Ministry: Power For The Present!

Power For The Present!Introduction:

Scientists have long believed that there were only four forces in nature: gravity, electromagnetism, the binding force of the atom, and the weak force of radioactive decay. Now they are debating the possibility of a fifth force. Christians have always believed in a fifth force. They believe in spiritual power. Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).

In driving piles, a machine is used by which a huge weight is lifted up and then made to fall upon the head of the pile. Of course the higher the weight is lifted the more powerful is the blow, which it gives when it descends. Now, if we wish to impact our age and society with ponderous blows, we must see to it that we are uplifted as near to God as possible. All our power will depend upon the elevation of our spirits. Prayer, meditation, devotion, communion, are like a windlass to wind us up aloft. It is not lost time which we spend in such sacred exercises, for we are thus accumulating force, so that when we come down to our actual labour for God, we shall descend with an energy unknown to those to whom communion is unknown. Charles Haddon Spurgeon: The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)

So often we believers do not use our power simply because we do not know we have spiritual power built in. The book of Ephesians is written to Christians who are prone to treat their spiritual resources much like the couple who were found dead in their home a number of years ago. The Los Angeles Times reported concerning that couple; "autopsies revealed that both had died from malnutrition, although investigators found a total of $40,000 stored in paper bags in a closet".

This great book, the Bible has been called by some over the years the Christian's Chequebook; the Believers Bank; and the Treasure House. Why? Because it tells us of our great riches, inheritances and fullness in Jesus Christ and His church! It tells us what we possess and how we can claim and enjoy those possessions. During the great depression of the 1930s, many banks would allow their customers to with draw no more than 10% of their accounts during any given period of time, because the banks did not have enough reserves to cover all deposits. But God's heavenly bank has no such limitations or restrictions. Which means no Christian should live a spiritually deprived or undernourished life. I say that and not lightly because of what Paul says in those first two verses.

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Eph. Ch.1v1-2.

Now in this greeting, the Apostle declares to the Ephesians three very potent thoughts.

1. Paul Presents The Double Power Point!

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God." v1a.

He says I come as an "apostle" in the Greek "Apos-to-los" which means "sent one" a title used to distinguish men uniquely chosen by Jesus Christ and God the Father to be the foundation layers of the church and the receivers, teachers, and writers of God's final revelation--The New Testament!

The apostle's duties were to, Preach the Gospel 1Cor.Ch.1v17, Teach and Pray Acts Ch.6v4, Work Miracles 2 Cor.Ch.12v12, Build up other Leaders Acts Ch.4v23, and Write the Word of God Eph.Ch.1v1.

The fable is even less than truth with the fervent preacher who darts arrows of fire in flaming speech, but his eagerness to win souls far outruns his words. He projects himself far beyond his language. His heart outstrips his utterance. He embraces souls in his love, while his words as yet are but on the wing. Often he will weep when his sermon is over, because his words "fell behind him." Yet he has cause for joy, that he should have received so divine a spirit from his Master's hand: his very dissatisfaction proves his zeal.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990).

Paul's authority and power came not from his academic training or his rabbinical leadership but his being an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. Paul did not teach and write by his own power and authority but by the dual yet totally unified power and authority of the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Father (God). Now, in making that statement the apostle was not boasting of his personal merit or elevating himself above any of the others. He was simply testifying to the fact that it was Jesus Christ and God who gave him his power and authority. And beloved, that's who gives us our power and authority, and no other, something we must never forget!

Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger people. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at the richness of life, which has come to you by the grace of God. Phillips Brooks. Leadership: Vol. 12, no. 2.

2. Paul Prescribes The Dual Principle Prescription! v1b.

"To the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus."

From God's viewpoint believers are those whom He has prescribed "Holy" which of course is the meaning of "Saints." From man's viewpoint believers are those who are to be "faithful" those who trust Christ Jesus as Saviour acknowledge Him as Lord. That is God has called those who profess His name and possess His Son to live within certain parameters.

