Play

Ephesians 3:14-21 (NIV)

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

There are DNA studies now being done where scientists are able to trace back the historical connections between the various ethnic and migrations of people groups from one part of the world to another.

National Geographic’s Genographic Project has used advanced DNA analysis and worked with indigenous communities to help answer fundamental questions about where humans originated and how we came to populate the Earth. Now, cutting-edge technology is enabling us to shine a powerful new light on our collective past. run a comprehensive analysis to identify thousands of genetic markers on your mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down each generation from mother to child, to reveal your direct maternal deep ancestry. In the case of men, we will also examine markers on the Y chromosome, which is passed down from father to son, to reveal your direct paternal deep ancestry. In addition, for all participants, we analyze a collection of more than 130,000 other ancestry-informative markers from across your entire genome to reveal the regional affiliations of your ancestry, offering insights into your ancestors who are not on a direct maternal or paternal line

The results give you an unprecedented view of your lineage. You will discover the migration paths your ancient ancestors followed thousands of years ago, and learn the details of your ancestral makeup—your branches on the human family tree.,, How our ancestors migrated from their African homeland to populate the Earth thousands of years ago.  https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/

Leader of the project is Dr. Spencer Wells, who writes: “The greatest history book ever written is the one hidden in our DNA.”

Well, I’m sure that’s a great story, with fascinating information. But there is an even greater history book—the one that tells HIS story. God’s story—about how there is a spiritual DNA in every person, a spiritual marker on our spiritual chromosomes that traces our roots back to God!

This spiritual DNA is called “the image of God” (Gen 1:26-27). In all people groups and all individuals are roots that trace back to God! If you dig deep enough, the spark of divinity may be found even in the most broken reprobate or rebellious person. Paul: “every family…derives its name” from the Father!

This spiritual DNA—the image of God—means no one is without hope. We all have a heavenly Father.

No matter who you are, where you’ve come from, or what you have or haven’t done, you  have a Father in heaven!

No matter how broken or wounded you are, your heavenly Father wants you; he wants to put his love and power within you. Maybe you’ve heard this song before, “So You Would Come.”

 

(Chorus) Come to the Father
Though your gift is small
Broken hearts broken lives
He will take them all
The power of the Word
The power of His blood
Ev’rything was done
So you would come

(1) Before the world began
You were on His mind
And ev’ry tear you cry
Is precious in His eyes
Because of His great love
He gave His only Son
Ev’rything was done
So you would come

(2) Nothing you can do
Could make Him love you more
And nothing that you’ve done
Could make Him close the door
Because of His great love
He gave His only Son
Ev’rything was done
So you would come
© 1996 Hillsong – Russell Fragar

16 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

God’s work had already begun in their lives. But it wasn’t yet finished. Grace had brought the “dead” to “life” (2:1-5), but they still needed a greater work of God’s grace—they were still a work in progress.

A Prayer for Strength. The source for our strength flows like a geyser “out of” his infinite supply—limitless, boundless, never-ending. God’s riches flowed with strength in three ways:

(1) To strengthen you with [divine] power [Recap series: treasure in common clay pots; more than enough grace to perfect power in weakness; enlightened to know the hope, riches, and resurrection power.]

(2) To strengthen you though his Spirit—this must be a God-work, a supernatural work. NOT through the FLESH: human effort, physical strength, high IQ, social privilege, affirmative action.

(3) To strengthen you in your inner being. Not necessarily in your outer being—your physical image or your external appearance.

We tend to emphasize what’s on the outside. We concentrate on physical matters (what we see, touch, feel). We hone in on external behavior, actions. We overlook the inner qualities, the hidden characteristics of the heart. Yet, it’s what we are that leads to what we do. Our focus should be on a human being, not a human doing.

Change From the Inside Out. Jesus pronounced “WOES” as well as blessings (Beatitudes), including woes on those who got the outside appearance right but ignored the condition on the inside…

Matt 23:25-26. 25 “Woe to you…hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 …First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”

In 1986, Donald Miller disappeared. He just vanished, leaving behind a wife, two kids—and a huge debt. No one could find him, and no one heard from him again. After 8 years struggling to scrape by on her own, his wife petitioned the Ohio courts, and Donald Miller was declared dead. She was able to collect Social Security death benefits for her children.

Then in 2005, nearly 30 years after he disappeared, he showed up again when he applied for a drivers license, which was a shock to everyone, including his parents.

This past week Miller, now 61, was in court again, and a judge in Hancock County, Ohio, said that state law prevented him from declaring Mr. Miller to be legally alive. Judge Allan Davis called it a “strange, strange situation.”

“We’ve got the obvious here,” Judge Davis said. “A man sitting in the courtroom; he appears to be in good health… [He looked at Miller] I don’t know where that leaves you, but you’re still deceased as far as the law is concerned.”

He is obviously alive—he is breathing, walking, talking—but he is still legally dead. He has no legal standing—so he can’t get a drivers license or a lot of other benefits available to people who are actually alive.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-24486718.

