Eph. 3:14-21 The Powers That Be What a glorious desire! Paul, under the filling of the Holy Spirit, was able to see the potential of God living in the saints. \\#16\\ Possessing the riches of His glory. Strengthened with might by His Spirit. \\#17\\ Rooted and grounded in love. \\#18\\ Able to comprehend the scope of Godís plan. \\#19\\ To know the love of Christ. Filled with all the fullness of God. Paul is outlining a picture for us of what is supposed to be ours. A rich and full spiritual life. How can we get it? There are no magic spells and no short cuts. 1. There is no secret Bible verse. 2. There is no prayer incantation. 3. There is no singular religious experience. 4. If we come to a place of spiritual filling, it will be by a warfare, a long and consistent battle within our souls that will last a lifetime. All power comes from God. God is the only power Source. But there is more than one road by which we can get to that power. I find at least seven avenues to Godís power available to us. There may be more but since seven is the number of completeness in the Bible, I stopped looking. I. The Avenue of Humility James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Matthew 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. 1Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: A. The first leg in the journey to Godís power is humility. 1. That means that humility is both an avenue to power and a prerequisite. a. Humility is clearly a direct route to power as the above verses indicate. (1) If you humble yourself, God will lift you up. (2) If you humble yourself, God will exalt you. b. However, if you will not humble yourself, you will not be able to get to Godís power through any of the other avenues either. (1) So humility is a perquisite. (2) It is something you must do or be before you can have power from God. 2. For example, we often seek revival but it will not come until we are first humble. 2Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 3. James 4:6, 10 (mentioned above) are dealing with our battle in this world against sin, self, and Satan; but still humility is given as a perquisite. 4. I am not sure why but perhaps it is because the Godhead had to so humble themselves to help us! 5. We can never have victory over self, sin, Satan, or any other enemy until we can humble ourselves before God. B. What is humility? 1. Humility is not getting knocked down (humiliated) but being humiliated can bring humbleness. 2. Humility is willing stepping down, putting another (in this case God) above ourselves. 3. It is us no longer doing those things we feel we must, or insisting on the things we want, or demanding the things we feel we have a right to. 4. Rather we do the things that God said we must, insist on the things He wants, and demand the things He has a right to. C. How do we humble ourselves? Letís just spell it out. 1. Deny self. Mt 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. a. Deny yourself what you want. b. Deny yourself what you think you are entitled to. 2. Exalt the Lord God Almighty. a. Put Him ahead of you. b. One way of doing that is to put others ahead of you. 3. Seek God. a. In His Word b. through prayer c. by fasting d. in worship II. The Avenue of the Word of God Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it. John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. A. The Word of God is as powerful as God is. B. In fact, the Word of God is just that, it is Godís Word. 1. It is what God has promised He would do. 2. God is all powerful and completely free to do whatever He wishes. The only thing that binds God to do what we need is His Word! C. All of the Bible is powerful. 1. You can find power in any part of Godís Word. a. His promises. d. His desires. b. His judgments. e. His predeterminations. c. His precepts. f. His revelations. 2. You can find it in the historical sections, the prophetic, the poetic, and the didactic. 3. It is in both the Old and the New Testaments. 4. That is why the Scripture says of the Word: 2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: D. When engaged, the power of Godís Word can win souls, crush hearts, expose sin, and give light. 1. Notice that those are all affects on PEOPLE. 2. If we want to get the power of God to affect a person, get them into the Word and get the Word into them. E. How do we engage it? 1. Study it. 2Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2. Mediate on it. Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. a. One of the problems with our entertained lifestyle is that we do not mediate on Scripture. b. We watch television, listen to the radio, text, FB, or otherwise engage ourselves. 3. Proclaim it. 1Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. F. Once we have exposed ourselves to the avenue of the Word of God, another avenue is made available to us. III. The Avenue of Obedience Psalms 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psalms 112:1 Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. A. Obedience was one of the main avenues to power in the Old Testament. 1. In Acts 10, God sends Peter to a Gentile home to preach the gospel. 2. But before Peter preached, he comes to realize a fact that had been true about God and the Gentiles. Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 3. While I believe that may be over-simplified, Peter was saying that if a man anywhere had faith in God was obeyed him, God accepted himóas God had done with Cornelius. 4. Today that is not true. Today a person must call upon Jesusí name, but in the Old Testament, obedience had power with God. B. Obedience to the Word of God evokes the rewards/blessings contained inside of the Word of God. 1. Unless God is hindering them, those principals are automatic. 2. I do not think God must spend time enforcing gravity. He has ordained it. If it does not happen, He is stopping it. 3. I donít think God has to tell the earth to rotate, the stars to stay in the heavens, or the moon to shine. 4. So also with obedience and the Word of God. a. A lost person can do it and be blessed. (1) Tithing - You obey and God blesses. (2) Mediating on the Word - You obey and God blesses. b. How much more will God bless a saved person doing it? C. How do I learn to obey? 1. Study the Bible and do it. 2. Set up strategies to over come disobedience. 3. Ask others for help in accountability. IV. The Avenue of Prayer A. There is no access to power with more promises in the Bible than the access of prayer. Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Isaiah 58:9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I [am]. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; 1John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. Psalms 86:7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. B. Prayer is just talking with the one exception. The One you are talking to is God. C. Prayerís primary purpose is not to inform God. 1. He already knows. 2. Prayerís primary purpose is to find and do Godís will in a matter. D. Prayer must be offered in humility and with an obedient heart. E. Earnest prayer requires time and details. 1. Do not just repeat words. a. If there is something on your heart, reason with God. (1) Tell Him what is going on and why you need it. (2) Put your best arguments out there. b. If you donít have anything on your heart, make a list of everyone you know and pray for them. 2. Pray for the specifics as God leads. 3. Put your heart into prayer. 4. After you speak, wait for God to put thoughts into your heart. V. The Avenue of Faith John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. A. The stability of a Christian life comes from their faith not from their circumstances. 1. Faith is believing God when the circumstances say it is impossible. 2. Anyone who lacks stability in Christ is probably weak in their faith. B. Yet faith gives us more than stability. Faith accesses or releases Godís power. 1. The miracles of Jesus demonstrate that faith can move mountains, heal the sick, provide for the poor, and accomplish anything that is necessary that the will of God be accomplished. 2. Faith produces miracles. C. If you have problems with believing GodÖ 1. Go further into the spiritual world (preaching, Bible, fellowship). 2. Take each issue that troubles you and find out what God says in the Bible. a. Pray over it. b. Reason it through. c. Do this until you have examined it from every angle. Ask yourself questions like: (1) Do you have any other alternative than to believe God? (2) What if God makes me wait a long time? (3) Is it possible that I am praying for something outside of Godís will? d. If you come to the conclusion that you believe God, write out your decision and reasoning. 3. Then just believe God. a. Refuse to think about it again unless new information comes along that demands it. b. Tell God that He is your only hope! VI. The Avenue of Fasting Isaiah 58:6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Matthew 6:17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. Joel 2:12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye [even] to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: A. Fasting is physically pushing away from this worldís table to demonstrate to God that we are not satisfied with Satanís cheap trinkets! We want Godís genuine articles. B. It is also part of humbling ourselves, putting ourselves down while lifting God up. 1. You can fast food, entertainment, martial pleasures, or anything else you love. 2. You can fast an hour, a day, several days, a week, or longer. 3. The object and the time demonstrate to God how badly you want what He offers! VII. The Avenue of Being Filled with the Holy Ghost Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Micah 3:8 But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin. Romans 15:19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. Zechariah 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This [is] the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. A. The Holy Ghost is not just access to the power of God. He is God. However, being filled with the Holy Spirit is a direct access to the power of God for God is in full control of the individual. B. I donít think a person can be filled with the Holy Ghost who is not doingóat least to some extentóall of the others. C. When we are filled, Godís will will be done in us, through us, and around us. Let me close with a few thoughts to try to wrap these sources of power up: 1. With just one of these avenues, we can see Godís power. 2. By using sets of them together, God can do the improbable. 3. By using them in unison, God can do the impossible.
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