Tuesday, March 31, 2009



Authority. Not a popular word in today’s egalitarian society. But it is a Biblical term. We find it in Ephesians 1:21 where it proclaims that Jesus Christ has been exalted "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion."

The term used here is the Greek "exousia." Its meaning was rooted in the concept of the "liberty to do as one pleases," it passed to that of "ability or strength with which one is endued," then "the power of authority," and "the power of one whose will and commands must be obeyed by others." Jesus Christ has been given all authority. That is stated clearly and unequivocally in the Scriptures:

John 17:1-2, "These things Jesus spoke; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee, even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life."
The same truth was declared by our Lord Jesus Christ as He gave His great commission to His disciples. It was proclaimed as the basis for which they were to carry out their gospel preaching ministry. It was to be conducted with the understanding that all authority is bound up in Christ.

Matthew 28:18-19, "And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations." The church is to conduct its ministry with the understanding that Jesus Christ is the risen and exalted Lord, and that His will and purpose will be accomplished.

The fact that He stands in such a place of authority is not readily apparent in this age. For whatever reason God has chosen to allow the forces of darkness to continue in their evil ways for a season. Sometimes it does not seem as if Jesus has the authority that Scripture says that He has. Sometimes we might be inclined to doubt God’s authority when it comes to earthly affairs. When Jesus was on trial before Pilate, and when Jesus refused to answer his questions, Pilate said to Him, "You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?" Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above..." (John 19:10-11).

And so it was in the early church. The church faced much persecution. The Apostles were threatened not to preach in the name of Jesus. James was martyred. Peter was imprisoned. Believers suffered much for the cause of Christ, as they have throughout the centuries and even now in many parts of the world. Paul himself was in prison as he wrote this epistle. He was imprisoned as a result of preaching the gospel. He was stuck in a prison cell. And it begs the question, how are we to understand these things? And still further, how can God’s church suffer so much affliction if Jesus is exalted far above all rule and authority and power and dominion?
Some of that answer lies bound up in the truth of who God is and what He is trying to accomplish through His church. He demands that we accept the truth about Him by faith. "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who seek Him." (Heb. 11:6). We accept by faith that God is the creator of all things. That Jesus Christ died on a cross for our sins. That He was raised from the dead and exalted to the right hand of God. That He gives eternal life to those who believe in Him. That He is exalted above all and will return again and consummate His plan and purpose for mankind.
As Paul was writing from a prison cell, writing the inspired word of God which we have here, he was encouraging the believers in Ephesus regarding these important truths about our Lord Jesus Christ. They lived in a hostile environment. It was the time of the Roman Empire. Caesar demanded allegiance from his citizens. Cultic worship was the norm. The church, though growing, was small and fragile. It would have been hard for them to visibly see the truths spoken of here. And what about us? We live in a time where the church has an ever declining influence on our society. The things of God were once held in higher regard in our world. Even amongst unbelievers there was some degree of respect for the church, for the Word, for ministers of the gospel. Not any more. And the church seems to have lost its way. It has less and less influence upon our society. We may not be locked up in prison cells, but our own fears and declining influence amount to invisible cells that undermine our ministry in this day.

That is the context of Paul’s prayer here in Ephesians 1. He wants for us to see through eyes of faith what we cannot see any other way. He wants for us to live according to the unchanging truths that are proclaimed here. He wants for us to gaze into the heavens and to see through eyes of faith that Jesus Christ is risen, that He is exalted at the Father’s right hand, that He has defeated His enemies at the cross, that He will fulfill His purposes, that He is the supreme authority over all.


I. All authority has been given to Him

1. He raised Him. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead speaks to these truths. All the forces of evil were unleashed against our Lord Jesus Christ. The religious leaders sought His death. The Devil filled and used Judas. The crowds cried out for His crucifixion. The politicians decreed His death. The soldiers beat Him and carried Him off to the cross. They mocked Him, "If You are the Son of God, come down from that cross." (Matt. 27:40). Even His own disciples scattered from Him. But things were not as they appeared. The evil forces unknowingly conspired together to fulfill "the predetermined plan" of God (Acts 2:23). And in a great display of the authority and power of God, God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. In His resurrection Jesus triumphed over sin, and death, and hell, and the devil himself.

2. He seated Him at His right hand. Five times we are told in the book of Hebrews that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. At the Father’s right hand He is superior to the angels (Heb. 1:3). At the Father’s right hand He will subdue all His foes (Heb. 1:13). At the Father’s right hand He is seated in the heavenlies as our high priest who intercedes for us (Heb. 8:1). At the Father’s right hand He is "waiting...until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet" (Heb. 10:13). At the Father’s right hand He is an example to us with regards to endurance through hardship and adversity (Heb. 12:2).

