. that we - well, like I was praying before,
  205. that God is going to make a difference
  206. between us and Egypt.
  207. God is going to make a difference.
  208. Where this kind of power is unleashed,
  209. it can't help but make a difference.
  210. Where you have the power
  211. of Almighty God being unleashed,
  212. and you compare that to an environment
  213. where His power is not being unleashed,
  214. but people play at Christianity.
  215. Would you expect there is
    going to be a difference?
  216. Brethren, I hope you
    have that expectation.
  217. I hope in the days ahead
    you have an expectation
  218. of a Christianity that resembles this.
  219. This is the only Christianity

  220. that offers any hope to this world.
  221. This idea of going out
  222. and just multiplying decisions,
  223. you know full well,
  224. regeneration is on the table, brethren.
  225. We need power that brings life.
  226. Power that brings exaltation.
  227. Power that brings enthronement.
  228. This is what he's talking about here.
  229. This is what he wants them to grasp.
  230. This is the real deal.
  231. We should never be
    satisfied with dead religion.

  232. Never.
  233. You see churches planted
  234. or the Gospel going forth
  235. in Nicaragua or in Mexico
  236. or in Lebanon or in China
  237. or in Indonesia.
  238. Brethren, we should not be content
  239. with anything but this.
  240. This is it.
  241. This is what we must have.
  242. It is a religion of power.
  243. We're talking about the God of power.
  244. The God who acts in power.
  245. Do you recognize that?
  246. That's what Christianity is all about.
  247. It's about the God who acts.
  248. It's about the God who arises.
  249. It's about the God who does something.
  250. If God doesn't do anything,
  251. we're dead in the water.
  252. And what he's saying is,
    do you recognize?
  253. Ephesians, you're not dead in the water.
  254. Do you recognize the kind of power
  255. that is at work there?
  256. True Christianity is always
  257. the activity of God
    powerfully breaking in.
  258. Brethren, Christianity is not us waking up
  259. and reaching out towards God.
  260. It's God powerfully reaching down
  261. into the depths of where we're at
  262. and doing something;
  263. initiating something.
  264. Always that is the picture.
  265. Any notion of Christianity
  266. that's mainly the result
  267. of something that we do -
  268. you know what it is.
  269. It's always fake. It's always false.
  270. It's always fatal. You can be sure of it.
  271. Always.
  272. We are being faced by something here.
  273. Brethren, I remember.

  274. Now you talk about an unworthy view
  275. of Christianity.
  276. I had it.
  277. I have an image in my mind
  278. and thoughts that went on in my head.
  279. I can't even hardly believe I'd say this,
  280. but almost 30 years ago,
  281. it was the summer after
    I got out of college.
  282. New job.
  283. New car.
  284. Sunday morning - not gloomy like this.
  285. Sunny southwest Michigan.
  286. Sunny summer Sunday morning.
  287. And a buddy and I are
    headed to Lake Michigan.
  288. And I'm driving down that highway,
  289. and I look over,
  290. and I see a church building.
  291. And it's just that time when people
  292. are driving into the parking lot.
  293. Families are walking across.
  294. They're going into the building.
  295. Brethren, I remember thinking to myself,
  296. I'm going to need to
    take care of that one day.
  297. Basically, my mindset was this.
  298. They got up.
  299. They decided to go to church.
  300. That's how you be a Christian.
  301. I got up, decided to buy beer,
  302. throw it in the trunk, grab my buddy,
  303. head west to the beach.
  304. And the day's going to come
  305. when I need to get up
  306. on a Sunday morning and I need to decide
  307. to do that rather than this.
  308. Pretty much, that was
    my idea of Christianity.
  309. I possessed the willpower.
  310. I possessed the power to do
  311. or not to do the Christian thing.
  312. Christianity was a choice.
  313. It was a choice I could make.
  314. Those people chose church.
  315. I chose the beach.
  316. That's how it is.
  317. And you know as well as I do,

  318. all you've got to do is read this passage.
  319. What is the power?
  320. What is the exceeding greatness?
  321. The immeasurable greatness
  322. of the power - His power
  323. towards you; us-ward.
  324. Toward the believer.
  325. What sort of power is this?
  326. Ten thousand miles away
  327. from what I was thinking that day.
  328. Christianity is a matter of power.

