Incarnation 2023 – The Transforming Power Of The Lord

In a few short days, people around the world will celebrate the most important person ever born, Messiah Yeshua. He who is fully God and fully man. Messiah Yeshua was born in humble circumstances, yet the Gospel of Matthew tells us that His birth was prophesied by angels and fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14. The prophecy that a virgin woman would bear a son and He would be named Emmanuel, “God is with us”.

This symbolic name represented Messiah Yeshua’s ministry on Earth. God walking among us. Messiah Yeshua taught, comforted, rebuked, convicted, healed, wept, blessed, and did so many other wonderful works. His life on Earth ended with His sinless death, burial, and resurrection.

But the work of Messiah Yeshua does not end with the Gospels. Today, right in this very moment, Messiah Yeshua is with every one of His disciples. He is with us through the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, as Messiah Yeshua dwelled on Earth and will once again at His glorious return.

This morning I would like us to spend some time contemplating the indwelling of God in every believer’s life. How through His incarnation in our hearts we experience power, strength, and love, too great to fully comprehend.

This morning let us consider this wonderful truth in an amazing prayer given by Rabbi Paul, writing to Messiah’s Community at Ephesus in Ephesians 3:16-19.

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.

Rabbi Paul prays that we all would experience the glorious power of Adonai. As human beings, we need power and strength to just keep moving physically forward. Much of modern life is tied to external forms of power or energy. How often do we check to see how much power is left in our phones or computers? Now even our cars! We also need substances like coffee filled with caffeine to keep ourselves charged. We may also try to emotionally charge ourselves with other people beyond what is healthy. Spiritually, we can dangerously try to charge ourselves with manmade forms of religion.

But eventually, whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual, manmade power dims and runs out. We grow weary and become fatigued, a fatigue that we feel more than just in our bones. Fatigue, which is physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Only when the Lord is incarnate in us do we have access to His unlimited glorious power. So, if we have the Lord dwelling inside us then we have access to a source of strength that will never run out. Inner strength, strength down to the kishkas, to our guts, our innermost parts. Only the Lord’s strength allows us to survive and grow despite the traumas and tragedies of a spiritually dark world. The Holy Spirit, who is God, is the manifestation of this power in each of our lives. He is the one who ministers to each one of us and fills us with a strength that will never run out.

Then Messiah will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.

When we join ourselves to Messiah Yeshua and accept by faith the grace He has provided us, something wonderful happens. The Lord begins to make our hearts His home. We begin to truly experience why He is called Emmanuel, as He is with us always. This dwelling by the Lord does not stop at that moment but is a lifelong process. For the rest of our lives, the Lord transforms us from within.

The idea of Messiah being incarnate in our lives, like a home, is a beautiful picture. God doesn’t just come to visit us from time to time, He promises to live with us. There is a level of intimacy in sharing your home with someone. We are guarded in letting strangers into our homes. But to live with someone is even more personal. I am sure we can all think of people, even family, that we do not mind having over, but would never want to live with!

God though is wonderful to live with. As the Lord takes up residence in our hearts, we grow in our faith and we experience amazing transformation. We become more like our wonderful Messiah, more patient, calm, joyful, and wise. We are less angry, jealous, prideful, and sinful. All these things and more are possible through God dwelling inside us.

Rabbi Paul’s desire should be ours as well. The desire that we grow deep roots. Now I am no gardener, for gardening advice, you need to call Rabbi Loren. But I do know how roots work. Roots ground a plant and nourish it. So when the Lord is incarnate in our lives we shouldn’t settle for the superficial and shallow. We want to go deeper and have a faith that is grounded. A faith that gives us the strength we need to grow and flourish. The source of that strength is the Lord. The Lord makes His strength available for us, but it is through our trust in Him and the Messiah dwelling in us that we access that strength. From beginning to end, or as Rabbi Glenn is fond of saying, from soup to nuts, our transformative faith is all dependent on the Lord.

