Summary: God’s power for growth is beyond our imagination but within our grasp.
I. The power to be (vv 14-15)
A. Paul acknowledges the power and sovereignty of God
1. He kneels – not a posture of prayer but of obedience before kings
2. God names all families in heaven and earth
a. Naming is a sign of power
b. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were a group of teens who had been captured by the congquering Babylonians. The first thing Nebuchadnezzar did was change their names to the more familiar Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
B. We must understand that God is creator of all
1. He has all power
2. He created you for a purpose
3. He designed you for a spiritual relationship with him
II. The power to be transformed (vv 16-17a)
A. The power of the Holy Spirit
1. Raised Jesus from the dead
2. Brings life to the inner being (cf Rom 1:16)
3. Draws the lost to faith in Christ
B. Internal changes
1. Spiritual insight
2. New priorities
3. Strength to resist sin
There are two ways of handling pressure. One is illustrated by a bathysphere, the miniature submarine used to explore the ocean in places so deep that the water pressure would crush a conventional submarine like an aluminum can. Bathyspheres compensate with plate steel several inches thick, which keeps the water out but also makes them heavy and hard to maneuver. Inside they’re cramped.
When these craft descend to the ocean floor, however, they find they’re not alone. When their lights are turned on and you look through the tiny, thick plate glass windows, what do you see? Fish! These fish cope with extreme pressure in an entirely different way. They don’t build thick skins: they remain supple and free. They compensate for the outside pressure through equal and opposite pressure inside themselves. Christians, likewise, don’t have to be hard and thick skinned--as long as they appropriate God’s power within to equal the pressure without. (Jay Kesler in Campus Life. Leadership, Vol. 5, no. 2.)
C. Regular feeding of the inner person is mandatory before you can go to the next level.
3. daily worship
III. The power to comprehend Christ(vv 17b-18)
A. Only as a Christian in the context of the church
1. rooted in love – you must be a Christian
2. together with the saints – in the church
B. Like a married couple
1. You only grasp the major things at first
2. Marriage is a constant exploration of each other
C. The church is the bride of Christ
1. There are things you can never know if you are outside the church
2. Only the bride can know the deepest most intimate aspects of the groom
3. Even family and close friends cannot experience such intimacy
D. Look for new paths in your relationship with Christ
1. Be an active member of the local church
2. Experience everything with others (joy, sorrow, anger, etc.)
3. Remain faithful in good and bad times
IV. The power to be filled (v 19)
A. Requires displacement – I once heard the story of a professor who set an empty glass before his class and asked them how to get all of the air out of the glass without moving it. After many unsuccessful guesses the professor produced a pitcher of water and began to fill the glass. In the same way, we must displace the emptiness of a worldly life with the living waters of life in Christ Jesus.
B. You must put away things that occupy your soul where God’s Holy Spirit wants to fill
1. Eph 5:18 is an example –don’t soothe yourself with substances when the Spirit wants to be your comforter
2. Gal 5:19-20
C. When individual’s allow themselves to be filled the power and effectiveness of the church grows exponentially – I have heard it said that 10% of the people in a church do 90% of the work. Imagine if 20% or 30% were as committed and empowered.
V. The only limit to growth is your wildest imagination (vv 20-21)
A. God is omnipotent
B. His unlimited power is already ours to tap into
1. Personal Holiness
2. Daily devotion and worship
C. Glory to God sets off a chain reaction
1. The more glory he gets in the church the more power flows
2. Taking credit or glory that belongs to God is like putting water in gasoline.
D. Resolve today to be empowered
1. To be transformed if you have never given your life to Christ
2. To live a life of power and victory if you spiritual life has been anemic
3. Resist the temptations of the world
4. Give ALL THE GLORY TO GOD!!