Persistent Intercessory Prayer
Paul is praying a prayer of intercession, a prayer for others, specifically for the Ephesians. But it is my prayer for us and I want you to make it your prayer for yourself, for other believers and for this body. It is a persistent prayer, "I keep praying." He continues to make this his prayer. It is a prayer for illumination, for God to reveal or make known three things to the Ephesians.
Prayer for hope, rich inheritance, and power.
Hope: a joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation
Inheritance: looks forward to the consummated kingdom of God, that which is expected after the Second Coming of Christ
Power: four words are used of power and also a demonstration of that power is pointed out.
Dunamis: the inherent power of God, that which belongs to him because he is God. It is the power to accomplish, to perform miracles.
Working: superhuman power
Strength: force or power to overcome what stands in the way, dominion.
Might: exercise of power
Similarity, not difference, is of importance. Four words are used to demonstrate this ultimate power. This power that is above all. This power that is different than any other power that you have encountered. Paul doesn’t stop at these four words to describe this power byt says that this power was demonstrated as God … raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the heavenlies.
What power do we know that can overcome death? We know that medicine has limited power, but it is just that, limited. There is only so much that doctors can do. But this power overcomes death. Jesus is the first fruit. That power of God is demonstrated in him. Many saw him die. Many witnessed to his resurrection. There is no doubt of his resurrection.
50 days between Easter and Pentecost celebrate the time Jesus spent with the disciples after the resurrection. Many saw Jesus:
Power over …
Power over all things. Names four things again and goes on to say every title, and also at any time.
All subjected to Christ. All is under Christ. All must obey Christ. All is under Christ’s control.
Power for …
This power demonstrated in Christ, this exaltation of Christ over all things is for the Church. It is God’s gift to the Church. It is for the benefit of the Church.
Church is filled …
The Church is filled with Christ. Filled to fullness. Are we full of Christ?
Full of Christ’s presence, Christ’s power. Full of Christ’s life, his gifts, his blessings.
The Church manifests Christ to the world, only as the church is filled with Christ.
Through the power of God in our lives we can live victoriously in our living in our personal lives.
Through the power of God given to the Church, we can impact our world for Christ.
Living in the Resurrection Power
We don’t have to settle for the status quo. We don’t have to settle for mediocrity. Sanctification is going on to perfection. Sin remains in our life, but no longer does it reign (D&DR). Just as Jesus reigns over all things, he reigns in our lives. He reigns over temptation, over sin, over anything that would hinder our relationship with God and with others.
Dunam and Dunam Reisman point out that it’s about asking the right question: “Our usual response to the question as to whether a Christian sins is, “Of course!” But the more important question is whether a Christian has to sin. The answer to that is a resounding no!”
Through Jesus Christ sin is conquered. He has taken our sin to the cross and raised us to new life, victorious life.
We glorify God by living sanctified lives; lives that overcome. Christ died so that we can be victorious. Living victorious lives is our way of saying thank you for what he did for us on Calvary.
Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Drove him to rely upon God. It was a source of humility: he gloried God and not self.
God is calling us to greater things … in his power, in our personal lives and in the life of his body, the Church. He is calling us to impact the world around us. If we want God to reveal his power to us, we need to step out where he can display that power. We need to step out where we rely on him and not ourselves. We need to serve in ways where we need to rely on his strength rather than our own abilities. His supernatural power is that which empowers us to do more than what we can accomplish on our own. God wants to defy circumstances, common sense, and logic. That is the power that Paul experienced and is praying that the Ephesians experience. That is the power I want to experience in our midst!