Plugging In

You can’t be a light for Christ if you don’t learn how to first plug in!

TRANSCRIPT

INTRODUCTION

Not that long ago, I read a story about a missionary overseas who was given an old car.

Except the car would never start without a push.

Every time he needed to start it, he would have to grab some of the local teenagers, have them all push it…and then he could pop the clutch and the engine would start to turn over.

So he started coming up with other ways to get it started, which took a lot of extra effort and forethought, but that’s what he had to do.

He would often leave his car running when he went places…

Good way to run out of gas.

He would often park his car on a downhill…then when he had to leave, essentially it would be like being in neutral, getting some momentum, and then being able to start your car

Well, after two years of this, another missionary came to replace him, and while he was explaining to his replacement how to use the car…

The new missionary said, “That doesn’t sound right to me…,” and proceeded to look under the hood.

He said, “Um, all you have is a loose cable, and he proceeded to plug it in, step into the driver’s seat, and easily turn the car on.”

All of that striving just to get something going wasn’t necessary.

And perhaps you’ve been striving and striving in your faith, but you’re not operating in the POWER God wants you to operate in.

You’re not seeing the results you want because you’re not connecting to the Power Source.

And God’s Word is going to show us today…that if you learn how to really plug in to God

…you won’t have to try and manufacture that power anymore.

Do you want that in your life?

Do you want to feel God’s POWER in your life…

Maybe for the first time…or to feel it again??

The Apostle Paul is going to show us how today.

(Page 948)

(Renovation App)

For the 100 or so of you that were at our prayer meetings last week, we started praying through this passage…and now I want to teach through it.

(Ephesians 3:16-21) – NIV

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 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—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

LET GOD STRENGTHEN YOU FROM THE INSIDE OUT

The last 2 weeks, we’ve been talking about how the power source for OUR CHURCH is to be grounded in both PRAYER and the WORD OF GOD…

But I want to take this final week of the series to talk about how YOU, personally, can plug in your faith to the power source.

HOW TO PLUG IN YOUR FAITH

#1: Let God Strengthen You From The Inside Out

So You Can Go Out In Power!

We’ll put that screen back up in a second, but let’s look closer at the first two verses of our passage

(Ephesians 3:16-17a) – NIV - LEAVE up for a minute or two.

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

Okay, there’s a lot to notice here.

He says that God will strengthen you in your inner being (that’s your heart…the core of you who)

He’ll strengthen you…WITH POWER…but how?

(BACK TO First Point slide)

This is one of the central teachings of the New Testament, and one of Jesus’ favorite things to teach about as well.

Change, the power to change, comes not from outward behavior, but from an inner-life with Jesus Christ.

It comes…when you say, “I think the best use of my time…would actually be…to open up God’s Word, and spend time talking to Him…”

Not just hitting the snooze button

The Bible says when you let God into your inner life, the Spirit will “strengthen you with power”

How many of you want that???

Well, the power isn’t going to come to you while you binge watch the latest season of House Wives of Chattanooga of whatever they’re on

You’ve got to plug your life into the RIGHT thing!

This is yet another reason why we started doing 15-minute prayer meetings, 20 minutes before each of our services in the cafeteria.

If we want to have God’s power flowing through us…it starts in prayer.

You can’t manufacture God’s power in our lives.

This is part of our vision of this church:

How do we change the world?

By being a people…WHO ARE FIRST…being changed by God.

We don’t have the power within us to bring change to our families, to reignite love in our marriages, to change the spiritual climate at our places of work

We don’t have the power for that.

But God can give us that power and have it flow through us…

But that power comes, in secret, when no one’s watching you.

And I think too many of us are trying to do God’s work in our own power, and that’s exhausting

You’re leading your small group every week, you’re teaching in one of our classrooms in Renovation Kids…and you’re just tired…not sure if you even want to do it next year…

Because you’ve been leading in your own power…and you’re not seeing any fruit…BECAUSE YOU’RE LEADING IN YOUR OWN POWER

You’re NOT going to God in prayer throughout the week, asking for Him to be present in your group…asking Him to change their lives

You’re saying, “I want to be a light” but you forgot to plug yourself in!

And the rest of us do the same…

We’re frustrated that our family members and friends aren’t coming to Christ…

That they won’t listen to what we say…or, more likely, we’re frustrated that we don’t even have the courage to say anything!

But we’re hoping they’d see the light!

But we didn’t plug the light in!

Romans 1 says it’s the POWER of God that brings salvation.