The author of Hebrews thought the matter to be of utmost importance. So important that it is repeated five times in the book, that Jesus is at the right hand of God. It is a truth that we perceive through eyes of faith, and as we grap a hold of it it encourages us and emboldens us and grants us assurance and hope.

3. He exalted Him far above every other entity that exists or ever will exist. Whether you see that or not, it is true. Whether you believe it or not, it is true. The truth of it is a truth to be accepted by faith. Inasmuch as He reigns over all, we rejoice and praise Him in that, and we draw comfort from the truth of it, and we are emboldened by the truth of it, and we go forth sharing the gospel message by the truth of it, and we endure suffering and persecution by the truth of it, and we challenge the forces of evil by the truth of it.

II. All authority has been given to Him with regards to the church

A. He is head of the church

1. Church = Greek "ecclesia" = the term is a combination of two Greek terms meaning "out" and "a calling." It was used in Biblical times of a gathering of people, summoned for any definite purpose. Here it speaks of the whole company of the redeemed throughout this present age. It includes both Jews and Gentiles, but only those who have been called by God, who have been redeemed by Christ, who have been born-again and indwelt by the Spirit of God.

2. Define "Head." Head is used here metaphorically of the relationship in which Christ stands with regards to His church. He is the head of the church. He has authority over His church.
3. Seven figures illustrating the relationship of Christ to His Church

a. He is the Vine, we are the branches.
b. He is the Shepherd, we are the sheep.
c. He is the Groom, we are the bride.
d. He is the Cornerstone and the Foundation, we are the the stones.
e. He is the High Priest, we are a kingdom of priests
f. He is the Last Adam, we are the new creation
g. He is the Head of the body, we are the members
4. He is the head of the church.

a. We are all joined to Him in a mystical and vital union. 1 Corinthians 12:13, "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body."

b. We receive direction from Him. The body can do without many parts, but it cannot do without a head. The head gives direction to every other part of the body. If it operates apart from the instruction of the head, we call it spasmodic in its behavior. So if we refuse to listen to the head we are spasmodic in our Christian behavior.

c. We are identified with Him. We bear His likeness. What bodily feature do we use for the sake of identification? The head. It is there on your driver’s license. As believers we are being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. We are being made to look like Jesus. His body reflects his glory. And it is His purpose to present His church to Himself with a perfect resemblance to Himself (Eph. 5:27; 2 Cor. 3:18; 1 John 3:2).

5. He is Lord of His church. Churches are organized in a variety of ways. Some churches are Pastor led, others are elder led, still others function according to a congregational rule, but what is needful, and what is Biblical is for churches to be Christ-led. We believe in an elder led form of church government, but our church government is only effective if we are careful to seek to do that which our Lord Jesus Christ directs us to do. He is Lord of the church. He is able to communicate His will to us through His authoritative Word and as he "works in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13). Inasmuch as He is Lord of the church we look to His Word and the Spirit for guidance, we endeavor to sanctify Christ Jesus as Lord of our church. We follow not after temporal goals or selfish whims, but endeavor always to do the bidding of our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.

B. He has been given "as head over all things to the church"

1. God’s Word Translation, "God has put everything under the control of Christ. He has made Christ the head of everything for the good of the church." Note that the text does not simply say that He has been given as head of the church, but that He has been given as head over all things to the church.

2. One thing that this verse should cause us to reconsider is our view regarding the entities in the world and their relative importance and influence. Who yields the most influence and who is the most important? Most would say governments. Some would say the educational institutions. Still others might give a higher place to the media, or to science, or some other body of people. Few would place the church in that position, but clearly is that entity which exercises the most influence and is the most important. Jesus Christ has all authority over all things for the good of the church. That means that all other authorities can only do that which is permitted or allowed by Him. That means that He can use, and does use, all other entities to accomplish His purposes.

3. An OT passage alludes to this truth...Eccl. 2:26, "For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God’s sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind."

4. But we see this truth highlighted throughout the history of the church. When Stephen was martyred, a great persecution broke out against the church, and as a result the believers were scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria--fulfilling what had been commanded of them in Acts 1:8. Paul was imprisoned, but his imprisonment actually "turned out for the greater progress of the gospel" (Phil. 1:12). Because of Paul’s imprisonment, other believers were emboldened and the gospel was made known to the whole praetorian guard. I just read a brief biography of John Bunyan. John Bunyan was locked up for twelve years because he would not stop preaching the gospel. This despite the fact that his wife was left to care for their young children, one of whom was blind. He yearned to be with them, but he would not violate his conscience. He remained in prison for all of those years. Some might have supposed that the forces of darkness were winning. Some might have supposed that Jesus Christ was too weak to protect him, or too impotent to affect his release. But Christ was at the right hand of God. He allowed it to happen. It only happened because it was permitted by Him. And what happened as a result? He used the time to write Pilgrim’s Progress. A tremendous book that has been used to encourage Christians through the ages ever since. One of the most read books of all time.