  329. It is a matter of God.
  330. It always has been.
  331. It always will be.
  332. And you know,
  333. I mean, let's go back there 30 years ago.
  334. Let's supposed on a whim
  335. my willpower had said,
  336. "Hey, Shawn, we're going in here."
  337. This will be fun before
    we head to the beach.
  338. We're going to sit in this service.
  339. Maybe my conscience is bothering me.
  340. We've got to do some work here.
  341. And so on a whim, I pull in there.
  342. And let's just suppose for a second
  343. those really were God's people.
  344. And they were really going in
  345. to meet with a true church
  346. and a true man of God
    was going to take the pulpit
  347. and really preach the Word of God.
  348. And he was going to do so in power.
  349. And I go in there in my willpower.
  350. What would I have had
    the capability of doing?
  351. Reality - what would
    that have looked like?
  352. It basically would have been
  353. a filthy pig walking in amongst doves
  354. or lambs, and what?
  355. What would I have done in my own power?
  356. I could have played the hypocrite.
  357. But I'll tell you how I was wired.
  358. Not so much the religious hypocrite,
  359. as much as I would have detested it.
  360. I would have hated being there.
  361. Everything in me would want to
  362. grab my buddy and run to my car
  363. and head west and get out of there.
  364. It would have been absolutely distasteful.
  365. And you know what the sad reality is.

  366. The sad reality is this:
  367. With our Lord telling us
  368. many are going to say to
    Him in that day, "Lord, Lord."
  369. You know I just prayed these verses.
  370. That many have a form of godliness
  371. and they deny the power thereof.
  372. You know what the very likelihood is?
  373. Most of those people
    or all of those people
  374. attending that church
    probably weren't saved either.
  375. I mean, if you're just
    basically taking it as a whole
  376. and summing up what's said in Scripture.
  377. How many good churches
    are across the land?
  378. You know what the very likelihood is?
  379. They were playing the
    religious hypocrites.
  380. I would have gone in as a pagan.
  381. But brethren, whether it's powerless
  382. religious hypocrisy
  383. or powerless paganism,
  384. we all land in the same boat.
  385. We are incapable of doing anything
  386. unless God comes down;
  387. unless God acts.
  388. That's the way it always is.
  389. I had no idea driving
    down the road that day.
  390. My ideas... oh, my ideas
  391. were totally unworthy of Christianity.
  392. Totally unworthy of what it was
  393. to become a Christian.
  394. Totally. I had no idea.
  395. I had an idea once it really happened.
  396. I had an idea once God
    really broke into my life.
  397. Brethren, this is how it always is
  398. unless God shows up.
  399. It's dead religion or it's dead paganism.
  400. That's how it always is.
  401. Some of you here know exactly that

  402. because that's where you're at.
  403. It's either dead religion
  404. or dead paganism.
  405. You've come in here,
  406. and you've got a form of godliness,
  407. but this kind of power we're talking about
  408. is not a reality in your life.
  409. Or you're just pagan.
  410. You come in here but you know,
  411. you're just like I would have
    been if I'd have gone in there.
  412. Everything in you is like
    the pig wanting the mire.
  413. You want it. You want it bad.
  414. All you can think about
    is getting out of here.
  415. All you can think about is the world.
  416. My willpower.
  417. What a pathetic thing is that?
  418. But that's basically what
    this world is all about.
  419. Self-righteousness, pride...
  420. Men's will.
  421. Men's willpower.
  422. Oh, what do we have?
  423. I had no idea in those days

