- The Power of Resurrection
- Ephesians 1:15-23
- Lyndol Loyd April 21, 2019
It is my conviction that no matter how spiritual, intellectual, disciplined, or sophisticated we are, almost all of us can identify areas in our lives we would give anything to be able to change. Too many of us live with chains that bind us. We don’t seem to have the power to break the chains.
It is a terrible thing to be without power. Not having power to your home or office is a terrible inconvenience and not fun. Not having the power you need to change your life can be devastating.
But here is some really good news for us this Easter Sunday, God has an endless surplus of power that He wants to make available to us. Let’s be clear, He does not take away all of our struggles, but he does offer us power so we can begin working with Him at bringing about change in our lives and breaking the chains that bind us.
God wants to release His power for the purpose of transformation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” When we decide to devote our lives to following Jesus, we become whole new persons.
- It starts with understanding that God loves you passionately.
- Next, you begin living in God’s presence.
- Then you learn to walk in God’s power.
The core scripture passage for our “Power Up” series that we start this morning comes from Ephesians 1:15-23, the apostle Paul asks God to grant specific things to those who are followers of Christ. As we read through it together, I’d like for you to make some mental notes of what Paul asks God to give to us.
Ephesians 1:15-23 says, “15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom] and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.”
This is a very powerful prayer that Paul is praying on behalf of those who are seeking to follow Christ as part of the Church at Ephesus. I believe that if Paul were here with us today, he would most definitely pray the very same thing over those of us who are worshipping this morning at LakeRidge.
Along with praying for power, Paul asks God to give these Christians:
- a spirit of wisdom
- a better understanding of God
- eyes that are enlightened
- knowledge of the hope they have in Christ
- an understanding of the great inheritance they have as saints of God
- an experience of Christ resurrection power
I don’t know about you, but these are certainly things that I need in my life today. The list of things Paul is praying for the Ephesians are just as relevant to our lives today as they were during Paul’s day.
Paul prays for the same power that raised Jesus from the grave to be at work in the lives of believers. Think about it.
- What kind of power did it take for Jesus to be raised?
- What kind of power was exercised when Jesus broke the chains of the grave and death?
- What kind of power did it take for Jesus to overcome the sin of the world?
This isn’t some low amperage energy source. This is some serious power that we are talking about. Serious enough that I believe it deserves our attention and thought this morning.
When it comes to power, I might have a power problem. You might have a power problem, but let’s be clear about something – the one person who does not have a power problem is God.
Some people like to think of God as being retired. They envision God as a grandfatherly figure in a rocking chair who is saying, “Oh, my goodness, look at the condition of the world. It is all going to pieces”, while He wrings His hands and feels sad. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Go all the way back to the creation of the universe. The book of Genesis, the very first book of the Bible, records for us that God simply spoke and the world came into being.
- He said the word and the sun, moon, and stars appeared on the scene.
- He scattered the planets all over the universe with a simple flip of the wrist and a snap of His heavenly fingers.
- He simply issues a command and plant and animal life began.
Then there is the miracle of the creation of humanity. God created living beings with personality, language, energy, creativity, and the ability to relate to God. When we look at all God has created and how He sustains it every moment, we come face to face with His mighty power. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.”
Like many of you, I grew up here in the Texas Panhandle where the earth is about as flat as you can get and trees are few and far between. It is a commonly held truth that in this portion of the world that the only thing between you and the wind that surely blows is a couple of strands of barbed wire fence. At first glance, there isn’t much that most eyes would consider to be beautiful about this landscape.
But notice I said at first glance because what isn’t there in terms of land contour or vegetation is more than made up for in the wide open skies where you can see for miles and miles.
At the end of each day, if you look to the West, God puts on a light show that would defy anything you’ll ever experience at a theme park. The dust that blows mixes with the sky and setting sun to create an artist’s palette of red, orange, gold, purple and blue. The color is saturated and vivid.
When I moved back to Lubbock a few years ago, I was struck by the beauty of the sunsets once again. I had almost forgotten exactly how awesome they are.
As one of my old friends used to put it, “Okay folks, it’s time to stop and look outside at the sky. There’s about to be a show that God only puts on one time each day.” I see those sunsets and I understand about the power the Psalmist speaks about when he writes, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.”
