Strengthened According to God’s Glorious Might
Strengthened According to God’s Glorious Might
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Let’s read Colossians 1:11, May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.”
It says, “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might.” God just brought to my mind again the meaning of that which we touched upon a little last time.
May you be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might. So often we think of that as just according to God who gives you might. But really the important thing about it is that the might is in a certain place and it’s back there in Ephesians 1 and it’s really part of that great prayer of Paul’s.
Ephesians 1:15 -22–For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church.”
And we often read that off and say that it’s a nice way to put it. He’s put all things under his feet and has made him head over all things for the church. That’s a nice picture and I’m sure it is true but it has really very little practical outworking. And of course the fact is that’s the base of everything. He has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church.
In other words the whole world has fallen apart into chaos and God has put it all in his son and has put him head over all the chaos and has put all the chaos under his feet. He has dealt with all the unknown invisible powers, all the principalities and powers, all the great powers of darkness. He has put them all under his son’s feet. He has seen all that. He knows that there are mighty powers such as you glimpse a little in the cruelty of Isis.
But really that’s one of the more obvious ones. The fact is there are all kinds of deception and lying that are going on continually. For instance, take the administration that runs New York City where the deal fellow Silver had a whole system of lies and deception that governed all kinds of contracts that were made over 20-30 years.
And so throughout the world there are all kinds of invisible spiritual powers and deceptions going on. All deep cruelties and intense hatreds that we don’t see at all but are underneath, God has seen all those develop. He has not only foreseen the things like the mess pollution makes of the world,
or the things that happen when we do certain things to our oceans. He has not only seen all those but he has seen all the invisible, spiritual powers that have become twisted and corrupted and that are set against him and against his way of doing things.
In other words he’s seen that there is a whole series of substitute powers that claim to do what he himself does in his purity. And he has put all those things under his son’s feet. He has worked great spiritual transactions in eternity that has meant that all those things are destroyed. And that’s what we fight not only in our dear friends.
I could put it into a very personal way. My brother was so bad tempered. He specialized in choosing my mom’s beautiful vases and throwing them at me or something in the house. And the dear fellow would come after me with swords. I had a bathroom door with a whole in it because he was coming for me with a sword! There were no psychologists or psychiatrists in those days and so you can imagine what my poor mother was going through.
Our family doctor, who probably knew nothing about psychology, was the one my mother went to. What could she do? Here was a fellow who was out of control and she didn’t know what to do. At one time my father theorized about the moon. Did it happen at the time of the full moon?
Our little problems were nothing compared to the difficulties that other people had. We both knew drunken families where the husband would come home and beat up the wife. So there are all kinds of powers underneath that are working all the time in the world and our poor family doctor didn’t know what to do with my brother. And it carried on like that right until even his death in a sense.
What was working there was something deeper and that’s what we often face. We are often face things that are far deeper than the outward symptoms of the situation. This is why I thought we should touch upon this today. It’s very easy to think that God will strengthen us with might to put these things right and do the things that we’ve to do. We’ll say this to this person and that to that person. We’ll go to this country and distribute Bibles. Or, we’ll give money to this source to solve this problem. And we think that’s doing the work of the Lord.
No, the work of the Lord is deeper than that. God has sent us here so that his son in us could deal with these invisible powers. With these unseen forces that are the real cause of the difficulties that we come up against that’s why he sent us here. That’s why often even among ourselves we talk a lot. Sometimes we don’t talk when we should but often we talk a lot.
E. Stanley Jones said, “If you talk less to other people and talk more to God about other people and talk to other people less about God you’d see more work done.” That’s because the real power that is needed is the power that God has put under Christ’s feet. It’s a spiritual power and that’s why it’s called a glorious power — his glorious might. It’s a power that is greater than our psychological influences or our verbal comments.
And God has put us here to express and administer that power. Your point is so relevant about really going to Jesus about a person. It’s not going nominally to Jesus and asking him if he’d like me to say something to the person. It’s not asking the Lord to give you the words if he wants you to say anything. That’s the way out. It’s not asking God to klonk us on the head so we can know if we should say something. It’s not in those outward things that God works. He is sending us so that Christ can do a work through us that is a continuation of the victory that Christ has won already. That’s our place. You can see how weak our position is, how hopeless it is because we interpret it
in a shallow way. Oh yes, I’m here to do things for the Lord or for the Lord to say certain things through me. Or we think, “What would Christ do in this situation? That’s what I have to work out and then I have to do that.”
We are so often playing games and we know we are playing games because we see no change. We see nothing changed. We just say to each other, “Oh he’s a bit better than he was. Or the situation is improving. You know these things take time.” But the real fact is that we are not involved in spiritual work at all. We are not being strengthened by his glorious might. We have no idea what Christ put under his feet in this situation because we never talk to him about it.
And so often there are all kinds of attitudes and spiritual positions and deceptions that continue even as we are doing our outward work with the person. It can be in regard even to our own situation here. We can be saying the right thing to each other but it doesn’t make any difference. Could it be you weren’t saying anything relevant at all and that wasn’t the issue? It’s something that the Savior would explain to you if you would wait upon the Lord. They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall rise up wings as the eagles. They’ll understand and be able to discern.
So really what I ask you to do is just to grasp mentally that fact that being strengthened by the glorious might of Christ is knowing what Christ has put under his feet in this situation, understanding what the heart of this issue is and knowing that and then receiving from him wisdom to minister and build on what he has done. So that there is work coming from his spirit inside the person. Or, there is work coming from his spirit against a certain spirit or atmosphere in a situation. Then, there is revelation by you in even your face, sometimes by your smile or your general attitude, sometimes maybe even by a word. But it needs the inner working of God’s spirit in the person and a work is done.
So, I thought it’s so important that we should go back on it and see what that is, “strengthened by his glorious might”. It’s the might that he wrought from his position of glory at God’s right hand. Where God raised him up and made him sit with him in heavenly places and at that moment put all things under his feet and made him the head over all things for the church.
We are distributors of a power that Jesus himself has wrought in the situation. That’s why he talks about patience and joy. You find it’s a joyful thing and not something you are strained about. It’s a thing you have infinite patience for because you know it’s been done. It’s one of joy because Jesus’ spirit passes through you and that brings the joy of God. You feel the joy of Christ when you are exercising his power.
So it’s something deeper than just a message from the Lord. It’s worth taking very seriously when you think of those problems that we call chronic, either chronic physical problems, or chronic problems or chronic spiritual problems. It’s not a matter of continually hammering along with your human equipment. It’s finding out from the Lord what he has dealt with in that situation and receiving from him any directions that he has for any part that you should play in that.
It’s very much you and him, him and you. It’s very much your relationship together and that’s where the ministry is. You can see a little how this touches upon the whole business that we are involved in. The father is so kind. He appreciates anything we do. He is so generous to us. He sees our bumbling ways. But why continue to bumble and go through motions when the real work of God has already been started by Jesus.
It’s a lot more than, “Lord, I’ll be talking with my customer Jean Brown and showing her our new jewelry. Will you bless our conversation?” It’s much more having a concern for Jean Brown. Do you really care for Jean Brown besides getting a sale and have you expressed that to Him. Have you talked with Jesus about Jean Brown to see if he has anything to say about her to you before you see her?
It’s something very fine and noble. It’s something refined and much subtler than our ideas. So that’s Colossians 1:11 “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.” That’s what God has for us. Let us pray.