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Power for Us Who Believe

by David Johnson

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

     Thank you for listening to this Words of Life radio broadcast as we share the Word of God.  As we apply it to our lives and as we witness its truths, its principles, promises and prophecies to others.  The title for the lesson is “Power For Us Who Believe”.  And our primary text is taken from the New Testament the letter to the Ephesians chapter 1 verses 18 through 20.  Please listen to the Word of God.   

     “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,”

     This is the Word of God.  May he add his blessing to the public reading of his word.

We all know the world is consumed with power.  Nation’s strive for technological power, like power plants, power grids, power machines.  Leaders of nations practice power politics.  Consumers desire power drills, powerful hair dryers, and power boats and even power lunches!  In sports there are power plays!  Kids guzzle Powerade drinks while they watch power rangers!

     And so, as we Christians approach the year of Our Lord 2021 and beyond, we should desire more spiritual and moral power.  Physically, as we age, we’d be somewhat satisfied just to have the power to get out of bed!  We all need more inner power, however to ‘just say no’ to the temptations that attack our weaknesses and moral failings.

     Even during this holiday season, we need more power over our appetites, throughout the year we need more power to control our tongues.  We would like more power to open our minds to God’s will in our many decisions.  We need brain power to know and to remember God’s many principles and promises to his people, his church and applying them to our lives. 

     Consider Second Timothy chapter 1 and verse 7 “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”  God has equipped us.  All born-again, baptized believers also have the indwelling Holy Spirit leading, guiding, teaching, counseling, comforting, encouraging, and empowering us.  That is a divine person with power within us as born-again baptized believers, within us as effective and productive in our lives. 

     First Corinthians chapter 6 and verse 19 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”  Since the Holy Spirit is spirit, he can reside within the inner man, the inner woman to influence, to impact us in godly ways.  He indwells the very center and core of our being.  Really?

     Consider the Galatians letter chapter 4 verse 6 “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts”  It is part of the Holy Spirit’s work to confirm to Christians our adoption as sons and daughters of God.  In the scriptures the ‘heart’ refers to the inner most center of people.  The heart is the center of the rational, spiritual core of our being.  Including our intellect, our emotions.  Therefore, as Spirit indwelt believers as we yield to, and cooperate with the Holy Spirit we can exercise, and exert God’s power in and through our lives. 

     For example, consider Galatians chapter 5 verses 22 through 23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.”  ‘No law’ can mean when a Christian lives by the Spirit exercising these godly virtues, he needs no external law for the Holy Spirit’s power can produce these virtues in and through us as we cooperate.  Certainly, all Christians have need to grow, to mature, in this coming new year and beyond.  And with more consistent, moral power.  From love to self-control, we all need the Spirit’s power to think, talk and act in a more Christ like manner.  As Christians we can love even those who are unlovable toward us.  Jesus stated to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew chapter 5 and verse 44.  Well, someone would say, that’s not natural.  Exactly, that is why we need supernatural power by the Holy Spirit.  This is doable as we yield and cooperate with the Holy Spirit.  Jesus would never command us to love, even our enemies, if it were not possible.  Jesus Christ never lie nor would he ever deceive us.

     Believers have access to power to exercise all the virtues of godliness in Galatians chapter 5 and verse 22 and 23 and more because this is not and exhaustive list.  For example, negative circumstances in this life can steal our happiness, make us sad, sorrowful, and sour.  However, the apostle Paul wrote “rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again, rejoice.”  From Philippians chapter 4 and verse 4.  Meaning inspite of our unhappy circumstances we can shift our minds and hearts to joy, to rejoice by an act of our wills because no matter how bad things may get in Christ Jesus we are still saved, we are still heaven bound.  Still have a fabulous future one day with our Lord where there will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain ever again.  The Holy Spirit can equip us with more joy in this life now, we don’t have to wait until heaven.  Obviously, this is a fruit of the Spirit available now.  He has the power, with our cooperation that we may be less sour, and experience more sweet joy that is not tied to circumstances but instead is anchored in Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit to be able to experience pure joy even in unhappy circumstances.  For example, salvation granted us by God’s grace through saving faith gives us peace with God.  However, the many pitfalls of this life can attack our ongoing sanctification and steal away at times the peace of God in our lives.  But there is a remedy, there is power from the Holy Spirit in this also.

