Friday, July 14, 2017

CP 279 Don't mention the power...

CrossPurposes 279
Don’t mention ‘the power’.
Hello friends, trust you are all well. Whatever happens, just hold one thought in your head which Adam and Eve chose to disbelieve. The Lord God Almighty is good, does good, and works things for our good, and has good plans for us, and makes good promises to us which cannot fall to the ground. All of this is underwritten and guaranteed by Jesus’ ‘good’ life of obedience and utterly unrelenting trust, followed by the ‘good sacrifice’ of Good Friday. Wherever you are in Christ, whatever your circumstances, whatever your need, your heavenly Father knows about it, knows you, and is always for you. Faith in Christ is gift, and also a work of continuing trust. As the Ad had it, ‘Get with the strength!’
The rest of this simple CrossPurposes is handing on some related truth, partly from a devotion entitled, “Grace is Pardon – and Power!” which someone passed on to me. It was penned by John Piper. It’s followed by some scripture verses. In some circles it's not thought 'proper' to speak of power as a follower of Jesus... So? Enjoy!

“Grace is Pardon – and Power!
By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned. Grace is the enabling gift and power of God not to sin. Grace is power, not just pardon.
This is plain, for example, in 1 Corinthians 15:10. Paul describes grace as the enabling power of his work. It is not simply the pardon of his sins; it is the power to press on in obedience. “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”
Therefore, the effort we make to obey God is not an effort done in our own strength, but “by the strength that God supplies — in order that in everything God may be glorified” (1 Peter 4:11). It is the obedience of faith. Faith in God’s ever-arriving gracious power to enable us to do what we should.
Paul confirms this in 2 Thessalonians 1:11–12 by calling each of our acts of goodness a “work of faith,” and by saying that the glory this brings to Jesus is “according to the grace of our God” because it happens “by his power.” Listen for all those phrases:
To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The obedience that gives God pleasure is produced by the power of God’s grace through faith. The same dynamic is at work at every stage of the Christian life. The power of God’s grace that saves through faith (Ephesians 2:8) is the same power of God’s grace that sanctifies through faith.

Just putting some of the ‘Power’ verses before you…
Luke 9:1
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases…
Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’
Acts 4:33
With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all…
Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 1:17
For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to preach the gospel – not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
1 Corinthians 1:24
…but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 4:20
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
2 Corinthians 10:4
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
Ephesians 1:18-20
I pray that… you may know… his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.
Colossians 1:11
…being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.
2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Peter 1:3
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

And finally, a full prayer from Paul…
A prayer for the Ephesians
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[h]in heaven and on earth derives its name. 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.

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