EXPOSITIONS AT THE SCRIPTURE UNION OSOGBO
AREA SISTERS’ CONFERENCE 2017
BY ADENIKE OLADEJI REV. DR MRS
‘Knowledge is power’ that was the Moto of my primary school at Baptist Day School Oke-Awo many years back. The desire to know is inherent in human’s right from the time the devil’s deception of our fore-parents- Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Devil told the woman…and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil (Gen.3:5b). While the desire to know is not sinful what we want to know may be. However, in this prayer of Apostle Paul to the Ephesians church he prayed that they might know God’s power (Eph 1.19). Not just knowing God’s power but the effectual Greatness of His power. This is related to the knowledge of His riches. The knowledge of a person or a thing brings about better utilization or appreciation of the potentials in that person or thing. These two days, we shall address ourselves to what is meant to know God’s riches and His power, why we need God’s power, the reason why Paul wanted the Ephesians to know the effectual greatness of God’s power and how this is applicable to us as believers today. We need to then ask ourselves what to know means. It meant to understand, distinguish, discern, be familiar with, to be acquainted with. When you understand, you can distinguish, or discern and you are familiar or acquitted with God’s riches, or power, then you can claim to know God and his riches and power.
That We Might Know God’s Riches
18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength (Eph 1:17-20 NIV)
14 talks of believers inheritance (wealth) in Christ Jesus but v.18 is all about God’s great wealth in us. This is a mind-blowing fact that God sees believers as a part of his great wealth. If human beings are honoured based on their great wealth, much more than that, the God who has invested so much a wealth in the church deserves to get ‘glory from the church for his investment. We all know or have heard about Dangote and or Otedola, if any of them enters our midst, we would accord them great honour because of their great wealth in our nation. That is the reason why Paul said in v6 of Ephesians ch.1 that Christians shall be to the praise of the glory of His grace at the return of Jesus. If believers would realize what great wealth God has deposited in their lives, they will never live a careless life; rather they will live as kings and queens. Remember the Scripture says “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9-10).
Some of us might question what riches has God deposited in me who is so wretched and poor? In fact this is part of the prayers of Apostle Paul for the church at Ephesus. Similarly, I pray today that God our father may open eyes of your hearts to be able to comprehend the great hope and riches of God in your life and in your future. Amen. That reminds me that we have physical eyes and the eyes of our hearts which is our spiritual eyes. As long as you are seeing with your physical eyes, you will see failures, weaknesses, wretchedness and despondency, however with your spiritual eyes, you will see differently. You will see yourself as a victor, an achiever, a wealthy somebody then you can rightly sing the song I’m a millionaire…. My father is rich in houses and land so I can sayyy I’m a millionaire. I am happy millionaire.
Need to know that God deals with us based not on our past but our future. That is why the scriptures says the time of ignorance God winked at (Acts. 17:30). The now and the future is very important to God. Our beginning is based on repentance and turning to God from idolatry and evil ways. Then he sees in us potentials –what we shall be and this could be seen in God’s statement to Gideon “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour” (Judg 6:12). Also Jesus said to Andrew’s brother, “Thou art Simon … thou shalt be called Cephas [a stone]” (John 1:42). As at that time that was not who they were but consequently and thereafter, Gideon became mighty man of valour while Simon became Peter, a rock.
Therefore, as believers, live in the future tense. What we shall be when Christ returns. Because we are God’s inheritance, we live to please and glorify Him. Jesus actually prayed before he died that He will be glorified in us (2 Thess 1:10), and we will be glorified in Him (Col 3:4). Knowing this should lead the believer into a life of dedication and devotion to the Lord.
Yesterday, we addressed our minds to the fact that believers are God’s inheritance, His wealth; He has invested much in us which accord God the need to glory in us. Also we learnt we need to stop questioning God’s riches in us because He deals with us based on our future and not our past. We prayed God to open the eyes of our hearts to see differently and in line with how God sees us. So today, we shall explore the phrase:
That We Might Know God’s Power (Eph. 1:19-23)
We have a look at the various versions of the Bible on how they describe God’s power in Eph.1:19
1) his incomparably great power for us who believe (Eph 1:19 NIV)
2) 19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him (NLT).
3) 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might (ESV)
4) 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might (THE MESSAGE).
5) …and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power (NKJV)
6) You will also know the unlimited greatness of his power as it works with might and strength for us, the believers (GOD’S WORD)
From the above passages, following words that qualifies greatness of God’s power stand out- they are incomparable, incredible immeasurable, exceeding, unlimited. In other words, the greatness of God’s power is incomparable ( unique, outstanding, unparalleled, unmatched), incredible (ie unbelievable, unconceivable, far-fetched),it is immeasurable (infinite, endless, huge, immense, beyond measure), exceeding (above, beyond, more than) what human mind can comprehend. PRAISE THE lord for this.
