The Immeasurable Greatness of His Power Toward Us

Ephesians 1:15-23
November 25, 2018
Abraham Hong

 

The Apostle Paul loved the church. And in today’s Scripture text, he prayed that we would know three things. He prayed that we would know God’s hope. He prayed that we would know God’s inheritance. And he prayed that we would know God’s power. Or to be more precise, the immeasurable greatness of God’s power toward us who believe.

Power is important in life. When the batteries on our phones are out, we might panic. Once Thanos had a complete gauntlet, he was able to make half of the Avengers disappear. And it is truly sad for a cancer patient to hear from the doctor that there is nothing more that they can do. Power matters.

God is powerful. He created everything out of nothing by speaking his word. He provided Isaac to Abraham and Sarah. He brought death to every first-born in the tenth plague of Egypt. He divided the Red Sea and redeemed Israel from slavery. He destroyed the walls of Jericho. He made the shadow of the sun go back ten degrees on Ahaz’s sundial. He protected Daniel in the den of lions. He appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah. God is powerful.

But I dare say that all of that was just a warm-up for God. For the power of God reaches its glorious and infinite and immeasurable fullness in salvation - in salvation from sin and death by the life and death and resurrection and exaltation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The power of God is seen in Jesus’ life - a life that was completely sinless and full of perfect obedience and righteousness to the law. The power of God is seen in Jesus’ death when he emptied himself and took the form of a humble servant and died on the cross. The power of God is seen in Jesus’ resurrection when the Father raised the Son. The power of God is seen in Jesus’ exaltation when the Son was seated at the right hand of the Father.

God is powerful. God’s power is great. The greatness of God’s power is immeasurable. And perhaps the most amazing thing of all is that God’s power is toward us.

This is so amazing and encouraging. The same power that was used to raise Christ from the dead is the same power that is being used right now to change you and make you a more mature and holy believer in the Lord. The same power that was used to seat Christ at the right hand of the Father is the same power that is being used right now to sanctify you in holiness and righteousness and make you look more like Jesus.

We ought to be amazed and encouraged by this wonderful gospel truth. As we wait for the return of Christ, we go through many trials and temptations. As we fight sin, we struggle to put off our old selves and put on our new selves. And sometimes we feel powerless. Powerless to love God and love others with all of our heart. Powerless to obey the laws of our King. Powerless to change our ways and our thoughts and our words and our actions. Powerless to just keep on going.

But the Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the church. He is above all. We are the fullness of him. And Jesus wants you to know the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.

Jesus is above all. He is above all rule and authority and dominion and name. This means that nothing can separate us from his love - not tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword… neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation - nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35, 38-39).

We are the fullness of him. This means that we have spiritual union with Christ and therefore spiritual maturity in Christ (Ephesians 3:16-19; 4:11-16).

And Jesus wants you to know the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe. By his power, God helps you to walk in a manner worthy of our calling (4:1). By his power, God grows you in humility, gentleness, patience and love (4:2-3). By his power, God helps you to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ (4:15). By his power, God compels you to put off the old self and put on the new self (4:22-24). By his power, God will help you to speak the truth (4:25) and deal with your anger (4:26-27) and work hard (4:28). By his power, God will work on your sexual immorality, your covetousness, your foolish talk and your crude joking (5:3-4). By his power, God will grow you in wisdom (5:15) and thanksgiving (5:20). By his power, God will help husbands and wives to love one another (5:22-33).

God promises to do all of this by his power. By his immeasurably great power. For you. And in you. Know this gospel and believe this gospel. And when you feel powerless to grow and change spiritually, be amazed and encouraged by the fact that God’s power is at work in you. You will grow. You will change. You will be sanctified. You will become more and more like Jesus Christ.

This makes church really thrilling and exciting and action-packed. It is thrilling to see college students slowly but surely forgive one another. It is exciting to see a husband and wife work hard to get better at their words toward one another. It is incredible to see a youth student start to really read his Bible. It is amazing to see an older member finally get over a sinful habit after years and years of struggle. And it is downright miraculous to see a non-Christian repent of his or her sins and believe in the gospel of Christ. I hope you can see church in this new way. Our church is really thrilling and exciting and action-packed. And the reason is because Christ is the head of our church, and his power is on full display in our lives.

Praise the Lord for Paul’s wonderful prayer for the church. But more than that, worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing (Revelation 5:12). Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever (Revelation 7:12). Amen.

End


Summary of Sermon

Paul prays for the church to know three things: the hope to which God has called us, the riches of God’s glorious inheritance in the saints, and the immeasurable greatness of God’s power toward us who believe.

God is powerful. We know his power when we think about creation and redemptive history. But God’s power reaches its most immeasurable fullness in our salvation in Christ Jesus - in his life, death, resurrection and exaltation.

Sometimes we feel powerless to grow and change. But it is so amazing and encouraging to know that the same power that was used to raise Christ from the dead and seat him at the right hand of the Father is the same power that is being used right now to sanctify us in spiritual maturity and holiness.

Jesus is the head of the church, and we are the fullness of him. We have spiritual union with Christ and spiritual maturity in Christ. By his power, we are becoming more and more like him. And nothing can separate us from his love.

May we know and believe that God’s power, which is of immeasurable greatness, is toward us. And may we come to see how exciting church really is as God grows us in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Questions for Discussion & Sharing

God is powerful. What stories in the Bible about God’s power personally amaze you and encourage you?

There are times in our Christian lives when we feel powerless to grow and change and become more like Jesus. In what ways do you personally feel powerless in your sanctification as we wait for the return of Christ?

God’s power is toward us. And it is exciting to see saints grow and change in the church. It is thrilling to see the immeasurable greatness of God’s power toward our brothers and sisters. Take a moment to give thanks to God and lovingly encourage others in your small group - members in whom you see God’s power at work, and members who may feel discouraged in their sanctification.