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God’s Power Dwells Within Us
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
I think I have something loved ones that may be useful. It’s Ephesians chapter 6. We’ve reached
verse 10. Ephesians 6:10: “Finally”, (Toú(cid:160)loipoú in Greek means “for the rest”) be strong in the
Lord and in the strength of his might.” When you use the Greek the emphasis is so strong. The
Greek for the verb there, “be strong” is the passive imperative of dunamis (endunamoústhe).
“Dunamis” is what we call our present charity. You remember, we had the magazine in the old days in
Minneapolis called, “Dunamis” — it’s obviously “dynamite”. I chose it because dunamis is power.
“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” (Acts 1:8) You remember, indeed
we had in the Dunamis magazine, that picture that some guy had sketched: an ordinary country scene
down here, and then up above was heavenly places where all the battles were going on! It brought
home to you that there were mighty powers involved in your life down here. That’s what dunamis has
“Endunamoústhe” is the verb. He [Paul] is almost saying, “be dynamited”. Be endued with dynamite.
Be taken over by dynamite. That’s the kind of thrust it is. It comes over weakly to us as, “Be
strong in the Lord”. But he’s saying, “be blown apart – or be blown beyond your own powers by God
What came home to me is what the physicists are all saying. It’s unbelievable. It’s as if they
have joined the enemy saying, “because you’re not as solid as you look!” It’s from all that fuss
about the [Higgs] boson particle. They’re saying, “This whole thing is made up of particles, tiny,
tiny particles that we cannot even see with the naked eye.” The hunt for the boson is the particle
of particles. We started off with the atom. Then we got the protons and the neutrons, then we got
all kinds of particles. What they are saying is, “You’re not as solid as you look.” I think that’s
the lie in the deception that we have sunk into.
I was thinking of you actually, in the store. Why would you go in? “Oh, not me! I’m shaking in my
shoes.” But WHY do we go in in our own strength? Of course, our own strength is the only thing
that will shake! I think often it’s what you do, what we ALL do. We go into that shop in our own
strength. If you say to me, “Why do we?” “Because we are absolutely sure that, this is ME! I’m
solid. This is MY body and I’m responsible for this body. I control this body.” Even the dear
physicists are saying, “No. You’re not. We can’t explain what is holding all of those particles
together, but each one of you, each one of us physicists, are bundles or whirling little particles
that are spinning ‘round each other like crazy! We do not know how they are held together, but
that’s what you are. It’s wrong to think of yourself as a solid piece of matter. Matter itself is
made up of billions upon billions of these little particles that spin ‘round one another and hold
this shape” [Holding up hand].
Now, do you see what that means? That means that I walk across here – our God has billions of little
particles? How many billions are in that nail – and he’s moving them all through the air! And when
I turn around and go back, he’s moving them all, keeping them in the shape of this, Ernest O’Neill.
He’s doing that with you. That’s why it is so true when Colossians 1:15 says, “He is the express
image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For all things were created in him and
all things hold together in him.” That’s what we are.
You can see the ridiculous lie that we are all absolutely certain about. I know you are struggling
even now as I say these things. You can see the logic of it, but you’re struggling, “Could it be?
Could that be? Could the physicists be right? Could that be the situation because we are
[We are] as arrogant as anybody could be — as ignorant and arrogant as anybody could be: “We, here
in this room …” – of course the thousands of others are the same – but we are absolutely convinced,
“No, no. That’s a nice thought, what you’re saying. It sounds good, but you know physicists.
They’ll find out that that’s wrong. Yes, I understand a bit about ‘holding us together in Jesus’.
That’s probably not wrong, but it’s nothing like as crazy as you’re saying. I mean how could
anybody, how could GOD keep – there are almost seven billion of us in the world now — how could he
keep seven BILLION of us in space like that and move us through space whenever we wanted to move?”
I think that is the battle. I think that is the weight that ALL of us — not just you going into
the shop – ALL of us — that’s the weight we go with. “We’re absolutely certain that the only
strength we have to depend on is what we have and what we feel here. The only thing I have going
for me is what my mind can think. The only thing I have going for me is what my body can do.” You
don’t need me to tell you, you KNOW that’s the way we think.