What is power?
Some of us who read physics will be able to tell us what is meant by power. Paul tried to explain this when he used certain Greek words to help the Ephesians believers understand such are : dunamis “power” as in dynamo and dynamite, Power is defined as “a natural or special ability to do something.” Thesaurus defines power as ability, potential, competence, capacity. He also used the word ‘energeia’ – “working” as in energy-energy that can be used to make a machine work- e.g when you switch on power, your TV set, grinding machine or your radio start working.
When Paul said – “power” In Eph 1:19, he meant to emphasize the surpassing greatness of God’s power toward us who believe.” He meant divine dynamic, eternal energy, available to us! Even though this power is available for us but do we know this? Are we making use of this power? This brings us to the question
Why do Believers Need God’s Power?
Believers need power because of so many reasons; some of these are as follow:
To become strong and courageous to appropriate our wealth in God “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt 26:41). The first time some of us handle a million, we may not be able to sleep well, why? We become afraid thinking someone is after us to snatch it and harm us. Such was John Rockefeller the world’s first millionaire. Until he learned to share his wealth with others he suffered ill health which almost ended his life prematurely. Your wealth is useless unless you are strong enough, fearless and courageous to use it. To turn this vast spiritual wealth over to a mere human being, living by human wisdom and strength, would be like handing an atomic bomb to a two-year-old. God’s power enables us to use God’s wealth.
To prevent enemies who may try to rob us of our wealth (Eph 1:21; 6:11-12). Of ourselves, we can never defeat the enemy of our souls. We need help of the spirit power to face such enemies. That is why Paul prayed that believers should know the greatness of God’s power. As such, the enemy will not deprive us of the use of our wealth and we will not fail to use them.
Thirdly, believers need this power to be able to draw from our great wealth in God. This power is embedded in the resurrection of Jesus. So great a power that could not be resisted from rolling away the big stone that was at the tomb, sealed and with great number of guards watching. Yes Jesus rose triumphantly. Praise the Lord. Unlike in OT when God’s power was measured by His creation (Isa 40:12-27) or by Israelites exodus from Egypt (Jer 16:14) but now it is measured by miracle of Christ’s resurrection and therefore, He became Saviour and sovereign (Acts 2:25-36). No authority or power, human or in the spirit world, is greater than that of Jesus Christ, the exalted Son of God. He is “far above all,” and no future enemy can overcome Him, because He has been exalted “far above all” powers.
Believers can appropriate what Jesus did based on Eph 1:22-23, which reads ”And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Paul’s practical explanation made us to see the relationship believers have in Christ Jesus. That is, we believers are the church; the church is Christ’s body. Jesus is the head of the church. We are all aware that the head controls the body and makes it function effectively in the physical sense. The Spiritual head of the church is Christ; the Spirit unites us with him because we are members of His body. Therefore we share of His resurrection, ascension and exaltation. And it is emphatically stated in Eph 2;6 that we are seated with Him in the heavenlies and we have everything under our feet as well. For this reason, Paul prayed for them and us that we know “the exceeding greatness of His power to us –ward. Without this power, it becomes very difficult if not impossible for us to draw from our great wealth in Christ Jesus. A seriously sick person who finds it difficult to write his signature may not be able to draw from his/her bank account unless something drastic is done to help his weakness.
And so What?
The power we need is the Holy Spirit. We can find this through the resurrection and ascension of Jesus by faith. Verse 19 says His power is to “usward who believe.” Limitation comes through unbelief, grace of God supplies the wealth, and faith lays hold of the wealth. Remember believers are saved “by grace, through faith” (Eph 2:8-9), and we Live “by grace,” through faith (1 Cor 15:10).
If believers are to do the work as commanded by Jesus Christ before He left, the witnessing of this exceeding greatness of God’s power must be real in our lives. Without the Holy Spirit power, we cannot effectively be a witness for Him. God’s power manifested in the ministry of Jesus in four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but this power manifested in the lives of the apostles who were ordinary men and women like us in the book of Acts of the Apostles -leading to super natural miracles of healing, sudden transformation and boldness in Peter who was earlier timid and weak, salvation and addition of great number of people to the church etc. What made the difference was the resurrection power (Acts 1:8). Paul has prayed for the church, will you be an answer to Paul’s prayer? What prayers are we offering in the church today? May we catch the fire today so we can do exploit for our master Jesus Christ. God bless you all.