Ephesians 1:17-23 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. (Is anyone ready for some revelation this morning?) 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (God wants to enlighten us to understand who we are because of what we possess in Him!) That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet…
Ephesians 2:5-7 and 10 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, (ok, so if we are seated with Christ, we are in the same position as He is which means we have authority above all other authorities, powers, dominions and titles. Is this a good word for anyone in addition to myself this morning?)7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Verse 10:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Sweet Brown is an Oklahoma City resident who was interviewed by local news station after evacuating from her apartment building that was set on fire. Her dramatic testimony of the chaotic scene quickly led to massive exposure on YouTube and became viral as a remix of her testimony was created.
On the morning of April 7th, 2012, a three-alarm fire broke out at an Oklahoma City apartment complex in Oklahoma, leaving one person hospitalized for smoke inhalation and five units damaged. During that local TV interview, she stated that she had woken up to get a “cold pop” when she thought someone was grilling before she realized there was a fire. Brown then proceeded to run out of the apartment without shoes. In describing the heavy presence of smoke from the fire, she uttered that she had bronchitis and then exclaimed the now famous phrase, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
The video has been viewed more than 12 million times since being uploaded on Apr 9, 2012. (http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/aint-nobody-got-time-for-that-kelly-benton-sermon-on-time-174291.asp)
Do you ever feel like you just don’t have time for some of the things that are on your plate? Do you ever feel like you don’t have what it takes to deal with something that is stealing your time and attention? Do you feel pressures beyond just the day to day routine to the point that you feel like you are a target? It could even be something “small” that just starts to take your mental energy and causes you to waste time pursuing a rabbit trail rather than be focused on the big picture at hand.
Just this past week as the weather turned cold I realized the need to rethink my choice of footwear. While I would love to be the sandal champion and hold out for December’s snows before donning my boots, early this past week I realized I needed to start thinking “winter.” I went to retrieve my boots from the closet and as some of you know, I found the left boot from one black pair and the right boot from another black pair. While at least they were a left and a right which could technically “make a match” the heels were different heights and two mismatched boots would have been just a notch crazy even for me.
They had both been new last year. I bought a pair for myself and a pair for Hannah. Since we both wear the same size shoe we were able to share both pair. Yes, they had been on sale, but “sale boots” are still expensive and the thought of having to replace two pair of boots made my heart sink and took hold of my mind. I became a woman on a mission.
I started going from room to room, leaving “no stone unturned” as I pursued the missing boots. I did that twice and then some more! I even called my mother-in-law to see if perhaps the missing boots had been left in Newport, KY at her house at the end of winter on a trip. The boots were nowhere to be found.
By the second day, I think my blood pressure was up over the missing boots, and as I went to sleep that night I started going through the house again in my mind. I went from room to room in a desperate mental search. I am sure my husband was sick and tired of hearing me say things like, “I can’t imagine what in the world happened to the boots.” That night I purposed I was going to solve “The Case of the Missing Boots” as I lay in bed. This went on for way too long. I was missing sleep because of the mental focus I was giving to my detective work.
I think I went through all of the stages of grief over lost boots! Shock came first! How could I have two boots from two different pair in my closet? When would I have ever worn them that way? Shock was followed by denial! This couldn’t have been my doing. I’m thinking Hannah had to be the culprit here somehow. The third stage of grief, pain, came with a vengeance! I’ve just lost X amount of money and perfectly good boots! Pain was quickly followed by guilt! Why did I spend money on two pair of boots last year? Chances were good that Hannah and I didn’t even need to wear them on the same day. We could have gotten by with sharing one pair.
My grief-stricken reality continued with anger and bargaining. I was angry with myself for not protecting my beloved boots. I started searching the online yard sale sites telling God, “If you would just help me find a used, nice-looking pair, I’ll find a way to keep them safe.” I got so focused on my lost boots that depression over the event set in. They were all I could think about. Now I was losing sleep. And in an instant, I heard a voice say to me, “What is wrong with you?” They are boots, things that can be easily replaced. I supplied them last year, and I can supply them this year. Losing sleep over some lost boots? Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
In the quietness of my obsessed mind I simply responded, “You’re right! Ain’t nobody got time for what I am putting myself through over two pair of boots!” I asked the Lord to help me trust Him with my boot dilemma. I told Him I didn’t want to think about it anymore, that I needed to go to sleep, and I asked Him to help me. I drifted right off, and would you believe what happened the next day? The two mismatched boots were found!
They weren’t tucked in a closet somewhere. They hadn’t been shoved under anyone’s bed. They weren’t in a suitcase that had been put up and forgotten. They were in our mud room in the place we call our “shoe area” where we take off all of our shoes and put them in cubbyholes when we come into the house! J I about died. All of that drama and effort and lost sleep when they were in the most logical place in the house. I had gotten so distraught I even reached out to the FB community for support. I was looking for something that was right where it should have been all along.