  424. about the truth of Ephesians 1:19,
  425. that the Christian's
    salvation only happens
  426. when you have some sort
    of massive demonstration
  427. of the power of God in the sinner.
  428. A Christian happens as a result
  429. of something outside himself.
  430. That's the reality.
  431. It depends not on the human will
  432. we're told in Scripture,
  433. or human exertion, but
    on God who has mercy.
  434. You show me a genuine Christian;
  435. you show me a genuine
    Christian in this place,
  436. and I will show you something
  437. that God is responsible for.
  438. God is responsible.
  439. No boasting, brethren.
  440. We just simply cannot boast here.
  441. It's like Lord, why? Why me?
  442. And you know what rings back
    to our ears from Scripture is:
  443. "I chose to have mercy on you."
  444. That's the answer.
  445. To bring one soul to true repentance
  446. and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
  447. demands the immeasurable
  448. exceeding greatness of the strength
  449. of God's eternal might.
  450. And brethren, we're dead
    in the water without it.
  451. We need God.
  452. We need Him badly, brethren!
  453. We need Him badly!
  454. And I am so thankful
  455. that prayer meetings continue to be full
  456. because what that resonates
  457. is I'm among a group of people
  458. that feel that reality.
  459. We need You, Father! We need You!
  460. Is that not what these
    verses scream at us?
  461. We need Him.
  462. Paul's petition is that we
    would have eyes to see
  463. the reality of this power.
  464. Now, here's the thing.

  465. Let's tie verse 19 together
  466. with verses 20 and 21.
  467. And really, the point of attachment,
  468. it comes through a preposition
  469. that is several words from the end
  470. of verse 19.
  471. Your Bibles say, "according to."
  472. Or the NAS if any of you have that,
  473. "in accordance with."
  474. According to.
  475. You all see that.
  476. "That you may have the eyes
  477. of your hearts enlightened
  478. that you may know what is the immeasurable
  479. greatness of His power
  480. toward us who believe
  481. according to the working
  482. of His great might that
    He worked in Christ
  483. when He raised Him from the dead
  484. and seated Him at His right
    hand in the heavenly places."
  485. Two English words:
  486. either "in accordance"
  487. or "according to"
  488. all of your English Bibles say.
  489. It's a preposition.
  490. But what does it mean?

  491. Here's the thing I wrestled with,
  492. what does that mean?
  493. What am I supposed to take away with that?
  494. There's a lot of questions
    I ask of Scripture
  495. that I don't necessarily come away
  496. with such a thorough answer for as I want.
  497. But let's delve into this somewhat.
  498. In accordance with.
  499. Brethren, what does that mean?
  500. According to...
  501. It carries that meaning: "according to."
  502. It can mean "equivalent to."
  503. Equivalent almost carries the idea
  504. of equal to.
  505. Well, it does carry that meaning.
  506. But the word doesn't always have to
  507. carry that - it can mean:
    "in proportion to."
  508. It can mean "in agreement with."
  509. It can mean "corresponding to."
  510. Or, "in conformity with."
  511. It's actually a preposition that has
  512. extremely broad range of use,
  513. but as it's used here,
  514. these are the ways that we can
  515. define the word.
  516. It's basically this idea
  517. that it indicates a standard.
  518. A standard that there is agreement with.
  519. Agreeable to.
  520. The standard is Christ's resurrection.
  521. What's happening in us
  522. is agreeable to that standard.
  523. That's really the idea here.
  524. But even that - does that really help?
  525. It's agreeable to.
  526. What are we dealing with?
  527. And here's the question that I'm asking.
  528. Does this mean it's agreeable to
  529. in the sense that there's a likeness?
  530. You know, when we use allegories
  531. or parables, we basically are describing
  532. something that is like something else.
  533. Is that what's happening here?
  534. Is there a likeness between them?
  535. Is there a similarity between them?
  536. Is it that it's saying:
  537. well, the power of God did this in Christ,
  538. and proportionately, maybe less,
  539. God's same power was at work in us?
  540. Is it saying that basically
  541. the magnititude of power - God's power
  542. that was at work in Christ -
  543. same magnitude is required
  544. to raise us from the dead?
  545. Is it the same power?
  546. Not just equal, but did
    the very same power
  547. that raised Christ from the dead
  548. pull us up with Him?
  549. Now, I just want to delve into this

  550. because look,
  551. if you think about this
    in the speed of reading,
  552. as soon as Paul tells us
  553. that he is praying about our eyes
  554. being opened to grasp the power
  555. that's towards us,
  556. immediately, he takes our heads
  557. and turns them to the resurrection
  558. and ascension and enthronement of Christ.
  559. Immediately.
  560. I mean, in the speed of reading,
  561. it's just bang!
  562. He does not allow us to think,
  563. as we think about the work
  564. that's happening in ourselves,
  565. he doesn't allow us to just sit
  566. and kind of ponder.
  567. There's no "selah" there.
  568. It's immediately look to the death,
  569. the resurrection, the ascension.
  570. Why? What's the attachment?
  571. How should we process this?
  572. Just listen to this.

