The Gift of Power

Dustin Folden December 20, 2020 Ephesians 3:14-21
Outline

Ephesians 1:18-21 - 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.

2 keys to exchange our weakness for God’s power

I. Understand the Gift of God’s Power (v14-17)

A. God’s power is infinite

Ephesians 3:14-16 - For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory…

Philippians 4:19 - And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

B. God’s power is at work in your inner man

Ephesians 3:16b - …to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man…

2 Corinthians 4:16 - Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

C. God’s power is delivered through the Holy Spirit

D. The purpose of God’s power is that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith

II. Grow in Response to the Gift of God’s Power (v18-21)

A. By comprehending the limitless love of Christ

Ephesians 3:18-19 - …may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge…

B. With all the saints

Ephesians 3:18 - …with all the saints…

Ephesians 3:21 - …to Him be the glory in the church…

Ephesians 4:16 - …from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

C. In Christ-like maturity

Ephesians 3:19 - …that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God…

Ephesians 3:20 - …power that works within us…

Ephesians 4:12-13 - …for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Ephesians 4:15 - …but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ…

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 - And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Have you ever taken part in a white elephant gift exchange?…you bring a gift and place it in the pile, and then there are a lot of ways to do it, but you get a different gift that someone else brought…so you bring something, and you leave with something else…it is a gift exchange.

Imagine if you wrapped up old items you had from grade school and left with brand new items…you would be pretty excited, and no one would invite you to another gift exchange.

  1. Let’s say you wrapped up your old solar power calculator….and you left with a brand new gaming laptop with all the bells and whistles. Latest processor and graphics cards…able to get on a conference calls in the blink of an eye.
  2. Perhaps you wrap up an old flip phone and leave with a new iPhone 12
  3. Or let’s say you wrapped up the keys to the bike lock that is keeping your old trusty rusty BMX bike secure outside…and you left with the keys to a brand new Shelby GT….

Everyone is like…where does this gift exchange take place at….sign me up….Well, when we think about God’s gift in the gospel of Jesus Christ…we continue to understand we get something much much better than we exchange.

You see in this case…Each of those gifts, in addition to the difference of age and cost…have a huge difference in power…You can do a lot more with a laptop than you can a calculator….you can do a lot more than just make calls with an iPhone….and you can get to baseball practice a lot quicker in a Shelby GT….there is a huge difference in power….

As we read the epistles one of the things we see is that Paul constantly prayed for believers…He wanted them to understand they had something much more powerful that a muscle car…

Paul prays in Eph 1:15-23 that the Ephesians would know God, know how God views them (know themselves), and know His power.

Ephesians 1:18–21 — 18 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, 19 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 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 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.

Paul also prays for the Ephesians to know His power…The same power that raised Jesus from the dead…in other words, this is not simply an intellectual exercise, but this is about real life….It is not about taking a written test but doing on the job training with power tools….this is not about being an observer but a participant…it is not about watching the Indy 500…but being strapped to 1000 horsepower turbocharged racecar and actually driving 50 laps.

Paul wants them to know that kind of power is not only available theoretically but actually…and he prays for them to experience God’s power in their life and Paul expands on what that power is and how it works.

You see Power means hope…Power means there are resources and strength to move forward even in the muck and mud of life. Power to overcome sin and death.

When we consider the power of God at work in the Christian’s life…there is hope no matter the circumstances. For new gentile believers in Ephesus who may feel like they don’t have any power…well Paul prays that they understand that they actually do.

During the holidays we exchange gifts…but the Greatest Gift is the gift of Christ…and with that Gift, there is an exchange …we get something much better than we give up….Part of the gift exchange based on the Gospel of Jesus is the change of power… we don’t have a rusty BMX bike…we have a turbo charged Shelby GT…powered by the infinite glory and the majesty and strength of our Lord.

What that means is we have more than enough horsepower to live for the Lord.

This section in Ephesians that we are studying this morning… is a pivot point in the book…as the first 3 chapters describe the amazing position we have in Christ…and we need to know and understand that position…but then the next 3 chapters talk about how to practically live that position out…and Paul is emphasizing that believers have the power supplied by God, through the Gospel…to live out practically what follows.

Now the Context before this prayer is the amazing truth that the Gentiles are fellow partakers of the promises of Christ…and also the context is meant to encourage them so that they would not lose hope due to tribulations Paul is experiencing…

Paul prays for the Ephesians to understand the power they have as followers of Christ so that they would live and grow in light of His great power….and so we too must pray for a better understanding of God’s power so that we don’t just learn about Him, but that we actually live for Him.

