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041308The Might and Majesty of Christ-Ephesians 1.19-23

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The Might and Majesty of Christ ~ Ephesians 1:19-23

For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.                                                    Ephesians 1:15-23

This morning we are finishing Paul’s prayer found at the end of Ephesians1.  In this prayer he thanks God for the Ephesians faith and love and he prays that his readers will grow in their understanding of God’s calling, inheritance and power.  In the middle of verse 19 Paul turns our attention to the demonstration of God’s power through Christ.

I.      The Might of Christ-Paul uses four words in vs. 19 to emphasize the power available to all believers in Christ.  “…and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might…” 

a.    The emphasis

i.       Power (dunamis) – the words dynamite and dynamo come from this Greek word.  This word represents achieving power, as in miracles.

ii.     Working (energeia) - the energizing force of the Spirit that empowers believers to live for the Lord

iii.    Strength (kratos)­ – manifested power or dominion.  Has the sense of the presence of strength rather than the exercise of it.

iv.   Might (ischus) – endowed power and ability

All of this power Paul talks about…His working, His strength, and His might is combined together to assure the believer that God’s promise of being in His presence for eternity is secure.  Paul now gives an example of the multiplied power of God.

b.    The example – vs. 20

Have you ever been tempted to doubt that God can get you to your eternal destination?  Do you ever doubt that God is able to fill your needs or wonder if God can really use you?  Consider the unseen power in a growing seed…

Turnip seeds, under good conditions, increase their weight 15 times a minute, and in rich soil turnip seeds may increase their weight 15,000 times a day.

There is no force more powerful than a growing squash. A squash 18 days old has been harnessed in such a way that in its growing process it lifted 50 pounds on lever—19 days later it lifted 5,000 pounds.

Listen to this. “These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,”  Vss.19-20

The power that Paul is praying for the Ephesians is the power that raised Jesus from the dead and it is yours through Christ because we know that it was the Father’s good pleasure that all the fullness [of deity] should dwell in Him .  It is the power that Jesus used to raise Lazarus from the dead and it is yours through Christ.

“It is God who is at work in you,” Paul assures us, “both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phi_2:13). Paul accomplished his work for the Lord through the strength the Lord supplied, “striving according to His power, which mightily works within me” (Col_1:29). Just before His ascension Jesus assured the disciples, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Act_1:8), which every believer receives at the time he is saved. God “is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Eph_3:20)

Each believer is assured of this power and it is this power that will one day raise us from the dead.

Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.                                                                1 Corinthians 6:14

Paul has been talking about the power and might of God made available to us through Christ.  Now he changes focus from might to majesty.  Look at verses 20-23.

which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.                                                                                    Ephesians 1:20-23

God exerted His power when he raised Christ from the dead and he does it again when he exalts Him by seating Him at His right hand. Peter O’Brien says that, ‘The Resurrection proclaims “He lives — and that for ever”; the Exaltation proclaims “He reigns — and that for ever” ’ I am talking now about…

II.     The Majesty of Christ

a.    Seated at the right hand of the Father – the honor of at the right hand of a ruler has long been sought after.  It is recognized as a position of special honor.  This is true in the biblical history as well.

So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king arose to meet her, bowed before her, and sat on his throne; then he had a throne set for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right.1 Kings 2:19

In Psalm 110:1 David foretells the lofty position Christ will have.  The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”                         Psalm 110:1

Much is said in the Old Testament about the powerful and righteous right hand of God.  To be seated at the right hand of God Is indeed an exalted position.  It showed the honor that God bestowed on His son.  F.F. Bruce says, “the power with which God works in the lives of believers is the same might by which he raised Christ from death to share his throne.”

Not only is Christ’s position at God’s right hand a place of honor but also a place of authority.  It means that Christ…

b.    Possesses full authority – vs. 21 says, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.                  Ephesians 1:21

Paul does not go into great detail here about what he means by each individual entity mentioned.  Elsewhere in Paul’s writings they are linked to the “enemies” the Psalmist wrote about in Psalm 110, those will become a footstool for His feet.  He has in focus the spiritual forces that are now against Him.  He may also have in mind the “heavenly host”, the angels that do continue to serve God as they were created to do.  The point is that Christ is not just superior to these other powers, Paul says that he is far above them.

In Colossians 1 we read that Christ is the creator all things. 

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.                                                                  Colossians 1:16

The creator always has power and authority over the created.  Christ is far above them all.

Paul also says that Christ’s name is far above…every name that is named.  There should be no question of Paul’s intent here.  Paul says in Philippians 2 that when God exalted Christ to the throne He gave Him “the name which is above every name”.  Christ is supreme over all, whether it be on heaven or earth, in this age or the age to come!

What is the result of His supremacy?  Look at vs. 22.  It says, “He put all things in subjection under His feet…”    The picture comes to mind of the victorious knight with his sword held high in the air and his foot resting on his defeated foe.  Christ reigns supreme.

There is another aspect of this truth that has marvelous application for us in the church.  It means that Christ is also…

c.    Head of the church

Paul finishes his prayer by bringing the authority of Christ closer to home for all who believe. 

and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.                 Ephesians 1:22b-23

Christ is head of the church.  We understand that Christ is our authority and we also understand that we, the church, are considered his body.  The two are inexorably connected just as the human body to be connected to the head.  When the human body is separated from its head, there is no life left in the body.  So it is with the church.  If the church separates itself from the head there will no longer be life in that body.  The church that no longer submits herself to the authority of Christ and his word will be a dead church. 

There is one more connection mentioned here that is encouraging.  Verse 23 reads, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.  We know that the fullness of deity rests in Christ.  And that Christ is the fullness of the church.  He is the one who fills all in all.  But we also note here that Paul says that the body [the church] is also the fullness of Him [Christ]. 

John Calvin explains it this way, “This is the highest honor of the church that until He is united to us, the Son of God reckons Himself in some measure incomplete. What consolation it is for us to learn that not until we are in His presence does He possess all His parts, nor does He wish to be regarded as complete.”

The church is of great significance to our savior.  Therefore every believer is of great significance to our savior. 

What does this mean for you today and tomorrow?

The whole point of Paul’s prayer is that we will understand how secure we are in Christ and how resolute and unchangeable is our hope of eternal inheritance.  The power that will bring us to glory is now at work in you to bring you to your eternal home.

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