EPHESIANS-SERIES NR 6
Theme: A power-filled life
Scripture: Ephesians 3: 14-21
Did you know that the power of God will/can do things in your and my life that are far above our expectations? Do you have a thirst and a longing in your heart to be more powerful and stronger in your walk with God? Surely that is the desire of every true Christian.
Someone in whom the Holy Spirit dwells, and who has been transformed by being born of the Spirit, is a little bit weird: such a person desires things that other people do not understand – for example to live by the power of God. That is worth more to you than all the treasures in the world. You desire a more power-filled prayer-walk with the Lord, more victory over sin, a holier walk of life. And you cannot speak it out loud, because people will think that you have lost your mind.
What Paul is praying in Eph 3: 14-21 for the children of God living in Ephesus, answers the deepest longings of the born-again heart. It is one of the most exalted and profound passages in the entire NT.
If you are a person who have at times wondered if you will ever get to the place where you will experience God’s power in your life – which will be far above what you have dreamed about – yes, that exceeds all expectations – then this part of Scripture is meant for you.
Is it not true that the greatest part of one’s spiritual life is just a matter of falling and rising all the time? Well, it does not need to be like that! It is true that all Christians at times become anxious, burdened and worried, and even lose courage – but there is something such as a life of supernatural inner strength.
In verse 13 the Apostle is saying: “I ask you not to be discouraged”. And then he continues from verse 14: ”I pray that you, instead of becoming discouraged, you may be strengthened with power through the Spirit in your inner being. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power”. That is: Live above your expectations – do not be so average in your life!
Paul is actually praying that the Father would do 4 powerful things in the lives of the Ephesians. These 4 things are like pieces of a puzzle that fit together perfectly. Yes, Paul is KNEELING before the Father (v 14). Although he is living in a child-father relationship with God, it is not a casual relationship. He is KNEELING in prayer. Because it is this God, the entire totality of all the believers – through all the centuries – have to thank for their existence. If it was not for the free grace of God the Father, with which He chooses and saves sinners, there would not have been one single believer on earth! To HIM all the glory!
Now the Apostle is kneeling before Him, and is asking Him to realize 4 things in the lives of the Ephesians so that they can live power-filled lives. Come let us analyse it for a moment:
1 INNER POWER – Verse 16 > “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being.”
Think how bottomless/immense are the riches of His glory! No limits! No shortage. Out of His limitless riches – He gives inner power! Because the pressures/problems of life drain a Christian’s innermost heart, destroy it, make it powerless, steal peace and joy. A weak inner-heart causes doubt, fear, anxiety, frustration, emotional problems.
Paul says: ”I want your inner-heart to be power filled, because that is the real you.” Think of 2 Cor 4:16: ”Therefore we do not loose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day”. Outwardly: wasting away. Inwardly: renewed and better.
Unfortunately we are living in a society which is always focused on what is on the outside. That which can perish is all that is important to the unsaved world. You will not walk into Cavendish or Canal Walk and find an “Inner beauty Salon”. Our whole culture is obsessed with the outward person. We will spend hours with our outer appearance, and only 10 minutes (or less) with the Word and in prayer.
We immediately go to the doctor with a physical problem, but with our spiritual deficiency we walk year in and year out.
While the Word has a completely different focus: on the power-filled inner person. Is it not wonderful that, for a Christian, there is growing power available for the inward person?! Of course the Holy Spirit gives it (v 16) and the Spirit lives in EVERY true Christian (Rom 8:9). It is HE who gives the power (Acts 1:8). That is why we are called on to live by the Spirit (Gal 5:16) and continuously be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18) and let the Word of Christ dwell in us (Col 3:16).
Every time you drink a vitamin supplement to strengthen the outward person, think of the necessity of having power in the inward person. 2 Tim 1:7 > God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power/love/self-discipline.
Therefore: To live a power filled life, a believer’s inner heart must be strengthened. The Holy Spirit does that. We may continuously ask Him for it and surrender ourselves to His control and take care that we remain filled by the Word.
A young lady who is a committed Christian, finds work in an office at a certain company. Her programme is full. She starts to neglect her time with the Word. She neglects her prayer time. She leaves her Bible study group. It is just work, work, work. Some Sundays she is too tired to go to church. Her inner person is weak.
Then a colleague starts to make eyes at her. He is not saved. And she knows that the Word forbids romantic relationships with unsaved men. But, because her inner heart has become weak, she does not have the spiritual power to resist him.
The end result: endless pain and heartache.
How different it would have been for her if she had understood something of Eph 3:16? Power in the inward person results in a power-filled life!
2 CHRIST AT HOME IN YOUR LIFE – Verse 17 > To live a power filled life, the Lord Jesus must be at home in our lives. “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith “ (v17).
This does not refer to the indwelling of the Lord Jesus (through the Spirit) in every Christian’s life. Of every Christian it is true that Jesus indwells through His Spirit.
But what Paul is talking about here is that Christ would BE AT HOME in our lives. One can see it in the Greek where he is using a stronger verb than simply “live in” as to “live in a house”. Rather: “be at home” inside the house you are already living in! One can live in a house where you do not necessarily feel at home!
Christ is living in the life-house of every born-again person. But, is He at home there? That determines whether you will have a power filled life or not. Is Jesus at home in my life-house, or must He continuously “struggle” with something? Then this hinders Him, then that hinders Him? Then He must fix this, then He must stumble over that. Then He must leave the room because there are things taking place that are not meant for His eyes/ears, then He must go into the garden to be let in again later. What does He find in your life-house? Can He dwell there peacefully?