  573. John Gill said,
  574. "The resurrection of any person
  575. is an instance of great power,
  576. but Christ's resurrection from the dead
  577. was an instance of peculiar
    and special power."
  578. So in John Gill's thinking -
  579. this is an old Baptist -
  580. he said yes, the work of God within us
  581. is great,
  582. but he has us look at Christ
  583. because it's a greater power.
  584. It's the standard by which everything else
  585. is measured.
  586. That's his idea.
  587. Matthew Poole.

  588. He was a Puritan commentator.
  589. He says what's being talked about here,
  590. the association, the connection,
  591. "the power God exercises
  592. toward believers is such as that was
  593. whereby He raised up
    Christ from the dead."
  594. Don't you love that?
  595. "...Is such as that was."
  596. Such as.
  597. He refrains from saying it's equal to.
  598. Just: "it's such as..."
  599. To me that feels like according to.
  600. It's like give me some more meat there
  601. to put my teeth in.
  602. Such as?
  603. Others.

  604. Some have suggested
  605. that the resurrection of Jesus
  606. is merely an illustration or a specimen
  607. of the power that should encourage us
  608. about what God is able to do in us.
  609. Some see the resurrection
    as a sort of pledge.
  610. There's that power there.
  611. There's no real connection
  612. between the power, other than
  613. it is a promise
  614. because that power happened,
  615. and what's accomplished there,
  616. now is a promise that in turn
  617. that power's going to be
    demonstrated upon us.
  618. Someone has said that the power in us -
  619. now this is someone
    else in church history.
  620. Someone has said that the power in us
  621. is not less than that in Christ.
  622. Don't you like that too?
  623. It's not less than.
  624. Think about that.
  625. They say, well, here's the
    power that raised Christ.
  626. And what happens in us is not less than.
  627. Do you see how they're
    just not wanting to commit
  628. to too much in what they say?
  629. It's not less than.
  630. Well, what are you saying?
  631. Okay, tell me then. Is it equal to?
  632. Or is it more than?
  633. At least Chrysostom said
  634. he believed that to heal a dead soul
  635. is a far greater thing
    than to raise the dead.
  636. He believed that the power at work in us
  637. is even greater than that
  638. which took place in Christ.
  639. Here's what I know.

  640. I know this.
  641. I know that Paul repeatedly;
  642. I know that the New Testament -
  643. the apostles, the apostle's doctrine -
  644. I know they were stunned
  645. by the resurrection of Christ.
  646. In the book of Acts,
  647. wherever they went they were
  648. proclaiming His resurrection
    from the dead.
  649. And they attached extreme significance
  650. to the power of that resurrection.
  651. Just think with me here.

  652. Acts 2:23 - don't turn there.
  653. Peter.
  654. He said, "This Jesus
  655. was delivered up according
    to the definite plan
  656. and foreknowledge of God,
  657. you crucified and killed
  658. by the hands of lawless men."
  659. Listen, "God raised Him up,
  660. loosing the pangs of death..."
  661. Even though the word "power"
  662. isn't specifically used here,
  663. he says this about death:
  664. "Because it was not possible
  665. for Him to be held by it."
  666. No possibility. Why?
  667. There is a power here
  668. that is above and beyond death.
  669. It's chains were ripped -
  670. "Up from the grave He arose!"
  671. We sing that song.
  672. It could not contain Him.
  673. It was not able. Why?
  674. Something was at work
  675. that was more powerful than death.
  676. And it could not - it did not have
  677. greater strength than that
  678. which was being unleashed in Christ.
  679. It was not able.
  680. That's the kind of thing
    the New Testament says.
  681. How about this?