You see in the Gospel…Jesus took on human weakness…He took our weakness coming as a helpless baby, taking on human frailty…Hunger, Pain, temptation…and He died, laid down His life…

…but He conquered sin and death…and even though He took our weakness…He not only defeated death, but gave us new life…and power to go with that new life…so that as new creations, as followers of Christ, we would have the power to Live for Him….To worship Him, To represent Him, to Follow Him...to live out our purpose as image bearers…to be what God created us to be.

So this morning we will study…

The Gift of Power: God takes our weakness and gives us His power

*Read Eph 4:14-21

With our time this morning let’s look at

2 Keys to exchange our weakness for God’s power.

Understand the gift of God’s Power v14-17

The word for Power comes from the same word we get dynamite from…so you begin to understand a bit about power…but God’s power can do more and is more focused in purpose that just moving dirt, or blowing something up.

The first thing we need to do is seek to understand God’s power…and how His power is very different than our weakness. There is a difference source of power available to us than simple man centered effort…and we need to understand that power…

First we see that

God’s power is infinite

  1. 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory

In the ancient near east…the Patriarch of the Family, the Father had the power to give blessing, inheritance… We see Paul bowing His knees, going to the Lord, and making a request to the Father on behalf of the Ephesians…

We have to understand that in this exchange: God’s power has no bounds...nothing is too difficult to the one who speaks the world into existence…the same power of the resurrection is in view.

Paul in His prayer recognizes the great Power our heavenly Father has…every family on earth, would not be here if not for God, our creator….So Paul recognizes He is making His request to the one with absolute power and authority over all life.

He is not asking for a AAA battery when a lightning bolt is available. Note that God’s power is vast, infinite…the request is according to the riches of His glory….

Paul picks up this same theme in Philippians when he says…

  1. Philippians 4:19 — 19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

I often think I have power to try to get the next thing that I want…and in reality there is a much grander plan, and a much greater source of power available than just my next desire….

So The point is there is plenty of power to accomplish what Paul is asking for… there is more than enough power available, but we must understand where that power is to be focused.

You see..

God’s power is at work in your inner man

  1. Eph 3:16b - “to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man”

There is a very clear focus on the power being directed to the immaterial part of man…

  • if we think that god’s power is simply being directed toward us so that we can be healthy, and wealthy, and people will think we are smart or talented because of our physical beauty or prowess…
  • we will be filled with despair when that fades…and if we think the focus should be on our outer man we will lose heart very quickly…

Paul says in…

  1. 2 Corinthians 4:16 — 16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

… so many godly senior saints in our church have to walk slowly, or have arthritis or a variety of physical challenges, but they have such a sweet spirit, such a servants heart, such a care for others…

That is the Power of God on display….the flipside is that many young and old can display bitterness, sinful anger and selfishness no matter how fast they can run a mile.

  • And so when you think about this exchange…We can exchange a focus on temporary physical well-being for a focus on inner man strength and power.
  • Of course we need to be good stewards of our bodies…but the outer man is going to get weaker…but by Gods power, the inner man can get stronger…

And we need to understand that this is a prayer…so we are asking God to work in the inner man…and we see in the text that…

God’s Power is delivered through the Holy Spirit

Later in Ephesians chapter 5 we are called to be wise, to know what the will of God is…and to not get drunk with wine, but to be filled with the Spirit…

We can be encouraged that the Lord is delivering this power through the Holy Spirit…and we are to respond to the Holy Spirit, and allow the conviction of the Holy Spirit according to the will of God revealed in scripture to control us…to govern us…

So instead of trying to control others to get what you want…you can focus on how the Lord wants to control you through the Holy Spirit…

we can exchange manipulation, bribery, deceit, seeking to control others…we can exchange that for the holy conviction of the indwelling Holy Spirit filling and controlling me.

  1. God is not going to give you the power to make others do what you want…even if you want good things for them,…He is going to give you the power to respond to the Holy Spirit convicting and controlling you.
  1. But amazingly, God’s power can be on display beyond your inner man…and The impact and influence we can have on other people because of our godliness that starts in the inner man and bears fruit is much more powerful than trying to manipulate and control people.

That is because God’s power is working in our inner man, through the Holy Spirit….

  • so that we can bear the fruit of the spirit…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…

Paul goes on as he prays to reveal the purpose of this power made available to us….