Imagine that your life is like a house. There is a study (brain/mind), dining room (appetites/desires), living room (relationships), even cupboards where things are stowed (secret corners of the heart).
Now, imagine for yourself that the Lord Jesus has to find in the cupboards hidden sins, or in the living room, waiting for us for us to turn up for our prayer-conversation-with-Him, but nobody comes. Or He must look at the videos in our brain from morning till night to see what all occupy our minds.
This connects with John 14:15-24 – To the extent the believer lives in obedience to Christ, to that extent there will be a consciousness of His presence. Obedience is the result of believing/trusting God’s Word (faith). Lack of faith results in lack of obedience and that results in lack of being conscious of Christ’s presence and power.
How at home is He in our life-house? Is it not about time that we allow Him to thoroughly clean us and that we allow Him to have the say over all the rooms in our life-house? Then we will have power filled lives. Where our inner-heart is strengthened and Christ is at home in our lives (and has the say over everything), we will have power filled lives.
3 KNOW HIS UNFATHOMABLE LOVE – Verses 17-19 > “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ”.
The inner heart empowered, and Christ at home in your life-house: what will be the result? The Lord’s love will fill you.
To live a power filled life, His love should no longer just be something on the edge, but the essential root. You start to love the way He loves – particularly the way He loved His enemies and everyone who rejected Him! You will experience and know His love (v 18).
Actually, one cannot understand His love. It is without boundaries (wide/long/high/deep). Unfathomable (exceeds all understanding/surpasses knowledge – v 19). The way the cross reaches in horizontal and vertical directions in infinity. But if you experience it, you know it! And it is a power filled life. A life where the Lord’s love is your root and where His love transforms you, is a power filled life.
4 FILLED WITH THE FULLNESS OF GOD – Verse 19 > To live a power-filled life, you must be filled more and more with the fullness of God. 1. Powerful in the inner-man, 2. Christ at home in my inner being, 3. Experience and know His love >>> That leads to : be filled with His fullness.
Is something like that by any means possible?
Well, why would the Apostle have prayed it for the Ephesians if it is not possible?
We should just understand it correctly.
It does not mean that we become like God. It means that we become filled more and more with His attributes – the fruit of the Spirit.
If I should go down to the beach at Milnerton to scoop up a glass of seawater – then everything that is in the ocean is in the glass! No, the whole ocean is not in the glass, but the essence of everything that is in the ocean, is in the glass!
The essence of who God is, fills your life if you are born-again through the Holy Spirit.
When He sees a vacuum in our lives, He wants to fill it with Himself – just the same as nature is inclined to fill a vacuum. That is why a thunderbolt follows after a lightning strike. The heat from the lightning causes the air to expand and a vacuum is formed. Immediately air flows in to fill the vacuum. In that same way the Lord wants to fill our lives with Himself. And as His presence/attributes fill everything, we experience power in our lives.
Can you see how the puzzle fits? 1. Inner heart strengthened. 2. Jesus at home in your life-house. 3. Transformed by His love. 4. Filled with His fullness. THE RESULT? A power-filled life that has an impact on others.
5. HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT WE CAN HAVE POWER-FILLED LIVES? Verse 20 > “To Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…”
What a magnificent verse! His power WORKS in us! It is a given fact. His energy is working in me (Col 1:29).
Are you a born-again person, renewed by the Spirit, saved and redeemed by His grace? Well, then His power is WORKING in you.
In addition, He is mighty/powerful! He is able! He is powerfully able to do what we ask. He is powerfully able to react to our thoughts. No, IMMEASURABLY MORE than what we pray for/imagine. Great power is available for every area of our life. We can live on a level where everything we dream of according to His Word can be exceeded. Your limited prayers can be exceeded by far. And it is possible because His power is working in us and because He is powerfully able. It has nothing to do with anything in ourselves.
And the one big reason why He is working in us with such power, is for His honour and glory to be seen in/through us (v 21).
When people look at the church/congregation/believers, they must give the glory to God.
You see, when we do not have power-filled lives, the unsaved world doubts God himself! They doubt the Bible. They do not believe us. When we walk around and testify that we belong to the Lord/ are saved/ that our God is powerful/ that He is a saving God who changes lives – but we have pathetic weak miserable lives, then it drags the Name of the Lord through the mud and the worldly people think: “Someone is not telling the truth: either God or the Christians “.
When the worldly people look at believers, they must see God’s power and realize that the Gospel-message is the truth and give glory to God. The way the evil Roman centurion and soldiers could see the power of God in the way that Jesus died, and then gave glory to God! (Matt 27:54). The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power (1 Cor 4:20). And if a person should read 1 Cor 4:20 in context, it is clear that the “power” he is talking about, has to do with the “way of life”.
Some of you who are older may remember Prof Kolie Kotzé (most probably the greatest man of God the DR Church ever knew).
Prof Kolie died on the 29th October 1979 in the Hottentots-Holland hospital in Somerset West. The nurse who was on duty to watch over him, was so overcome – not by what he said – but by the way he managed his illness and the way he died, that her life was deeply affected.
That is POWER! Not talk, but a way of life that was filled with the Holy Spirit. And that is YOUR portion today. Accept it in faith-confidence!
Translated by Marthie Wilson