Ephesians • Sermon • Submitted
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Introduction: “On every page of the New Testament there meets you a wonderful sense of energy, exhilaration, overpowering vitality.” The early disciples are almost uncannily efficient, serenely and superbly adequate for life’s most difficult demands. Their watchword was “He is able!”
And their confidence was based on the power of the God they firmly believed in. All one has to do is to observe the change in the disciples after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Before His resurrection they were afraid...hiding behind locked doors...after the resurrection they were in the temple precincts preaching the Gospel. Even when beaten and jailed and commanded to preach no more in the name of Jesus...still they preached saying "we must obey God rather than men!"
Paul challenged the church at Ephesus with the words of our text. Later he wrote to the church at Philippi, "I can do all things through Christ..." Their confidence was not in their own strength, in fact, it was in their weakness that God's power was evident.
This same confidence is available for every Christian who is willing to truly trust the power and ability of God.
To this point, J. S. Stewart, said, "A thousand difficulties may lie across the path: He is able to bring us through! Hot passionate temptations may threaten wreck and ruin: He is able to give the victory! The whole world may seem to be going to the devil, the human race careening headlong to destruction: He is able to bring it to God! All the way through there keeps breaking out the rallying trumpet note: He is able!" We may wonder how can we ever see the victory through the mess the world is in...but God Can! We may wring our hands with worry about tomorrow...but we need to remember that God is still on His throne!
Who can show us the way to go? God can!
Who can deliver us from the evil that is so rampant? God can!
Who can help us overcome our worry and fear? God can!
Who can take our mess and turn it into a Yes? God can!
Who can bring about revival in the hearts of men? God can!
Who can defeat the devil and all the evil that he works in our world? God can and God will!
So, this morning I want us to turn to the New Testament and document this great truth that "God is able!"
I. “Subdue all things to Himself” ()
Paul writes, "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself." (3:20,21)
Obviously as Paul wrote those words he could hardly contain his thrill at what God is going to do. Our brothers and sisters in the first century expected great things of their great God and as a result God was able to do great things through them.
Never for a moment did these Christians doubt that Christ's Kingdom was set for victory. They saw Him not only as King of the church but as King of the world...even the universe. They firmly believed that every principality and power would yet go down before Him, every tongue would confess Him as Lord of all, every knee would bow before His authority, every bell in the universe would peal out His praise alone.
Paul uttered such words even in the face of domineering Rome. Rome's hand was against the church but even that strong hand would yield to the power of God.
The cross and the resurrection of Christ was the final blow to all the powers of the world. Nothing could ever stop Jesus now. Included in Jesus' last words before returning to heaven were words of power, "All authority is given to Me in heaven and in earth!"
This truth declares for us that there is no power...no ruler...no authority...no pressure...no government...not even the devil himself will be able to overcome or stand against the Power of the Risen Lord. He can and He will subdue all things to Himself!
That is the primary message of the Book of Revelation. Randy Harris simplifies the Book of Revelation by saying: "There are two sides...God and Satan...God wins...Satan loses...choose a side...don't be stupid!
But there's more...
II. “Save to the Uttermost” (; ; )
Listen to these three Scriptures:
, "He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."
The Apostle Paul knew the truth of that verse personally. When he wrote his first letter to Timothy he said that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners among who I am chief." (1:15). Paul had personally experience the amazing grace of God. He could say, "I was a blasphemer and a persecutor of the church...He saved me from that!"
Another cries, "I was a leper...cut off from society...miserable in body and in mind...He saved me from that!"
Another confesses, "I was a slave to the power of sin...ruined and lost, but He saved me from that!"
Put your name and your experience there. I can. We all can. And we all should be able to declare, "He saved me from that!"
, "...I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that Day."
These words are from a man whose life was almost over, who was lying in prison, facing martyrdom for his faith and service to God. The expression he uses, "what I have committed to Him" is the expression that was used for depositing something precious in a bank for safety. These are the words of one who was convinced that death is not the end for the Christian. He knew that life with Christ outruns and overcomes death. He said in another place, "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain!" (). You know what that means...in Christ we have a "win/win" situation! In another place he declared, "Death is swallowed up in victory!"
