Peninsula Community Church
Ephesians – For the Glory
November 23, 2014
Ephesians 3:19-20 – Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen
Today, we come to the close of chapter 3 and before us is a powerful scripture that proclaims the greatness of God. Once again, Paul declares the power of God and the benefits that are ours in Christ. In this closing verse, Paul notes two factual realities about God. Paul defines God’s work as Him being able to do amazing things. Secondly, Paul defines God’s purpose as bringing about His glory to the Church and to Christ.
So let’s dive into this verse. Paul defines the purpose of God’s by stating that He is able to do far more abundantly than we can ask or think. This word “able” shows us that God is empowered to accomplish what He said He would. The fact is there is nothing impossible with God (Matthew 19:26). Remember the story of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 18. We find Sarah struggling with the prophetic word that she would bear a son at her old age. In fact, it seemed so far fetched that she could not control her laughter at this proposition. The angel of the Lord retorted with a question and a reaffirmation of the prophecy that one year from that date she and Abraham would have a child. The angel proclaimed, “Is there anything too hard for God?” It took less than one year to affirm this proclamation but it happened just as the angel of the Lord said it would. So nothing is impossible.
God is able to do above and beyond what we ask or think. Can you wrap your mind around that? God is able to do more than we can ask Him for and in fact He is able to do more than we can even think about. Let me ask you, “How big is your imagination?” “How big is the need you have?” Let me let you in on a little secret, God is bigger than anything we may need or ask for. Sarah’s longing for a son was satisfied miraculously one year later. She thought she was beyond the time she could be pregnant but that did not matter to God.
Here is another aspect of this passage we need to see. Paul says that God is not only able to do but He does so more abundantly. This is probably not the kind of phraseology we would use on a normal basis. We would not say “that restaurant gave us more abundantly food.” We would say things like “ginormous.” Or, we were stuffed. But in Biblical days, the phrase “more abundantly” Mann means surpassing, beyond measure, exceedingly, overwhelming, more than enough, and over and above. In other words, whatever you might be able think of or conjure up, God can do more than that, and then more than that, and then more than that, and then more than that.
What does this mean to us? It means we can pray big prayers. Because God is able to do abundantly above what we are able to ask or think, we can ask God for ginormous things. How big are your prayers? How big is your God? I often ask this question “How big is God?’ and the reply is “He is big enough.” Perhaps we would be better served by replying that “He is superabundantly more than enough.” This also means that we can believe God for great things. This means that we can dream big things for God. Do you believe great things? Do you trust God to bring about His purpose in you? Do you believe God will do what He said He would do?
Finally, this means that when we have prayed big prayers and have believed God for great things, we leave the results to God. If we truly believe and trust God to do more in us than we can ask or think, we must then leave the results to Him. Why? Because He will do more than we can ever imagine. If we don’t leave the results to God, we have a tendency to try and work things out for ourselves as illustrated by Abraham and Sarah using Hagar to fulfill the prophetic word which was never God’s will to begin with. They thought they would help God out because Sarah was too old. Never under estimate the power of God.
As I was preparing this message I remembered one of the sermons we heard while we were at the conference a few weeks ago. Pastor Robert Morris preached an amazing message about the greatness of God. One of the things he stated was that God does not need us but He chooses to use us in His mission. What is our role in all of this? We ask and we dream. We believe. We do our part. Then we trust God to do the rest.
A second thing that he stated was that our part is never supernatural. We do human things as inspired by the Holy Spirit and God supernaturally intervenes and works out His will. Let me illustrate this in two ways. The scripture does not say this but it is implied that Abraham and Sarah had to have sexual intercourse for Isaac to be born. How do I know this? Nowhere do we see that Isaac was born by way of an immaculate conception. That was reserved for Christ and Christ alone.
As second way to illustrate this is to say that I am believing God for a financial miracle and abundant blessing for PCC. We have been running short each month on our finances and we have some huge expenses ahead of us as the winter approaches. So, I am believing God for a miracle. I am believing that some who have never tithed will begin to do so. I am believing that some who have given minimally will begin to give extravagantly. I am believing that those who have been faithful to give will be so blessed that they will be able to give even more.
How will this miracle come about? It will come about when we understand the principle of tithing and giving to God. In giving to God, my part is not supernatural. I simply give of my first fruits. In other words, the first check I write is my tithe check. That tithe check becomes a simple act of faith. There is nothing supernatural about that. It is very natural. I then bring that tithe into the storehouse. I deposit my tithe into one of the honor boxes in the back. Out of that action, God is able to multiple and grow my finances and the finances of the church. Think about it for a moment, if each of us were to give as God commands in His word, we would have more than enough to accomplish all that God has called us to.
In this regard, I thought about the loaves and the fishes in Matthew 14:13-21. One young boy gave up his loaves and fishes which was not supernatural at all. Notice too the disciples did not have a supernatural intervention by Christ, at first. They obeyed God albeit with reluctance and doubt on their part. Christ said to distribute the bread and the fish. The disciples obeyed. This was a very human thing, but there was nothing supernatural about it. But as they were being obedient, God began to multiple. Notice that the fish were not multiplied while laying in the baskets. Too often, we want the miracle without being obedient but it doesn’t work that way. The loaves and fishes were only multiplied after the disciples were obedient to Christ’s command to give.
In the second part of this verse we find the purpose of the work of God is to glorify the church and to glorify Christ. The word used here for glory is an awesome word. It is the word “DOXA” in the Greek. In the Old Testament, DOXA was used primarily of the brightness or radiance of God’s presence. In the truest sense of the word, it means a manifestation of God’s true nature, presence, or likeness. You see the desire of God more than anything is to be manifested in our lives. His desire is for the radiance and brightness of God to be seen in us and to be worked out in us.
In Exodus 33, Moses cried out to God to see His glory or His DOXA. It is interesting to note that God said “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” So God hid Moses in the rock and what Moses saw was God’s back.
Now in Exodus 34, listen to the rest of the story. The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation. What God revealed was His character and not His might. What is the lesson for us? It is this, God wants to reveal His character through us so that all that He is will be revealed in us and to others around us.
Think about this. We all know that God is every where present all the time. Can we agree on that? But just because God is every where present does not mean He is being revealed all of the time. And yet that is God’s exact desire. To use my financial illustration for a moment. The reason I challenge you to give is that it honors God and the result is that you will see the glory of God revealed in your life. How much would the church of Jesus be glorified when we have more than enough finances to meet our monthly expenses and then be able to provide for missionaries in a way that honors God? How would it glorify God if we had the funds to reach those who are hooked on drugs and alcohol in our community? To do that we could then fulfill the rest of Paul’s prayer. The church, big C, and Christ will be glorified throughout all generations. What God has done will live forever as a testimony to His power. How awesome is that?
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
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