By Stephen Wang
29 Apr. 2012 Sunday
|Sermon: The God of All Power||video||audio||doc|
|Worship song: By Faith||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: How Great Thou Art||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Jesus Paid It All||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Sun Above the Clouds||video||audio||lyric|
Presider: Rachel He
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for gathering us here to worship you today. God, we ask you to purify our hearts and open the eyes of our spirit, so that we can know you more when we worship you. We want to thank you for the grace that you have given us everyday; we want to thank you for answering our prayers; we want to thank you for carrying our worries and tears. We want to pray for people who are in need; please provide the things they need, so that they can experience your grace and know you more. We want to pray for the people who are facing difficulties. Please help them go through the darkness, because we know you are powerful and you are Almighty God. And we also want to pray for the speaker, the worship team and all the brothers and sisters here. Please be with us, show your presence to us and may your name be exalted through our worship. We pray all these in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Worship song: By Faith
|Verse 1||By faith we see the hand of God
In the light of creation's grand design
In the lives of those who prove His faithfulness
Who walk by faith and not by sight
|Verse 2||By faith our fathers roamed the earth
With the power of His promise in their hearts
Of a holy city built by God's own hand
A place where peace and justice reign
|Verse 3||By faith the prophets saw a day
When the longed-for Messiah would appear
With the power to break the chains of sin & death
And rise triumphant from the grave
|Verse 4||By faith the church was called to go
In the power of the Spirit to the lost
To deliver captives and to preach good news
In every corner of the earth
|Verse 5||By faith this mountain shall be moved
And the power of the gospel shall prevail
For we know in Christ all things are possible
For all who call upon His name
|Chorus||We will stand as children of the promise
We will fix our eyes on Him our soul's reward
Till the race is finished and the work is done
We'll walk by faith and not by sight
Worship song: How Great Thou Art
|Verse 1||O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
|Chorus||Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee;
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee;
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
|Verse 2 C||当我想到，神竟愿差他儿子
dang wo xiang dao, shen jing yuan chai ta er zi
jiang shi she ming, wo ji hu bu ling hui.
zhu zai shi jia, gan yuan bei wo de zhong dan,
liu xue she shen wei yao she mian wo zui.
|Chorus C||我灵歌唱，赞美救主我神， 你真伟大，何等伟大！
wo ling ge chang, zan mei jiu zhu wo shen, ni zhen wei da, he deng wei da!
wo ling ge chang, zan mei jiu zhu wo shen, ni zhen wei da, he deng wei da!
|Verse 3||When Christ shall come with shouts of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father,
15 from whom his whole family a in heaven and on earth derives its name.
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Almighty God and gracious Father, we come into your Holy, Holy presence to worship you to exalt you, to magnify your most Holy name. Your glory fills the earth. Your glory fills the century. Your glory fills our hearts. We are thrilled to be in your presence at this very moment. Father, forgive all our sins, whatever sins that we may be holding onto, forgive us and cleanse us by the precious blood of Jesus so that we may be pure, holy and blameless in your sight. Holy spirit, you alone know the truth and you alone can speak the truth, speak into each and every heart here today that we may lift you up, that our hearts will be a sanctuary, pleasing for you to dwell in and that we may grasp how deep how high, how long how wide is your precious love for each one of us. Speak to us, your servants are listening. We pray all this in mighty and marvelous Name of your Son Jesus. Amen
Have you ever felt weak? --Yes. Have you ever worried? –Yes. Have you ever felt weary? –Yes. Suffering is inevitable. We live in a world wrapped with sins that separate us from our God. We live in a world where there is an enemy Satan who seeks to separate us from the love of God. I am living in the world with this death, that is why we are suffering.
As I considered this passage, one thought came into my mind. Life's challenges should never ever be a reason for us to fight or to flee or to faint. Life's challenges should be an opportunity for us to press on in faith and to press in to the Father. I pray that as we study together, that God will change our faith to transform our love. We will grasp the magnitude of how great is our God. Last week Kathy introduced us to Chapter Three in the book of Ephesians and she shared with us the mystery of God and ministry for God. Paul opens this new passage that we are studying today with a prayer. We are going to learn how to pray when we are weak, weary and worried. We are going to divide our passage into three divisions. The first division is called Position. Our second division we are going to call it Petition and the third division we are going to call it Praise. Position--how to pray. Petition--what to pray and Praise--who to pray to.
