Summary: The Holy Spirit empowers us and unlocks God’s power in our potential. ..... Today we will seek to examine how God’s wisdom, our enlightenment and His power are connected.
CLOTHES THAT TRANSFORM
Ephesians 1:15-23 I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason (16) I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. (17) I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, (18) so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, (19) and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. (20) God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, (21) far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. (22) And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, (23) which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Luke 24:49 And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high (NRSV).
“You will recall that every time Clark Kent transformed himself into Superman, he would go into a telephone booth and strip off his ordinary business suit, revealing his official Superman costume. He could only stop locomotives and lift skyscrapers when he was properly clothed in the outfit that revealed his true identity. As Christians, we can do no mighty deed unless we are properly clothed with the Spirit of God, which discloses our true spiritual selves and supplies the power to do wondrous things.” (Russell E. Anderson. Lectionary Preaching Workbook. Lima: CSS Publishing, 2008, p. 221). Without God’s input we are like a windmill without the wind. The Holy Spirit empowers us and unlocks God’s power in our potential.
Whose clothes are we wearing? If we think of the two natures flesh versus the spirit, then we can make sense of that question as it relates to the context of this scripture in Ephesians 1:15 -23. Are we trying to work in the clothes of our own flesh or are we clothed with God’s Spirit? The Hymn Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus, reminds us that “… the arm of flesh will fail you ye dare not trust your own…”. The strength that Jesus gives us comes through the power of the Holy Spirit. Unless we are clothed with the Spirit, then we will be powerless (Luke 24:49).
Today we will seek to examine how God’s wisdom, our enlightenment and His power are connected.
Where does wisdom come from? 1) Sources of Wisdom: Can we gain wisdom from experience? Of course we can. Should we be cautious of that kind of wisdom? Wisdom apart from God is wisdom that is guided by the nature of the flesh that will surely fail. Wisdom comes from God. Proverbs 9:10 tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
2) Wisdom and the heart: Proverbs 2:10-11 tells us that “for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; (11) prudence will watch over you; and understanding will guard you” (NRSV).
3) Wisdom as a shield: The Cambridge Bible explains Proverbs 2:12 - 15 and “how it is like a shield because it can keep people from evil”. How can this shield work of the heart is not in tune with the Holy Spirit because the heart is deceitful as we are told in Jeremiah 17:9?
4) Imparted wisdom: John 14:26 says But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you (NRSV). Scoffers seek wisdom that they cannot find apart from God (Proverbs 14:6).
Do we lack wisdom when we are not familiar with God’s Word? Consider this story. “A pastor asked a class of Sunday School children, "Who broke down the wall of Jericho?" A boy answered, "Not me, sir!" The pastor was noticeably upset and turned to the Sunday School teacher, "Is this typical?" She replied, "Pastor, the boy is a trusted and honest child, and I really don't think he did it." Such a response sent the pastor straight to the Sunday School superintendent. After hearing the pastor's grievance, the superintendent consoled him by saying, "I've known the boy and his Sunday School teacher for a number of years and just can't picture either one of them doing such a terrible thing." In disbelief, the pastor sought out the Chairman of the Deacons. The wise deacon tried to smooth the waters with some of his conventional wisdom, "Pastor, let's not make a big issue of this. Let's just pay for the damages and charge it to our maintenance account."