1 Corinthians says, “It’s not our wise and persuasive words”

If you want to see POWER move through your life…you have to let Him strengthen you from the inside out…and that means…

You’ve got to get serious about being in the Bible every day…and seeking Him in prayer every day.

Too many Christians want the power of God and the fruit of the Spirit, without doing the work of first rooting themselves in Christ!

So many of the people in history who have done so much for Christ did so not because they had great power themselves…

But because they just spent longer than everybody else plugged into God in the morning…before they went out for the day!

Plug in and get charged up…and watch what God will do with your life!

GRASP HIS LOVE

And while you’re meeting with Him, there’s one thing in particular that you must do, if you want to see the power moving through you:

HOW TO PLUG IN YOUR FAITH

#1: Let God Strengthen You From The Inside Out

So You Can Go Out In Power!

#2: Grasp His Love

So You Can Go Out In Love

Again, we’ll put that back up in a sec, but look at verses 18-19 now:

Paul is praying that Christians…

(Ephesians 3:18-19) – NIV

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

You want to see the power flowing through you?

The power to change your life and the lives around you?

Then you get together with God…every day…and more than anything…you work on grasping how WIDE, how LONG, how HIGH, and how DEEP Christ’s love is for you.

(Show Point #2 again)

Notice that Paul says that he prays you would have the power to GRASP the love of Christ

He wants you to grasp it…to grip it…to get a hold of it.

To know it deep down like it’s yours…and for YOU…personally.

One of the things we say here once in a while is that, when you spend time w/ God, you need to “preach the Gospel to yourself”

One of the tools I often use when I pray is the Echo Prayer App

(show Echo App Image)

You can put in your prayer requests, set a timer for how long you want to pray, and then have it change to a new topic every minute, or two minutes, or whatever you want.

It helps me stay focused in prayer.

And one of the prayer topics I have in there every single morning is “THE GOSPEL”

And every morning, I preach the Gospel to MYSELF.

And I say, “Jesus…boy did I continue on in my sin yesterday…and also already in the short time I’ve been awake today…”

And yet, somehow, you love me…so much that you, knowing what I did yesterday, and will do today, died in my place…”

“And you’ve washed that sin as white as snow…

What am I doing?

I’m doing everything I can to GRASP…how wide, and how deep…the love of Christ is for me.

You cannot meditate on and study the love of God enough.

You need to bury yourself in it until it seeps into your heart.

We need to encounter God with our hearts, not just our mind.

I worry about this for the American Church over the next 10 years

American Christians are on this path to reducing our experience of God to some live-streaming service…

We’re reducing God to just mere content…to just tips we can use to enhance our already busy lives…

So more and more, Americans just stream Him at home on a Sunday morning in our pajamas, while we wash dishes…

Knowledge is good…we love knowledge here…

But you need your soul to be rocked with the love of God.

You aren’t going to see any sort of powerful change in your life and those around you…if you just acquire a bit more knowledge on God’s love…

Or you learn on some podcast that there are actually four words for love in the Greek

That isn’t what’s bringing the POWER into your life

You need to ENCOUNTER the real love of God!

That’s why we come and pray

That’s why we come and worship together and SING of his love.

If over the next 10 years, American Christians begin to only interact with God in a downloadable, intellectual manner, we’ll be a church without power.

Jonathan Edwards once explained this by saying there are two ways to know that honey is sweet:

You can know it rationally, with your mind, or you can experience it with your tongue.

So, think about this, you could “know” that honey is sweet without ever tasting it.

Maybe someone told you honey is sweet, or you read that in a book

So if someone asks you, “Is honey sweet?”

You could factually, and truthfully answer, “Yes, honey is sweet.”

OR, you can get a jar of honey and actually taste, and sense, the sweetness of honey for yourself.

Edwards says that when you actually taste honey for the first time, you’ll say, “I mean, I knew it was sweet, but I really didn’t know it was sweet. I knew, but I didn’t know.”

As David says in Psalm 34…we need to TASTE and SEE that the Lord is Good, not just believe that He is good.

If you want to see transforming power in your life…you’ve got to allot more time in your life to ENCOUNTER the love of God.

You need to PRIORITIZE Encountering Him.

Never miss a service here…

Don’t miss a time to worship

Come to pray.

Wake up earlier.

Seek God out!

He wants you to KNOW and FEEL that he’s more in love with you than you could ever dream of!

IMMEASURABLY MORE

There’s one more step in this passage to plugging in your faith again…and seeing God do some powerful things through your life

HOW TO PLUG IN YOUR FAITH

#1: Let God Strengthen You From The Inside Out

So You Can Go Out In Power!