So if you have Bibles, we will open to verse 14 and I will start. Paul, the human author is chained to a Roman solider. This is one of his prison letters and he is going to burst out in a beautiful prayer. What does he say? He says “For this reason I kneel before the Father, for whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” (Ephesians 3:14-15) What is this reason? There are many reasons. In Chapter One, God reveals “I am the God of all blessing. I chose you before the foundation of the world. I predestined you to be adopted as my child”. In Chapter Two, God reveals Himself as the God of life. “I make dead people alive”! And in this Chapter Three, He says “I make you people, my people one! I make you one. I have destroyed the war of hostility that divided you”. Now Jews and Gentile can come to salvation, not by works but by grace, by God’s love, by God’s mercy. We can come into fellowship with God Himself. For this reason, Paul has the ministry to preach the Gospel which is the power of salvation, the power of God to save. Nothing else can save us except Jesus; that is power. He says “I kneel before you” to worship you, to let you know you are worthy O great God! I kneel to declare not independence; I kneel to declare dependence. I depend on you God and on you alone. I am nothing without you. I can do nothing without you. I kneel before you in submission. I submit to your will. I submit to your plan. I submit to your pleasure. You are my all in all. How many times do you kneel? How many times do you take the time to kneel to Him physically, spiritually or both in a day to express your worship to Him to show your submission and to declare you are depend on God.
Our principle for this particular section here. It says God seeks in our prayer. Not our arithmetic or rhetoric, but our faith and fervency. He does not care about the length. He does not care about the frequency. He does not care about you eloquence, but what He does care about is your faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. He cares about your passion. When you pray, are you on your knees? Are you praying with your faith? I know who you are and I know what you can do. Do you have that passion to God? My questions to you: Do you know God as your Father and if the answer is not yes right now, it should be yes; otherwise, we are enemy of God, I am sorry. Will you plan to develop a deeper personal prayer life with Him starting this week? The answer is—Yes.
Let’s pray together the following slide:
I Adore You Father, my protector & Provider
I confess my spiritual laziness & prayerlessness
I Thank You for creating me & choosing me
I Pray for a deeper daily communion with you
We will go on to the next division– Petition - what to pray for.
Paul is a prisoner. I bet he is going to pray for freedom. Free me, O God from this prison! I bet he is going to ask God to heal him of all those diseases, all those pains, all those wounds. No. Paul, at this point, is transported into the presence of God. Paul is in the presence of God, moment by moment, day by day, working with God, talking with God, fellowshipping with God.
He just says “Father, I pray three things for my friends.” My first prayer is that: “out of His glorious riches, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being.”
Riches! We like to be rich. 25 years ago, Forbes magazine recorded that there were about 140 billionaires on the planet. Today, the most recent list recorded over 1,200 billionaires on the planet. Their net worth was approximately 6 to 7 trillion dollars. You will say, wow, that’s rich! I wish I could be rich.
The founder of Facebook is one of the youngest billionaires on this planet. Oh, how could I be rich like him! Brothers and sisters, you are richer than they are! Your wealth exceeds 7 trillion dollars. “But I have never seen 7 trillion dollars in my bank account. What do you mean I am richer?” Because Jesus said “you are worth it”. He paid the price for you. He paid it all with the precious blood of His sacrifice for you. He paid it all and said, “In me, you are rich.” Exceedingly rich, incomparable rich, because you have every spiritual blessing in Christ.
7 trillion dollars will fade, spoiled, perish, and disappear. Every spiritual blessing will never disappear! Every spiritual blessing will never disappear! Because Christ cannot disappear. You are rich, your Father is rich, and He wants to give you the power of the Holy Spirit. Power! Power to live a holy life, power to overcome temptation, power to resist the devil, power to bear fruit for God’s glory. Power! Power to be what God has called you to be--the child of God, the light of world, salt; to be His bride, His holy one. His ambassador.
The second prayer. He says “I pray that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love. We will live by faith, everything comes by faith.
God has longed for fellowship with us, to walk with us and to have unbroken, uninterrupted fellowship with us. He says “I want intimate fellowship” intimate fellowship with us, with you and I. The most frequently repeated word in this book is In Christ, In Him, because God has transported us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. God has given us a new birth, a new birth into a living hope, a new inheritance, and a new relationship. God has given us a new life in Himself. We live in Him; we move in Him, we have our being in Him. We are inseparable, and that is what he is praying. “May you be so intimate with God.” You are inseparable, you can’t separate. Impossible to separate.
