“I KNOW HE CAN”                                    By Pastor YAU

Text: Ephesians 3:14-21                               January 24, 2010.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   In a storybook: Many of us remember the famous children story book, The Little Engine That Could, written by Watty Piper. The little determined train could climb steep hills by chanting positively, “I think I can, I think I can.” And then, when the hills became steeper, the little train became more resolved, and declared, “I know I can. I know I can.” Because of its positive attitude, that little engine kept running and running without interruption. For a train to climb a hill is never easy, but when the going gets tough, the tough little train gets it going.

2)   In the Holy Book: In writing to the first century Christians in the Ephesians Church, Paul knew the persecution from all sides and the little faith they had. They were facing insurmountable problems within the church and the lack of well-developed doctrines to follow. Paul told them that he prayed for their standing power to continue their journey of faith. He prayed “out of his glorious riches, God may strengthen them with power through His Spirit in their inner beings.” (Ephesians 3:16) In Christian walk through our journey on earth, it takes more than just human determination to climb hills and mountains to reach the goal God has set for us.

 

WHY IS LIFE SO DIFFICULT?

1)   Results of the Fall: “To Adam God said: Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘you must not eat of it.’ Curse is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and your will eat the plants of field. By the sweat of your blow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; from dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19) No one needs any interpretation to understand the results of the Great Fall of human race because of the sin of rebellion against God. Ever since that day, life is difficult for all, regardless of class, race, wealth, education or power.

2)   Do things my way: “So Sara said to Abram: The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I may build a family through her. Abram agree to what Sara said and slept with Hagar and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sara said to Abram: You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.” (Genesis 16:2-5) In Gen. 15:1-6, God repeated his promise that Abram will have children as many as the starts of the sky. Instead of keeping his faith in God, Abram agreed with his wife to try to build her family through her own scheme. The result is a hostile history of 2 races, the Israelis and the Arabs, suffering endless conflicts and destruction for 1,000s of years.

3)   Results of our sins: “Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in His eyes? You struck down Uriah, the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore, the sword will never depart from your house.” (2 Samuel 12:9-10) This is a familiar story for 1,000s of years: sin and crime bring their consequences on those who committed them and others related to them. We reap what we sow, sooner or later. Evil acts and words will bear evil results that make life difficult for us.

4)   A world of tribulation: “These things I have spoken unto you but in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, KJV)Many innocent people suffer difficult life not because of their own fault but because of the evil of others in their family, community and the world. We may not be able to stop the assailants who inflict pain on us, but we can do our best not to inflict pain on others by doing the right thing.

 

THINGS WE CAN DO TO CHANGE: (Ephesians 3:14-21)

1)   First, bring them to God: “For this reason I kneel (and pray) before the Father.” (3:14)Unlike the little train which depends on its own determined power to push itself uphill, we need to come to the highest power, our Father in heave, as Paul did. God has the ultimate control of the world and our lives. He is all we need to face today and tomorrow. Bringing all our problems, needs and requests to Him is the only way to counter attack the difficulties of life. Jesus said: “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) We can’t, but He can.”

2)   Then, claim God’s power: “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so Christ may dwell in your hearts trough faith.” (3:16-17)Few people may change their environment to have peace of life or to stop bad things happen to them. But we have a special secret weapon to deflect and defend ourselves that is the power of God’s Spirit in our inner being. Our faith is in the almighty God. When King David was running for his life, he said, “The Lord is my light and my salvation who shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1) When we have the power of God in our hearts, we certainly can face anything without fear.

3)   And rooted in His love: “You, being rooted and established in love, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.” (3:17-19)The love of God is our best defense in time of trial and tribulation. Again, Paul encouraged the early Christians in Romans 8:31-32. “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how would he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” In teaching the importance of prayers, Jesus told His disciples, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? Though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven will give good gifts to those who ask him.” (Mt. 7:9-11)

4)   He is immeasurable: “Now to Him who is able to do immeasu-rably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (3:20) No one may measure how much power and love God has and how He supplies, protects, guides or leads His people through all kinds of trouble time and come out victorious. Never under estimate God and what He can do in your time of difficulties. Be it a personal or relational problem, finance or emotional needs, directional or spiritual needs, God can and will provide, protect and carry us through. Through all the trials and needs, Paul said, “I know what it is to be in need, I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:12-13)

 

CONCLUSION:

1)   Don’t be surprised: Life is full of problems, setbacks, needs and unexpected event. Remember this world is condemned because of the sins of men. No education, political changes, wealth, scientific development or economic growth is going to make this world safer, peaceful or less problematic so we can live without being hurt. This world will never be a paradise as some may have dreamed it to be. So, all of us will have to face many uphill battles, suffer losses and feel hopeless and helpless.

2)   Don’t just wait, do something: God has provided us power for us to fight battle. He also has shown us his love in giving us all we need to counterattack all the peril. He will also continue to give us courage, hope and strength not just to endure hardship, but to come out victorious. All we need to do is to stay in him, to seek His grace and mercy in time of our needs. God promised never to give up on us: “For the Lord God is a merciful God; He will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which He confirmed to them by oath.” (Deut. 4:31) Call on Him and He will direct and deliver you and keep you safe.