Here’s the point. I allowed myself to be swept up in emotion over something that had no eternal value and little earthly value. I allowed Satan to manipulate my emotions and steal my mental energy over a situation that was going to absolutely resolve itself on its own within about 36 hours. I expended tons of energy and effort that was unnecessary. And quite frankly, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
How often do we get sucked in to giving focus and energy to things that don’t matter and that are meant to distract and detour us? How often do we allow Satan to mess with our minds and emotions without realizing what he is up to? Jesus was clear when He said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.” There are things we are going to have to face that will be hard. He is with us in those moments. We can trust Him with those circumstances.
But I’m not so sure Jesus was referring to lost boots when He talked about having “trouble” in this world. In addition to real “trouble” we do have annoyances, we do have frustrations, we do have sidebars with the devil that are meant to ruin our day, infiltrate our relationships and affect our performance and effectiveness. For those things, for those moments, for those circumstances, I’m not thinking we need to seek refuge in Jesus, but we need to exercise the authority He has given us to live above them. I’m not suggesting we are to rely on ourselves or trust in our own understanding so don’t hear that. I am saying, however, that Jesus has given us authority to handle some stuff in His name, and too often we are living as victims rather than as victors because we aren’t exercising that authority!
As Ephesians 1:17 opens the Apostle Paul was praying that the Ephesians would be led by the Holy Spirit to have wisdom and revelation so that they would know Christ better.
It is crucial that we know Christ well because we have been given permission to act in His authority. In order to exercise His authority effectively we need to speak and act as He would. WWJD, the Christian catch-phrase that asked that question, “What would Jesus do?” can only be answered by people who know Him well.
Paul went on in his prayer to ask that the Ephesians would have their hearts enlightened in order to know the hope to which Christ had called them, that they would understand what they possessed in regards to an “inheritance” and that they would live inside of the power that was rightfully theirs. Let’s unpack these three things in verse 18.
God has a hope for you to embrace.
While our eternal hope is heaven, God has a hope for us, a desire for us, a supernatural way for us to not only experience eternity, but a way for us to move throughout our physical lives as well. The abundant life that I have preached a lot about lately is not being experienced by all believers. Too many of us are putting up with stuff that the enemy is putting on us that we aren’t meant to carry. We believe lies about ourselves which are putting limitations on our potential. Believing these lies is keeping us from sharing the Gospel with confidence and power, from pursuing our dreams, and from experiencing satisfaction in our relationships. Learning to exercise God’s authority will help us live life on the plane God intends. It is a supernatural plane above the earthly realities tied to life and is also above the traps of the devil which are meant to hold us back.
You are not dumb. You are not worthless. You are not incapable. You are not a burden. You are not a failure. You are not unwanted. You are not unforgiveable. If you have been told those kinds of lies and believed them, you are not embracing the hope for your life that God desires for you to possess.
God has an inheritance to give to you.
An inheritance is something received at the time of a person’s death. Well, guess what. Jesus has already died in order for you to receive your inheritance. It isn’t something you are waiting for, but it is something you can possess right now. There are riches and treasures, spiritually speaking for you to possess and use. One of the major parts of your inheritance is the Holy Spirit. Back up in Ephesians 1 to verse 13: 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.
When we hear something that undermines our potential, when we think something about ourselves that will keep us from taking a needed step, when we feel anxious or fearful about something that might happen, we need to stop and call upon the Holy Spirit to remind us of (verse 13) the word of truth. Just as we have to believe correctly about our sinful condition and Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on the cross in order to be saved, in order to live an abundant life we need to believe correctly about what God says about our lives.
When something challenges us or comes against us, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to give us the right perspective. Sometimes God does use circumstances and people to challenge us in order to change and conform us to the image of Christ. Don’t beat yourself up about those moments. Be grateful that God doesn’t want you to stay the way you are, and that He wants to perfect you. Be receptive to those changes, become better and move on.
However, Satan does want to bring discouragement, defeat, and depression into our lives any way he can. He doesn’t have to do much to rattle us either. Conditions are already favorable for us to be easily offended, easily defensive, easily wounded, etc. We live in a time in which drama drives people’s lives. It drives our culture. Remember, there was a generation before us that didn’t think it necessary or appropriate to “air their dirty laundry.” There has been a huge shift in cultural perception regarding what is appropriate for the masses. We not only feed on other people’s dirty laundry and add to their public and virtual clotheslines, but many are hanging their own out to dry in public.
