Summary: Paul said he prayed for the Ephesians that they would "know... what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us." Why would Paul bother to pray that they'd KNOW such a thing, and why would it matter if we knew this power?
OPEN: The first church I served was in a quaint resort town called Hamilton, IN. It was a nice little town. A peaceful and quiet community. Well, except for that one time when the State police sent several officers as well as (pause) a bomb squad to the home of one of the residents there. It seems he had something in his basement he shouldn’t ought to have had. Whether he put it there, or he inherited the house and found these items there, I never found out. But down in his basement there were several boxes of dynamite. Now, outside of the fact that it was illegal for him to own dynamite, these boxes had passed their acceptable shelf-life. You see, the active ingredient in dynamite is nitroglycerin and, while nitro is relatively stable in a stick of dynamite, when dynamite gets too old it becomes highly unstable. According to research I did on this, if you happened to be messing around in a basement with a box of this aged dynamite, all you’d have to do is accidently kick it and you’d probably level an entire city block - and you may as well kiss goodbye the chances of people ever finding a trace of you ever again.
And this man had several boxes of it in his basement. He had a dangerous explosive in the basement of his house, and he had no idea what kind of power he was sitting on.
APPLY: In our text today, we read about a different kind of power. Paul tells the Ephesians that he had been praying for them - that they would understand “… the immeasurable greatness of (God’s) POWER toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.” Ephesians 1:19
The Greek word for “Power” in this verse is “dunamis.” That’s the Greek term that we get the word “dynamite” from. So Paul was praying that the Christians in Ephesus would understand what kind of dynamite power - explosive power - they were sitting on.
It’s important that you and I understand the power that Christ has given us. We need to know (and remember) that power so that we can know (and remember) WHO we are and WHAT we have.
Paul told the Ephesians that he was praying … “that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” Ephesians 1:18-19
But why? Why should it matter? Why should it be important for us to know the hope & riches & power we have in Jesus? Well, if I don’t KNOW those things my faith can become dull and listless, and church can end up being nothing more than a ritual and a burden. It’s only in knowing the explosive power of Christ’s grace that I can begin to live like someone who has that power.
ILLUS: I once read a story about an Army Boot Camp. At Boot camp, the military trains its recruits in how to use various weapons… and one of the training sessions was teaching the soldiers how to handle Grenades. To start out with, they’d hand the recruits a dummy grenade (they didn’t want them to blow themselves up right away) and teach them the proper technique for tossing them. Then they’d grade them on how well they did and how far they threw the grenades. THEN they gave the recruits LIVE grenades. One of the instructors noted “You’d be surprised how much farther they could throw those live grenades.”
Now why could the recruits throw those live grenades so much farther? Because they KNEW how much POWER they held in their hands. And it’s the same for us. It’s when we understand how much power Christ has placed in our hands that our lives begin to change, and we do more… because we expect to do more.
So, it’s important to KNOW about the power Christ has given me.
But what can I do that would help me to KNOW about Christ’s power? Well, you can learn to know about Christ’s power in you the same way those soldiers may have learned to know about the power of those live grenades. They’ve either seen these explosives in action, or maybe they’ve read about them.
In the same way, we can learn to KNOW about Christ’s power by what we’ve Him do in our lives and the live of others. AND we can learn to know that power by what we read in the Bible. The Scripture is filled with stories of men and women who experienced God’s power.
ILLUS: I read the story of a man whose father used to read to him from the Bible. And when his dad read Scripture, it was with excitement and anticipation. A lot of times his dad would stop right in the middle of a story – maybe about Shadrach, Meshach Abednego or Daniel in the Lion’s Den - and then say “And what do you think happened next?” By doing this, his dad created an atmosphere of expectation. And because His dad read the story as a man who believed in the power of God that boy grew up to be a man who also believed in a God who had the power to change his life.