"For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." Gal.Ch.5v13.

The liberty of the children of God is one of their most precious and priceless possessions. Made free by the Son, the child of God is free indeed. But he is called to responsible freedom, not to license.

Children want to be free from the restraints of home. Young people want to be free from the discipline of study. Adults want to be free from their marriage vows. Still others rebel against being boxed in by regular employment. But these are not the freedoms to which the child of God is called.

The stars are not free to leave their orbits and wander aimlessly through space. A train is not free to leave the track and meander through the beautiful meadow. A plane is not free to leave its assigned course; the safety of all on board depends completely on the pilot's sticking to the allotted course.

J. H. Jowett writes, "There is no realm where the lawless are the free. In whatever way we want to go we must accept bondage if we are to discover liberty. A musician must reverence the laws of harmony if he or she would exult in his or her lovely world of music. A builder must put himself in bondage to the law of gravity, or it is not a house that emerges, but a rubbish heap. What kind of liberty does a person enjoy who consistently defies the laws of health? In all of theses areas and more to trespass is to be left maimed; to pay homage is to be free." End Quote!

It is true that the believer is free from the law (Rom.Ch.7v3) "So then if, while her husband liveth, she is married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she is married to another man."

But that does not mean we are lawless. We are now parametric to Christ, bound by the cords of love, and committed to obey the many commands found in the New Testament. The believer is free from sin as master (Rom.Ch.6v7, 18, 22)

“For he that is dead is freed from sin, being then made free from sin. Being, then, made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” but only to become the servant to God and righteousness. The believer is free from all men (1Cor.Ch.9v19) “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.” but only in order to become the servant to all, that we might win more to Christ.

But we are not free to use our liberty as a pretext for evil "Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God" (1 Peter Ch.2v16 RSV). We are not free to indulge the flesh "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." Gal.Ch.5v13. We are not free to stumble or offend another person. "But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak" 1 Cor.Ch.8v9. We are not free to bring dishonour on the name of the Lord Jesus "Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you; as it is written”. Rom.Ch.2v23-24.

We are not free to love the world "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world, if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him, for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world and the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." 1 John Ch.2v15-17.

We are not free to grieve the indwelling Holy Spirit: "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" 1 Cor.Ch.6v19.

We do not find rest and peace in doing our own thing. We find it only in taking Christ's yoke and learning of Him. "His service is perfect freedom."

We have nothing to do with how much ability we've got, or how little, but with what we do with what we have. The man with great talent is apt to be puffed up, and the man with little [talent] to belittle the little. Poor fools! God gives it, much or little. "Our part is to be faithful," doing the level best with every bit and scrap. And we will be faithful if Jesus' spirit controls. S.D. Gordon in “The Bent-Knee Time.” Christianity Today, Vol. 32, no. 6. See: Matt. Ch 25:14-30; 3 John. Ch. 1:5; Rev. Ch. 2:10

3. Paul Portrays The Dual Prosperity Package! v2.

"Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."

For those linked into The Power Point of God and prepared to take The Prescribed Prescription there is a Dual Prosperity Package worth having.

Grace and Peace! Paul replaces the usual Greek greeting "rejoice" (chiare) with a phonetically similar word "grace" (charis) and joins with it the normal Jewish greeting "peace" (Shalom) portraying a togetherness which comes only through the Lord Jesus Christ. And what you have, whether Jew or Gentile comes from the Father and the Son. Beloved, you are in Christ and God the Father; do you know what that means? This wonderfully means we are inextricable linked by an indivisible union between God the Father and God the Son. We participate in the very life of God and the life of Jesus Christ.

In his New Testament letters, the Apostle taught that believers not to simply believe facts about Jesus Christ, but they are actually in Him. He told the Galatians, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal.Ch.2v20).

He reminded the Colossians, "For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Col.Ch.3v3).

That is the inexplicable and incomprehensible mystery of what it is to be a Christian that God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit live within the believer and the believer lives in them in a sharing of divine and eternal life.

