Title: TAPPING AN ETERNAL SOURCE OF POWER
Text: Ephesians 1:18-23
Just before WW II a fire swept through Itasca, Texas, burning the local school and killing 263 children in its path. It took the life out of the town. After the war was over a new school was erected, but this time with the finest sprinkler system of that day. When it was completed, the townspeople came out in droves to see the school. As they toured the school, the highlight was the sprinkler heads standing guard over the heads of the children. The parents sent their remaining children to class with confidence, knowing a fire would never again claim young lives in Itasca.
Seven years later the school needed to be enlarged. As contractors began their work, they discovered an appalling fact…the best sprinkler system that money could buy had never been connected!
Many Christians live ever day with a disconnection of even greater proportions. Through Christ’s sacrifice in our place, we gain access to a source of power beyond our comprehension. This power that heaved a stone away from a tomb carved the Grand Canyon. It stands ready to help you overcome temptation…it is available when depression overtakes you…or when life’s troubles become overwhelming. But if you are not connected to it, we are about as helpless as a sprinkler system without a water source.
Tonight we will examine God’s power, and then go a step further…we will look at why we tend to get disconnected, and then how we can turn it back on in our lives. To begin, let’s eavesdrop on Paul’s heartfelt prayer for the Ephesians. Read Text. Paul’s prayer reminds us of four reasons we can be confident in our relationship with God.
1. He raised Him from the dead. (1:20) Because we hear the resurrection story so much, do you think we tend to take it for granted? Without the Sunday School glorification of the story, what was the crucifixion really like? Did Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ help restore the reality of what happened for you? With that, what is the significance of God’s power bringing Christ’s body back to life three days later? Ps. 16:9-11
2. He seated Him at His right hand. (1:20) What do you think the significance is of seating Jesus at His right hand? (According to ancient practice, the seat at the right hand signified a position of equality. Christ will remain there until all His enemies have been overcome. 1 Cor. 15:20-25) Is there any significance in the fact that Jesus remains seated until He comes again? (It symbolizes His finished work and that he sits in authority until He comes again.)
Insight: Christ left His throne in order to secure your salvation. After His death and resurrection, the Father restored your Savior to that position of authority equal to His own.
3. He put all things in subjection under His feet. (1:22) To be under the foot of the conqueror means…? Ps. 110:1-2 Is Christ’s power relegated to the future only? Eph. 1:21
Insight: Everything that comes into our lives is under Christ’s power – the good and the bad, the past and the present, and even the future. Do you find that comforting?
4. He gave Him as head over all things in the Church. (1:22) If Christ is truly to be the head of the Church, how is that practically lived out? Eph. 4:15
5. We’ve seen God’s power at work in Christ. Now let’s see why we need to tap into that power. Verse 21 says that Christ sits above all rule, authority, power and dominion. What rule, authority, power and dominion do you think Paul is talking about? (Spiritual, because he addresses the issue again later in Eph. 6:12.)
Insight: Some of these personalities have made themselves Christ’s enemies and currently war against Him, and thus they are our enemies since we follow Christ. The enemy of Job and Peter are bent on trying to destroy us, but praise God, we have a Deliverer that is mightier than all…He sits above all power and dominion!
6. When did you first sense we are in a war, and there is a fight going on in the heavenly realm? Are you intimidated by that struggle, or do you engage it as the Lord moves you? What have you learned are essential elements to be equipped with before you go into the battle? (You can’t engage Satan without being strong in your walk with the Lord; purity in your heart; strong faith; assurance of the Lord’s power and presence; equipped with a good knowledge of Scripture; back-up prayer support.)
7. When does Satan strike you the most often? How have you learned to recognize his tactics/schemes?
8. Why do you think many Christians don’t rely upon God’s unmatched power when it comes to fighting the fight? (Simple – we get disconnected from Him.)
Insight: We may make a fatal mistake if we think we can handle things on our own. Being smart with loads of resolve and knowledge of how to solve problems, or even the fortitude to endure hardships are not all it takes to fight in the spiritual realm. If you approach that fight in the flesh, you will eventually fail. Satan looks for the chink in your armor and standing by to pierce you through with a problem deeper than your own resources. The only way to resist Him is to tap into God’s power and rely on His strength.
9. How can you tell when you are connected to God’s power?
Insight: You might find it odd, but the most fertile soil for our growth is not during the good times, but the times of weakness and doubt. Our weak moments are our allies, because they force us to depend on God. 2 Cor. 12:7-10 Admitting you are inadequate is the first step in connecting with God’s power.
Do you sometimes feel inadequate? If so, take heart – you are on your way to tapping into God’s strength and living a life of victory. God can’t empower those who want to live on their own power. He can’t glorify Himself through people who seek glory for themselves. Only through the weak can He show His strength,…only through the humble will He reveal His glory. IF this were not true, the Messiah would have been born the son of a king, not a carpenter; He would have been born in a palace, not a stable.
On a scale of one to ten, whose strength have you been relying on? 1 = self, 10 = God. What can you do to make your score higher?