Ephesians 1:19-23 (NKJV) 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Yesterday we looked at one of the conditions that led to the favor shown by the Egyptian women on the Israelite women. What we found yesterday is that they went to the Egyptians from a position of strength. They did nothing to intimidate or pressure the Egyptian women. They did not have to. The Lord was judging Egypt and the Egyptian women knew it. When the Israelites came to them with their request, they also knew that their God was greater.
I believe that we must also realize that we are in a position of strength not weakness. There are many forces in the world today trying to marginalize and minimize the church. They do not mind if we worship the way we believe is right as long as we stay out of view. However, we do not have to submit to this. We are the ones who are in the stronger position.
In Egypt, the Egyptians knew that Israel was strong because God was judging their nation. Today, we may not see the same kind of judgment on the world around us yet. They may not recognize our strength. We are not under the same kind of covenant that Israel was. Their covenant was largely physical with spiritual implications. Our covenant is primary spiritual with physical implications. We may not see our strength as clearly in the natural, but we are much stronger in the spirit then Israel was in Egypt. Look at the words of Jesus.
John 18:36 (NKJV) 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”
We live in the Kingdom that Jesus brought to the earth. His kingdom authority was not of this world and neither is ours. He tells the representative of the most powerful nation of his day that if his kingdom were a worldly kingdom his servants would keep him from being delivered to the Jews in the first place. There is an interesting implication here.
Jesus tells Pilot that even the mighty Roman army would not be strong enough to stand against his kingdom and its power if it were a worldly kingdom. Pilot did not see the power Jesus was speaking of, but Jesus knew it was there. He knew that he could call on that spiritual power and it would deliver him even in this natural world. He chose not to do so because it was not the will of God. The power of the Kingdom of God was about to exert its authority in the realm of the spirit over the devil. This was more important than Jesus’ physical deliverance.
I want to point out something in the story that underscores my point about favor coming to those who know they are in a position of strength. Jesus was about to be crucified at the will of God. Nothing could stop that not even the Roman Governor. However, look at these verses.
John 18:38-39 (NKJV) 38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all. 39 “But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
Pilot gave Jesus favor. He could not get him released because God needed him to be crucified, but Pilot tried the best he could to release him. Pilot was not intimidated in the natural by Jesus’ spiritual kingdom, but he saw something in Jesus that made him want to give him favor. Part of what he saw was Jesus’ strength under pressure. Jesus knew he was in a position of strength and that influenced Pilot. That is what I believe the church needs to be like.
What is the source of our position of strength? It is not our wealth. It is not our political power. It is not the excellence of our presentation of the gospel or polished organization of our churches and ministries. The world has far more and is far better in all these areas. Our strength flows from the same place Jesus’ strength did. It flows from the covenant relationship we have with the Lord and it works in the spirit to bring about the will of God in the natural world. This includes giving us favor when we need it.
Today’s scripture gives us a powerful picture of our position of strength. Our position in the spirit is quite different from our natural position. In the natural, we may be the “low man on the totem pole” but in the spirit, we are seated in heavenly places. We are far above all of the enemies that we really fight. This is not just a poetic statement, it is a spiritual reality and it is the position that we occupy in the spirit.
This is true because we are “in Christ Jesus.” When we were born again, we became part of the body of Christ. Every part of my body is in me. If I am in the house, my hand is in the house. If I am out in the yard, my arm is in the yard. If I travel to Africa, my brain does not stay in America. With all deference to the poetic language of the song, it is quite impossible for me to “leave my heart in San Francisco” if I am in New York. I am sure you get my point.
It is sometimes hard for us to grasp that the spirit world is the place of real strength, but it is. It is hard to grasp the fact that we can be in one position in the natural but quite another position in the spirit. However, that is exactly what we see in Jesus before Pilot. He was there and about to be crucified. However, he was also safe in the arms of his Father’s will. He would have to endure some extreme things in the natural but in the end he would be victorious. His victory would not just be for himself but for all mankind.
We are spiritually in Christ Jesus. Yesterday we pointed to Matthew 28:18-19 and the commission he gave us to preach the Gospel. Therefore, we are in a position of strength because he gave us authority. That authority was won when Jesus defeated the devil in spiritual combat. Today we see that our position of strength also flows from where we are in the spirit. We are above the enemy.
Any army knows that strength flows from the high ground. In today’s warfare, the high ground is not even on the ground. The army that wins controls the skies with airpower. The United States military is able to win any warfare fought between armies because of its overwhelming air superiority. As long as the various air components of the US military can operate, the ground forces know they are in a position of strength. They have the high ground.
We are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. You cannot get much higher than that! These verses also tell us of the exceeding greatness of his power at work for us who believe. Everything Jesus did he did for the church “which is his body the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
As you go through your day remember that you are in a position of strength. You have the high ground it the spirit. You are seated with Jesus in heavenly places and you have the great power of God on your side.