#2: Grasp His Love

So You Can Go Out In Love

#3: Act Like God Can Do Immeasurably More

So You Can Go Out In Faith

I think that most Christians (the majority of people in this room) do bits of #1 & #2, but few have gotten (yet! You’re gonna get there!) to #3.

Here’s what’s usually happens to most of us:

Let’s say, tomorrow morning, you get up early and you have an awesome time of reading the Bible, talking to God, and grasping more and more of His love for you…

What happens, is more of your life begins to fill with a spiritual excitement and power (raise hand showing a level rising)

But then, at lunch, you feel this prompting that maybe you should pay for the person in front of you…

Or in the evening, you get this prompting that maybe you should ask your spouse if they want to pray instead of watching Netflix…

But both times, you go, “No, that’s too weird…or that’s too hard…

And what happens is…you deny this movement that’s rising up within you”

And so this spiritual excitement and power that had risen up within you…falls back down.

But let’s go groundhog’s day on this scenario.

Do it over.

You have a great time w/ God in the morning…later, you’re at lunch, you feel the prompting, (it’s weird, but you feel like it’s God), andyou pay for the lunch of this person in front of you…

and they start to tear up and say, “Thank you, I had to eat, but I just lost my job, and it’s been the worst day…”

And later…you look at your spouse and say, “Would it be cool if we started praying together once a week?”

And they say, “Yes, I’ve actually been kind of hoping you would ask me that!”

When God rises up in you, and you OBEY IN FAITH (you, ACT, in faith)…what that does…is it takes that new level of excitement and power within you…

And it solidifies it…

So rather than falling back down…

The next day, you’re working from a new level of faith and power.

This is a big reason many of you have these seasons of excitement for God, but they’re never very prolonged…

Cuz you never actually ACTED in faith.

This is what Paul is saying in the next section

(Ephesians 3:20-21) – NIV

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

His power is at work within you…but we need to belive, pray, and ACT like He can do immeasurably more than you can imagine…

What is “immeasurably more” anyway?

Because God says when you start leaning on His Power…He can do IMMEASURABLY MORE than you can imagine…

Think of all of your crazy prayer requests, throw them together at once, and imagine God saying, “Is that all you want?”

I think many of us are walking in this powerless faith because we haven’t yet truly understood (probably because we missed steps 1 & 2)…how POWERFUL our God is!

Earlier in the letter, Paul prays again, that Christians would get this!

(Ephesians 1:19-20 – NEW LIVING TRANSLATION!!!)

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

Some of us need to come to God every day in prayer this week, and start by saying, “To the God who can do immeasurably more than I can imagine…I ask you this ____”

Let’s be done with this sort of prayer that says, “God, I want to talk to Sarah about coming to Easter to hear about you…but I don’t know if I could…and she’s pretty far from you…so um, uh…”

No, you, because you know His Love, and you know His power…

You stand up, and you pray, every day for the next 6 or 7 days…

“God you love this woman…whom you made…and she is lost.

Give me the power to be bold.

God completely transform her life!

You can do that!

Do it in the name of Jesus!

And then, because you know how much He loves you…and because you believe He can do immeasurably more than you can imagine…

You ACT…you walk up…and you talk to Sarah.

And you leave the results to God’s plan.

Start walking in power again.

Start plugging in again!

HE GETS THE GLORY

God will move when we get out of the way, and Let Him have the glory

Notice in that last verse that when this all happens, who gets the glory?

Verse 21…it says, To HIM, God, be the glory.

I want to tell you, I think God is up to something special in our church.

When I was in our very first prayer meeting last week before FIRST service, and there were 50 some people, with their eyes closed, heads bowed, all praying together.

I cheated, and I opened my eyes for a bit, looked out over everyone, and thought, “God, you are on the cusp of doing something really special with this church”

“Because you are shaping us into a people who are seeking you first, encountering your love in a fresh way, and finally, calling on your power.

And we’re going to see it!

We’re going to see it here next weekend when people get saved.

You’re going to see person after person after person after person after person…

Stand up, profess that they want to follow Jesus, as they wipe the tears from their eyes…

The power of God is going to rock this room.

And God is going to get the glory!

Let me pray.

SEND OFF

I want to close out our service today by praying for all of us.

Many of us, almost all of us, are going to have bold conversations with people this week…asking them to come hear about Jesus…

I want to pray that the power of God comes on you and your words.

We’re told that Jesus told the disciples in Acts that they will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes upon Him.

Beg for God’s power this week as you ACT and go out in faith.

And let’s pray for it together now.

Let me pray.


Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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