The issue with that is that people then begin to offer opinions, make comments based on their perception and judgment, and we can get a warped sense of our circumstance in a hurry. When those comments aren’t coming from someone who is led by the Spirit of God Satan can use those people as pawns in his game to harass and oppress us. We need to be in regular communication with the Holy Spirit and be praying, “Lord, help me not receive or be impacted in any way by something that isn’t from you” because quite frankly, ““Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
The third nugget from verse 18 deals with knowing and utilizing the power that is within us. This is directly related to our authority as believers. The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us if we are Christians. Power is something that can be experienced as it is enacted upon us. Many of you experienced a huge lifting of the burden and weight of sin at the time you were forgiven and saved by God’s mighty power. Many know what it is like to be in the presence of God and feel the power of God at work in your body and mind. Many have experienced the power of God in the form of supernatural healing. So power is something God enacts on us that we can experience.
Power is not only experienced, but it in the life of the believer, power is something to be expressed. God in Christ has given us authority to use His power to cancel out the power of the enemy, to rise above emotional wounds, to shake off curses, criticisms and negativity, and to refute and refuse the lies of the enemy. Just as God inhabits the praises of His people (Ps. 22:3) when we open our mouths to praise Him, He inhabits His people in power when we open up our mouths in His authority to rebuke the enemy. Jesus said in Matthew 17:20 we have the power to open our mouths and tell mountains to move out of our way. How many times this past week did you speak to a mountain in the name of Jesus?
Listen, if you say things like, “I use my authority in Jesus’ name to live above pettiness, drama, labels, lack, worry, fear, doubt, abuse, criticism, limitation, oppression” or whatever it is you are dealing with, the same power that raised Christ from the dead is at work to help you overcome.
Too many Christians are violating a command in Ephesians 4:27 which says, “Do not give the devil a foothold.” Every time we fret and fuss over lost boots and lose sleep over it and become cranky because of it we are giving the devil room to work. Hello? Every time we let people bully us with words and innuendo and attitudes and actions that are meant just to bother, frustrate or annoy us, we are giving the devil some room to work. Every time we stand back, quit trying, or give in when we know it isn’t the right thing to do, we are giving the devil some room to work.
Paul went on to tell the Ephesians that they were to put on the full armor of God in Ephesians 6:10 so that they could take their STAND against the devil Ephesians 6:11. Listen, if we are standing in the power of Christ and exercising the power of Christ, the devil won’t have any room to work.
Keep working with me through our text in Ephesians 1: Where was Christ seated? Verse 21: “Far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet.”
Now skip to Ephesians chapter 2:6: “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” Jesus is far above every dramatic, negative, self-serving attitude, action and demonic spirit that exists, and the Bible says we are seated with Him and possess His authority.
I have a question for you. Why be seated far above all rule and authority, power and dominion and every earthly title and then live as if we were below them? (Say it with me) “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
We need to stop wishing for things to be different, and we need to open our mouths and declare by Jesus’ authority that no weapon that is fashioned against us will stand. (Is. 54:17) People with authority don’t beg. People with authority don’t ask politely. People with authority don’t negotiate or bargain for a less pressure-filled attack. People with authority command and demand in Jesus’ name that Satan move behind them.
Our lives are already busy with lots of commitment. The time is drawing nearer for the return of Christ. The need to get the Gospel to our family, friends, co-workers and classmates is urgent. Ain’t nobody got time to be pestered and pushes around by the devil. It is time to get up and stand up to the devil in the authority and power of the name of Jesus.
If you don’t have peace today, you have abdicated your authority. If you don’t have joy today, you have set aside your authority. Peace and joy are given to us in relationship with Jesus. They are some of the first things the enemy seeks to destroy in our lives. Take them back this morning. They are yours in Christ.
Using the name of Jesus is a very strategic move. Exerting His power and authority is only effective when we are rightly aligned with Him. We can’t deceive ourselves into thinking Christ’s power will be at our disposal if sin is reigning in our lives. We can’t live in rebellion to God’s commands and expect His power to be at our disposal. Sin gives the devil a foothold. If your life is like a spiritual tug of war right now where you are engaging in sin while at the same time trying to serve Christ, you won’t be able to defeat the devil until you deal with those sin issues. Repenting of sin and submitting every area of our lives to Christ is the way to remove the devil and see Christ’s power flow in our lives. Then, maintaining that freedom from sin through the use of our God-given authority is crucial.
God laid the need for this message on my heart a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to preach it last week. He wouldn’t allow me to. For some reason, it was specifically for today. If you are being harassed by Satan or the circumstances of life, if you have lost joy and peace, if you are living below where you are spiritually seated, if you are living on a physical and emotional plane rather than engaging in life with a spiritual perspective and power, if you are losing sleep over something you have lost whether something silly like a pair of boots or a relationship or job that has shaken your identity and confidence, God wants you to exercise the authority and power He has already made available to you. If you are here and someone you know is being bullied by the devil, I invite you to come pray on their behalf, that they will have revelation, that they will be enlightened, and that they will exercise the power God has made available to them as well.