Dead or Alive. How many Christians fall in that same category? Technically, they are “alive,” but they don’t enjoy the benefits of new life because they live as if they’re dead. The work of salvation was finished on the cross but not in their hearts.

They bypassed the full work of grace and live beneath God’s promises and victory. Paul prays that they would gain the legal status of someone who is alive—with all the accompanying rights and privileges and authority. We need to pray so our “legal” reality will match the status God has already declared.

There are too many Christian zombies today—the “walking” dead. The work of the resurrection has not yet been completed in their lives. They have no more authority or privilege than those who remain dead in their trespasses and sins.

17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…

Your heart should be a place where Christ can live! What would it take to open your home to a great or important person? To a sports legend? Or royalty? Suppose Prince William and Kate were to come to Cloquet—and they’re going to stop at your house for tea. How would you prepare for the arrival of your honored guests?

Preparing for Christ to live within our hearts would be like all that, only on steroids! There should be a sense of desperation in the sinner’s heart—panic over our inner corruption and filthy condition should alarm us! Shame, sorrow, despair ARE appropriate responses IF we want to see the place cleaned up and ready for our honored guests.

Jesus was a great friend of sinners. He loved them just as they were. They didn’t have to change or clean themselves up to receive his love. They merely had to come. He hung out with them, ate and drank with them, laughed and partied with them. (And he was criticized for doing so.) He loved them unconditionally—just as they were.

But he loved them even more than that! He loved them so much, he wanted to save them, to get them out of the mess. His love wouldn’t allow him to leave them in that condition, where they were. He loved them so much, he wanted to rescue them from themselves. He loved them enough to help them change—so he died for them.

On our own, we cannot adequately get things ready for Jesus (who is holy and blameless) to dwell in our hearts (which are corrupt, “desperately wicked,” according to one OT prophet). This is why we need the power of the Spirit in the inner man—because we don’t have the strength in the natural man to make the necessary changes.

17 …And I pray that you, being rooted and established in LOVE,

Our change begins in Christ’s love—our transformation is rooted in his love; then it is built up (or established) in his love. We can’t be changed by wishing for change. Or by giving human effort toward change. We should desire and strive and surrender and discipline ourselves to change, but we should do all that in response to God’s love. Without his love at the root of everything we do, inevitably we will all fall flat. We can only be changed because of Christ’s love—his immeasurable, boundless, infinite love.

17 …And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge…

Paul prays that we would grasp the significance of a love that cost Christ everything. That we would grasp the ungraspable (too big, too expansive, too wide, long, high, and deep)—like trying to wrap your arms around the Grand Canyon…or the world…or the solar system…

That we would know the unknowable—that which surpasses knowledge.

19 …that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

The fullness of God includes all of his resources, his power and his love! All of God includes the “Trinity” of God—The Father of all comes to fill us with himself—and Christ dwells within our inner being through the Holy Spirit—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,

How many of you have a cell phone in your pocket or purse? Get them out. Hold them up. You hold more computing power in your hand today than Neil Armstrong had onboard his Apollo space craft. In fact, the computers used to guide the Apollo 11 mission to the moon had less power than a pocket calculator or a mobile phone. Here are __ cell phones with immeasurably more power! Astronauts entered simple commands by typing in pairs of nouns and verbs to control the spacecraft. If your toaster has computer-controlled stop/start/defrost buttons, it has more computing muscle than the Apollo space craft. The Apollo mission had approximately 64 KB of memory and operated at 0.043MHz. Show 16 GB mini USB (250,000 times more powerful!) http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/editors-blog/2009/07/the-apollo-11-missions-compute.html

But that extreme comparison is nothing compared to the difference God’s power makes! God can do far more—infinitely more—than we can think or ask or imagine. God’s power is greater than our human capacity for vision, for imagination, for faith seeing the invisible spirit world, for planning, for courage and confidence.

To move forward into the things of God, to become what God desires us to become and has planned for us {both as individuals and as a community of believers} , to experience the total transformation made possible by his grace, we must look to his ability and not our disability. We must see his power over our limitations!

20 …according to his power that is at work within us,

LB: “…who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.”

Power…at work within: His power is already at work, whether we’re able to see it yet or not. Even more, it’s at work within us! He releases his supernatural power within our all-too-natural beings. God within humanity; treasure in clay pots; extraordinary transforming the ordinary; what is impossible being made possible in you!]

21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Do we bring glory to Jesus? Does he receive glory and recognition in the church? Do we put the spotlight on him? Too many churches and believers have the spotlight aimed in the wrong direction.

If you go to a stage production, the spotlight should be in the right place—on the lead performer, the star. What would you think if you the lighting crew kept aiming the light at all the distractions—they spotlight the guy leaving to go to the bathroom for the 3rd time…spotlight the kid picking his nose…spotlight the bald guy clipping his fingernails…spotlight the couple making out in the back row…spotlight the teenagers passing notes and giggling. But they never put the spotlight on the stage on the main character! What would you think?

To him be glory in the church! May he be glorified in us!

Strength from the Inside Out