5. The forces of evil are subjected to Christ. And even that which they suppose to do in opposition to Christ’s church, He turns around and uses it for good.

III. All authority has been given to Him with regards to His purpose

A. Christ’s body, the church is the fulness of Him.

1. As the body of Christ we stand as Christ’s representatives here on earth. We are ambassadors for Christ, we know that from Scripture, but this verse speaks to something even greater. In our presence here on earth the church embodies Christ. When you see the Church, you see Christ. That is why when Saul was persecuting the church, Christ met him on the road to Damascus and asked him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" (Acts 9:4).

2. We are given an explanation as to this thought later in this epistle, in Ephesians 4:10-11, "He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things...And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers." This is one of four passages that speak to the matter of spiritual gifts. God has given a unique set of spiritual gifts to every believer. No one has all of the spiritual gifts. We have each been given a unique set of gifts that we might fulfill our particular role of ministry in the church. No one has been give all of the gifts. That means we are dependent upon each other in the work of the ministry. Together, the collection of gifts, manifests the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. The body in its giftedness and the Spirit’s indwelling presence literally manifests Christ’s presence on earth.

3. And the church is empowered by these gifts to do supernatural things. The risen and ascended Christ empowers us by the Spirit to do things that we could never do in our own strength and power. Inasmuch as we exercise these gifts by the Spirit the church fulfills its ministry.

B. Who fills all in all. The term "fills" is in the present tense. This is important. It is not that He has filled all in all, but He keeps on filling all in all.

1. Let me try to illustrate what God is doing. In the early 1600’s King James the Vith ascended to the English Throne and began working to establish overseas colonies. At its height it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1922, the British Empire held sway over a population of about 458 million people, one-quarter of the world's population, and covered more than 13,000,000 square miles (33,670,000 km²): approximately a quarter of Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, it was often said that "the sun never sets on the British Empire" because its span across the globe ensured that the sun was always shining on at least one of its numerous territories. In a sense you could have said that the British Empire endeavored to fill all in all. But of course their influence did not continue, like all of the empires before it, its influence waned.

2. But not so the reign of Christ. Centurie ago, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and in his dream he saw a great statue, "which was large and of extraordinary splendor" (Dan. 2:31). The head of the statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. These various parts of the statue represented the neo-Babylon empire, the Medo-persian empire, the Greek empire, the Roman empire, and a re-constituted Roman empire. In King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream he saw a stone that was cut without hands that crushed all of the other empires. That stone became "a great mountain and filled the whole earth" (Dan. 2:35). Daniel explained in his interpretation of the dream, "And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever" (Dan. 2:44).:

3. God is still at work fulfilling that prophecy. And the Lord Jesus Christ will reign. He will fill all in all. There will not be a place where His supremacy is in question. There will not be a place where all in not brought into complete submission to Him. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.

4. And the church is central to God’s plan. He is at work saving souls. He indwells each person that He saves. His influence grows in their lives. He uses them to bring others to a saving knowledge of Him. The gospel seed that was planted by the early church has germinated and has spread to the far reaches of the earth. There will come a day when the saints are gathered before His throne and they will sing a new song, saying, "Worthy, art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation" (Rev. 5:9).

5. So the church is not some left over relic from the past; it is not an anemic presence in this fallen world; it is not a second-rate influence in the world, inferior to the forces of politics, education, or enlightened thought. The church is God’s program. And everything else in this world serves God’s purpose in preparing the church for glory, and equipping God’s church to do His bidding, and saving souls to fill His heaven.


1. Jesus Christ reigns and will reign forevermore. What does this mean for you and for me? A Pastor came across a poor old uneducated Christian man who was reading his Bible. The Pastor asked him what he was reading. "The book of Revelation" was the man’s response. "And what have you learned," asked the Pastor. "We win," said the old man.

2. That’s the truth of it. And because Jesus Christ reigns we can go forth with confidence in His name and by His power to proclaim the gospel. Because He reigns we can be confident that He will work all things together for good in our lives. Because He reigns we can come boldly before the throne of grace and be confident that He can give us mercy and grace to help us through troubled times.

3. For the unbeliever there is a warning here in these verses. If you have refused to trust in Christ, you are dead in your trespasses and sins, you are enslaved to your lusts, you are held captive to the world, the flesh, and the devil. In your sins you are a child of wrath and the time will come when you will no longer be free to decide your fate. Jesus Christ will return "dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power" (2 Thess. 1:8-9). God has provided a way of forgiveness and salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. The Scriptures say, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved" (Acts 16:31). Don’t delay!