     Paul wrote “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your request to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians chapter 4 and verses 6 and 7.

     That’s where the Holy Spirit indwells us and works in us as we yield to him for more of the peace of God in our lives.  Our problem is often that we try in our own strength to overcome our worries and concerns which often fails and falls woefully short.  Instead of peace we sometimes panic.  God offers us power to be more than conquers and over and against that which comes against us according to Romans chapter 8 and verses 31 through 39.

     And so it also is that the power of the Holy Spirit can exercise more patience, more kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control if we cooperate, if we yield and surrender to the Holy Spirit and his power in us and through us.

     If we doubt or do not understand about this power within us by the Holy Spirit consider what is revealed by the apostle Paul in our key text in Ephesians chapter 1 verses 18 through 20 “I pray also that the eye of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance to the saints and his incomparable great power to 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.”

     This truth was written to the first century AD Ephesian church and by extension and application also true for us believers today in his church.  Christ’s universal 21st century church has the same exact power available.  The same exact Holy Spirit who does not change in his power, personality, or person.

     Notice carefully in Ephesians chapter 1 and verse 18 Paul did not pray that God’s power be given to them but instead that they would and we today would be ‘enlightened,’ that is made aware yes of the hope to which he has called you, yes to the riches and glorious inheritances of the saints, but also enlightened, that is made aware in verse 19 of his incomparable great power for us who believe.  Meaning that power is already within us by the Holy Spirit indwelling us.  We don’t have to pray for the power to be given to us.  We need to be enlightened that it is available to tap into now and beyond.  And how potent, how powerful is that power.  It is as potent as the power to raise the dead even Jesus Christ according to Ephesians chapter 1 and verse 20.

     And that is almighty, omnipotent power.  All powerful.   It’s our responsibility, however, to ‘turn the switch on’ so to speak!  That is to yield, to surrender to the Holy Spirit. To live by the Spirit not by the flesh.  Not in our own feeble power.

     So, once we are regenerated, born-again, we already possess all the spiritual resources and power we need.  It’s up to us to let God’s power flow, flourish in and through us.

     Consider this illustration.  A family was visiting the Grand Coulee Dam in the state of Washington in the northwest of the United States.  When they arrived, they were surprised to see that the visitor’s center was dark.  It was a sunny day, so they thought perhaps the center might have had tinted dark windows, however, as they approached the center, they realized no lights were on.  They were able to enter the center but none of the lighted displays worked.  It soon became obvious that there was no power to the center.  Due to a technical difficulty, the visitor’s center that sat only a few hundred feet from a massive hydroelectric dam, had no power.  Ironic isn’t it.  How could something be so close to a tremendous power source and not be empowered?

     Well, that can also be the regenerated Christian’s problem regarding spiritual and moral power.  We all have a tremendous power source really close, even within us, the Holy Spirit who is all powerful.  However, sometimes we try to live more by our own power, our own abilities, and resources rather than by the Spirit. Or worse, we can grieve and/or quench the Holy Spirit according to Ephesians chapter 4 and verse 30 and First Thessalonians chapter 5 and verse 19. 

     Instead we need to endeavor to live by the Spirit.  ‘Plugged in’ to his persuasion and power.  We all equally have the Holy Spirit, all Christians, all born-again Christians, equally have the Holy Spirit.  But the Holy Spirit does not equally have each of us.

     Consider Ephesians chapter 3 and verses 20 through 21 “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 forever and ever amen.”  Notice all generations.  Not just the first century apostolic generation of the church.  And so that includes us also.  As Christ’s 21 first century church.  And not just corporately but also individually as born-again baptized believers.

     Our yielding brings glory to God which is the chief end of humankind.  Let us all yield more and let God’s power flow in and for us who believe to be more pleasing to God in the fruit and gifts of the Spirit in 2021 and beyond. 

     Do you have Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord?  Have you received him?  Are you saved?  Do you know for sure?  Do you need to rededicate yourself?  Have your obeyed the gospel in water baptism being immersed into Christ?  Have you done these things?  Today is the day of salvation.  That can be true for you, or for rededication as we begin a new year in the Lord.

 

David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ in Sellersburg, IN.




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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33