Now Paul goes on to show who the intended recipients of this power are:
You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time, all of you had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now,
But Now! I love that phrase . . . things were bad—But Now!—you were rotten—But Now!—you were lost—But Now!—Whoa, we could stop and shout about that all day!
But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together—reconciled you to God—made you
That includes all of us, doesn’t it? All of us belong in this category. We are the ones through whom this power is now to operate
. . . made you whole and holy in his presence—brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless
He didn’t say, “You will be holy and blameless . . . No, he said, you are now holy and blameless!
as you stand before him without a single fault.
You must continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly—you don’t walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted—don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you hear the Good News . . . There is no other Message—just this one . . .
Then Paul gives us the demonstration in his own life of this power. He says that God called him and set him up in the ministry to proclaim a mystery, and to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations . . .
You will not find it explained in the Old Testament. It was experienced there, but it was never explained. In another letter, Paul said that IF the evil powers had known—they would never have crucified the Lord! Of course not! They signed their own death warrant when they crucified Jesus.
This mystery has been kept in the dark—kept secret—for generations and centuries, but now
See! There it is again!
But now it’s out in the open—revealed to his own holy people. God wanted everyone . . . to know
He has been telling his story since the beginning of time—but no one could see the message—you doubt that? Didn’t God instruct Jonah to preach salvation to the heathens in Nineveh? If God wasn’t interested in their safety, why would he send Jonah?
God wanted everyone . . . to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out . . . this mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you!—He lives in you!!! There you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple!!! That is the substance of our Message.
What is this great mystery? “Christ in you—He lives in you!!!!.”
What? Christ living in you? There must be more to this fact! We must be missing something because Paul was jumping up and down and shouting his message—”Christ lives in you!”
This is the supreme declaration of the Christian church. You have never preached the Gospel until you have told men that not only will their sins be forgiven when they come to Christ, but that he, himself, will live within them—to do through them everything they are expected to do. He died for us, so that he might live in us. This is the full glory of the Christian Gospel.
Look at Paul’s prayer for the church in Ephesus:
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the all-glorious Father, will give you spiritual wisdom and the insight to know more of him:
— that you may receive that inner illumination of the spirit which will make you realize how great is the hope to which his is calling you
—the magnificence and splendour of the inheritance promised to Christians
—and how tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God.
. . . That power is the same divine energy which was demonstrated in Christ when he raised him from the dead and gave him the place of highest honour in Heaven—a place that is infinitely superior to any command, authority, power or control, and which carries with it a name far beyond any name that could ever be used in this world or the world to come . . . (Ephesians 1:17-21)
Oh don’t let that pass you by. Read it again: The same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him next to His Father is at work in your life. That’s right. The same power that reached down into Hell and brought Jesus be to life is there to deliver you from cigarettes, heal your body, bring you into a life of victorious living!
Okay, so what does Paul do about it?
We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message—we tell everyone about Christ . . . We teach in a spirit of profound common sense (so even the simplest among us could understand)—with all the wisdom God has given us . . . so that we can bring each person to maturity—presenting them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ . . . To be mature is to be basic. Christ!!! No more, no less.
Of course he preaches Christ. Why wouldn’t he? What else could he do? Where does the energy come from? This amazing apostle, with his indefatigable journeying night and day, through shipwreck and hardship of every kind, working with his hands, traveling up and down the length and breadth of the entire Roman empire, never weakens or stops whatever he does. Where does he get the energy? Would you like to know? He says:
. . . Striving with all the energy which he mightily inspires with me . . . with all the energy God so generously gives me . . . I labor unto weariness, striving with the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me . . .
That same superhuman energy, will be generously given to us, as well!!!!
Christ in you!The hope of glory. That is why I say if Christians would begin to understand what it is that God has made available to them, they would never be the same again. We could end the struggles with addictions, the struggles with lust, the struggles with depression . . . We would never have to plead with people in the church to take on needed enterprises, ministries, or teaching Sunday School. We would not be met with the excuse, “Oh, I just don’t have the strength to do it. I don’t have the energy.” No! Here is a source of energy, Paul says that it is constant and consistent and flows through him, created by the Spirit of God indwelling him. As he saw the task, he moved to meet it with the energy that God gave him. That is resurrection power!
Oh, let’s shout for joy, brothers and sisters. Begin to enjoy the life and power that has been given to you.
Which is why in chapter two we have the warning against certain false powers which would woo us away from the true power Christ has given us. These warnings are as valid and relevant today as they were when Paul wrote them. Certain things among men are always regarded as sources of power—“For just ten dollars you’ll get a course that will transform you within fifteen days into a dynamic leader. You’ll never be the same again—but wait, that’s not all . . .” “If you can obtain these, you can be a powerful individual; your personality will be strong and radiant. You will be a dynamic leader of men . . .” Yep, you have heard them all before . . . and we will cover that in chapter 2!