Pastor Jerry

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Death is unavoidable. The tragic spoils of its relentless appetite affect us all. No one is exempt. "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1), is a loving reminder to the believer in Christ, but a true and tragic diagnosis of the lost. Though he may walk and talk and breathe, the unbeliever is literally a "dead man walking." As a child of wrath, physical death will unleash a torrent of God’s wrath culminating in "eternal destruction" where he will suffer forever..."away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power" (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

Ephesians 2:4-5 testifies to God’s great love revealed for the believer in Christ, "BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ." Great hope is bound up in those two little words BUT GOD. Dead bones can’t walk, BUT GOD made them walk. Lazarus’ lay rotting away in a tomb, BUT JESUS called him forth from the grave. We were dead in our trespasses and sins, children of wrath, BUT GOD made us alive together with Christ.

To be made alive together with Christ, what an amazing and undeserved blessing! God breathed life into Adam, and so by way of a spiritual rebirth, through Christ, God breathed life into our sin sick and dying souls. Believer in Christ...When Christ died, you died. When He was buried, you were buried with Him. As He has been raised, you too have been "raised to walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4). Your old self was crucified with Him, and now He lives in you (Galatians 2:20). Death is an ever present reality, but His indwelling presence gives evidence of a new principle at work in you whereby His life is given to your mortal body (Romans 8:11).

Made alive together with Him! He has life in Himself (John 5:26). It was impossible for death to hold Him (Acts 2:24). He is the light of life, the bread of life, the water of life, the resurrection and the life--to have eternal life is to know Him (John 17:3), to know Him is to have abundant life (John 10:10) and to possess that which is "life indeed" (1 Timothy 6:19). In a dead and dying world we are indwelt by a risen and living Savior. His resurrection proves our forgiveness from sin, empowers our freedom from sin, and portends our future and full deliverance from sin. Wherever you see life, you see Christ. To the extend that His life giving presence is evident in us, the truth of His resurrection is put on display before others. Heavenly Father, thank you for making me alive together with Christ, help me to walk in newness of life to the praise of the glory of your grace. Amen.

Pastor Jerry

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I just got back from the IFCA Regional Conference held at Keizer Community Church. Dr. Art Azurdia, Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology and Director of Pastoral Mentoring, at Western Seminary, was the Conference Speaker. I really appreciated today's message, but in a question and answer period Dr. Azurdia responded to a question giving these three matters as the greatest problems facing the evangelical church. I couldn't agree more with his list:

1. Lack of Scriptural Authority (Not bringing the Bible to bear on issues related to faith and practice)
2. Lack of Evangelical Priority (Lack of gospel focus; not Christ-centered)
3. Lack of Supernatural Power (A result of the first two problems)

A copy of today's sermon is available at http://www.eternaltruthworldwide.com/. Look for "IFCA Spring Regional Audio." Then look for Pt. 4. Great message on Hebrews 4:14-16!

Pastor Jerry


Sunday, March 22, 2009


"’Sit thou on My right hand’: let the word enter and master all our heart and life. I have said that it occurs five times in the Epistle (in the book of Hebrews). Compare these passages, and the others having reference to Christ’s place in heaven, and observe how the great truth we are to learn is this: the knowledge of Jesus as having entered heaven for us, and taken us in union with Himself into a heavenly life, is what will deliver the Christian from all that is low and feeble, and lift him to a life of joy and strength. To gaze upon the heavenly Christ in the Father’s presence, to whom all things are subject, will transform us into heavenly Christians, dwelling all the day in God’s presence, and overcoming every enemy. Yes, my Redeemer, seated at God’s right hand--if I only know Him aright and trust Him as able to save completely--He will make me more than conqueror.

If we would obtain this blessed knowledge of our Lord, and the blessed life in the experience of His power, Scripture has a prayer for us (Ephesians 1:17-22), that we will do well to pray often...Let us pray for this spirit of divine illumination; let us study and adore the strength of God’s might that lifted Him to the throne; and let us believe joyfully, that that power works in us every day to lift us up and enable us to live as those who are set with Him in the heavenlies. And let us sing without ceasing: Praised be God for such a Savior!

Pastor Jerry

Friday, March 20, 2009


Today I received a check from Church Mutual Insurance Co. The check is their final payment for the repair work that has been done on our building as a result of the December 2007 storm. It is a blessing to have it so that we can make the final payment to the contractor, but beyond that it was more than we thought it would be. Not surprising, considering the way that God has blessed us throughout this entire project.

As you know the storm caused much damage to our building and our property. At the time it was much of a trial. But then we saw, step-by-step, how God was to bring great blessing out of it.

We had an old bus barn on the property that needed to be torn down. The storm blew it down. The insurance company paid for the cleanup and gave us $5000 for the building.

The parsonage lost some shingles from its roof. It had three layers of roofing that needed to be replaced anyway. The insurance company paid for a new roof for the parsonage.

The chimney in the back of the church was not properly flashed and leaked at the connection to the building. The insurance company paid to have it removed.

The building had strength concerns and a roof that was in a bad state of repair. The insurance company paid to have the building strengthened and a new roof put on.

