Sunday, April 4, 2010

"Exceeding, Abundantly Above"

Easter 2010

(For Frances, who continually "stands, walks, leaps, and praises")

Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are supercharged spiritual dynamos of our Savior's life, power, and ability to glorify and obey God.

"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Of course, we don't always feel, look, or act like it. Our experience of the Truth is not perfect in this present life, for many reasons. Our flesh is strongly tempted to follow emotions, contrary thoughts, and appearance. A fallen world screams and whisper to us that if God exists, He is far away and uninvolved. Or if He is present, our sins and failures are too many and too great to expect "the power that worketh in us" to actually work in us. And our spiritual enemies work incessantly to counter any notion the we can "do all things through Christ" (Philippians 4:13).

The latter point is often missed. Satan and his minions are more aware than we are of the truth that God has "given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness" (II Peter 1:3). 2,000 years of church history, beginning with the empty Tomb, has led to continual bludgeoning of our enemies by those who affirm that Christians are temples of the risen Christ who trampled the devil under His nail-scarred feet when He exited the grave. Thus, our enemy seeks to blind and discourage us concerning the "exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think" working of God upon us and within us.

What else can the devil do? He cannot steal the Spirit of Christ from our hearts. Nor can he change the fact that more power resides in one syllable uttered by our indwelling Lord than anything Satan can or ever will do (indeed, the devil's very existence is dependent on the Christ whose word "upholds all things" - Hebrews 1:3). Our enemy can only seek to cast a shroud upon our knowledge and confidence of the power that teems within our born again spirits, the power that created the universe and raised the Lord Jesus from the dead.

I am convinced that if we could audibly hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, "Get up!" would be a constant refrain. "Rise up and walk" said the Apostle Peter to the man whose formerly lame legs had just become the scene of the exceeding, abundant power of God. The man rose up, but he didn't simply walk. "He, leaping up, stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God." This wonderful physical healing speaks even more to the spiritual energizing of the body of Christ. We are the scene and eternal abidingplace of the risen Lord Jesus. His resurrection is our resurrection, and "exceeding, abundantly above" is "the power that worketh in us." We can trust and obey God through Christ, and we can joyfully live lives that reveal to our world that the Tomb is empty and the heavenly Throne is occupied. We must, because our Savior sacrificed too much for us to fail to avail ourselves of the vibrant Life even now teems within our Christ-inhabited spirits.

The Apostle Paul prayed for such awareness and affirmation in the Ephesian believers. We close with our brother's intercession, and with our own that we all will recognize and believe that the resurrection of Christ is not merely a historical fact of 2,000 years ago, or a promise of life abundant in the hereafter. It is the reality of this and of every moment, and regardless of contrary appearance, emotion, or evidence, the Lord Jesus is risen from the dead. As believers of old declared "He is risen indeed," and in the most wondrous of miracles, we are "risen with Him." Yes, my dear brothers and sisters, we are risen indeed! May nothing hinder our knowledge and affirmation thereof, and let us stand, walk, leap, and praise (Acts 3:8; Colossians 2:12).

"Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all."
(Ephesians 1:15-23)

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