Words With Weight
So, you’re in a battle. Why do you need to be strengthened? Because if you’re not strengthened inside by the blessed Holy Spirit of God, you’re never going to make it.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? Doing Alright today? But yes, of course you can answer me, I wait for you to do that. I may not hear you, but it does you good, [chuckle] sure it does. I’m glad to be with you. This is your good friend, Bob Cook, and we’re looking at the Word of God in the Book of Ephesians 3.
We’ve gotten into this prayer written by Paul the Apostle. Oh, small thought here. Do you ever write out prayers? Do you ever write out prayers, things that you want to say to God? I’ll tell you something. If you had an audience with President Bush, or the Queen of England or some of the rulers of this world, you would give very careful thought, wouldn’t you? Very careful thought as to what you were gonna say. So now you come to the King of Kings, and it’s true, God has given us the Spirit of His Son in our hearts, crying, “Abba Father, papa, God,” that’s true. We’re like little children, that’s true. But at the same time we’re coming into the presence of the ruler of the universe and you better have something to say.
Now, Paul wrote this prayer, see, he was praying it. “I bow my knees.” He was praying it, but he said, “This is what I’m praying.” Give some thought to writing out the things that you want to tell God about. You’d be surprised how that exercise will affect, first of all the content of your prayer and second, the sincerity of it. It’s pretty hard for you to go through the discipline of thinking and writing what you want to say to Almighty God without wondering some place along the line, do I really mean this? After you’ve gone through that mental discipline and that mental exercise of thinking, and the discipline of writing it out, you’re far more apt to make sense when you really get down to the praying. Well, I’ll throw that in free. I thought that’s pretty good idea though. “I bow my knees,” said he, “unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in Heaven and Earth is named, that He, the Father, would grant you according to the riches of His glory.” See, God deals with you on the spill-over basis, not out of the scrapings, “that He would grant you to be strengthened with might.”
Now you have two words for strength there. I was just commenting on them the last time we got together on the radio, you remember? One is dunamis, the word from which we get dynamite and dynamic, like the sun, the energy in the sun that never burns out, a kind of self-renewing energy that never gives up, that’s dunamis. And then the other’s kratos, which is… And that’s a verb form, which is the bulldozer kind of a concept, that just chews up the mountains and before which nothing can stand. You put those two together and you have a potent combination, don’t you? He would grant you to be strengthened with might. How? By His Spirit, wherein the inner man. Now we always wish that our circumstances might change when they’re unpleasant. If I only had a different job, if I had a different boss, if I had a different family, if I had different in-laws, if I had made a different choice in education, if I had chosen a different vocation, a different life’s work, if I lived in a different community, if I had a different life companion. We always think of changes in circumstances and relationships with people, don’t we? The fact is that if one could accomplish all the changes about which he dreams, the problems would still be there.
You remember the minister who announced that Mrs So and So had moved far away to get a new start in life and he said, “I got bad news for her, she’ll have troubles where she went because she brought herself with her.” Will you bring yourself into the situation? So you need to be strengthened in the inner man. Evelyn Christiansen tells the story of what happened when she felt a need of establishing rapport and a better relationship with her own family and her own children. And after having had a couple of stormy sessions of one sort and another, she began to pray along this line, “Lord, change me.” Not realizing, of course, that the basic truth is, if you wanna change another person, you yourself have to change. She began to pray in that vein. Well, it wasn’t long before some changes occurred in the family relationship, she says. This is no secret, it’s in print I think in one of her books, that’s where I got it. “Lord, change me,” was her prayer. Strengthened with might, in the inner man. What is it in my life that needs to be changed? It’s not the circumstance, it’s not my boss, it’s not my wife or husband, it’s not my in-laws, it’s not my background, and it isn’t my present location, geographically speaking. What needs to be changed is me on the inside.
Strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner… And how’s it happen? Through the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law. And so you and I, as we yield to the blessed Spirit of God, based on the teachings of the Word of God, God will never teach you anything that is not already in His Word. As we yield to the blessed indwelling Holy Spirit applying the Word of God, the Bible, He makes a difference in our lives. I knew a man many years ago back in the ’40s who was irascible and quite blunt and quite demanding. A believer, a wonderful brother, but that was just his personality. I lost track of him after a while and didn’t see him for another 20 years or more. And then I met him one day and I found a man gentle, and a man patient, and a man full of the grace of God. And because we had known each other quite well 20 years before, I made bold to say to him, “You know, you’ve changed.” He smiled broadly, he said, “You know what did it, Bob?” He said, “I began memorizing the Word of God.” He said, “I’ve memorized these and these chapters of Isaiah,” he said, “I’ve memorized these and these Psalms, I’ve memorized Philippians and Ephesians, and I’m working on Romans.”