The steeple on top of the roof had leaked over the years and was getting worse. The insurance company paid for its removal.

Much of the inside of the building was in need of improvement, paint, etc. The repair project resulted in new paint and carpet in the foyer, sanctuary, and balcony and new paint in countless other rooms.

The downstairs bathrooms needed a major remodel. The insurance company paid for that.

The downstairs kitchen needed improvement. The insurance company paid for that.

The ceiling tiles in the Fellowship Hall needed to be replaced. The insurance company paid for that too.

We needed some new windows and new outside doors. With change orders we were able to do some less expensive options with some repairs so that we could get these things done.

We needed to replace the awnings on the west side of the church. The contractor remodeled those for us.

I could go on and on with improvements that were made to our building as a result of this project. But in the end the blessings still do not stop. The final payment is almost $25,000 more than the final invoice for the contractor. We have money left over to do some other non-insurance related projects.

What a blessing. It didn't look like that in December 2007. It looked like a real mess! But isn't it wonderful how God can bring blessings out of our trials and do it in a way that is exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. Praise to the glory of His grace!

Pastor Jerry


I've used this quote before. Not sure where I got it so I cannot credit the author. It speaks to the need for us to "Fight the good fight of faith" with confident determination...

I am a soldier in the Army of my God.
The Lord Jesus Christ is my Commanding Officer.
The Holy Bible is my code of conduct.
Faith, prayer, and the Word are my weapons of warfare.
I have been taught by the Holy Spirit, Trained by experience, Tried by adversity And tested by fire.
I am a volunteer in this Army, And I am enlisted for Eternity.
I will either retire in this Army at the Rapture Or die in this Army; But I will not get out, Sell out, Be talked out, Or pushed out.
I am faithful, Reliable, Capable And dependable.
If my God needs me, I am there.
If He needs me in the Sunday School, To teach the children, Work with the youth, Help adults Or just sit and learn.
He can use me Because I am there!
I am a soldier.
I am not a baby.
I do not need to be pampered, Petted, Primed up, Pumped up, Picked up Or pepped up.
I am a soldier.
No one has to call me, Remind me, Write me, Visit me, Entice me, Or lure me.
I am a soldier.
I am not a wimp.
I am in place, Saluting my King, Obeying His orders, Praising His name, And building His kingdom!
No one has to send me flowers, Gifts, food, Cards, candy Or give me handouts.
I do not need to be cuddled, Cradled, Cared for, Or catered to.
I am committed.
I cannot have my feelings hurt Bad enough to turn me around.
I cannot be discouraged enough To turn me aside.
I cannot lose enough To cause me to quit.
When Jesus called me into His Army, I had nothing.
If I end up with nothing, I will still come out ahead.
I will win.
My God has and will continue To supply all of my needs.
I am more than a conqueror.
I will always triumph.
I can do all things through Christ.
The devil cannot defeat me.
People cannot disillusion me.
Weather cannot weary me.
Sickness cannot stop me.
Battles cannot beat me.
Money cannot buy me.
Governments cannot silence me And Hell cannot handle me.
I am a soldier.
Even death cannot destroy me.
For when my Commander Calls me from this battlefield, He will promote me to Captain And then allow me to rule with Him.
I am a soldier in the Army, And I'm marching claiming victory.
I will not give up.
I will not turn around.
I am a soldier, Marching Heaven bound.
Here I stand!
Will you stand with me?

Pastor Jerry

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

03/15/09 SERMON

Ephesians 1:19-20

I saw on the news that the space shuttle is set to launch today at about 5 PM our time. As you see that massive shuttle and the rocket that is to propell it into space it is hard to believe that it could ever get off the ground. What kind of power does it take to get something like that into orbit?

The overall power of a space shuttle at takeoff is about 12 GW or 12 billion watts of power. That is about 16 million horsepower! Sometimes we can be so weighed down by trials and troubles that we wonder as to God’s ability to launch us heavenward. But as we shall see in this morning’s message--God is able!

I. The Spiritual Blessings we have received in Christ
II. The prayer of the Apostle Paul
III. Part I--that we might know God better and realize the full extent of the future blessings that He has prepared for us
IV. The problem--how are we to ever get off the ground
V. Part II--the power of God at work in us to accomplish His purpose