The stars shine over the earth,
The stars shine over the sea,
The stars look up to the mighty God,
The stars look down on me;
The stars will live for a million years,
For a million years and a day,
But Christ and I shall live and love
When the stars have passed away!
, "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen."
Do you remember Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego and Daniel in the Old Testament. The three faced a fiery furnace and Daniel faced hungry lions. All of them kept their faith in God and God kept them in His hand.
You see, our faith is not just an ambulance which follows in the wake of battle to deal with casualties. It has another task which is much more positive and creative and aggressive; it is itself the armor which wins victories. The Christian life is not to be lived in fear of falling as if on thin ice, worrying about each step and fearing that the ice will crack and we'll go sinking down perhaps never to come up again. No, that is not Christianity.
Our God gives firm support and our accepting that support provides security for our journey from here to Him. I think he provides that support in a variety of ways:
By the presence of His Spirit in our lives
Through the support of our fellow believers as we journey
Strength that feeds our souls as we study the Scriptures
Worship around the Lord's Table that anchors our faith in the person of Jesus Christ who gave His life for us
Confidence that is ours through the resurrection of our Lord
Hope that keeps us moving heavenward
The blessing of being able to pray to a God and Savior who are constantly available to provide the needed help in any situation.
The promise of Scripture is that when we commit our lives to Him and maintain that commitment faithfully, He is able to keep us from falling. Wow what a God!
But there's more...he offers ready help to those who are tested...
III. “Help those who are Tempted” ()
There is a word that was given to those who were being persecuted and were tempted to deny their Lord and abandon their faith. It is found in , "For since He Himself was tempted in that which He suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted."
That word for help is translated in some of your Scriptures by the old word "succor." It is from a word whose root idea is "a rope or a cable." The idea is that our Lord is ready to throw us a rope in our time of need. Those times when we feel weak...when we feel overwhelmed...when the tempter strikes...when doubt invades our thoughts...when stress and pressures mount up against us...He is ready to throw us a rope.
You see, we were drowning in our sin and we needed someone to throw us a rope and pull us to the shore...but Jesus did more than just throw us a rope...He dove in himself...he stands with us in the struggle...he can pull us through any difficulty!
The point of this verse in Hebrews is that we need never be afraid that Christ will not understand our struggles. He will enter into our struggles with his reassuring presence. He knows what you're going through and he is ready to help. He will not come uninvited...he gently and patiently knocks and waits to be invited. He is ready and He is able to help us in our times of testing and temptation.
No wonder the New Testament is filled with doxologies. No wonder Christianity is replete with songs that yearn to be sung! No wonder the church is known for its joy and praise.
Let us finish this morning with one of those great doxologies...
IV. “Do more than we can imagine” (,)
"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think..."
What can we humans with our limited capacity really comprehend about life everlasting? There are some things we surely believe. We know there will be rest yonder for tired folk. We know there will be an answer to all the problems and puzzles which have eluded us here. We know that separation will be at an end and that those who have loved him on earth will be reunited, to part no more forever. We know that his corruptible will put on incorruption and this mortal will put on immortality. And, best of all...we know that we shall be presented faultless before the presence of our Father God in all His majesty! These are some of the things we know.
But beyond these things our minds just cannot conceive what God has in store for us. We dream. We hope. We look forward. But never forget...our dreams and our hopes barely scratch the surface of what God has planned for those that belong to Him.
In another place () Paul quoted an Old Testament promise, "Things which eye has not see and ear has not heard. And which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him!" When I ponder these things in light of the amazing ability of our great and awesome God, all I can say is, "WOW!"
Conclusion: Are you ready to let God do what He CAN DO in your life? Sometimes we do get in the way. Sometimes the best thing we can do is get out of the way and let God lead. Will you let Him be your Lord this morning? Will you trust His ability to save? He's throwing you a lifeline today...grab hold and experience the life that is abundant and everlasting!