  682. When you come over?
  683. Romans 1 - that glorious epistle.
  684. And at the very beginning
  685. as we're being introduced
  686. to these glories, right from the get-go,
  687. the first four verses,
  688. Paul hits these Romans
  689. with this glorious reality of Christ
  690. being resurrected from the dead.
  691. And what does he say?
  692. He's declared to be the
    Son of God with power.
  693. This is a declaration.
  694. You see Christ.
  695. He's declared to be the
    Son of God with power.
  696. He's declared to be the Messiah.
  697. He's declared to be the sent one.
  698. What declares that about Him?
  699. His resurrection from the dead.
  700. That's what we're told.
  701. He said, "He's declared to be
  702. the Son of God in power
  703. according to the Spirit of holiness
  704. by His resurrection from the dead,
  705. Jesus Christ our Lord."
  706. Or you think about what Paul said

  707. in Philippians 3.
  708. Many of you know this.
  709. Paul - what was he crying out for?
  710. What was he longing for?
  711. "That I may know Him..." and what?
  712. "The power of His resurrection."
  713. I can tell you this.
  714. I don't know if you feel this.
  715. When I think of the resurrection,
  716. yes, because I know those verses,
  717. I would say there's an
    attachment to power.
  718. But do you think that way?
  719. When you think of Christ
    rising from the dead,
  720. is that the natural
    connection in your mind?
  721. Do you think, "wow, that was powerful"?
  722. Powerful.
  723. Probably we could do a whole sermon
  724. on the power of death.
  725. Death is a powerful thing.
  726. I was at the gym this week.

  727. Some guy walked by -
  728. you know those big hulking guys
  729. that hang out at gyms.
  730. But he walked by and he was huge.
  731. But you know, thinking on this message,
  732. I thought, "but, he's going to die."
  733. He's strong - he's a lot stronger than me,
  734. but you know what?
  735. He cannot resist death.
  736. You just can't fight it.
  737. And it's on us.
  738. You know it!
  739. Your outer body is wasting away.
  740. You cannot stop the wrinkles.
  741. You cannot stop the baldness.
  742. You can't stop the flab.
  743. You can't stop the
    degradation of the body.
  744. You cannot stop the grey hair.
  745. You can dye them, but
    you roots will give you away.
  746. You can't stop what's happening to you.
  747. It is pulling you down.
  748. Brethren, it's coming.
  749. Every one of us, we recognize
  750. death is coming.
  751. You can't run fast enough,
  752. far enough, jump high enough,
  753. you cannot get away from it.
  754. It is massively powerful.
  755. And here is this thing that holds man
  756. in its grips, in its fear.
  757. He who has the power of death -
  758. the devil himself is
    involved in all of this,
  759. and he has power and he has control.
  760. And brethren, he comes along
  761. and he constantly is defeating man,
  762. damning men.
  763. What does he have to use?
  764. He's got the wrath of God.
  765. He basically baits us into sin
  766. which unleashes the wrath of God upon us.
  767. The power of death.
  768. The power of sin.
  769. The power of the devil.
  770. We think ridiculous thoughts
    about the devil.

  771. He is powerful
  772. and he is like a roaring lion
  773. and he has fangs and he kills.
  774. He killed our first father.
  775. The power of these things
  776. is beyond our control.
  777. Men may make light of them.
  778. Men want to ignore death.
  779. They make fun of the devil.
  780. They make light of sin.
  781. These things are so powerful.
  782. And what happens is you find

  783. that in the resurrection of Christ,
  784. there is a defeating; there is a removal
  785. of these obstacles that are in our way,
  786. and Christ took them out.
  787. You want to know something
    about the resurrection?
  788. Whatever it may speak to you,
  789. it speaks power,
  790. and it speaks the power to remove
  791. the obstacles out of your life
  792. and out of my life that keep us from God,
  793. that keep us from glory,
  794. that keep us from everlasting life.
  795. Power.
  796. Here's another thing.