I. Our need for power
A. We are humbled by the purpose that God has destined us for
1. To conform us to the image of His Son. Eph. 1:18; 3:19; 4:13; Rom. 8:29; Phil. 3:20-21.
2. The work that God is doing in our lives is not something that can be accomplished by human wisdom, human strength, or human desire.
B. We face many obstacles
1. The devil is opposed to that which God is doing in our lives. Eph. 6:10-12; the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8).
2. The world is opposed to that which God is doing in our lives. There is a broad path that leads to destruction which is contrary to the narrow way--most people are on that path. The world is at enmity with God--it is alienated from God, it is hostile in mind to God, it is engaged in evil deeds that are contrary to God’s Word. Though you are a citizen of heaven, and a pilgrim and stanger here on earth, you are planted right in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation. The world is ever working to conform you to itself. It does not tolerate such things as God’s truth, Christlike holiness, and Christlike love. It has no regard for those align themselves with Him.
Martin Lloyd Jones, "And then, added to all this, there is life as we know it in this world, with its changing circumstances; there is the world and its influence upon us, friends and others enticing us and attracting us to sin; there is our preoccupation with worldly things, business and affairs, and the need to make a living so as to maintain ourselves and our families! All these things, the pressures of life and of circumstances, conspire together to make it impossible for me to find time for preparation for this glory."
3. Our own flesh ties us down. The Pogo cartoon had it right, "We’ve met the enemy, it is us." Jesus said, "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Paul said, "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh" (Rom. 7:18). Jesus said again, "Apart from Me, you can do nothing." We are beset by trials and troubles, illnesses and weakness, persecution and doubt--left to our own strength and wisdom God’s purpose in us would never be accomplished.
4. We need to realize the truth of the hymn, "I am weak, but Thou art strong." We need to come to grips with the reality that if we are going to be strong it is only if we are "strong in the Lord" (Eph. 6:10).

II. God has surpassing power

A. Paul prayed that we might realize what is the surpassing greatness of God’s power towards us who believe.
1. The term "surpassing" means to "throw beyond" or to "exceed." God’s power exceeds that of all other entities within His universe. The word translated "greatness," is "megathos" in the Greek. We get our prefix "mega" from that same word. If you have a hundred watt light bulb you have a lightbulb that consumes one hundred watts. A megawatt is the equivalent of having 10,000 one hundred watt light bulbs. God’s power exceeds in that kind of greatness the power of all others.
2. Four separate terms are used to describe God’s power in this passage. The reality of all four have been visually demonstrated to us in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. God has shown us His power, He has revealed it to us in His creation of all things, and again most significantly in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
1. Dunamis - God’s Inherent Power
a. Greek=dunamis. Sounds like our English word dynamite. It speaks to God’s inherent ability and power.
Psalm 62:11, "Power belongeth to God.
He is "The Mighty One" (Luke 1:49).
He was revealed to John the Apostle as "The Lord God omnipotent" (Revelation 19:6).
b. The surpassing greatness of His power has been made evident in His raising Jesus Christ from the dead. He did what no one else can do. Mankind has the power--albeit only has it has been given him from God--to do a great many things. But he cannot raise a man from the dead. God alone has the power to do that.
c. A. W. Tozer, "Omnipotence is not a name given to the sum of all power, but an attribute of a personal God whom we Christians believe to be the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and of all who believe on Him to life eternal. The worshipping man finds this knowledge a source of wonderful strength for his inner life. His faith rises to take the great leap upward into the fellowship of Him who can do whatever He wills to do, for whom nothing is hard of difficult because He possesses power absolute."
2. Energeia - God’s Operative Power
a. Greek=energeia. English=energy.
b. NASB normally translates the word "work" or "working."
c. The working of the strength of His might refers to God’s operative power, His ability to carry out His work.
d. God is able to do all things. He is omnipotent. Ephesians 1:11, "(He) works all things after the counsel of His will."
e. The same word that is used here is used in the Septuagint version (the Greek version) of the OT in Genesis 2:2-3, "And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done." God’s "eternal power" (Romans 1:20) has been revealed to us in creation. God is able to do all things. "I sing the mighty power pow’r of God, That made the mountains rise; That spread the flowing seas abroad, And built the lofty skies. I sing the wisdom that ordained The sun to rule the day; The moon shines full at His command, And all the stars obey."
f. Here is Ephesians 1:19f His ability to do all things is made evident in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. God has life in Himself. He is able to impart life. God was able to raise Jesus Christ from the dead. The body of Jesus lay dead in a tomb. God brought Him back to life.
g. That same power that worked to raise Christ from the dead is at work within us. Later in this Epistle Paul concludes another prayer this way, "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us." (Ephesians 3:20).
3. Ischus - God is Greater than All
a. Greek=ischus. Usually translated "strength" in the NT.
b. It speaks to the prevailing power of God. God’s power is inherent power; it is operative power; it is prevailing power.
c. In Mark 3:27 we read, "But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house." Jesus spoke of the prevailing power by which He was able to cast out demons. He was able to cast them out because He is stronger than Satan.
d. In the resurrection of Jesus Christ God has prevailed over death:
Acts 2:24, "And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power."
Hebrews 2:14, "He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the powerof death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives."
e. Since the fall death has reigned over man. The Devil has held the power of death over man (Hebrews 2:14). Every man has been born a sinner (Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Every man has been born destined to die-physically, spiritually, and eternally (Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death."). But God has revealed to us the surpassing greatness of His power in His ability to raise Jesus Christ from the dead. He raised Him and seated Him at His right hand.
f. Charles Spurgeon, "This power was irresistible. All the soldiers and the high priests could not keep the body of Christ in the tomb; Death himself could not keep the body of Christ in the tomb; even thus irresistible is the power put forth in the believer when he is raised to newness of life. No sin, no corruption, no devils in hell nor sinners upon earth, can stay the hand of God’s grace when it intends to convert a man."
g. Because God has prevailed over death our victory in Christ is assured. We can live our lives with great confidence. We don’t have to be victims of sin. We don’t have to live in fear of death. God raised Jesus from the dead. He can save us. He can impart life to our sin-sick souls. He can change us. He can transform us.
4. Kratos - God Rules Over All
a. Greek=kratos. Normally translated "might" or "dominion."
b. God’s surpassing power is inherent power, operative power, prevailing power, and finally it is ruling power. Not only did it raise Jesus Christ from the dead, it raised Him to a position of absolute authority over all of creation. In order for God to do that He needed to have this power within Himself.
Luke 1:51, "He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart."
1 Peter 5:11, "To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen."
Jude 25, "To the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen."
Ephesians 1:20-21, "Which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come."

