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GOD'S PURPOSE FOR YOU

Ephesians 1:19b-23
10th August 2003

From our Castle Hill office of Dalmar Child and Family Care, we run a program that has received accolades and awards not only throughout Australia, but overseas. The program is called "Extra Hands". For many years we have trained volunteers how to move into a family that is not coping, and work alongside of them for a number of hours every week, or every day, skilling the caring adult and aiding the children until that family is able to cope.

Melanie was referred to the Extra Hands program when her 4th child was 4 weeks old. She had 3 boys aged 5, 7 & 9 from her 1st marriage. Her 2nd husband had been killed in a car accident, and her 2nd son had sustained a head injury. After her husband was killed she found she was pregnant. She was "feeling overwhelmed by the burden of 4 children and no other adult to share it with." She hoped that an Extra Hand could relieve some of her stress. Jackie was placed with the family to visit once a week for 3 hours, during which time Melanie took time out from the children to keep appointments, shop or catch up at home. Jackie supported this family for several months. At discharge, Melanie said "I have fully achieved my goals while Jackie visited. Jackie related very well to all my children, and I felt very confident about leaving any of them with her. She has been very reliable, a God-send, from which my family has benefited greatly". Jackie was a God-send. Sometimes God strengthens us by His Spirit within and sometimes by one of His own who comes alongside to give us the inner strength to cope. How can you call upon God's strength? Of all people in Australia, Aborigines feel the most powerless. Our Prime Minister this week went to the black community of Aurukun to congratulate them.

They have built a new strong community. They have banned alcohol, ended domestic violence, improved employment rates and found new strength within them to become a new community. Tania Major, a 22 year old said to the Prime Minister: "In less than 60 years the people of my tribe have gone from being an independent nation, to cultural prisoners, to welfare recipients. When I was growing up there were 15 people in my class. I am the only one who has gone to university, let alone finished secondary education. I'm also the only girl in my class who did not have a child at 15. Of the boys in my class, seven have been incarcerated, two for murder, rape and assault. Only three of us are not alcoholics. Four of my classmates have committed suicide. Life as a young Aboriginal person is not easy, in any setting."

I have met the new generation of young Aboriginal leaders who are sober, articulate and purposeful. Of the forty with whom I have spoken, all have been through despair, alcoholism and unemployment. How did they become changed people? In every case, the Spirit of God has renewed them! They have been converted from despair and hopelessness to personal discipline and community involvement. Across black Australia, the Spirit of God is moving. Today the white community also needs empowering. Too many face hopelessness, unemployment, drug abuse, homelessness, financial pressures and lack of purpose. They feel they are not coping and are powerless. They need to find the secret of inner power. Jesus Christ taught people to seek the miracles within that can be released by inner power. John said: "To as many as did receive Him, to them He gave power to become the children of God." John 1:12

Isaiah encouraged the Israelites while they were captives in Babylon, by reminding them of God's power: "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40 God gives strength to those who wait upon Him.

What a promise of inner power! Some Christians think the only sign of the Spirit's indwelling presence is some feeling or miraculous demonstration. One sign of the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God is inner strength. The provision of inner power is one expression of the Spirit's presence within. Not to have power is to be powerless, to feel that you have no control over yourself or your destiny, to know that your inner resources cannot cope with whatever comes. Even the powerful find situations in which they cannot cope. Those who have the attributes of power and authority also know stress. Every one of us needs to discover the source of inner energy. The New Testament teaches that the Holy Spirit is our alternative source of energy. The history of the church demonstrates how ordinary people accomplish the extra-ordinary. Many Christians reveal the Holy Spirit releases in them energy that enables them to cope with powerlessness. How do we find this inner energy? By changing our attitudes and changing our beliefs! But unless changes are made, you will be no different.

1. CHANGED ATTITUDES CAN GENERATE ENERGY.

One of the great discoveries of the twentieth century is that right attitudes generate inner power. For years as a Probation Officer, I dealt with teenagers and young men in trouble with the law, facing punishment or released from prison on parole. All of them had a low self-image and poor self-esteem. We worked to change their attitudes to themselves, the community and God. With right attitudes they discovered inner power to change their behaviour patterns from destructive to constructive, from negative to positive, from being part of the community's problem to part of the community's answer. Miracles occurred in ordinary lives because right attitudes generated inner power.

