Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg

with Tom Fuller


The Power of God

Ephesians 1:20-23

Paul has been telling the Ephesians about his prayers for them. Though he uses many words to say it, his real prayer is that they would be able to perceive in their minds three things:

  • The hope of their calling
  • The riches of their inheritance
  • The ?immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working on His vast strength?
    • God accepted Jesus? death as a substitution for our death (which we earned as the result of our rebellion against God)
    • The way back to a relationship with God was secured
    • We enter that relationship by going through Jesus? death, burial, and then resurrection so we get the same life the Father gave Jesus.

It is this strength that he concentrates on in verses 20 through 23. And as we go through this I want you to realize that this great power of God is directed towards you who belong to Jesus.


?Demonstrates? is the same word used in verse 19. It is the word energeo and means ?working.?

How is God using His power on behalf of those who belong to Him? The supreme demonstration of that power is the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the seating of Him at the right hand of God.

The Resurrection ? is a singularly unique event. Never before in human history had someone been resurrected. Yes, some had been raised from the dead, but they were resuscitated, not resurrected. When Jesus raised Lazarus, his body had been healed and his life returned, but it still meant he would die a natural death.

The wording suggests that out of all of the people who ever died, God raised Jesus. This has huge implications for us.

It means:

Let?s look at how Paul put this in Romans 6:

Romans 6:3 ?Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life. 5 For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin?s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died is freed from sin?s claims. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, 9 because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him.?

Notice: our sin, and the debt we owe for that sin, was nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14). You identify with Jesus in His death, Jesus identifies with you in His resurrection. That means:

  • We will never die (Rom 6:9)
  • It is a new quality of life, not just quantity.
  • Do anything Jesus did and more because He sent His Spirit to live in your hearts.
  • Do ?greater works? because instead of one Man, there are billions of us.
  • What you can do is limited only by these two factors:

More than that even; God seated Jesus at His right hand in the heavens. That means Jesus reigns over the universe, both the one we see, and the one we cannot see.

Psa. 110:1 ?This is the declaration of the LORD to my Lord: ?Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool.?

Jesus was given authority?authority over what?

Ruler (He is in first place)

Authority (He has the right to do anything He wants)

Power (He has the ability to exercise the authority)

Dominion (word used rarely, means ?power or position as a lord?)

Given the struggle between the forces of God and the forces of the enemy, Paul may be talking about the fact that nothing can stand in the way of you entering into and appropriating this new life: over evil, Satan, sin, and this age.

Title given: no one in heaven or earth has a title more important than that of Jesus.

Paul concludes the verse by letting us know that this power, this authority, this name of Jesus continues not only now, but on and on for all of eternity.

The power working to raise Jesus and place Him in this position of power is also at work in you as a member of His body.


Here Paul quotes Psalm 110:1 directly. Jesus has authority over every power, every authority, over your life, over your dreams, values?everything. ?Under His feet? suggests the victor in a battle. Jesus won over sin; the spoils of that victory was you.

Jesus, then, is the ?head? of the body of Christ. The word can mean a literally head, but it can also mean the source.

John 15:5   ?I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.?

Jesus is the source (or origin) of our life, and is the constant source of that life to His body: the church.

The idea here is that God gave Jesus authority over everything, and also gave Him as the source of life for the church.


This is a difficult concept to grasp, but as we depend on Jesus as our head and source, He too is not complete without us: His body. Jesus doesn?t need us, but has chosen to connect with us.

Jesus talked a bit about that oneness in John 14:

John 14:19   ?In a little while the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live too. 20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you.?

You have been invited to become a part of the incredible person who is God by being connected to the Son. It doesn?t make you God, of course, but?and here?s the key?being in Christ means you have what He has flowing through you.

Look back a couple of verses in John 14:

John 14:12   ?I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.?

So you can:

  1. Done in Jesus name (doing things that Jesus would do)
  2. Done to glorify the Father in Jesus (doing things that would help bring people into right relationship with God through the salvation of Jesus)

Finally Paul says Jesus ?fills all things in every way.? This is the idea that the authority of Jesus pervades the entire universe?and you have a part in helping rule His universe.


How should this impact your life?

  • You have the power to reflect the character of Jesus.

The same power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead is made available to you?along with authority over anything that would stand in the way of your being transformed into that image.

Now I know practically that we will make mistakes?lots of them. But as you focus on Jesus being the source of your character, not yourself or the world, the more His presence in your life will live out His character.

  • The training comes now; the results are eternal.

Notice that it is ?this age but also in the one to come.?

2 Timothy 2:12 ?if we endure, we will also reign with Him?

Revelation 5: 10 ?You made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign on the earth.?

  • We are sourced in Jesus

We get from Him everything we need. Everything.

I want to finish up with a verse, which sums this up nicely:

  1. 1:3-8   ?His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. 4 By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, 6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, 7 godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.?

If you want to be useful, ask Jesus to let you partake of ?the divine nature?, rid yourself of the stuff of this age that is not like God?s character, and work to encourage goodness, knowledge of God, self-control, patience under affliction, and selfless love.

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