III. God’s power is available to us

A. His power is "towards us" who believe
1. Not everyone has access to the power of God. This power is directed to a select group of people--"those who believe." It is the the sole possession of the those who believe. Those who have been born again through faith in Jesus Christ.
2. We should also note that it is power that is in fact available in us. Martyn Lloyd Jones makes the point that this power is not power that is kept in some reservoir out there, just waiting to be released to us when we say the right thing or pray the right thing. The power of which this passage speaks is already at work in us, and Paul wants us to realize the full measure of this power. It is power that is in us (that is the way the RSV translates it). That is what we read of in Philippians 2:13, "For it is God who is at work in you." Colossians 1:29, "And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me."
3. This power is in us because Christ is in us, and to the degree that we abide in Christ we more fully realize the extent of the surpassing greatness of His power. Christ’s great challenge to His disciples was not that they should do this or that, but that they should abide in Christ. "He who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." Apart from Christ we can do nothing, but in Christ we can do all things.
B. It is made manifest in our salvation
1. We should note that God’s power towards us is not necessarily directed towards us in the way that we might think or choose. The same Apostle Paul who was praying that we might realize what is the surpassing greatness of His power, was writing from a prison cell. And someone might very well have asked him, "If God is so powerful why are you stuck in that prison cell?" And what we need to realize is that God’s power is revealed to us and in us in a much different way than we might think. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10, "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body."
God’s power is not revealed to us in our deliverance from our trials or circumstances, but in God’s ability to sustain us through them. When Jesus was raised from the dead He defeated both sin and death. He defeated our chief enemies. God’s power in us is made manifest in the same way. His power in us works to accomplish victory over sin. We face trials and difficulties and many obstacles in our Christian lives. We are tempted. We are persecuted. We fail. We are discouraged. All these things happen to believers. But what makes life different for us is that God’s surpassing power is able to work through us to accomplish His will in our lives. No matter what happens to us physically, because of His power towards us we can have victory spiritually. We can obey, we can grow, we can be transformed into the image of Christ. We can maintain a good witness. We can endure. God’s surpassing power can enable us to do all that. And He can enable us to do those things no matter what trials we might face.
2. This has practical application to us in our Christian lives. God is able to work in our lives. He wants us to realize the ability that He has to work in our lives. And so we see this in Scripture repeatedly:
a. Colossians 2:12-13, "You were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him." God caused you, as a believer in Christ, to be born again. He did that by His ability. It was a work of God.
b. Philippians 2:12b-13, "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." God is at work in you. Accomplishing your sanctification. Causing you to grow in Christ. Conforming you to the image of His Son.
c. Philippians 3:21, "Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of His power that He has even to subject all things to Himself." Because God is able to do all things He is able to accomplish our glorification.
3. Justification, sanctification, glorification all happen by the work and power of God. His resurrection power.
C. John Calvin, "Christ alone, therefore is the mirror in which we can contemplate that which the weakness of the cross obscures in us. When our minds are roused to trust in righteousness, salvation, and glory, let us learn to turn them to Christ.
We still lie under the power of death; but He, raised from the dead by heavenly power, has the dominion of life.
We struggle under the bondage of sin, and are surrounded by endless miseries, we fight a hard warfare, but He sitting at the right hand of the Father, obtains the highest government in heaven and earth, and triumphs over the enemies whom He has subdued and vanquished.
We lie here despised and lowly; but to Him has been given a name which angels and men revere, and devils and wicked men dread.
We are oppressed here by the scantiness of all our gifts; but He has been appointed by the Father to be the sole judge and dispenser of all things.
For these reasons, it is good to transfer our thoughts to Christ, that in Him, as in a mirror, we may see the glorious treasures of Divine grace, and immeasurable greatness of that power which has not yet been manifested in ourselves."


