Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: There is power in the cross, and there is hope in the cross. Hope keeps us fighting for Christ in our evil world. Hope keeps us going when times are tough. Hope keeps us going when we face persecution. Hope abides. God isn’t finished with us yet

In Ephesians 1:15- the apostle Paul prays that the church in Ephesus will embrace their spiritual gifts into their hearts. He prays that the Ephesians will understand the revelation God has given them regarding their spiritual gifts. Paul was intent on bringing the true light of Christ with the Gospel message. He reminds us in Ephesians 2:1-2 that “we were once dead in transgressions and sins, in which we used to live when we followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” Paul’s prayer for the church in Ephesus shows us how to pray for others. He reminds us that Christ has set us free from the bondage of sin. Paul wants us to know the hope of God’s calling, the riches of our eternal inheritance, and the greatness of God’s power.

We need to know God and his character. We can only know God through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual insight from the depth of our thought process. This allows us to see the grand hope to which God has called us through his grace.

Believers must know Christ and not just gain knowledge about him. Believers must also understand Christ with all of their hearts, intellects, emotions, and wills. Such understanding is not available to non-believers. When I talk about the heart, I’m not talking about the physical organ. The New Testament defines the heart as the higher intelligence in which will and emotions cooperate with the mind.

Every believer can use God’s power. Such power is dynamic, energetic, mighty and strong. This mighty power is anchored in heaven. It raised Jesus from the dead and seated Jesus at God’s right hand. Prayer that flows from a deep sense of gratitude is forceful and rooted in thankfulness. Our source of its glory is God himself.

Christ has conquered the power of evil, and will continue to conquer it in the future. Knowing the victorious Christ allows believers to face life’s challenges. Thanks to Christ’s power, no sinner is beyond rescue and no saint is beyond recovery.

The Holy Spirit comes to us when we pray and accept Christ in faith. Once our human spirit is dedicated to God and inspired by God, the Holy Spirit can work in the world through us. That is the rationale behind the Parable of the Talents, which we heard from Matthew’s Gospel last week. The revelation of the Holy Spirit is an activity of God. Sometimes new Christians seem to be in closer contact with God than Christians who have been faithful for years. Have we allowed our spirits to be dulled by the materialistic nature of our world? Society pressures us to be rational, but we must remember that God is not rational as defined by the world. His ways are not the world’s ways.

As the Holy Spirit enlightens us, our knowledge of God expands. That enlightenment is tied in with the hope to which we are called by Christ. That hope transforms us. That hope includes the hope of life after death. That hope is at the heart of the resurrection of Christ and our resurrection to eternal life with him. The enlightenment we get from our expanded knowledge of God also shines a light on the riches of the glory of our eternal inheritance. We will spend eternity with the angels and redeemed people.

The enlightenment also shines a light on the awesomeness of God’s power, especially when it is exercised by believers. This is the Resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead. It is the same power that took Jesus back to heaven. It is the same power that exists over heaven and earth. It is the same power that defeated evil. It is the same power that will exist for all eternity. It is the same power that will heal the sick, drive out demons, renew our spirits, reconcile our relationships and bring peace. God’s power changes lives. God’s power is real. It meets us at our point of need. It is dependable and consistent.

Ephesians 1:15-28 is often read on the Sunday when we celebrate Christ’s ascension. Ephesians has been called “The Epistle of the Ascension” because it is in this letter where we meet the exalted Christ. The reading is also appropriate for Reign of Christ Sunday because on this particular Sunday we also meet the Christ who is exalted as our heavenly king and Saviour. Christ is the king or head, but we are his body. Whatever Christ would do, we must do. We are his hands and feet. We are to do God’s work by spreading the Good News of the kingdom, but we must not claim to be equal to him. Because of our sinful human nature, we are under judgment. Christ is the centre of the unity that God wants for all sinners. We are the instrument through which that unity will be created.

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