O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
Time to Show My Power
Time to Show My Power
Based on Eph. 1:15-23
Preached on May 05, 2016
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Fellow baptized saints, have you ever seen real power? With my experience in the military, there have been times when I thought I did. I can remember the first time the admiral came to visit our unit. Our Commanding Officer, our Captain, the man who everybody feared and jumped to obey his orders - I saw this man running. Running with fear in his eyes - like he was one of the sailors about to be caught out of position. Every sailor in the unit was inspection ready - haircuts, boots polished, uniforms ironed - standing at attention rank upon rank, as we did when our Commanding Officer inspected us. But this time - even our Captain was scurrying around to make way for the power. The flags were flying. The trumpet was sounded. Nothing moved except this one admiral and his forerunner, preparing the way for him, as he walked into our midst. It was like the room bent as he came through the door. It was like he had personally sucked in all the oxygen in the room, and the power of his presence just hung above the entire assembly.
And this was just one admiral. This wasn"t the head of the Navy. Or the military. This wasn"t the Queen (don"t even get me started on her visit) - No - this was one admiral. So it is understandable when we have a hard time grasping what we"re celebrating today when the Lord of the universe takes His heavenly throne before ranks and ranks of angels. When the Head of all creation makes His approach. When history itself bends for this One who is, who was, and who is to come. What is this power? This throne? How could we possibly know?
And this is what makes Paul"s prayer so compelling. Paul prays for precisely that. That you might know this power. That God would show you what He has done for you by raising Jesus from the dead and seating Him in the heavenly places.
There are powers in this world that you cannot stand up to - Evil powers - that are too great for you. They overwhelm you. Surround you. Outnumber you. When they press on you, there is nothing you can do. Death. Devil. Sin. What can man do against such powers?
When you get that phone call you could never have prepared for - the call that makes you feel smaller than everything - completely powerless and insignificant all in an instant. When death draws near.
When you"ve done something, that you could never shake, never justify, never forget - not in a thousand years - and try as you might - it is so easy for the Evil One to replay that thing in your mind - over and over and over again. Him and his army of accusers.
These powers push on you and they demand that you prove yourself. Justify your actions. Your existence. Your life. But its hopeless, and they will not stop pressuring you no matter where you go.
But wait, Paul says, God is calling you to rest in His power. He has acted. He has done something to send all these evil powers running. You want to see real power? God put all of your sin and all of my sin, and the sin of the whole world in His Son Jesus, and then He destroyed it all there in His body on the cross. He filled His Son with evil so He could defeat it - once and for all. And then to prove that He has done this for you and for all people - He raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places. This is the power of God. It is Christ - - for you.
(quiet) It"s so different from the way we think. Paul does not appeal to God"s power in creating the universe or dividing the seas or raising the mountains. He appeals to what God did in Christ. It is not important what God can do with His power, but that He chooses to use His power for your sake - against your enemies. Sin. Death. And the Devil. These powers have nothing more to say to you - now that Christ sits at God"s right hand. You no longer have to prove yourself. Christ has made you worthy. You no longer have to fear death. Christ has broken its door off. And you don"t have to listen to the devil"s accusations anymore, Christ is the judge and He has declared you innocent in His own blood.
This is the power for which you will praise Him for all eternity - His mercy! His undeserved grace and favor. His no-strings attached promise that He actually wants to be with you forever and has done everything needed to make it happen. This is the power that Paul is talking about.
God"s power is not destructive or terrifying. It is a gift. Something He graciously chooses to give to all who believe. Power to rise. Power to ascend. Power to sit at His right hand forever. Can you even imagine? This power that we have trouble understanding God shares with us by faith in Christ. In Christ, you are given this power, you died on the cross with Him, rose from the dead with Him, and live and reign hidden in Him now - for all eternity. I know, it seems too good to be true. But Paul is clear. God has appointed Jesus as Head over all things for the Church. For your benefit. Christ did not do this for Himself. This is all for you. Christ is all for you. For this is how God has decided to use His power - for you.
Now, the extent of that power is equally incredible. "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 one to come." You rule in Christ - not just above other powers. Far above. Not to be compared - above.
Power in heaven. Power everywhere.
Power now. Power to come.
Power over death. Power over life.
Power over sin. Power over grace.
Power over devil. Power over angel.
In the waters of Baptism, God located you in Christ. He put you in Him, placed you there, that where He is, you may be also. And He sits on throne of heaven - that is, in the power seat. At the sound of His Name, every knee must bow and tremble - yet mystery beyond mystery - that Name is yours. Spoken upon you in baptism. The power of Jesus" Name is yours to wield. Yours to hold up against the evil powers in this world. Yours to swing with full assurance that it protects you with more power than all the legions of angels.
Tonight, the flags are flying. The trumpet sounds. The King approaches, and no one dare move. But He doesn"t come to inspect, but to Lord His mercy and grace and forgiveness upon you - to remind you that you rule in Him. And so may Paul"s prayer be answered this evening in you - that you may truly know how near Your Lord is to you, and that He is there to save. In the Name of Jesus", Amen.
Rev. Cameron Schnarr