Think about the first time you ever saw the ocean. Think about the first time you ever saw a mountain. Think about the first time you ever experienced snow or traveled to a place like the Grand Canyon. Think about your experiences with God’s creation.
Every person who has looked at the wonder of God’s created world has a sense of His great power. The heavens still scream out the truth that God reigns. The mountains and oceans sing His praises.
Think deeply about the revelation of God’s power through creation. This same power is at work in all followers of Christ. For you see, God, who created the heavens and earth created you. When you turn your life over to Him, He dwells in your life through the person of Jesus Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Think about the many miracles of God and the testimony that they are to the power of God. In the Old Testament, we read of God parting the waters of the Red Sea, collapsing the walls of Jericho, scattering manna from heaven, speaking through burning bushes, closing the mouths of lions, and the list goes on and on. Again and again God displayed His mighty power and strength through earth-shaking miracles.
The bottom line is that there are all sorts of Bible stories that tell about God’s miraculous power. Do you remember Daniel in the lion’s den? Daniel was tossed to the lions for dinner, but suddenly the lions weren’t hungry.
Or read the book of Jonah sometime. God appointed a storm to toss Jonah’s escape ship around. A little later the crew of the boat threw Jonah over the side and God sent a custom-made fish to swallow him. Three days later God tells the fish to deposit Jonah on the shore near God’s intended destination. Working miracles is no problem for our God.
The stories of Daniel and Jonah are from the Old Testament, but many such miracles are seen in the New Testament as well. Consider the birth of Jesus. What is the first thing God does to lead people to the celebration of the birth of Christ? He calls a star to point the way to a stable in Bethlehem. Scientist today have a hard enough time studying stars; in their wildest dreams they wouldn’t even try to create or control one.
Then you also have God causing the supernatural conception in Mary, a young, virgin girl who conceived a son by the Holy Spirit. When Jesus grows up, He does healing, causing the blind to see and the lame to walk. We see him changing water into wine and feeding multitudes of people with just a handful of food. We even see him raising people from the dead.
The greatest miracle of them all is when Jesus rose from the dead after giving His life for our sins. Who has that kind of power? The answer is clear… God does.
Some people would suggest that God no longer performs miracles. This is simply not true. God continues to heal bodies, hearts, relationships, emotions, and everything He chooses to touch.
- We don’t control God or manipulate him for our purposes.
- We also can’t claim healing or demand that God must always give us what we ask.
However, God still works powerful miracles in the lives of those who follow Him. If you don’t believe this, let me offer you an example:
My good friend Bill Rough was diagnosed with colon cancer and was told that he would need to go in for surgery to remove polyps. Obviously this was the kind of news that rocks a person’s world. Bill’s family and friends began to pray. When they went back in for his pre-op visit, the doctors examined him again and found absolutely no signs. They showed him his previous unmistakable test results and his pre-op results. The doctor looked him in the eye and said, “I can’t offer you any medical explanation for this. The only thing I can attribute this to is the power of prayer.”
I could offer you a litany of stories of the power of God at work through miracles, but here is what you really need to know. The same God who rose Jesus from the grave rules today.
The same Jesus who healed and worked miracles is alive. In Hebrews 13:8 we read, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
God has not changed; only our understanding of Him has changed.
- God still answers our prayers.
- He still gives strength to those who are weak.
- His Spirit continues to comfort those who are grieving.
- God has the power to give hope to the hopeless.
In perhaps his greatest act of power, God continues to offer forgiveness to sinful people who confess their wrongs and ask for His salvation. There is no power problem in heaven. God is still in charge, and He is more powerful than we could ever imagine.
And so, here we sit. Some of us have done this every week for as long as we can remember. For some of us, this is the one day a year we attend. Some of us were invited by a friend and we had the courage to actually say, “Yes.” And some of us simply showed up, almost by accident.
All of us have areas in which we need to experience God’s presence and mighty power. This morning I want to ask you to consider in what area of your life do you need to experience God’s breakthrough power?
Easter. Jesus died, Jesus rose again, and Jesus wants to live in us.
What can Christ’s resurrection possibly mean to us today? It means that the same power that was able to resurrect Christ from the grave is available to you and to me to resurrect the dead areas of our lives.
Jesus died. Jesus rose again. Jesus wants to live in you.