Power and Fullness in Christ (Ephesians message #2)

. 4 min read

Jan 2019, Christ Mountain Top
the Psalm, Psalm 149
Luke 24.36-43
Ephesians 1.15-23
Moment, Human Relations Day
begins with the wonder of Christ Jesus, beyond imagination, “all in all,” our
fullness and our destiny. It continues with practical direction on being in Christ. For eight weeks, we are
going to study this short letter. One of its marvelous features is its prayers.
Repeatedly, Paul offers his prayers for the readers of this letter – prayers for us – and he closes asking for our
prayer for him. One of those prayers will be our theme Scripture as a church
for 2019:
 I pray that you may
have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and
length and height and depth,  19
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be
filled with all the fullness of God.  20
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly
far more than all we can ask or imagine, 
21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all
generations, forever and ever. Amen.
as the disciples gathered after Jesus’ death
      Jesus was killed. Will they be next?
      The tomb is empty. What did they do with
the body?
      Some say Jesus is risen. That’s totally
      Jesus: Peace be with you.
in the nation around the shutdown
      Federal workers without paychecks
      Families who may soon lose food stamps
      Court dates that may be postponed
in the UMC re the Way Forward
      Not just among clergy, concerned about
impact on our future
      Having these conversations is difficulty –
do we have to?
      failure (double doink blocked kick in NFL
      Medical crisis
      Job loss
      Breakups, divorces
to hear the promise of Ephesians 1.3 – blessed us in Christ with every
spiritual blessing in the heavenly places

      Ephesians begins with a “great
benediction” (Stott, 51) and continues with this passage, Paul’s first prayer
in the text. This prayer is a prayer that we will actually know the blessings described in the first section of the chapter.

      Those blessings? Adoption, Inheritance,
Chosen, Redeemed
      Ephesians 1:17-19   pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come
to know him,  18 so that, with the eyes of your
heart enlightened, you may know what
is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious
inheritance among the saints,  19
and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe,
according to the working of his great power.
do you know something like this?
Especially when there is so much evidence against hope, so much evidence
against the power of God?
      Doc Martin story – the precocious boy
who asked questions about everything: “I never slept on a sofa before. Can you
tell me what the difference is between sleeping on a sofa and sleeping on a
      My answer would be: Nope. I can’t tell
you. But once you do it, you’ll know for yourself.
      That is what Paul prays for when he prays
for you and me that we can know hope and know the power of God in our lives. He
prays for us to know it by experience, to know it by practice.
met someone who “gets it”:
Everything has been taken
from me except God, and I am content with that.
knowledge that Paul prays for repeats some of the language of the first part of
this chapter. He emphasizes a trio of themes, all of which are tied to Jesus’
resurrection. The first is Hope. The second is Riches. The second is Power.
      We have Hope, even when all seems lost,
because Jesus Christ is Risen, the “firstborn from the dead,” a promise that we
too will share in that new life.
      We have Riches, even when we haven’t got a
cent, because God died and we’re in the will, because everything that is God’s
belongs to Jesus and everything that is Jesus’ belongs to us.
      We have Power, even when we are powerless,
because the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in us. As my
old preacher used to say, “I can’t, but he can … and he’s in me.”
 God put this power to
work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right
hand in the heavenly places,  21
far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name
that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.  22 And he has put all things under
his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church,  23 which is his body, the fullness
of him who fills all in all.
the result is that the church, as imperfect as we are, as much as we disagree
with each other (and even with God), as full of sin as we may be, as broken as
we certainly are … the result is that the church is Jesus’ body – like his body
headed for resurrection, and like any body animated and directed by the head.
The result is that the church is Jesus’ “fullness.” Fullness? The Greek text is
capable of several alternative understandings (Stott, 60-66), among them both
that it is the church that fills Christ Jesus and that it is Jesus who fills
the church. Either way, where the church is, Jesus is. And where you are –
since you are part of the church – where you are, whether it is in grief, in
pain, in despair, in anxiety … Jesus is.
      Jesus is our all in all. The one who “gathers
up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (1.10).
Everything has been taken
from me except God, and I am content with that.
      He gets it. When you have Jesus, you have
everything, because he is “all in all.”