The purpose of God’s power is that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith

  1. Now He is writing to believers in Ephesus, who have already trusted the Lord…they are members of the body, and partakers of the promise of Christ…
  1. so he is talking about what takes place after one makes a profession of faith and places their trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross…

So when Paul prays that God would strengthen them in their inner man so Christ would dwell in their heart through faith…he is talking about their relationship with the Lord growing where a believers trusts Him more and more and more….

  • He uses the Word “to dwell which carries a permanent focus…like one who is setting into a place, rather than just renting…
  • When you rent, maybe you put up pictures, but you don’t take down any walls….
  • But when a couple buys a new home…say a fixer upper… over time, they make lots of changes and decorate it based on their taste, their personality, what they value and think is important for their home.

Well God does the same thing in our heart, and He is not renting…

  • He has purchased it with His own blood, and He is looking to remodel and redecorate….
  • You see God’s power is to be applied where our heart is decorated with the characteristics of Jesus…because we are new creations, we are now followers of Christ…rather than followers of our own desires.

We are united to Christ, and we are in a marital relationship with Him…He has moved in…and There is to be a renovation and redecorating that is to go on through your whole life in your inner man….

Where your heart, your control center looks more and more like Jesus’ home…the decorations of your heart…the character of your heart…is to look more and more like His character…

  • If He is making your heart His home…your heart is to look more and more like what He values, what He cares about, what He thinks is important and beautiful.

This process requires Faith.,…Like “O we are taking that wall down”…I sorta like that wall, that wall protected me, made me feel important, respected, …I have to trust that His designs and decorations are better than mine…so

  • Instead of putting on a new coat of paint…you put on kindness….and by faith you trust that responding to a coworker with kindness is better than responding with sharpness.
  • Instead of a smattering of family photos…you share the gospel with boldness, seeking to share the truth with others so that they can be part of God’s forever family.
  • Instead of new furniture…you invest your time and resources serving others…building others up in Christlike love….because you, by Faith, trust that is better than living for yourself.

it is faith in what Christ loves and represents...He dwells in my heart through faith…

  • as I trust that telling the truth right now is better than lying to make myself look good…
  • I trust that serving instead of being served is better right now…
  • I trust that returning good for evil now is better than bitterness and sinful anger.

You see…I want to make my heart His abode…

  • a place that reflects Who He is and His values.

Now…Redecorating takes resources…And God is going to give you the power, the resources to do that….but you have to start by being honest about what needs to change…

You share pictures of your inner man with how you live…the mouth speaks form that which fills the heart…

  • So if there are heirloom items in your heart… that characterize how you respond to people and situations…
  • ….like getting even, prideful responses when interrupted, expecting others to serve you, treating people how you think they deserve to be treated, looking down on people who are not as capable as you or see things different than you…
  • …rest assured the Lord is looking to flip the house.

So we can respond and we can exchange the temporary man centered solutions for the solutions that are Christ centered to reflect His character and what He loves.

This leads into our second key point…the first is that we must understand His power…That it is infinite, that it is working on our inner man through the Holy Spirit and that we would trust the Lord so much so that our heart is His Home…it reflects His style rather than ours.

How do we do this…well we need to focus on growing…we need to …

Grow in response to the gift of God’s Power v18-21

We start by….

By Comprehending the limitless love of Christ

Paul goes on to pray that they…

  1. Eph 3:18-19 - may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge
  • You are not going to focus on this exchange each day unless you understand the vast love of Christ…
  • God loved you while you were His enemy…His love was demonstrated that He would send His only begotten son, to die a horrible, suffering innocent death in your place, so that you can have eternal life….
  • Paul is saying…in order to grow with the power God supplies, knowing the Love of Christ is critical…to actually change and grow.
  • You really only know something by doing and practicing it.
  • Paul doesn’t want them to just take a quiz about God’s love…he wants them to experience it, to believe it, to know more and more about it as they go about their daily lives.
  • We don’t have to know everything…but we do need to know the one who loves us with a perfect majestic love.
  • His love is so wonderful and deep and infinite…we need His power even to comprehend a fraction of it and believe it and then live in light of it.
  • So imitate Paul….and Ask the Lord to help you understand Christ’s love for you…ask the Lord to help you this Christmas contemplate the Christmas story with fresh eyes, and really think about what it means for a Father to send His only innocent son to die for His enemy, so that His enemy might live and become a part of His forever family
  • …try as you may, you will never exhaustively comprehend the amazing love of our God…
  • yet you should pray that God will continue to help you know His love better and better each year.

