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The Transforming Power of God

21/04/2022

The Transforming Power of God

Text: Ephesians 1:15-23

We have been thinking about the resurrection, and we have seen that the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the general resurrection of the dead at the last day are inextricably linked. In this study we are going to discover that in between those two events, the ordinary believer is living in, and experiencing every day, the life-changing, mighty resurrection power of God, through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Perhaps Paul sums it up for us in  Philippians 3:10  

1. The Need of Prayer for the Church.V15  

Paul is absent from the Ephesians and he is writing to encourage them, – for he wants them to grow in the Lord and progress in their Christian life, and in his letter he includes a prayer. v16  These people have faith in Jesus and they have Christian love for all the saints, but they still needed prayer.  Let that be an encouragement for us, for no matter how spiritual a Christian may be, no matter how mature, no matter how godly, how learned, how long on the Christian road – every believer needs our prayers.  It’s in the context of that prayer that Paul tells them that the same extraordinary divine power that raised Jesus from the dead is also at work in them! It is that mighty power that is changing them!  Paul told the Corinthians much the same thing in 2 Corinthians 3:17-18  

2. The Nature of Power from ChristEphesians 3:16-17 

The Holy Spirit, who was instrumental in raising Christ from the dead, is working in us, with MIGHT! With that mighty resurrection power.  Look again at our passage in Ephesians 1. Paul states that God’s empowerment will give us:

  • Better Knowledge V17 When we are converted by God, the Holy Spirit is at work, – he enlightens us and regenerates us, and  gives us new life.  But that work of the Holy Spirit doesn’t stop at conversion, it goes on right throughout our Christian life – we often call that ‘sanctification’ –  Let’s look at two of these important words…
    • Revelation! This is not ‘new revelation.’  This is not God, giving us through the Holy Spirit some new doctrine, or some personal revelation.   This is more akin to ‘ILLUMINATION’ –  opening our eyes to understand what God has already told us in his Word. It is the entry of the Word of God that changes us, and it is the Holy Spirit that applies that word to our hearts.  Ephesians 5:25-26 There’s another word here though, and I think it will give us some balance on this…
    • Knowledge!  The word ‘knowledge’ as used here is more than just a ‘head knowledge.’  The knowledge of Christ that the Holy Spirit works in us is to give us a passionate, intimate, two-way relationship with Jesus, a warm heartfelt knowledge and relationship.  1 Corinthians 2:12  

So, the work of God the Holy Spirit in the believer will  give us a balanced knowledge of Christ. 

  • Clearer Vision. v18  It’s as if Paul is reminding these people about their conversion when their eyes were opened by God, when they passed from darkness into light.  He’s going to show them now how the Spirit, applying the resurrection power of Christ is going to do in/toward them:-
    • He’s giving them hope!  Hope is the opposite of despair, and how often are we Christians in despair at the conditions of this world. What hope do we have? The Christians hope is the glory of God!  Romans 5:2  In Ephesians 1:14, Paul is talking about the Holy Spirit, in our life, as a guarantee of heaven, and says, V14  Now in v18  he tells us that the Holy Spirit will make us aware of that glorious day, to get our eyes off the troubles and discouragements of this world, and fix our spiritual vision on heaven!
    • He’s declaring their value to God!  Here’s something that we don’t often see enough – something that Paul wants these Ephesian believers to see. God is creating an inheritance for himself and for his Son.  Think of what he could have as an inheritance, the who universe is his, every planet, every galaxy, all the grandeur and beauty of creation. But out of all creation, what did he choose as his inheritance? He choseUS! WE are God’s inheritance, and we need to have a clear vision of that, and we can do, through the mighty power of God working in us, – his Holy Spirit.  1 Peter 2:9  

So God’s work in opening the eyes and enlightening the heart don’t stop at conversion!  We are continually being enlightened. Specifically, we learn more and more about our `christian hope, and about our Christian inheritance.  More and more about the prospect of our own resurrection and about our eternal home.

  • More Power. V19-20  Now all of that would be impossible without God’s power, working in us.  It is power that cannot be measured.  Paul goes to great lengths to describe it, and he probably still can’t do God’s power justice, for it it inexpressible in human terms.  It is IMMEASURABLE IN ITS GREATNESS, it is GREAT MIGHT.   
    • It is IN or TOWARD us. But best of all it is WORKING. God’s power cannot be described, but we can see that it works! It works in us. It is so great that it raised Christ from the dead, and so great that one day it will raise us up too.  In between, it is still working.
    • It is an ANTIDOTE to the power of this world. These Christians live in Ephesus, a city obsessed with superstition. Paul knew this, for at Ephesus Paul had been arrested following a riot.  2 Timothy 4:14  The city was full of false religion, Acts 19:13-16. Some of these sorcerers seemed to have great power. The world hasn’t changed. But as believers we have a greater power!  1 John 4:4,  
    • It is for every believer! There are those who claim to be spirit-filled believers, who will claim that they are living lives full of God’s power, living victorious lives, above the ordinary. The Bible knows nothing of this. Paul is praying for all these believers, that they may ALL know God’s power. That every single believer knows and experiences the life changing, transforming, sanctifying power of God, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is working in you and in me.

Paul would confirm this to the Romans, in Romans 8:37  

So, Paul looks at a church, a Godly church, living the life, and he recognises that even the best churches need prayer. So he prays that God will be at work in them, giving them a better knowledge of Christ, a clearer vision of our own status in Christ, and some appreciation of the power of God that is available to us and working in us, to prepare us for glory.

© Bob McEvoy April 2022

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