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Studies In Ephesians

Proclaiming the Unsearchable Riches of Christ (See 3:8)

Chapter 1:15-23

The “Force” Who Is Really With You

Are you one of the many who enjoy the modern morality play Star Wars? If so, you know that this captivating fiction piece won’t let you face the Phantom Menace alone. “The Force be with you!”

For centuries Christian worshipers have heard the heartening blessing “The Lord be with you!” So equipped, they are ready to confront any hostile “principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come” (1:21).

That covers everything that devil, world, and sinful flesh can mount against us in their effort to draw us from the skies. Much more, certainly, than George Lucas’ adversaries: our “dark side,” intergalactic hostiles, and an army of droid machines. As it is so often, the real foes are greater than the fictional!

A More Formidable Force

To stand up to such fierce foes we need a more formidable “Force” than fiction can find for us–more than has ever “entered into the heart {imagination?} of man” (1 Cor. 2:9).

We need what only God Himself can give us: “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (1:17).

Problem is, God’s people tend to make their God too small, and the power of Jesus “at His right hand in the heavenly places” (v. 20) too weak. Perhaps you have found yourself shrinking what you ask of Him to what you think is normally “possible.”

When Hope Needs Help

When Paul pondered the situation among the Christians in Ephesus, he could give uninterrupted thanks for their manifest faith and love (vv. 15-16). It was their hope that needed help. His prayer for them and for all of us:

A) “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling” (v. 18). Out with those cataracts! We need a clear vision of the fabulous dimensions of the hope of His calling!

B) To know that hope fully is to be keenly aware “of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (v. 18). Am I impressed with what passes for glory in this age? Not even a flicker compared with the glory, the brightness, the magnificence of the inheritance we shall have from God, and the inheritance He shall have in his faithful saints {we can read the text both ways}. When that becomes real in our mind’s eye, we will be better able to bear with the humility of Jesus’ Church in this present age. Listen to the protest chant of the hostiles: “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” Hah! What little they know! How they will smite their mouths when our inheritance glory is revealed!

How Great His Power!

C) One of the hardest things for the eyes of faith to see is “the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” (v. 19). A power demonstrated in Jesus’ resurrection. A power entrusted to Him in His elevation to the right hand of the Father of Glory. A power greater than any other power in this age or the age to come (vv. 20-21). A power that is being exercised always in the interests of His Church, His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. That’s you and I and all His saints along with us!

Why is it so hard to grasp this power greatness and have it in our living consciousness?

Napoleon Knew

It is said that Napoleon in exile in Alba was thinking about the collapse of his imperial power. Considering that the kingdom of Christ had survived over the centuries when every world-power–including his own–ultimately came crashing down, he discovered something about power. Earthly powers, he noted, gain their position by force–the force of arms, or money, or intellect. In contrast, the Kingdom of Jesus has its powerful way with truth and love (we would say with the power of the Spirit working through the gospel).

The Church can sheath its sword. It has the dynamite power of the gospel to win its wars!

Our Lord’s Muscle Power

Jesus rules over His Church, His body, with the gentle breeze of the Spirit (1:13). We understand that and rejoice.

But there is a tornado power too. All things are placed “under His feet” (v. 23). In early times, a conqueror placed his feet on the neck of a defeated ruler–a sign of complete dominion. According to the Bible, all nations and forces of the world as well as His Church are under His rule. It’s true! But it is hard to live in conscious awareness of that power, since Jesus usually lets things run their course of self-destruction. Or He raises up some earthly power to served His purposes. So Cyrus of Persia became the Lord’s servant to conquer Babylon and return God’s refugees to their homeland.

See Ezekiel 17:22-24 for a vivid portrait of God’s absolute sovereignty also over worldly kingdoms. The Lord of hosts is with us!

Therefore we will not fear, no matter what. With eyes enlightened to know the mighty power of El Shaddai, the Lord God Almighty, that is with us, we need be dismayed by nothing.

Who needs a vague, nameless “Force” as a security blanket?

–Pastor Rollin A. Reim