He said, “It’s the Word of God that has made the difference.” Those who knew him and were close acquaintances of him could testify as well, I found out, that that change was real, and it had been brought about by the Word of God. I started a memorization program when I was in the pastorate back in the 1940s In La Salle, Illinois. I know many of these verses, but I added to the number of verses that I already knew in this system of Bible memorization. And a few weeks went by and one of my deacons came up to me, a man who was very terse, never wasted a word. He was, as a matter of fact, an efficiency expert in the local Westclock factory. A time study man, efficiency expert, that was his job. And he had a personality to match. Never wasted a word. Came up to me one day after a service, looked at me right in the eye and said, “Preacher, you’re preaching different. What happened to you?” Well, I said, “I don’t know.” I was confused and a little embarrassed because I didn’t know whether something was wrong. He continued, “Whatever it is, I like it. Keep on,” and walked away. And I began to think, “Now, what has been happening?” Well, I hadn’t had any apocalyptic experiences, I hadn’t any visions, nothing unusual had happened in my life, and then it dawned on me.
I’d been spending some precious hours actually, day by day, and going over portions of the Word of God and hiding them in my mind and memory. And that, my dear friends, had made enough of a difference so one of my deacons could tell about the change. Anything I tell you, I’ve been there. God wants to make a change inside in your life, and when He does, you’ll find that it’s far easier to get along with the people around you. When God changes you on the inside you’ll find that your job is far less grinding and gruelling and frustrating. When God changes you on the inside you’ll find that your family is far less irritating. And you’ll find that so many things outside of you seem different when you are changed from the inside out. That He would grant you to be strengthened with might, by His Spirit in the inner man. How does the Holy Spirit work? Through the Word. Start today to hide the Word of God in your heart. A simple way is to read a passage and then think about it, and then pray about it, and then memorize it, put it on a little card and carry it with you and say it over during the day so that it’s hidden in your memory and gets into the unconscious mind part of your brain. Strengthened with might by His spirit in the inner man.
Now, notice that he starts with strength. He goes on to talk about being rooted and grounded in love. He goes on to know something, to tell us that we ought to know something about the love of Christ, and he goes on to say that he wants us to be filled with all the fullness of God, a spill-over of divine blessing in our lives. All of these desirable and highly important, you will agree, but he starts with power. “Grant you to be strengthened with might, by His spirit in the inner man.” Why? Because this Christian life is a battle, Satan and all of his hosts are out to defeat you. The Bible warns us against the devices of Satan, the snare of the devil and all of that, the tricks of the devil, and the threat of the devil. “Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom to me devour.” The threats of the devil. He warns us of that, this is a battle. He said, “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, wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand.” See, so you’re in a battle. Why do you need to be strengthened? Because if you’re not strengthened inside by the blessed Holy Spirit of God, you’re never gonna make it.
You look around you at people who’ve made a Christian profession, and then seem to have fallen away, what happened? Well, what happened was, that they were depending upon their works and upon their own good intentions to make a Christian profession, but they never really tasted the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. Strengthened with might, by His spirit in the inner man, He starts with being strengthened. Yes, you go on to know something of the love of God. Yes, you know something of the fullness of God. Yes, you know something of the spill-over of divine blessing. Of course. But first of all, let him touch you with the power to be something for God. Amen. Now he says, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” It’s a beautiful expression. It means to be at home in. To be at home in. That Christ may be at home in your heart by faith. Oikeo, and there’s a little prefix before it. The word kata, which means exactly so, or accordingly.
He says, “I want you really exactly to have Christ feel at home in your heart.” Now how has this happened? By faith. Faith, your commitment to the Lord Jesus in faith, lets Him in so that he can take charge of your life. Tell him today that you want him to be at home in every room in your heart house. Let Him take charge of your heart house, your life, that Christ may be at home, feel at home in your hearts. Well, we get at this the next time we get together.
Well, Blessed Lord, we just trust Thee today to fill our lives with Thy Holy Spirit and to use us for Thy glory in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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