Power to achieve, to build, to create, always starts with a new attitude towards the problem. Without the attitude nothing happens. People have to dream impossible dreams. As the Bible says, "Without a vision the people perish." The dream grows into attitudes of optimism, faith, hope, confidence, perseverance. Impossibilities are created; improbabilities occur; miracles happen. Last Tuesday I was invited to speak to 300 Sydney TAFE graduates on their theme: "Attitude is Everything." Even the Ultimo College lecturers know that right attitudes generate inner power. Jesus Christ taught people to seek inner power from right attitudes to themselves, to others and to God. A right attitude towards God gives you power: John said: "To as many as did receive Him, to them He gave power to become the children of God." John 1:12 A right attitude to yourself generates power enabling you to become a brand new person. The right attitude to others generates inner power to keep you happy and healthy. Right attitudes generate power.

2. CHANGED BELIEFS CAN GENERATE ENERGY.

I was preaching in a little church at Nubeena, on the southern coast of Tasmania close by the infamous Port Arthur convict settlement. It is a bleak, wind-swept place and I wondered about the source of the strength of the early pioneers who farmed this desolate area. A farmer showed me his grandfather's diary kept carefully each day over a century ago. Sunday 14th December 1884 had Alfred Greatbatch writing after his usual entry about the weather, the state of his potato crop and cows, the lines:

"Our Father, our Father who dwellest in light,
We lean on Thy love and we rest on Thy might.
In weakness and weariness joy shall abound
For strength everlasting in Thee shall be found."

Paul wrote: v19 "How very great is His power at work in us who believe." God gives us power and might so we might work for Him. That same power given to Jesus Christ is given to you. God's power is at work in you. There are four words that describe that power:

RESURRECTION POWER. Paul says, "This power, working in us, is the same as the mighty strength which He used when He raised Christ from death". The Scripture says God's power raised Jesus from the dead. Death is something we all experience, a terminal condition that comes upon each of us. We each have a condition called ageing, and the result of that is always death. We return to the dust from which we were made. If there is one thing we want, it is power over death. The resurrection power God promises you is that no matter what your circumstances "He who raised Christ from death will also give life to your mortal bodies by the presence of His Spirit within you." Romans 8:11 Resurrection power, and that is exactly what the Scripture promises you.

ASCENSION POWER. That verse continues: "This power, working in us, is the same as the mighty strength which He used when He raised Christ from death and seated Him at His right side in the heavenly world." This was not only resurrection power but ascension power. Ascension power means Jesus was placed in a position of authority and honour; King of kings and Lord of lords. He had the ascension power. He had the authority. Consequently He would give that authority to His disciples. Because He conquered death, you too can have resurrection power. Because He has ascension power He gives you the power and the authority to live unafraid of death. That is why Jesus called His disciples to Him on the Mount of Olives and said to them, "All authority has been given unto me. Go therefore into all the world." Matthew 28:20 The authority of Jesus Christ, His ascension power has been given now to us, His believers.

DOMINION POWER. "Christ rules there above all heavenly rulers, above all authorities and powers and lords. He has a title superior to all titles of authorities in this world and the next. God has placed all things under Christ's feet." You and I have to wrestle against authorities and powers. Sometimes they are the little bureaucracies, but sometimes, as Paul puts it: Ephesians 6 we "fight not against human beings, but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, against rulers, authorities and cosmic powers of this dark age." He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the controller of the cosmos, the creator of the universe. He is resurrection and He is life. He is the master of the waves and the winds. He is the way, the truth and the life. He is powerful. That dominion power is available to you who believe.

COMPLETION POWER. There is a fourth word that describes this power that is available in your life. "God has put all things under Christ's feet and gave Him to the church as supreme Lord over all things. The church is Christ's body, the completion of Him who Himself completes all things everywhere." Paul writes elsewhere, Colossian 1 that in Jesus Christ all things exist, in Him everything has meaning, purpose and place. He is the omega point. He completes everything. But now Paul says that you "are the completion of Him who Himself completes all things everywhere." He gives power to you because He needs you. He completes everything, but He needs you to complete Himself to enable you to become the completeness of Him who completes everything.

The same power that raised Him from the dead, that gives Him ascension authority, and dominion and gives completion, is available to us who believe. Why? Because He knows how much we need that power. If you want to receive His power, turn from your trust in your strength because you cannot cope in your strength. Surrender all your sins and burdens and ask Him to take them from you. Trust Him as Lord and Saviour for the cleansing of your life. Then come before people in an act of commitment and lay hold on the power of life. The power is available. All you need do is ask to receive it by His Spirit dwelling in you.

If you would like to talk with one of our Counsellors about finding God's power within you, you can ring anytime from any country (612) 9263 5555, or e-mail me at gmoyes@wesleymission.org.au or read a copy on http://www.wesleymission.org.au 

Wesley Mission, Sydney.