The Book of EPHESIANS
James J. Barker


Lesson 5
THE WORKING OF GOD’S MIGHTY POWER

Text: EPHESIANS 1:19-23


INTRODUCTION


  1. Last week we looked at Paul’s prayer for the power of God (1:15-19).
  2. Tonight I would like for us to consider that mighty power (1:19-23).

 

I. GOD’S POWER WAS WROUGHT IN CHRIST (1:20).

  1. Raising Christ from the dead was a demonstration of God’s mighty power (1:20).
  2. Christ’s ascension into heaven was a demonstration of God’s mighty power (1:20b; cf. Romans 1:3, 4).
  3. Christ’s second coming will be a demonstration of God’s mighty power (cf. Acts 1:9-11).
  4. The “right hand” of God signifies His mighty power (Eph. 1:20b).
  5. The LORD says in Isaiah 48:13, “Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.”
  6. Isaiah 62:8 says, “The LORD hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength.”
  7. Jeremiah 22:24 says, “As I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence.”
  8. Psalm 110:1 says, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”
  9. Our Lord said in Matt. 22:44, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?”
  10. In Matthew 25:33, our Lord said “He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.”
  11. Our Lord said in Matthew 26:64, “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”
  12. Mark 16:19 says, “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.”
  13. Luke 22:69 says, “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.”
  14. Peter said, “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.”
  15. Acts 7:55, 56 says, “But he (Stephen), being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”
  16. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:34, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
  17. Colossians 3:1 says, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.”
  18. Hebrews 1:3 says, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
  19. Hebrews 8:1 says, “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.”
  20. Hebrews 10:12 says, “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.”
  21. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
  22. First Peter 3:22 says, “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”
  23. In Revelation 1:20, the seven stars (the angels of the seven churches) are in our Lord’s right hand (cf. 2:1).
  24. Revelation 5:7 says the Lord Jesus Christ (the Lamb) “came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.”
  25. This will signify the beginning of the tribulation.  Our Lord will begin to open the seven seals.

 

II. GOD’S POWER IS OPPOSED BY SATANIC POWER.

  1. Ephesians 1:21 says, “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion…”
  2. These principalities and powers are unclean spirits – devils or demons.  Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
  3. Paul prayed that the Christians at Ephesus would receive “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge” of God, and that the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened (1:17, 18).
  4. Once we develop this spiritual discernment we become keenly aware of the spiritual battle raging around us.
  5. As the Christian grows in his knowledge of the Lord, and his eyes are opened to the spiritual realm, “there comes the startling realization that the very heavenly places, into which he has been introduced, are the habitat of the powers of darkness” (John MacMillan).
  6. John Macmillan wrote, “His acceptance of his seat with Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6) ‘far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion,’ provides him with authority and power for full victory, so long as he maintains his place, wearing the defensive armor, and wielding the offensive weapons. But, unless at this stage of progress, there is received clear instruction as to the divine provision for overcoming, he is liable to spend many months, or even years, of fruitless struggle and defeat” (The Authority of the Believer).
  7. In the heavenly places there are different degrees of power in the angelic realm.  But no matter how great their rank, the Lord Jesus Christ is “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion…” (1:21).
  8. And we are “in Christ” (1:1, 3, 6, 10, etc.).
  9. Sin did not begin in the Garden of Eden.  It began in heaven when Satan rebelled against God, and one third of the heavenly host followed him in his rebellion.
  10. Ephesians 1:21 also says, “and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.”
  11. Kings and presidents, dictators and emperors, popes and ayatollahs are all subject to the King of kings and Lord of lords.
  12. Romans 13:1 says, “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
  13. The word translated “world” (Eph. 1:21) literally means “age.”

 

III. GOD’S POWER IS CONFERRED UPON BELIEVERS.

  1. We read in Ephesians 1:19 that God’s power, “the exceeding greatness of His power,” is “to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.
  2. There is a great emphasis on God’s power, but let us not overlook the words “to us-ward who believe” (1:19).
  3. God’s mighty power – His immeasurable power – is “to us-ward who believe.”  There is no reason for us to be discouraged or defeated, God’s power is available to us.
  4. H.A. Ironside wrote: “The wonderful thing that the apostle dwells on here is the power that did all that for the Lord Jesus is the power that works in us as believers if we do not hinder it by our frivolity and worldliness.  Do not, I beg of you, ever complain again that you have no power to meet temptation, that you have no power to rise above some sinful habit.  If you find yourself in that condition it is because you are out of fellowship with God.  Get right with God.  Judge the sin that has hindered communion and then, as when you make the electrical connection the power flows through the wire to operate the mighty machinery, so you will be in living touch with God, and divine power will work in and through you to enable you to triumph over sin and live to His glory.”
  5. “And hath put all things under his feet…” (Eph. 1:22a).
  6. The writer of Hebrews (probably Paul) states that at this present time “we see not yet all things put under Him” (Heb. 2:8).
  7. But one realm where Christ reigns without question is “the church, which is His body…” (1:22, 23).
  8. Just as God showed His power in raising Christ from the dead, and setting Him at His own right hand, He also showed His power by putting “all things under His feet” (1:22) and making Him the head of the church (1:22, 23).
  9. The church is the body of Christ (1:23).  No relationship can be closer than that of the head and the body.  As members of the same body we are one in vital union and indwelt by the same Holy Spirit.
  10. Just as the head gives direction to the body, we get our direction from the head of our church, the Lord Jesus Christ.
  11. “The fulness of Him that filleth all in all” (1:23) means the church complements (see Scofield margin) the Lord Jesus Christ, who is everywhere at one and the same time.  Just as the body is the complement of the head, so the church is the complement of Christ.
  12. Consider this: Christ is omnipresent – He “filleth all in all.”  Is the church everywhere?  This suggests that when we fulfill the Great Commission, we are also fulfilling our role as the body of Him that “filleth all in all.”

 

CONCLUSION:

  1. As the head of the church the Lord Jesus Christ imparts the strength necessary for us to accomplish each and every task.
  2. Our Lord said in Matthew 16:18, “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
  3. Let us not forget that God’s mighty power is “to us-ward who believe” (1:19).


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