January 29, 2023
Sermon Series: Spirit-Filled Living Is Essential For Christians
Book of Ephesians
Sermon # 4: Experiencing God’s Awesome Power
Have you ever felt like you were cut off from everyone, like you were free-falling through space with no chance for a soft landing?
James Lovell, John Swigert, and Fred Haise had this feeling also. These men served as the crew for Apollo 13 of the US space program. On Monday, April 13, 1970, their space craft became disabled on their way to the moon. A supply tank of oxygen exploded and left the crew with little provisions and plenty of worry.
There they were: three mortal men floating in space, piloting a disabled ship and sinking fast. They were helpless men who needed help. Their present reality was very sobering; chances were they would either float through the black space forever or burn in the earth’s atmosphere in a blazing inferno. There was one glimmer of hope. The men at Mission Control were trying to find a way to keep them alive while salvaging what was left of the ship. For the next several days, every effort was made to rescue these astronauts from their captivity in space.
Miraculously, their lives were spared, and they returned to earth safe and sound.
This illustration reminds us of what Jesus Christ has done for us. For we, too, were “lost in space.” We were separated by a gulf of space from God’s presence, and our landing was bound for an eternity in hell away from His presence.
The Apollo 13 astronauts had a Mission Control to count on for help. The Christian has Jesus Christ who controls the mission, and He has rescued us with reconciliation and peace.
To experience God’s awesome power we need to understand two facts.
I. WITHOUT CHRIST WE ARE ALIENATED FROM GOD v. 11-12
(We were far off and separated from God)
Before, Christ there was a great gulf, a great distance that separated most of the world from God. Abraham’s descendants, the Jews, had the privilege of being God’s chosen people. In Deuteronomy (NKJV) 7:6b, “The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people to Himself, a special treasure above all peoples on the face of the earth.”
The sign of the covenant between God and the Jews was circumcision. The Jews nicknamed Gentiles (all people who are not Jews) Uncircumcision.
A. We were barricaded from God: Were Gentiles and uncircumcised.
B. We were “without Christ.” As gentiles we had no hope of the coming Savior for the world.
C. We were “aliens” from God’s people, that is, from Israel. This means that we as Gentiles were not citizens of God’s people.
D. We were “strangers from the covenant and promises of God.” This means that we as Gentiles were not the covenant people of God. God did not approach us directly with the covenant relationship.
E. We had “no hope.” We had no hope of a life beyond this world, beyond human history.
F. We were “without God in the world.” This means that we as gentiles stood alone in this world.
Verse 12 tells us, apart from Christ, we are spiritual aliens. We who are Gentiles were spiritually homeless, hopeless, and godless; We were in really deplorable spiritual shape.
Since Christ came, we have no excuse for being separated from God.
II. WITH CHRIST WE HAVE ACCESS TO GOD v. 13-18
A. Christ brings us near to God---through His blood (v. 13).
Only through the blood of Christ is it possible for us who were aliens to be made nigh to God.
I read about a pastor tell a story of when he was a young boy waiting at a rural school bus stop one morning. As he waited, a skunk came by, and he began to throw rocks at it. The skunk turned around, raised its tail, and sprayed the boy from head to toe. Knowing he couldn’t go to school like that, he ran home, knocked on the door, and said, “Mama, Mama, I’ve been sprayed by a skunk; let me in.” The mother said, “Son, there’s some tomato juice out in the shed; It is the only thing that will remove skunk odor. Go wash yourself from head to toe because I will not let you into my house until you have been washed in tomato juice.
Our sin “stinks” in God’s nostril, so when we stand before the door of heaven he will say, “I will not let you into my house until you have been washed in the blood of Jesus.
Because of the blood of Jesus, we have free, constant access to God’s throne.
B. Christ brings us peace v. 14-15
1. Christ brings peace by bringing men together as “one” (v. 14).
2. Christ brings peace by breaking down all barriers (v.14).
3. Christ brings peace by wiping out the enmity of the law against us. the point is this: Christ fulfilled all the law. He is now the Way for man to approach God----through Christ not through the law.
4. Christ brings peace by creating a “new man”. the creation of a new man individually and corporately, a new man in whom Jesus Christ dwells.
C. Christ brings us reconciliation (v. 16-17).
The word “reconcile” means to change thoroughly, to exchange, to change from enmity to friendship, to bring together, to restore. The idea is that two persons who should have been together all along are brought together; tow persons who had something between them are restored and reunited.
D. Christ brings us access to God (v. 18).
The word access means to bring to, to move to, to introduce, to present. The thought is that of being in a royal court to be presented and introduced to the King of kings. Jesus Christ is the One who throws open the door into God’s presence. He is the One who presents us to God, the Sovereign Majesty of the universe.
A little boy bruised his knee and needed his Daddy to fix it up. With tears streaming down his face, he ran to see his Daddy. Seeing him coming, the [secretary] quickly opened the massive doors and let him into his Daddy’s office
His father was busy managing his business and was surrounded by his assistants. But in the midst of all of this, the little ran up to his father and climbed onto his waiting lap.
What do you think his Daddy did? Push his son aside and have him moved from the room? No! Daddy’s first response was “ where does it hurt and how can I make it better?”
And so it is with our Heavenly Father and us, His children. When we need our Father, we have direct access to Him through Jesus Christ. And in the middle of His managing the Kingdom, He invites us to sit in His lap to tell Him where it hurts.
Responsive Reading: Ephesians 2:11-22