(MAKE A DIFFERENCE)
Ephesians 3: 16-21 reads
like this in the New International Version: “I pray that out of his glorious
riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you,
being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the
saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and
to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the
measure of all the fullness of God. 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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all
generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
As I read this passage of scripture and fully claim it in my heart as being for me I can easily see how God can use even the lowliest person to change the world. Today’s massage is one of vision and encouragement. God wants you to know today that you have the power within you to move mountains. I believe God in his word when He says, “all things are possible to those who believe.” Now I am not talking about the power of positive thinking, although there is great truth in that. Mainly because God is the only true positive force in this and any other universe. Nor am I talking about the power in faith alone. Because as I have heard and said before, you can have great faith in a weak plank and end up in the river and then you only need a little faith in a strong plank to walk safely above the most troubled water. It is not how much faith you have but rather who you are putting your faith in. That is what brings us into a paradox. On one hand we are saying that we can not put any faith in ourselves to accomplish anything. On the other hand we are saying that we can move mountains and achieve greatness beyond our own imagination. The difference is found in the passage of scripture we just read. It is when we are filled to the overflowing of all the fullness of God that we can accomplish things we never imagined. Do you know what is really neat? If you have accepted Jesus into your heart your are right now filled with that fullness of God.
Before I go any further I want to share with you an article I just read about a woman who changed the world. “ A dozen or so years ago Kathleen DiChiara, a young mother who lived in an affluent New Jersey suburb, saw an elderly woman in a supermarket agonizing over the purchase of a few chicken wings. She discovered that the woman was going to make soup to last a week.
meeting changed Mrs. DiChiara’s life. She became aware of a hidden hunger
problem in her area and she began collecting cans of food from friends and
neighbors, distributing them from her station wagon.
Last year, as
head of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, a nonprofit operation she
founded, she oversaw the distribution of some $16 million worth of food
throughout her state.”
The article goes on to explain how her persistence and persuasiveness helped her fulfill this awesome task. There are thousands of stories just like this one of how people just like you and me are making a difference and changing the world. You know, the truth is, you are changing the world. Everyone does. The question is whether that change is for the better or the worse and of course how much of a change.
Let’s go back to our text. For those who might not know, this letter was written by the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians while he was in prison at Rome. I love the book of Ephesians as it give us so much hope and encouragement as well as practical instruction on how to fight and live the victorious life. Looking at this prayer of Paul we first read how Paul acknowledges Gods glorious richness. We all need to know that God is able. Look at the stars in the night sky. Look at the rushing river waters. Look at the majesty of the rolling hills and snow-capped mountains. Look at the petals of flower or the bee, which pollinates it. Look at the balance of nature and the harshness of space. Life is a miracle. It is all a great design with an even greater designer. The same God that put all that is into motion still directs the currents of change. He is the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end. The past and the future the same yesterday, today and forever. God is not mocked by your doubt. He has proven himself to you time and time again and He will see you through the tough times and lift you up in the times of rejoicing.
first recognition is of God’s abundance and his request to God is that He would
strengthen you with power, which comes from Him through the Holy Spirit into
your innermost being. Think about it. The power of God. The self-same power that
brought stars into existence is strengthening you. Not just coming up along side
of you but filling your every fiber. Your innermost being. No wonder the
scriptures tell us that “No weapon formed against us will prosper” How could it?
It is God Himself that indwells us. We are way more than conquerors through Him
who strengthens us. Now continue reading Paul’s prayer. This next part is so
Why would God give you or me that kind of power? It sure isn’t because we deserve it. We sure didn’t or could never earn it. The text tell us “so that Christ may dwell in our hearts.” Do you see it? It is Jesus on the inside of us being manifested through the Spirit of God giving us eternal life.
The Good news in a nutshell is this. You can have it all; Love like you never imagined, Peace that goes beyond any explanation, Joy which is so complete that its unspeakable. All the blessings or great stuff in all of heaven, more than anybody has ever seen or even imagined. And it’s all free. Eternal abundant life is yours when you stop trusting yourself and turn your life over to the control of God and invite Jesus to enter into your heart to be your savior and lord. The more you give the more you will receive. That is why Paul prays that we get “rooted and established.” It is one thing to believe it is another to sink your roots deep into the love of Him who is love. The deeper you go, the stronger you become. The stronger you become, the more you will be able to accomplish for His glory.
You can see how easy it can be for someone to get sidetracked by the power. We have to keep firmly in our minds the goal. The goal is not the power, the goal is to fullfill the cause of Christ. The Goal is to shine forth His love. The goal is to do His will. The Goal is to seek and save the lost. The Goal is that none should have their lives be wasted. The goal is to reach into the very pit of hell and pull out our loved ones that have been led down the path of destruction.
Ok so lets get practical. How are we going to change the world? How are we going to make a difference? The answer is within us. Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Who do you talk to when you are talking to yourself? Who is it that dwells within you? You have to know that it is real. Jesus is alive and He lives with in the hearts of those who welcome Him in. Ok, practical. I want you to begin by acknowledging that Jesus is in your heart. If you’ve invited Him in He is there. If you haven’t yet do it now. Come on this is real simple stuff. Do you want the abundant life or not. Just say “yes Lord Jesus come into my heart. Forgive me of my sins and make me a new person in you. Use me Lord for your glory.” Now the next time you look at yourself in the mirror say hello to Jesus. Look deep in your own eyes, the eyes of Christ are there. He sees the world through your eyes now. He touches the things of the world through your hands. He walks upon the earth with your feet. He speaks through you.
I know that is not an easy one to imagine. We all say things that we wish we hadn’t. We all do things we should not have done. How can the Lord use us? We are so sinful. We are so, human. Stop listening to the condemnation. If your heart condemns you, remember that God is greater than your heart. He who is within you is greater than any other power. Renew you mind with this knowledge. The power of God rests with in your inner most being. God does not condemn, He encourages. The Holy Spirit does convict but only to get you to Jesus. Now that you have Jesus let Him make the difference. The one who made it all will continue to make a difference as you are being made into His likeness. It is true, you can take total confidence in the fact that He who began a good work in you will continue it until the day He comes again. So shake off those bonds of depression and fear. Break those chains of addictions and lust. Walk away from the old you and press forward for that high calling. Forget the past and look ahead towards the future, your future. Make a difference by letting God make you the difference. Jesus is alive within you today.