Summary: What if you were willing to believe the bible?
September 2, 2007
Text: Ephesians 3:14-21
Subject: Spiritual Power
Title: What If?
Do you know anyone who lives in the past? I think that as a rule most people will reflect on the past and wonder what things might have been like had they made different choices. What if I had married someone else? What if I had taken that other job? What if I had gone to college? What if – what if – what if!!! The problem with all those what if’s is that it is too late to do anything about them. That someone else you thought about marrying is already married to someone else- and quite happy. That other job you wondered about was filled long ago by someone else. That college degree that you wish you had pursued doesn’t have the practical application now that it did then. The fact is that for many of the things in your life you cannot do much to change. I’m reminded of Job’s wife. You remember how after Job had lost all his possessions and his children were killed how his wife said to him, "why don’t you just curse God and die?". After JOb went through his whole trial i wonder if his wife said, "What if I had supported him all the way?" I think that she probably asked herself this while she was having her 20th child at the age of 55. You can dream about the past but to what avail?
However, since we’re talking about dreaming, what would you say if I told you that there are a lot of what if’s, that if you started dreaming them today, would change your life in such a way that you would never be the same. What if you were totally sold out for Jesus Christ? What if you did everything you could do to see this church with wall-to-wall pwople? What if you could hear the voice of God speaking to you and what if you responded to everything He said? What if you gave your tithe every week? What if God blessed you for it?
We are asking the same question as before but we are looking at a different time frame. What if’s applied to the past change nothing. But when applied to the present and the future, they can change everything.
I want to read to you a prayer that the apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian church and as we go through it I want you to do two things. First we are going to replace the pronoun “you” with “me”. Second, we are going to ask, “what if those things applied to me”?
I want you to walk away from here today with a whole new outlook on the kind of Christian God wants you to be.
I. 14-15. WHAT IF I WERE PART OF THE FAMILY OF GOD? 14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. If you were a Christian you have a promise waiting for you. That promise is eternity in heaven with Jesus Christ the king. But before that you have every promise given in the Bible available to you now. You have the promise of blessing and healing and provision and strength and love. You have already received this from Ephesians 1:3, “3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed ME in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Do you get that? You are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ in the heavenly realms. And if you have it in the heavenly realms where else do you think that you might have it? Jesus prayed, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven! Well, I don’t know if I can believe that or not. That sounds a lot like that word of faith stuff. I want you to understand something. The “word of Faith” stuff is the same thing as the “Word of God” stuff. So if the Word says you are blessed in the heavenlies and Jesus said God’s will is done on earth the same as it is in heaven then what part of that do you have a problem with? If you are a blood bought child of God those promises are yours.
II. 16-17a WHAT IF I WERE STRENGTHENED WITH GOD’S POWER? 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen ME with power through his Spirit in MY inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell MY heart through faith. Verse 17 talks about Jesus living in your heart when you are saved (17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith) but verse 16 talks about being empowered by the Holy Spirit so that Christ may continue to inhabit your inner man and enable you to live a life that is consistent with His dwelling in you. “With power through his Spirit” refers to that baptism in the Holy Spirit that is available to all believers. That’s what Jesus was talking about when He told the disciples that they would be endued with power from on high. That’s what He meant when He said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be My witnesses…” That’s what happened on the Day of Pentecost in that upper room in Jerusalem in Acts 2:1-4, “1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. What if you were baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues? Your life would change. What does the bible say about that? 2For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit… 4He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself… 20But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. You understand, don’t you, that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is not simply about speaking in tongues? That is the initial physical evidence. The baptism is about power. But tongues are a manifestation of the power in you and Paul says that the more we pray in tongues the better off we are. Praying in tongues enables the Holy Spirit to pray through us the perfect prayer that is presented to God on our behalf. We can do that any time we want to. Now, for those of you who say, “I don’t have to pray in tongues. I pray better in English.” I want to say this. If you stop and think about it, you are being pretty presumptuous and proud if you think that you can pray better with your understanding than the Holy Spirit can pray through you. What if you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit or a refilling of the spirit and committed yourself to praying in tongues? Do you have any idea what would happen? There would be a dramatic change in your life and in the life of this church.