When this book [Bible] talks about Jesus being in us, we are doing our best. We think, “Oh, that’s
a nice metaphor, the idea of Jesus being in us. That’s nice. I’m sure you’re right in some way.
That’s a nice way to think about it. It certainly helps me to think that maybe there IS some power
in me that is…” I mean you almost shake in fear when you go on with the sentence because what we
talked about is true. We exist by the continued work of our dear Father. We move around in this
room because he is holding us together in his Son.
When Paul says, “Be strong in the Lord and be filled with the power and the strength and the
dynamite of God’s own strength”, he’s just telling it like it is! He’s just saying, “That’s what it
is! What you’re doing is, you’re living in a deception. You’re living in an imaginary, material
thing you regard as your own body. You’re living in that as if there is some reality to that, as if
there is some solidity to that – as if that has some strength or life of its own. You’re trusting
in that strength and life which is non-existent! So, no wonder you are nervous! No wonder you are
shaking! No wonder you are tentative because you are believing in a lie, a thing that does not
exist. You, yourself are held together by your dear Father in him. The strength that you have
experience of is a little of the huge strength that he has IN you, holding you together!”
In reality, we are walking miracles. When Jesus walked through the walls it was just a natural
ability that God has given to our existence. He can speed up the particles. He can make them merge
with other particles. He can get them to go through other particles. When you get into the quantum
thing, it is really amazing, the way they show that when you shoot a beam of light at a hole in
something — the way it splits into different ways. Some of them go through it, some of them don’t.
The behaviour of the particles is almost uncanny and unpredictable in many ways. Our Father
controls EVERY particle.
I don’t know if you ever thought of it. Do you think he knows the way every [ocean] wave is going
to curl — all of the waves that are curling in different ways in different places? Do you think
that he knows how it’s going to curl? If you hesitate, let me put this to you — I wonder who does?
I wonder who does or are they just curling by chance?
Our dear Lord has put us inside bodies and minds that are absolutely dependent on his
moment-by-moment strength and guidance. That’s why when this dear fellow says, “Be strong in the
Lord” – and he keeps on. If you look at it, “Finally brethren, be strong in the Lord” – and he
keeps on – “and in the strength” — it’s “ischúos” in Greek. It means “might or power”. I looked
them up just because there are so redundant in a way. “Krátei” is the word for strength. It means
“vigor and forcefulness”. Forcefulness.
I did think of that in connection again because I am concerned with the things you are concerned
with. Of course I am concerned with how you feel when you go into a store and all that sort of
thing. It came home to me again, that here is Paul saying, “Be strong in the Lord. Be filled with
the dynamite of God, and be filled in the forcefulness of his nature and his character.” I’m not
the “Fight the Good Fight” man, but that’s why I asked Joanne later on to play “Fight the Good
It seems to me there is a forcefulness that God has, a forcefulness that Christ himself showed in
his attitude to evil spirits and in his attitude to sickness and death itself. There’s a
forcefulness that God has built into us that we are meant to take and run with. We’re meant to go
strongly and firmly into the store, “My name IS Marty ___ and I AM with a jewelry company called
____.” There’s a forcefulness and a strength and a solidity that God has for each one of us. That
is our right which I don’t think we can produce for ourselves.
In a thousand ways I am not to be imitated at all, but in that way I know, the LAST place that I
would dream of being as a little Belfast guy was standing on a sloped stage in a dance theatre
talking to a crowd of wild ‘60’s kids from the university. There was only one way to go there, only
one way. You couldn’t have notes with you. You had to know it all. I had to be able to stand out
there whether I could ever get back to my notes behind the stage or not.
There’s a forcefulness that God gives us and a strength that is IN us that is there. He has put it
in us. It’s not something we have to grab. It’s not something we have to produce in us. “Be
strong in the Lord.” BE what you are! You are there with the forcefulness of Christ within you.
BE that — and take hold of the thing.