Then in his third petition he says in verse 18: “I pray that you may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”
When I think about width, I think about how far He has removed our sins, from the east to the west. When I think about the length, how all the lengths that Jesus went through for you and me? Leaving Heaven to come to earth, becoming nothing, to become a man, and then pursuing us from the end of the earth, to save us.
When I think about how deep, I think about His death, no one has ever died for me, willingly or voluntarily; no one has ever shown such love to me, such unconditional love. I wasn’t His friend and He died for me, I was rebelling, I was disobedient, I loved the darkness, I loved myself more than He. And yet God demonstrated His love towards us while we were yet sinners. Christ died for us. The height is Heaven. He’s gone ahead of us to prepare place for you and I. Where He is, we may be also. We live in Him and He lives in us. God wants intimacy with each of us.
Finally he prays in verse 19, “I want you to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” The fullness of God dwells in Jesus Christ. The full divine nature of God dwells in Jesus Christ alone. Jesus is the exact representation of the Father’s being. Jesus is the radiance of the Father’s glory. He alone contains the fullness of God. And He says He wants us to be full and have a full and abundant life.
So, as Christ grows more and more in us, we become more and more like Him, we think like Him; we speak like Him; we act like Him; we love like Him; we serve like Him, we become more and more like Christ. So my next principle for the section says “Only growth in Christ likeness can truly glorify God and satisfy the soul.” God created us to be like Him and to glorify Him as we are more like Jesus, we cannot make ourselves become like Jesus, but as we invite the Holy Spirit to transform us, through our weaknesses, our wary times, our worrying times and our sufferings that we will become more and more like Jesus. So my question to you:
Is Jesus dwelling in your heart?—Yes. Are you in love with God? –Yes. Will you ask God to grow you in Christ’s likeness and love? –Yes.
OK, so then our prayer together, our adoration, the next slide:
I Adore you Jesus as Lord and Lover of my life.
I Confess my faithlessness and self centeredness.
I Thank you for indwelling and empowering me.
I Pray for power to show Your Love practically.
Our third division starts in verse20, Paul concludes the prayers in praise and it says “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Alright, all these things seem to be too difficult, but for God, nothing is impossible, nothing is too difficult for our God. The power is not in your prayer or your faith, but in the Holy Spirit and in God. If you are struggling and suffering; if you are going through extreme hardships and wondering why it’s so difficult, I’d like to suggest that you start with kneeling in worship, in dependence and in submission. To God for whom nothing is impossible! Is there any need so great that our greater God cannot meet that need? Is there any problem that our wise God cannot solve? The answer is no, no, no, nothing is impossible for our God. And He says that His power is working in us to make us more like Jesus; His power is working for us, so that no enemy or evil power can stand against Him in us. And His power is working through us to spread the Kingdom, to advance the Kingdom, to grow the Kingdom and to grow us into Christ’s likeness.
Paul in his prayer in verse 21 by saying “glory to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations (our grandparents, great grandparents, children, grandchildren and their children), forever and ever! Amen.” He’s saying “glory to God, glory to God, glory to God, glory to God” in us and through us, in us as we become more like Christ, and through us as we become more like Christ.
The principle for this section is:” Faith sees in invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.” So the questions I have for you:
Will you make glorifying God your principal life purpose? –Yes. Will you start praying great things in line with God’s glorious will and power? –Yes!
Let us have our last slide with our prayers:
I adore you my Almighty Sovereign Lord.
I confess having a limited and low view of you.
I Thanks for your Power working in me and for me.
I pray to expect from your Highest and attempt for you my utmost.
As I think about power, we know that from this passage that God is the God of all power. Suffering is difficult and inevitable, and sometimes it seems impossible to endure, but God says “I am the God of all power and I can make all things, I can do all things well.” I heard of a lady and she too found herself in a difficult situation and probably you will say an impossible situation. She came home from work and found that her mother and husband had been murdered. You can imagine the excruciating pain of losing her mother and husband. She was asked to comment about her loses and she replied: “I am only a pilgrim on this earth, and I do not feel as I’m an entitled person. God gives gifts, and God takes away those gifts, God gives and God takes away. I will accept the adversity with abundance, because I know my redeemer lives and they will live too.” Is this your confession and your faith? Will you put your trust in God of all power? I want to close with the last prayer in our last slide together:
Lord, I am willing to receive all that you give, to lack all that you withhold, to surrender all that you take, to suffer all that you inflict, to be and to do all that you require for your glory and pleasure. Amen.
Glory to God, glory to God, glory to God, glory to God, glory to God, glory to God through all generations forever and ever. Amen.