By The Power Within Us
July 26th, 2009
Ephesians 3:14-21 “My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”
“How does man misuse power?” The OT passage shows how David misused His power to first woo Bathsheba and then to kill her husband. God was not pleased with David. Can you think of some instances in today’s world where someone has misused power? ……Now lets look at how Paul approached and viewed God.
Paul Prostrate Before the Father:
The first thing we see in this passage from Ephesians is Paul on his knees, literally prostrate on the ground before the father. This is no ordinary prayer; it is a most serious prayer, coming in complete humility before God, the Father.
Barclay tells us about this Father that Paul is talking about. “God is the Father of Jesus. When men used the word father of God before Jesus came, they used it much more in the sense of paternity. They meant that the gods were responsible for the creation of men. There was in the word none of the love and intimacy which Jesus put into it. The centre of the Christian conception of God is that he is like Jesus, that he is as kind, as loving, as merciful as Jesus was. It was always in terms of Jesus that Paul thought of God.”
God is the Father to whom we have access. “The essence of the Old Testament is that God was the person to whom access was forbidden. When Manoah, who was to be the father of Samson, realized who his visitor had been, he said: “We shall surely die, for we have seen God” (Judges 13:22). In the Jewish worship of the Temple the Holy of Holies was held to be the dwelling-place of God and into it only the High Priest might enter, and that only on one day of the year, the Day of Atonement.
The centre of Christian belief is the approachability of God. H. L. Gee tells a story. There was a little boy whose father was promoted to the exalted rank of brigadier. When the little lad heard the news, he was silent for a moment, and then said, “Do you think he will mind if I still call him daddy?” The essence of the Christian faith is unrestricted access to the presence of God.”
God is the Father of glory, the glorious Father. The other side of who God is that He is wonderful beyond our imagination and one writer suggests that the word Glory can be interchanged with power. God is a God of power unimaginable, but sharable in the new Kingdom.
God is the Father of all. No man, no Church, no nation has exclusive possession of God; that is the mistake, which the Jews made., and is for sure made today in the US and perhaps in many places. The fatherhood of God extends to all men, and that means that we must love and respect one another.
God is the Father to whom thanks must be given. Because God’s gifts come to us so regularly we tend to forget that they are gifts. The Christian should never forget that he owes, not only the salvation of his soul, but also life and breath and all things to God.
God is the pattern of all true fatherhood. That lays a tremendous responsibility on all human fathers. G. K. Chesterton tells us that in his childhood he possessed a toy theatre in which all the characters were cut-outs in cardboard. One of them was a man with a golden key. He never could remember what the man with the golden key stood for but in his own mind he always connected his father with him, a man with a golden key opening up all kinds of wonderful things.
We teach our children to call God father, and the only conception of fatherhood they can have is that which we give them. Human fatherhood should be patterned on the fatherhood of God.
So we see Paul on his belly before this Father who is so like His son that we can know Him that way.