Above All Else
You don’t have to pray through anybody else. You come in the name of the Lord Jesus, in the enablement of the indwelling Holy Spirit and you are immediately there for in the presence of the triune God, accepted in the beloved one.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing Alright today? I trust so. Bless your heart. I’m glad to be back with you. This is your good friend, Bob Cook. I’m singing bass this morning. It’s so early that my voice hasn’t gotten up yet. [Laughs] My wife says her blood doesn’t get up until 10 o’clock. [Laughs] Well, anyhow, if you can stand it, I can and we’re going to finish thinking about these opening chapters of the book of Acts, an illustration of the idea of the exceeding great power of Christ’s resurrection as it works in our lives.
“That you may know what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us who believe according to the working of His mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.” God wants you and me to experience the same power that was evident when the Lord Jesus walked out of the tomb that resurrection morning. What an awesome concept that is.
So, we look at chapter 1, “Power through prayer.” Chapter 2 of Acts, “Power to speak effectively,” and through the enablement of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. Chapter 3, “Power to share the very presence of Christ with others,” with His remarkable transforming effect in the lives of others. Chapter 4, we just about got there the last time we were together.
Peter and John had been thrown in jail, kept there overnight. The next day they brought them out and interrogated them and threatened them. Peter said, Well, if you want to talk about what happened to the lame man who was healed “by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised form the dead even by him that this man stand here before you whole.”
Well, they saw the man standing with them, the man which was healed, standing with them. They could say nothing against it. “When they commanded them to go outside out of the council, they conferred among themselves saying, ‘What am I going to do? We’ll threaten them and let them go.’ So they called them and command them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter said and John said ‘Whether it’s right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to listen to God. You’ll have to be the judge, we cannot but speak those things which we have seen and heard.’ ”
They went back to their own company and had a good rousing prayer meeting and the Lord visited them once again with an outpouring of his Holy Spirit. There’s salvation and no other, neither is there salvation in any other for there’s none other name under heaven given among men who are by way must be saved. What kind of power is that? Power to stand against opposition, power to stand successfully against opposition in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Interestingly enough when they got back to their own crowd and said they went to their own company, and immediately after they had told the story to the crowd and said they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, they prayed immediately on hearing the news of this new opposition.
Which reminds me to remind you, beloved, that when you’re up against any kind of circumstances that are in opposition to you, any kind of harassment, anything that threatens you, don’t fight it. Pray about it and let God handle it. That really is where it’s at. Don’t fight it, pray about it and let God handle it because he knows better how to handle those things than you do, believe me. And so, that kind of power, power to stand up against opposition.
Then of course in chapter 5 you have the first evidence that human — fallen human nature was still in existence there in the early church. The story of Ananais and Saphira whose only problem was they wanted to be known as sacrificial believers but they didn’t want to sacrifice everything. And so they brought a portion of their offering, a portion of what they got out of selling their land and said that it was everything. I tremble sometimes as I think of this in connection with the hymn we so often sing, “All for Jesus, All for Jesus. Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee. Take my silver and my gold, not one mite will I withhold. Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise.” We sing these songs of absolute, complete consecration. And all the while heaven knows, and we know, down in our hearts, there are some secret compartments and some things that we keep back from God and say no, not that, that’s too much. Well, this was the case then, in the story we find in Acts chapter 5. What kind of power is that? Power to discern and power to stand against dishonesty.
Chapter 6, it’s the kind of power that you need in working with people. Power to settle a disagreement, and chapter 7, the story of Stephen, the first martyr, preaching his powerful sermon and then having them stone him until he was dead. The power to stand up and be true to Christ even on to death. Well, it’s just a little profile of some of the things that happened as a result of what Jesus our Lord called power. His resurrection power showing up in the lives of his followers. Alright?
Now, back to Ephesians. It says, “you might know what is the working of his mighty power to us who believe according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead and set him at his own right hand in heavenlies.” Set Him at His own right hand in heavenlies: scripture indication of the Lordship and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. The man and the glory, Paul says in Timothy, “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
You don’t have to pray through anybody else. You come in the name of the Lord Jesus, in the enablement of the indwelling Holy Spirit and you are immediately, therefore, in the presence of the triune God, accepted in the beloved one. And so, he says, “far above”, what is the actual placement now of the resurrected Christ there at the right hand? What does it mean? Well, verse 21 begins to show us what it means. Ephesians 1:21, “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.”
Far above what? Well, you have all these words and I look them up just to be able to explain them a little bit to myself and to you. All principality, now the word “principality” is the concept of being number one. There’s in Japan, I think still standing there, the Dai-Ichi building where McArthur’s headquarter was. Dai-Ichi building, number one building, the place of authority. And ichiban in Japanese means number one person.
Some of my friends who knew a little Japanese used to call me in jest ichiban. Well, this idea of principality comes from the Greek word “arche”, which means number one, the beginning, the top person, the top banana somebody said. And in scripture, these words that we’re going to look, principalities and authorities and powers and so on, these are all references to spiritual beings. Remember now, Paul says in Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
There is a universe of spirits, both angels and demons. And Satan and his demons have been allowed to exist in this worldly set up until the time of their judgment, when Satan finally will be cast into the bottomless pit and so on. But we do have a battle with evil spirits this very day until our blessed Lord Jesus comes back and the judgments that are prophesied in the Word of God — there are several different judgments are going to happen — are all taken care of. And so at this minute then there are spiritual beings that have some authority in a human realm.
We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against power. Same thing. See? So, there are spiritual beings that have some authority in this world. Paul says in chapter 2, we’ll get to that after a while. He said, “In time past you live, your lifestyle was according to the course of this world. According to the prince of the power of heir,” Who’s that? That’s Satan, the spirit who now worketh in the children of disobedience, among whom we all had our lifestyle in times past and the desires of our flesh and so on.
So, you’ve got that concept, Alright. It says Christ our Lord Jesus, our Risen Christ with whom we identify, whose life we share — are you still with me? Christ whose life we share, this risen Christ is above all of the so-called pecking order of spiritual beings, both good and bad. Principality that’s the number one; power, that’s our word authority. Exousia, Greek word exousia means authority. And might, that’s our word power. Dynamite comes from the same root form which we got dynamic and dynamite power.
And then finally, dominion, that is a translation of a Greek word that means an area over which somebody is Lord. Greek word “kurios” means Lord and this Lordship is a derivative of that. So, here you have different concepts of different areas of authority and function that are shared by spiritual beings. You can’t see them but they’re real. And he said Christ is above all of that. And then said over every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come. He is over everything in this world and in eternity.
Christ is Lord of all. You have that in Philippians as well, “For this cause God also hath highly exulted him and given him a name, which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” That’s Philippians 2:10-11 around in there. So, He’s above all of this, every name, every authority, every person, everybody that has any influence anywhere now or ever, Jesus is Lord. And He, my friend, is the one who deigns to call you His own.
I, said He, have called you friend. “Friendship with Jesus, fellowship divine. Oh what blessed sweet communion, Jesus is a friend of mine,” and he runs it all. Hallelujah! [Laughs] That’s great, isn’t it?
Lord Jesus, Thou art Lord of all, we worship Thee and we pray that Thou will fill our lives with Thy presence. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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