Meditations on Ephesians 1:19b–21

Transcript of Midweek Meditations podcast episode aired on Wednesday, 27th May 2020.

Power. We all want it. We might not want absolute power or political power. But we all want power over some aspect of our lives. In most cases, power to achieve good things.

It might be power over our financial situation. It might power over our family situation, in my case, my kids’ behaviour. It might power over our friendships and relationships. It might be power over our future.

In some area of life, we all want power. Power to control. Power to influence. Power to do good things, even good things for God. The problem, of course, is we don’t have the kind of power we want. We may some power, but it’s limited.

The Christian life is one of power. There are the miracles of Jesus and the apostles. Even today, God continues to work miracles in our world. When Jesus promises the Holy Spirit, he says “you will receive power” to be his witnesses in the world (Acts 1:8).

Paul talks of the gospel as “the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16) Paul says that the preaching of the gospel is “a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might […] on God’s power.” (1 Corinthians 2:4–5) Later in Corinthians he will say, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” (1 Corinthians 4:20)

One last one, one of my favourite verses:

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.

2 Timothy 1:7–8 (NIV)

If you haven’t picked up already, there’s one consistency about power in the Christian life. It comes from God. The Holy Spirit, the gospel message, and the kingdom are all things from God himself. Why does God gives us power? Ultimately, so that we might be witnesses to the hope and life found in our Lord Jesus.

But the problem many of us have is that we don’t appreciate this power God gives us. So let’s unpack this more as we meditate on the words of Ephesians:

That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

Ephesians 1:19b–21 (NIV)

Phew! Do you see what Paul’s saying? Do you get what kind of power Paul is talking about? Let’s break it down.

The power God gives to the Christian is what? “…is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead.” The power of the Christian life IS THE SAME as the power that rose Jesus from the dead.

Have you ever seen strong men pulling big semi-trailer trucks? That’s some pretty amazing power. Or a fight between sumos? Or a weightlifter dead lifting massive weights? Despite how great their power may be, it doesn’t come close to the death defying power of God.

The power of God doesn’t end there though, this same power “seated [Jesus] at [God’s] right hand in the heavenly realms.” This power speaks of a kind of political or social power. In history, kings and emperors achieved power in two ways: 1) they inherited or received it from a predecessor; or 2) they took it by force.

But the power of God that places Jesus on the throne is “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Basically, there was, there is, and there will never be a greater power that can take the throne away from Jesus.

Encouragement

Are you beginning to see what this means for you and me? As we seek to live the Christian life, as we go about our days in faith, we’re given power from God through the Holy Spirit. This isn’t a small part of God’s power. No, this is THE SAME POWER that rose Jesus from the dead, put him on the throne in heaven and keeps him there.

As we continue to live the Christian life, as we continue to walk with Jesus, remember there is power from God. God gives us the Holy Spirit to enable us to live this life in power. The same power that rose Jesus from the dead. The same power that put him on the throne of heaven and earth. That same power lives within you and me through the Holy Spirit.

Remember God’s words to Paul in his weakness:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” [How does Paul respond?] Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV; comment mine)

Why does God give us this power? So that we might experience his grace, depending on him and finding true life in Jesus Christ. In doing this, we’re also witnesses from our homes to the ends of the earth that Jesus is Lord and Saviour.

Will you remember that? If Jesus is your Lord and Saviour, you’ve received the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives you power, the same power that rose Jesus from the dead, to live in total dependence on the goodness and grace of God. This power frees us from our own quest for power in every area of life, because God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. Let us, like Paul, boast in our weakness so that we might experience the power of God.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we thank you for giving us your Holy Spirit. The Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline to help us in faith and trust. If there’s something we aren’t trusting you in today, will you help us exercise this power you’ve given us? Power to put our faith and trust in you, power to declare our faith and trust in you…

It’s amazing to think we live by the same power that rose Jesus from the dead. The same power that put him on the throne of heaven and earth. Holy Spirit, help us to remember there is power in the name of Jesus and turn to him in our time of need. Remind us that your grace is sufficient for us, for your power is made perfect in our weakness.

Then help us to boast, to testify, about our weakness so that we might continue to experience this power in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. For this we thank you and pray in his powerful name, amen.