"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his but if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." (Rom.Ch.8v9 &11).

In a large stone Cathedral in Europe there was a wonderfully, magnificent pipe organ. It was a Saturday afternoon, and the sexton was making one final check of the choir and organ loft high in the balcony at the back of the church. He was startled to hear footsteps echoing up the stone stairway, as he thought the doors were all locked and no one was around. He turned to see a man in slightly tattered travelling clothes coming toward him. "Excuse me, sir," the stranger said. "I have come from quite a distance to see the great organ in this cathedral, would you mind opening the console so that I might get a closer look at it?" The custodian at first refused, but the stranger seemed so eager and insistent that he finally gave in. "May I sit on the bench?" The cathedral custodian met that request of the stranger with absolute refusal. "What if the organist came in and found you sitting there? I would probably lose my job!" But again the stranger was so persistent that the sexton gave in. "But only for a moment," he added.

The custodian noticed that the stranger seemed to be very much at home on the organ bench, so he was not completely surprised when he was asked by the stranger to be allowed to play the organ. "No! Definitely not!" said the custodian. "No one is allowed to play it except the cathedral organist." The man's face fell, and his deep disappointment was obvious. He reminded the custodian how far he had come and assured him that no damage would be done. Finally the sexton relented and told the stranger he could play the instrument, but only a few notes and then he would have to leave. Overjoyed, the stranger pulled out some stops and began to play. Suddenly the cathedral was filled with the most beautiful music the custodian had ever heard in all his years in that place. The music seemed to transport him heavenward. In what seemed all too short a time, the dowdy stranger stopped playing and slid off the organ bench and started down the stairway. "Wait!" cried the custodian. "That was the most beautiful music I have ever heard in the cathedral, who are you?" The stranger turned for just a moment as he replied, "Mendelssohn." The man was none other than Felix Mendelssohn, one of the greatest organists and composers of the nineteenth century! The cathedral sexton was alone now in that great stone edifice, the beautiful organ music still ringing in his ears. "Just think," he said softly, "I almost kept the master from playing his music in my Cathedral!"

Each one of us has the opportunity to have a personal relationship with the Master of the universe, Jesus Christ. Let's not keep Him from "playing His music" and being Master of our lives! James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 71-72.

I have a glove here in my hand. The glove cannot do anything by itself, but when my hand is in it, it can do many things. True, it is not the glove, but my hand in the glove that acts. We are gloves. It is the Holy Spirit in us who is the hand, who does the job. We have to make room for the hand so that every finger is filled. Corrie Ten Boom in Each New Day. Christianity Today, Vol. 38, no. 1.

 

Chapter 01: The Supply Of Blessing!
Chapter 02: The Scope Of The Blessing!
Chapter 03: The Significance Of The Blessing!
Chapter 04: The Light and Life of His Calling!
Chapter 05: A Displayed and Demonstrated Power!
Chapter 06: Freedom from the Shackles of Sin!
Chapter 07: The Truth About Salvation!
Chapter 08: Building Up or Pulling Down?
Chapter 09: Building With Joy!
Chapter 10: Why Not Just Be Christians?
Chapter 11: A Prayer For Power!
Chapter 12: What Price Unity?
Chapter 13: What Price Unity? No. 2
Chapter 14: A Lifestyle That Honours God!
Chapter 15: Walking In The Light!
Chapter 16: Identifying With Christianity!
Chapter 17: The Fullness Of The Spirit!
Chapter 18: The Results Of A Spirit Filled Life!
Chapter 19: A Marriage Mystery!
Chapter 20: Wisdom For Wee Ones And Big Ones!
Chapter 21: Ethics In Our Work-A-Day World
Chapter 22: Armed And Dangerous?
Chapter 23: Soldiers Arise And Put Your Armour On!
Chapter 24: The Power Of The Word!
Chapter 25: The Excitement And Extent Of Prayer!

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