There is a real sense, it seems to me, in Paul’s words here that we are intended by God to do all
that he can do – all that HE can do, all that he, himself can do because HE is the one who holds you
together. It is HIS life and energy that keeps you in existence. I think that is the heart of the
problem. We think we’ve made ourselves. We just think, “We’ve made ourselves.” We know our moms
had something to do with it, but we think that, “All that talk that you say about us, you say ‘in
Jesus’ is ok, but I’m just a little animal here and I exist on my own.”
We can’t explain how we ever came to be and all that kind of thing without God, but we take it over
from him. We take it out of his hands. We ASSUME to ourselves our own self existence. We behave
that way. Therefore we get all the worry and anxiety that that brings us. It’s untenable! The
idea is untenable that you are a little spec that nobody can see and you are on a sphere that is
whirling around in space, flying around in orbits around other planets. That thought is untenable
without driving you crazy! That’s ridiculous! If that’s the situation we should commit suicide NOW
because that is hopeless – to be a little spec, smaller than what you can see stuck on a sphere that
is flying through space at hundreds and thousands of miles an hour!
Of course, the truth is that is NOT the situation. The whole thing is held together by our dear
Father. You’re renting your body. That’s it. You’re renting your body. I agree with you, there
is a real you and a real me. God has given us a real self-consciousness and he has created a real
being in here, but THAT being is inside layer upon layer upon layer upon layer upon layer. This
outside layer is the one we happen to see at this moment. In a few years, we will have a different
one, a glorious body like unto the glorious body of Jesus Christ. We’ll have a body, and we’ll be
able to recognize one another, but we will be transformed. It will be a different kind of body.
God has made the whole thing and is in control of it. It’s not ours. We’re the person who is
Trish, the part of Jesus that lives as Trish, the part of Jesus that lives as Martha. That part
exists inside all these whirling particles. All the particles have all the strength of God himself.
That’s why he says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” – because your whole
existence depends on Christ’s continued love and life that he’s feeding into you. So, when he says,
“Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might”, he’s talking about strength and might that
is greater than what we know – he means what he says: BE what you are. You’re part of Christ. He
is the one who is giving you all that you have and he will continue to give you all that you have.
We’re renting a body. That’s it. It’s not ours. We don’t own it. We’re renting it.
Like the clumsy way I was trying to get at on Saturday, we can do whatever we need to do. He is not
a cruel God. He does not put us into a situation where we can’t do what needs to be done. He
doesn’t do that. The whole of creation exhibits a God who is intelligent and who produces causes
and results that fit one another. There is nothing he has given us to do that we can’t do. I don’t
think it’s done by gathering up our own human lies and deceptions that, “WE MUST do it.” I don’t
think so. I think that we just do it. You do it!
I tried to say it in the last “Living Daily in Reality” talk I’d done, “We do the action, but he has
done the work already. We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which he has
created that we should walk in them.” He has done the works. We just walk in them. We DO the
thing. We do whatever needs to be done. We say the words that need to be said and the power that
holds us together comes through and does the work in the other person.
It is really very encouraging. It’s not, “Oh, womp yourself up! Make yourself strong! It’s just,
“Have a look at who we are. Have a real look at what you are. See clearly that you are a bundle of
protons and neutrons held together by Christ. All the strength that you need is in you already and
you just act on that basis.
It’s interesting. We lose everything by a lack of faith. We lose everything by unbelief. That’s
really the truth of it. We lose everything by unbelief. We simply don’t’ believe reality and so,
we’re left with nothingness. No wonder we’re scared! No wonder we’re nervous. No wonder we aren’t
quite sure of ourselves. We’re believing in something that doesn’t exist. There is no “us” apart
from the person that is part of Christ and happens to have this conglomeration of nuclei around it.
That’s what we are.
The whole Bible holds together: “It is not I who lives, but Christ who lives within me.” That’s
what Paul was saying. Our problem is with us saying, “Oh yes, yes. We’re really alive — but Christ
is there as well.” He says, “It’s not I that lives, it’s CHRIST that lives within me. I just use
this terminology that we human beings have gotten used to, ‘that I live’. This life I live, but I
don’t live it. It’s Christ that lives within me.” It’s a blessing that God has given us.