I. PAUL'S PRAYER FOR THE EPHESIANS IS FOR THE MOST PART A PRAYER FOR KNOWLEDGE.
A. The knowledge of God.
B. The knowledge of the hope of their calling.
C. Knowledge of the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.
D. This final request is that they might know the exceeding greatness of His power to us who believe according to the working of His mighty power.
E. To know the power that is available to you as a child of God.
1. Jesus said, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth."
a. How much power do you suppose that is.
b. Look out at our vast Universe, it was sufficient to put it all into motion.
c. What do you suppose you would do if you had that much power?
d. What would you use it for?
2. He then commanded His disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
a. That doesn't sound quite right. I have all the power, now you go out and face the hostile world.
b. The answer is in the next words of Jesus, "And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
c. As He is with us that power is available to us.
F. I believe that it is important that we know the power available to us.
1. Many times we cringe before the enemy when we should be standing firm.
2. There are many ventures we will not even attempt because of our sense of weakness.
3. As a result many times the church is retreating when it should be advancing.
4. Do you feel that you are too weak to go on? Take cheer, Jesus said to Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect in your weakness."
5. Paul asked in Romans 8
. "If God be for us who can be against us."
a. When king Asa went out against the great army of the Ethiopians we read,
And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, [it is] nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou [art] our God; let not man prevail against thee.
b. When Johnathan went out to face the Philistines he said to his armorbearer,
Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for [there is] no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.
G. Note that the power is to those who believe, so that it is not enough just to know the power available to us, but to believe that God will provide that power in the time of need.
1. Jesus said to the father whose son was possessed by an evil spirit,
If thou can believe, all things [are] possible to him that believeth.
2. Jesus said to Martha at the tomb of Lazarus, "Did I not say to you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
3. No one is more desirous of seeing the power of God than I.
a. I have not the slightest interest in seeing the shams of unscrupulous men who seek to pass off their charades as the power of God in action.
b. For a man to pass himself off as the Holy Spirit bar tender dispensing spiritual powers, to me borders on blasphemy, and I want to stay as far away from that nonsense as I possibly can, so that when the judgment of God comes, I will not be close enough to feel the heat.
c. It is not the power to pin a person to the floor, or to induce them to laugh uncontrollably, or to shake with convulsive jerks that I am interested in.
d. It is the power to live the overcoming life in Jesus.
e. The Lord is more interested in your walking straight than your falling over backward.
II. WE HAVE THE POWER TO LIVE A VICTORIOUS LIFE IN JESUS.
A. Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.
1. In Chapter 3 we have a second prayer of Paul for the Ephesians. In this prayer He asks God to do some incredibly impossible things for them, he then closes the prayer with these words of assurance, "Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us."
2. This is the power that Paul desires them to know.
a. The power to walk worthy of their calling.
b. The power to walk in love.
c. The power to resist temptation.
B. We have the power to overcome the evil one.
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1. The power not to be just a conqueror, but more than a conqueror.
2. The powers of darkness cannot overcome me, for greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.
3. If you only knew the exceeding greatness of His power toward you, you would never again tremble before the foe.
4. Paul cried,
But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
III. THE POWER IS ACCORDING TO THE WORKING OF HIS MIGHTY POWER.
A. This mighty power was manifested in the creation of the Universe.
B. It has been manifested many times in the history of man.
C. It was manifested in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. "Which was wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead."
D. That God raised His Son from the dead is clearly manifested in the scriptures.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fullness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.
2. Peter interpreted that Psalm in Acts 2
Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
Men [and] brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
E. Jesus said in John 10
, I lay down My life, and I take it up again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
F. Thus when Paul wrote to the Romans concerning Jesus he said, that He was declared [to be] the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
G. That same power that raised Jesus from the dead, dwells in you.
H. Paul desired that they might know that exceeding greatness of that power.