  797. When you study Ephesians,
  798. you need to keep your eyes open
  799. to what's happening in Colossians,
  800. because even though in some ways
  801. they're very different,
  802. you can tell they were obviously written
  803. around the same time,
  804. and that Paul deals with many
  805. of the same themes.
  806. So, over here in Ephesians 1,
  807. you get this language.
  808. But you know what?
  809. Over in Colossians 2,
  810. you get some similar language.
  811. Let's turn over there.
  812. Colossians 2:11.

  813. Notice this.
  814. In Christ - "In Him also,
  815. you were circumcised
  816. with the circumcision made without hands
  817. by putting off the body of the flesh,
  818. by the circumcision of Christ,
  819. having been buried with Him
  820. in baptism..."
  821. See, the thing is, here
    where Paul talks this way,
  822. there's much about union.
  823. And look, you don't want to miss it -
  824. if you think as we went through
  825. those first 14 verses about how many times
  826. we were taught about "in Christ."
  827. Union - bringing all things together.
  828. Uniting all things together in Christ.
  829. This idea of union.
  830. And in fact, before you get
    to the end of the chapter,
  831. he's going to talk about Christ
  832. being the Head over all
    things to the church
  833. which is His body,
  834. the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
  835. Christ is the Head. We are the body.
  836. There is unity.
  837. Notice the unity here.
  838. "Buried with Him in baptism
  839. in which you were also raised with Him."
  840. Now notice this:
  841. "...Through faith."
  842. And then we're going to get
  843. some of the exact same wording
  844. that we get from Ephesians 1:19.
  845. Again, similar veins of thoughts run
  846. through both of these Ephesian
  847. and Colossian epistles.
  848. And tying them together oftentimes
  849. helps give a fuller picture.
  850. We're raised with Christ.
  851. You see what Paul has in mind?
  852. The two happen at once:
  853. raised with Him - one action;
  854. one demonstration of power.
  855. We both come up together.
  856. But keep reading there.
  857. "...Raised with Him through faith;
  858. faith in the powerful working of God."
  859. This is the "energia" that we saw
  860. back in 1:19 of Ephesians.
  861. This is the energy;
  862. the operative power of God.
  863. It's in motion.
  864. It's moving.
  865. "...Who raised Him from the dead."
  866. But see what he says first?
  867. We're "raised with Him,"
  868. and there is this power
  869. that raised Him from the dead.
  870. "And you (v. 13) who were dead
  871. in your trespasses
  872. and the uncircumcision of your flesh..."
  873. Now listen, if you go
    back over to Ephesians
  874. you recognize,
  875. Paul has the same thought in mind.
  876. When you get to Ephesians 2:1,
  877. he is going to say the
    exact same thing here
  878. about us being dead in
    trespasses and sins,
  879. being raised together with Christ.
  880. It's the same thing.
  881. He just takes a little bit more time
  882. in saying it all in Ephesians.
  883. He develops it a bit more.
  884. It's more compact here in Colossians 2.
  885. "You who were dead in your trespasses
  886. and uncircumcision of your flesh,
  887. God made alive together with Him,
  888. having forgiven us all our trespasses
  889. by cancelling the record of debt
  890. that stood against us
    with its legal demands,
  891. this he set aside
    nailing it to the cross."
  892. Brethren, look.

  893. I would just say this.
  894. Based on what Paul says right here,
  895. however you want to interpret
    the "according to,"
  896. "what is the immeasurable greatness
  897. of his power toward us who believe."
  898. It is "according to the working
  899. of His great might
    that He worked in Christ
  900. when He raised Him from the dead
  901. and He seated Him at His right hand..."
  902. According to.
  903. Whatever you want to do with that,
  904. one thing you cannot get away from -
  905. especially when you compare it
  906. to the Colossian passage
  907. is that Paul sees the two united.
  908. It's like a picture.

