Summary: A sermon on Ephesians 1:18-23 (adapted from an article in Truth for Today, February 1995)
Sermon for 5/23/2004
The Strategy of Power
A. Linda Down discovered real power and she needed it. She had dealt with the limitations of cerebral palsy all her life. One day, she got this crazy idea of running the New York Marathon. But Linda walked with difficulty, so running seemed out of the question? She used canes with arm clamps to steady her arms. On top of this she was 25 pounds overweight and jobless. In a state of depression, she began reading in the Scriptures about the power of God at work in people’s lives. She read Philippians 4:13- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. While training, she listened for God. She thought as she was running in the dark at night: Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction about things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). She thought about her limited dreams, her inability to see beyond the obstacles of life. Faith, she said to herself, was running in spite of the insurmountable obstacles. As the New York Marathon began that cold morning, some 12 years ago now, she wore gloves on her hands to soften the impact of the crutches. It was windy on the bridge and uphill. She had not expected the beginning to be so difficult. As she finished the mile long Verrazano Narrows Bridge, there were no runners in sight ahead of her. Spectators were gone for the most part. But one little girl ran out into the street and cheered her on, “You can do it!” Others on the curb later applauded and cheered and shouted. They brought tears to Linda’s eyes and helped her to keep going. Ten hours later Linda was still running in the dark through dangerous neighborhoods. Some admiring spectators walked with her for safety. Then an ABC-TV camera crew showed up and followed the story of her courage. She continued to run. She wore a hole in one sneaker from dragging it across the ground; her hands ached and throbbed; her arms became black and blue and swollen; she couldn’t speak to anyone because of fatigue, but she continued to run because she prayed: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Then two parks and recreation trucks in Central Park came by and stayed with her to light the way. After 11 hours of struggle and over 27 miles, Linda crossed the finish line. People were crying and Linda was crying at the response and support that she had received from God and these people. She thanked God for the power to do such a miraculous thing. Later she was invited to the White House and was pictured on the front page of the New York Times. Her story was not just a story of noble effort, it was the story of the power of God at work.
B. Then I think of a dream that I have always had. I am being chased by someone and my legs can barely move or I am trying to reach for something and I cannot jump high enough or I just don’t have the strength to do this or that.
C. There have been times in my life like that. Barely have enough strength to get out of bed in the morning. Whether it be from physical or emotional problems, you have no energy, no strength, no power.
A. God desires for his people to put their trust in His power. This is the lesson of these Scriptures. It talks about the power the church has to carry on the Lord’s work.
B. The story is told of a small boy trying very hard to lift a heavy stone. His father, happening by, and noticing the son’s failure, said to him, “Are you using all your strength?” “Yes, I am,” the boy said impatiently. “No,” the father replied, “you are not. You haven’t asked me to help.” We have a power source, a source of strength, that we need to tap into if we are going to do anything.
C. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly, or have it to the full- John 10:10. Our mission statement says that we are sharing our lives with the gospel. This means that our lives are to be filled with strength and God’s power. Christ gives us the power, the strength, to do things for him. Gives us the strength to share a powerful life.
D. My friends, if we tap into our power source, we can do so much. If we fail to tap into the power source we can do nothing.
E. Beginning with verse 18, Paul prayed that the church in Ephesus would come to understand The power of God by which they should operate (vs. 19)