We should note also that God’s power toward us is fully realized in our relationship with Christ. Jesus made it clear that if we want to experience the power of God in our lives that it is only going to happen as we abide in Him (John 15). Apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). But as we abide in Him we will: bear much fruit (John 15:5); have answers to our prayers (John 15:7); love others (John 15:7). The key to experiencing the power of God is abiding in Christ. Walk closely with the Savior and you will sense the surpassing greatness of His power. And you will have the confidence of the Apostle Paul, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

There is one more reason why people don’t experience the power of God in their lives. They want to experience the surpassing greatness of His power, but their motivation is all wrong. They want God’s power so that they can use it for their own personal gratification. They look at God as a kind of genie in the bottle and they say to God--here is what I want you to do, now do this for me. And what they don’t realize is that God is at work in us, "both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). The secret to experiencing the power of God is making yourself wholly available to God to do His will, not to satisfy your own selfish whims. 2 Chronicles 16:9 reminds us, "For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His."

Heavenly Father. We praise you as the Omnipotent God of the universe. We see clearly the surpassing greatness of your power in your creation, and again in your raising of Your Beloved Son from the dead. You have defeated our greatest foe. Thank You that in You that same kind of power, that same degree of power, is at work in us. To save us from sin, to change us into the image of Christ, to one day transform our humble bodies into conformity with Him. Help us Heavenly Father to clearly see our own inability, so that we might not trust in ourselves, and at the same time help us to see your great ability, that we might readily trust in You. In the mighty name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Pastor Jerry

Monday, March 9, 2009


In a recent Men's Bible study we discussed the fiction bestseller "The Shack." Here is a well done review of the book by Gary Gilley...


Pastor Jerry


Link to my recent letter to the editor in the Daily Astoria regarding underage drinking...


Pastor Jerry

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


The Holy Spirit never creates hungerings and thirstings after righteousness, but in order that Christ may fill the longing soul.

Faith in Jesus crucified is the way of peace to the sinner; so faith in Jesus risen is the way of daily salvation to the saint.

You cannot be your own Savior, either in whole or in part.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I just finished reading "Growing Up Yanomamo," by Michael Dawson. Wonderful book. It is available through Grace Acres Press: http://www.graceacrespress.com/. It tells the true story of Michael Dawson and of his life amongst the Yanomamo people of Venezuela. He is the fifth of ten children of Joe and Millie Dawson who were the first missionaries to the tribe. He was born in TamaTama. His first language was Yanomamo. The book is replete with accounts of hunting expeditions, near drownings, and other incredible adventures. Growing up he confronted Anaconda and Jaguar and other jungle beasts. He eventually went off to missionary school and then returned with his wife, Renee, to minister to the people there again. Sadly, his greatest challenge came when his wife Renee died of cerebral malaria in June of 1992. In the book he shares of his own personal struggles in dealing with his great loss.

There are many fascinating stories in the book, but I thought I'd share this one. Some years after his wife died, he was travelling with Mark Ritchie on a book tour. Mark wrote "Spirit of the Rainforest: A Yanomamo Shaman's Story." They were at a particular university and were accompanied by Michael's brother, Gary, and a Yanamamo named Bautista. Here's what happened (From the book, pages 312-313)...

"On one of these tours, during a question-and-answer time, someone asked Bautista a question.

"You keep talking about your people needing change. Just what kind of change do your people need?"

Bautista answered, "First of all, I want to make it very clear that any change apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ will not help my people."

One of the professors stood up. "I know you have been brainwashed by your friend there," she said, pointing to Gary, "because I have a good life, and I have not had to convert to Christianity to get it. My parents immigrated over here to get away from the fighting in Lebanon when I was just a little girl. I am at peace, yet I have not had to change my religion or culture to have that peace."

Bautista was silent for a moment, then spoke. "While out in the jungle, if I notice a storm approaching I grab my machete and begin to build a lean-to shelter. Working quickly, I cut the poles and palm leaves I need. I then run and pull some vines to tie the whole thing together. I build my shelter and get under it before it starts raining. Now, if you come running up right before the storm breaks and I let you come in, you are just as dry as I am, although you have done no work. You are dry because you are under my shelter. I submit that that is what you have done here. My friend here has told me how this country was founded by people coming across the great water because they wanted to serve God. They built this country great by having the shelter of God’s Word over them. You can live a life of peace here because you are under the shelter that they built. You have done nothing to deserve this life, but you are enjoying the benefits of their labor. Now my people, on the other hand, have no shelter. So that is why I say the first and only change that will really help my people is to have this shelter that is Jesus. We have no other hope."

Slowly the professor sat down. Bautista looked around, bewildered at the standing ovation he received from the student body."

Pastor Jerry