  909. I imagine Christ.
  910. Imagine this.
  911. A man in a deep dark well.
  912. And there's a strong man
    at the top of that well.
  913. And he's pulling the rope up.
  914. This man who's down in this well
  915. is being pulled up out of the darkness.
  916. And you pull him up and you set him down.
  917. And this man you come to find out
  918. had two children in his arms.
  919. You see, if you start talking about
  920. the work, the force, the power
  921. that pulled that man out of the well,
  922. you don't separate it from the force
  923. that pulled those two children out.
  924. Brethren, I envision it like this.

  925. Christ and all of His people,
  926. and there is a chain from Him
  927. to every one of us.
  928. And when He's pulled up out of there,
  929. that chain - it's the chain of His love;
  930. it's the chain of His grace -
  931. it's the lifeline of salvation.
  932. And when He's pulled up out of there,
  933. pulling a man up out
    of that deep darkness,
  934. that deep dark pit of death.
  935. We're chained to Him.
    We're one with Him.
  936. And up we come.
  937. Now the chain may lay there coiled up.
  938. He comes out.
  939. For some of us, the chain's longer.
  940. For some, shorter.
  941. What I mean by that is He's coming up,
  942. that thing is unraveling,
  943. and before it actually becomes taut,
  944. it pulls us up too.
  945. For some, it's longer.
  946. For some, sooner than others.
  947. Different times in history.
  948. Different times in your life.
  949. When that chain goes taut, up you go too.
  950. But we're connected.
  951. As God draws Him up,
  952. that power that is unleashed
  953. is the same power -
  954. the power of resurrection.
  955. However you want to join those together;
  956. however you want to put
    these together, brethren,
  957. we're connected with Him.
  958. We're one with Him.
  959. Paul won't let us get away from that.
  960. This power so absolutely guarantees
  961. these realities in our lives.
  962. Brethren, these obstacles
  963. are moved out of the way.
  964. Every bit of gravity,
  965. every bit of resistance,
  966. every bit of difficulty
    that stood in our way,
  967. and the obstacles and the enemies
  968. were great - they were insurmountable.
  969. They were absolutely
    impossible enemies to us.
  970. Totally daunting.
  971. Totally overwhelming.
  972. Totally.
  973. And this power...
  974. And there's a certainty in all of this.
  975. Brethren, there's a certainty.
  976. When he gets to chapter 3
  977. and he talks about even our ability
  978. to think - you can turn there.
  979. Let's just end with this.

  980. I want you to see this in Ephesians 3:20.
  981. It's like here you have the same:
  982. "according to."
  983. "Now to Him who is able
  984. to do far more abundantly than all
  985. we ask or think, according to..."
  986. Very same preposition.
  987. Really the same thing is going on here.
  988. God's ability "is according to the power
  989. at work within us."
  990. Do you know what's interesting here?
  991. In 1:19-20, Christ's resurrection
  992. seems to be the standard.
  993. Here, the power at work within us
  994. seems to be the standard.
  995. It's like Paul has established
  996. the greatness of this power toward us
  997. and compared it to the resurrection;
  998. united us with this resurrection power -
  999. not just resurrection,
  1000. but to place Him on the throne.
  1001. You may remember last week.
  1002. Craig said something about us
  1003. being seated with Christ
    in the heavenly places.
  1004. But I'll tell you,
  1005. those chains are so real
  1006. that Him being pulled up there -
  1007. not just out of the well -
  1008. but all the way up
  1009. and set on the mountain top.
  1010. Those chains hold tight.
  1011. And many of us,
  1012. the chains have pulled
    us up out of the well,
  1013. but not to the mointaintop,
  1014. at least, not in reality.
  1015. Not in our position as
    far as where we're at.
  1016. There may be a sense that
    there's a veil right here.

