Summary: His power is working in us and for us, to sanctify us and eventually bring us home. (#12 in the "Every Spiritual Blessing" series)
“...and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places...”
In 1981 Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in a movie called “Conan the Barbarian”. Conan is a character created by a man named Robert E. Howard in the 1930’s, and according to the tale was a wandering mercenary who lived circa 10,000 B.C. in the area of the world that is now Northern Europe.
Early in this movie Conan is eating by a campfire with a new-found friend from the Picts, a tribe that later would comprise the people of Spain. They began to compare gods, and Conan bragged that his god, Crom, was powerful and to be reckoned with. The little Pict warrior claimed that his god was stronger; so Conan told him that Crom was great and ruled even the mountain they were sitting on. The Pict, smiling, said that his god was the god of the ‘everlasting sky’. As Conan’s eyes were drawn upwards, scanning the expanse above him, the Pict said triumphantly, “Your god lives below mine”, and Conan simply stared at him, at a loss for words.
As I began preparation for this sermon, I pondered this phrase, ‘the strength of His might’, and that made me think of all the many thousands upon thousands of other gods man has bowed down to throughout the centuries, and what all their various claims might have been.
From what I’ve been able to observe in my own study, although history is filled with gods of many names and likenesses, it seems they all boil down to relatively few characteristics and purposes; which makes sense if you realize that however the individual culture depicts the god, the same demons and the same Satan are behind them.
They are gods of the hunt, as was Artemis, the Greek goddess to whom a temple was built in Ephesus. The Temple of Artemis took 220 years to build and was considered one of the wonders of the ancient world. It existed in Ephesus at the time of Paul, and you can read about it in Acts 19. She was the Greek counterpart of the Roman’s Diana.
There are gods of the weather and the harvest, such as Baal, and Pan, gods of fertility, gods of prosperity and so on.
But the thing that stood out to me most poignantly as I compared the thought of them with the God being described here in Ephesians 1, is that their so-called strength, without fail, always exists to do things for man or to man. Protect him from enemies, give him good crops and large herds, make him fertile so that he will produce large families and strong boys, favor him with convenient weather, give him wisdom in choosing a bride, and the list, I suppose, is endless.
But I submit to you today, Christian, that though we can rightfully boast in our God, that He is higher and stronger and greater than all other gods; although we can show even from scriptures that He is all of those other things in One, and that His power brings all other powers to nothing; we’re cheating ourselves and we’re setting our thoughts of God too low, if we fail to realize that the greatest manifestation of the strength of His might is not in demonstrations of miracles in the physical world, not in giving comfort to our mortal bodies or delivering us from our enemies, but what He has done in us, through Christ.
THE STRENGTH OF HIS MIGHT CREATED US
not renovation of that which was damaged, but life surpassing in quality and duration
However, before we narrow our focus too much, let’s look at the larger picture. If Paul wanted to talk about the strength of God’s might, why didn’t he talk about creation itself?
Why didn’t he talk about a God who simply said, “Let there be...” and whatever He filled the blank in with, it was?
God spoke light into existence out of darkness.
Doesn’t that just boggle the mind?
He said, ‘Let there be light” and the angels were batting their eyes for a millennium.
(I know ~ the Bible doesn’t say that, but it preaches good)
He hung the stars in their proper place and even NAMED them all! (Ps 147:4)
Why didn’t Paul use the Flood as a reference to God’s power? Why didn’t he talk about the mighty things He did in delivering His chosen nation out of Egypt? Or in taking the Promised Land 40 years later?
Here is why. Paul has been, all along, impressing upon the Ephesians the blessings that God, by the kind intention of His will, has lavished on His people.