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Sunday, July 20, 2014 pm                Studies in Ephesians

 

STUDIES IN EPEHSIANS (7)
The Power of God in Jesus
Ephesians 1:20-23

 

Tonight we continue our study of Ephesians.    In our last lesson we discussed Paul’s prayer on behalf of these brethren.  In that prayer he expressed his desire that they experience and understand the power of God.  We examined the power of God as it is described in this text (Eph. 1:15-19).  We noted the greatness of His power both in might and authority.  At the conclusion of our last lesson we noted that God demonstrated His power through Jesus in four different ways – 1) By raising Him from the dead; 2) By seating Him at the right hand of God in the heavenly places and thereby exalting Him far above all principalities, powers, might, dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the age to come; 3) He put all things under His feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. 

Tonight, we want to examine these four avenues of the demonstration of God’s power in Jesus. 

  I.                     He raised Him from the dead (20)  

a.        In the past year or two our studies have yielded a number of lessons on the resurrection of Jesus. 
1 Corinthians 15 established His physical resurrection.   Throughout the book of Acts, the resurrection of Jesus was a focal point of the gospel preached.  It was also a point that generated great controversy.  We are here today because Jesus was raised from the dead. 

b.       Here we learn that the resurrection of God demonstrates God’s power.
Rom 1:4, “concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:3–4)

c.        As a demonstration of the power of God, we have great confidence in this. 
Jesus was raised never to die again, so shall we be.  1 Corinthians 15:54-57, 6:14

d.       As God raised up Jesus, He can raise us up as well –BOTH physically and spiritually.  Rom. 6:8-11.  Let us not forget about our spiritual “resurrection.”

 II.                  He is seated at the right hand of God (20-22a)

a.        The idea of being “seated at His right hand” is an expression of great authority.  We hear of a king’s “right hand man.”  Joseph was second in command answering only to Pharaoh (Gen. 41:40). 
The “right hand of God” is an expression used of Jesus’ reign several times – 1 Peter. 3:22, Hebrews 1:3, 8:1, 10:12, 12:2; Colossians 3:1; Acts 5:31, etc.   Our text elaborates upon what this means.

b.       Jesus is NOW reigning as Lord. 
When God raised Jesus from the dead, He was not done.  In fact, it was just the beginning of His ultimate rule.
 Jesus is NOW Lord and King in His kingdom.  Clearly He is more than just another ruler, He IS God! But He rules at YHWH’s side. 
Acts 2:36 finds Peter concluding his sermon, ““Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
1 Cor. 15:24-26 describes Jesus now reigning having been resurrected from the dead.
Colossians 1:13–14,  He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
This expression defeats the false doctrine of premillenialism which says that Jesus is returning to this earth to reign as king.  Nowhere in scripture is that taught. 

c.        IT is “in heavenly places” – one of the points Jesus emphasized while on this earth was that His kingdom is NOT an earthly kingdom – John 18:36.  Luke 17:21 Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you.”

d.       Far above all principality and power and might and dominion - One thing to note in this expression is while Jesus reigns in heavenly places, it is ABOVE or GREATER than this earth.  In fact, His reign INCLUDES this earth and all that is in it! 
The words mentioned here demonstrate a variety of different types of rulers
Principalities – is a term that describes one who is in a high position of authority.  Both Luke 12:11 & Titus 3:1 use the term to describe authorities on earth.
But the word is used several times in the NT with reference to spiritual powers in heavenly places (greater than the powers of this earth).  (Eph. 3:10, 6:12, Col. 1:16, Romans 8:38-39, etc.).  Jesus is ABOVE all of these.
Power – is a word that indicates authority (or permission) or one placed in a position of authority.   The authority of Jesus is greater and overrules all of these.  Matthew 28:18
Might – a word that demonstrates great potential or ability.  The Greek word is the word from which we get our English word dynamite (δύναμις, dunamis).  It describes one who has the ability to do something.  Certainly, Jesus, when He speaks, can do what He says.  He has the “might” to back it up, if you will. 
Dominion – a word that means “lordship” or a ruler.
In ALL THESE we see the greatness of His reign!  Colossians 1:15–17 says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” 
1 Peter 3:22 says
 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

e.       And every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
This summarizes the magnitude of His authority.  Any position of authority you can name, anywhere, anytime, anyplace – Jesus is OVER it! 
Philippians 2:9-11 speaks of God having highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name.
Revelation 1:5 speaks of Him being “the ruler over the kings of the earth.”
1 Timothy 6:15,
 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

1 Cor. 15:25-27 gives the only exception to that rule! 

 III.                He is head of the church, which is His body (22-23)

a.        He put all things under His feet – transitioning into the next point, Paul continues to emphasize the magnitude of Christ’s authority.  ALL things are in subjection to Him.  We have shown this in the descriptions above.

b.       Christ is Head of the church – just another example of the greatness of His authority.
Jesus is ruler of His church.  WE have been discussing the church in great detail the past few Sundays.  Here we simply remind ourselves that the church is the “assembly of those who are saved” whether universally, or locally.  In this text, whether universal or local is not specified, though in context it leans toward a universal application.  BOTH apply!
The idea of Christ being head of the church means He RULES over her. 
Matthew 16:18 tells us it HIS church.  
Being its head, He has all authority (Matt. 28:18).
Colossians 1:18 says, “And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1:17–18)   Christ has preeminence. 
AS we study to understand this, we can see the importance of following His instructions in all that we do.  The world of so-called “Christendom” (all professed followers of Jesus) is greatly divided in virtually every aspect of what the church is.  This is absolutely contrary to what the Bible teaches about unity – 1 Corinthians 1:10, John 17:20-21, etc. 
This division is a result of man’s failure to make Jesus LORD of His church.  So often, man follows his own theories and desires in creating what he thinks the church of Christ ought to be.  We must guard against that.

c.        The church is His body.  This too has been frequently emphasized from this pulpit.
Paul spoke of the body being various parts, each doing its share and thus causing growth (Ephesians 4:15-16).  In 1 Corinthians 12 he said, “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.  (vs. 27)  This at the culmination of a discourse on the importance of every part of the body. 
What I want to emphasize here is that we are HIS body! 
He gives us life!  WE cannot survive without Him.   But in another sense, let us also consider that the head needs its body! In the case of Christ Jesus, this is NOT saying He cannot survive without us, BUT He IS depending upon us to exalt and sustain Him.  IT is the WAY He has chosen to manifest Himself on earth! Remember Ephesians 3:10, the manifold wisdom of God is made known by the church.
 Can we see in this our need to submit to HIS will?  
Again, as with Christ being head with all manner of authority, so we, AS HIS body, must submit to His directions.  ONLY then can we truly profess to be the church of Christ.

d.       The fullness of Him who fills all in all.  This final expression demonstrates that in Him we find completeness.  God made no mistakes in instituting the church. 
In Him we are complete! “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” (Colossians 2:9–10)
Is not our goal to be “filled with the fullness of Christ”? (Eph. 3:19)
When the church is properly led, it results in, “…the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;” (Eph. 4:12-13)

 

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians was that they might better understand the power of God.  There is no greater demonstration of His power than what He did with Jesus.  We have seen in this lesson the greatness of God’s power in raising Him from the dead, exalting Him in heaven and making Him head over His body, the church.   How are we demonstrating His power in our lives?  Are we letting our light shine to bring glory to Him? (Matt. 5:16).  Does He dwell within us?  Does He dwell within you?  Think about it.