  1017. We may be on the throne already
  1018. even in a real sense.
  1019. Because if we could pull back the veil -
  1020. think of times in Scripture
  1021. when the veil was pulled back -
  1022. Christ is right there.
  1023. Stephen - you just pull it back,
  1024. there He is. He's right there.
  1025. Probably right here all around us.
  1026. We are in the midst.
  1027. But there is such a connection
  1028. that we are presently seated
  1029. with Christ in the heavenly places.
  1030. The power at work in us,

  1031. when you get to 3:20,
  1032. becomes the standard by which
  1033. God's ability is measured.
  1034. Brethren, there are such things,
  1035. there are such demonstrations
  1036. of the power of God, as we said last time,
  1037. we don't feel this.
  1038. And we have to be reminded of its reality.
  1039. And I'll remind you again,
  1040. Paul is not praying for them
  1041. that they would come
    to recognize their need
  1042. of more power and ask for it.
  1043. Now, look, it's not wrong
    to recognize your need.
  1044. Paul's going to get there in chapter 3.
  1045. He's going to talk that way
  1046. about them receiving more power.
  1047. He is. That's not a wrong thing.
  1048. But right here, he is talking about
  1049. recognizing what is going on inside them.
  1050. Oh, brethren,

  1051. you take individuals like us,
  1052. and you throw them out into this darkness,
  1053. and you know what happens?
  1054. You shine and you're lights of the world.
  1055. You have a God-given ability
  1056. to resist the decay of the decadence.
  1057. You become the salt of the earth.
  1058. You're out there.
  1059. You are the lights of the world.
  1060. We can so often feel so defeated,
  1061. and Satan always is whispering in our ear
  1062. and telling us how worthless we are
  1063. and how we can't do this
    and we can't accomplish that,
  1064. and we can't - no we
    can't in our own power.
  1065. But brethren, we are not
    a product of our own power.
  1066. We are not a product of our willpower.
  1067. If that's what you are,
  1068. yes, you're dead in the water,
  1069. but we as true Christians
  1070. are not dead in the water.
  1071. There is a power at work within us.
  1072. There is a power of victory,
  1073. a power of overcoming.
  1074. And we will overcome.
  1075. And we must overcome
  1076. because this power will
    always create overcomers.
  1077. Brethren, do you recognize
    this reality about yourself?
  1078. And you can look at the cross
  1079. and you can look at Christ seated there
  1080. and you can look at Him ruling
  1081. and reigning and above every power,
  1082. every rule, every authority,
  1083. every power, every dominion.
  1084. And not only in this age,
    but in the age to come.
  1085. And He says to us,
  1086. "You will sit with Me on My throne."
  1087. That's what He says!
  1088. This is not just coming
    from death to life.
  1089. This is the ultimate victory.
  1090. This is the ultimate.
  1091. There's no back little hut
  1092. in the alley somewhere
  1093. where some of the least of His people
  1094. are going to find themselves.
  1095. It's on the throne.
  1096. Every one of us.
  1097. Every one of us -
  1098. even the least of His children
  1099. have this kind of resurrection power,
  1100. and when in doubt,
  1101. obviously, Paul's saying:
  1102. Look at Christ!
  1103. There's your confidence!
  1104. Look at His resurrection!
  1105. Look at His ascension!
  1106. Look at the power!
  1107. You are one with that.
  1108. You are connected to that.
  1109. That is the standard,
  1110. but you're one with Him.
  1111. When He's torn up out
    of the jaws of death,
  1112. you come with Him.
  1113. When He's set upon that throne,
  1114. you go with Him.
  1115. He is one with us.
  1116. He is the Head. We are the body.
  1117. You would never talk about
  1118. bringing a man up out of the well
  1119. and distinguish between
    the head and the body,
  1120. and the power that raised the head
  1121. and the power that raised the body.
  1122. It's ridiculous.
  1123. They're one.
  1124. Paul wants us to see this as one.
  1125. You are the fullness of Him
  1126. who fills all in all.
  1127. Brethren, it's just a wake up call
  1128. for us to have eyes to recognize
  1129. what in the world is going on in us.
  1130. This is not willpower religion.
  1131. This is not dead religion.
  1132. This is biblical Christianity.
  1133. Father, we pray,

  1134. oh, the power of resurrection.
  1135. I pray it would be a reality
  1136. in the lives of my brothers and sisters,
  1137. that there would be a recognition
  1138. and a perception and a revelation,
  1139. and that we would have Your Spirit
  1140. open our eyes;
  1141. tear those scales away.
  1142. Lord, help us to see things
  1143. as we ought to see them.
  1144. I pray in Christ's name. Amen.