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

To have Messiah incarnate in us means more than just the power to endure life. We are also given the power to begin to understand life and the Lord. Through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, we grow in knowledge about what is most important, the Lord. To truly know God is the business of every disciple. Each of us should know the depths and breadth of the Lord’s unfailing love.

But how do we learn it? This is not meant to be from academic knowledge but experience. Intellectually and doctrinally understanding the nature of our Creator is important. But we can know something in our heads without knowing it in our hearts. Experiencing the living God in our lives teaches us about His love in a way words can never accomplish. By having Messiah Yeshua dwelling in our hearts, making it His home, we experience daily the love of God. In every situation of our lives, from the highs to the lows and everything in between, we will grow in the knowledge of God’s love. That knowledge will change us as the love of God fills our lives and transforms us from within.

May you experience the love of Messiah, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

After considering everything we have talked about I think we know why Rabbi Paul wants everyone to experience the love of Messiah. He prays that we would know the unknowable, the love of God. Even though God’s love is too vast for us to know fully we can still experience it daily and grow. Experiencing the life and power that is only found in Him.

This is what we mean when we talk about “sanctification”, the transforming through the Holy Spirit of our lives. We should desire more, not less of the Lord in our lives. Our hearts will then echo Rabbi Paul’s heart as we pray for the full measure of the Lord. This is a prayer that we would experience all the power the Lord has for us. Power not to work miracles or to boast but power that enables us to be completely transformed.

Since time immemorial, there have been hucksters, charlatans, impostors, and scammers, promising us the secrets to a life transformed. Promises that if we are willing to give our time and money to them, we can receive a surefire method to gain wealth, power, and strength that no one else has. When these manmade methods run out or fail, we are then blamed for not giving enough, understanding enough, or working hard enough.

The Good News of Messiah Yeshua is that having Him incarnate in our lives is not dependent on us. He has done the work already of satisfying the price of our sins. Our priceless Messiah offers to make us His temple with no money required. All we must do is believe in Him by faith and obey His teachings. This is not an opinion but a promise from Messiah Yeshua recorded in John 14:23, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

Therefore, the question we all must ask ourselves is if Messiah Yeshua is alive in our hearts? Have we placed our lives in His wonderful loving hands and if so are we experiencing His transformation? If not, what better time than now? A time of joy for the world as we celebrate Messiah Yeshua! It is a decision not to put off because our Messiah also gives us this promise in Revelation 3:20, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” When someone knocks at the door, they are expecting you to open it. If we do not open the doors of our hearts to Messiah Yeshua, we will never experience real transformation in this life and eternal life in the world to come.

If we have welcomed Yeshua into our hearts, then our prayer can be the same as Rabbi Paul’s. A prayer that we would renew our commitment to the Lord and ask for more of His love and power, more of Him in our lives. Asking Him to help us throw off whatever sins this day entangles us. To not settle for the version of ourselves we are today but continue to experience more of His glorious transforming power.

The older we are, the easier I think it is for us to settle. To assume that we are fine just the way we are and brush off the convicting words of our brothers and sisters or the Holy Spirit. If we think this way, we not only rob ourselves of experiencing the full power of the Lord in our lives, but we shrink the Lord down to a tool of our convenience. Someone who is only allowed access to some of the rooms of our heart homes but not all. The Lord must be incarnate in every area of our lives, especially in the darkest, messiest, and most stubborn areas.

Many of you are aware I like to end all my messages with a prayer, usually three-fold. This morning though I can think of no better way to end this prayer by Rabbi Paul than with His final prayer for this section. Specifically, a doxology, or a prayer praising the Lord, which is found in verses 20-21. It is a beautiful prayer prayed by countless disciples for thousands of years. This prayer can only be prayed by those who belong to the living God. Believers who have seen His glory in their lives and know that He is infinitely greater than we can ever imagine.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.  Glory to him in the ekklēsia (in the church) and in Messiah Yeshua through all generations forever and ever! Amen!