And the encouraging news is that you don’t have to do it alone…you have brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage you in the body…we are to grow…

With all the saints

Paul says…

  1. “Together with all the saints” v18
  1. “To Him be the glory in the church” v21

Later in Ephesians Paul says….

  1. Ephesians 4:16 — 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

As we love each other in community and in real life…we began to experience God’s love that goes beyond knowledge and we get a taste of His love, not just a receipt.

One day when we see the Lord face to face and experience His glory and His love in person, it will be wonderful…but until that day we need to trust His love for us, based on the demonstration of His love at the cross…but we also get to experience His love through the body of Christ.

  1. Note the connection to building up and growing…being rooted is imagery of a plant growing, and breath, height, length, depth is imagery describing building.
  1. This is bigger than just us individually….
  1. A plant puts down roots and they spread a building gets built taller and wider…
  1. The Lord wants His glory to fill the earth…and We are His image bearers…
  1. …His love is what gives you the roots to stand firm in the life…and His love gives you purpose to build a life of meaning and consequence.

[Gospel Presentation] – perhaps your first step is to trust the D/B/R of Jesus so that you are added to the body of Christ…

If you have already trusted Christ… I want to encourage you the rest of this year and in the new year…exchange isolation for moving toward the body of Christ, rather than away from it, so that you would experience and share God’s love more and more.

  • And as You show love to others, especially when it is hard…you also began to know the Love of Christ better…How He loved you through the hardest trial.

The more you do this…the more like Christ you become…God’s power strengthens us to grow …

In Christ-like Maturity

Paul says….

  1. “That you may be filled with all the fullness of God” v19

And….

  1. “Power that works within us” v20

What is the fullness of God,…and what is the purpose of that power at work in us…well if we look a bit further in Ephesians…we see what the purpose of God’s power is for…

  1. Ephesians 4:12–13 — 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

We are to serve, and build up the body…so we all have unity through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ…and We know to grow in our knowledge of the Son of God…but that knowledge is to be applied experientially in how we live, so that we actually mature…and the maturity is not just a better version of ourselves…it is a more Christ-like self.

We are to be filled with the fullness of God…Our heart is to be His home…We are to become more like Him…He will bless that Goal…He will give you the power to accomplish that initiative.

He is not going to give you the power to make others do what you want…but He will give you to power to become more like Christ…

  1. Ephesians 4:15 — 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
  1. Exchange: I exchange the standard of comparing myself to others, or being complacent with where I am spiritually and instead I focus on the power God supplies to conform me to the image of His Son.

One of the biggest Christlike characteristics is Humility…The Lord humbled himself and took on human weakness…He took on our weakness...

  • He appeared to have no power when He was in fact the most powerful….
  • and so if we are to grow and Change…we must understand that Humility and Power go hand and hand in God’s kingdom.

Paul after asking the Lord to remove a thorn in his flesh says….

  1. 2 Corinthians 12:9–10 — 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

When we are content with the reality that our outer man is decaying, and that people are not going to always view us like we want then to….and living in a broken sin cursed world is different than heaven…

  • when we humbly accept that…there is a Christ like power available to us….
  • a Power that comes from trusting the Lord…His ways, His timing, His plan of redemption….

when we recognize the Lord took our weaknesses…took on human flesh to die for us…so we might live…we then have power to deny ourselves…to die to ourselves…and we can exchange what We want for the Lord’s will…

We then have access to power to become more like Christ...and that is stronger than anything else on this earth.

  • But it is a power the Focuses on the Glory of the Lord and not our own…
  • it is a power that works in our inner man, rather than making everything in our lives go how we want it to go….
  • It is a power that helps us put on humility, contentment, and bear the fruit of the Spirit…
  • and it is a power that exults the person and work of Jesus Christ.

I pray you would know that power…

  • that you would experience that power in your life …
  • as you know the Love of Christ more and more
  • …and you grow to become like Christ more and more….

Because as Paul says…He is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…He is using all things to conform us to the image of His son…That power is working within believers…so that He would receive all the Glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever…

Let’s pray to that end.

Authors

Dustin Folden

Roles

Pastor of Discipleship & Extension Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.S - Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Dustin Folden and his wife Trisha joined the Pastoral Staff in 2010. They have two children, Mackenna & Sawyer. They enjoy playing board games, cooking together and going on hiking adventures. Pastor Folden shepherds the 9:30 worship service, oversees the Adult Bible Fellowship ministry, the Wednesday evening Faith Community Institute as well as serves in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.

Read Dustin Folden's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Folden to Faith Church.