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2012.04.15AM.ROOTED.in.Christs.Incredible.Power.Eph3.20-21

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Rooted in God’s Incredible Power Preached by: Matthew S. Black Text: Ephesians 3:20-21 Series: Rooted in Christ Date: April 15, 2012, 10:30am Living Hope Bible Church of Roselle, IL Introduction: Open your Bibles to Ephesians. We are continuing our series: “Rooted in Christ”. The title of the message is: “Rooted in the God’s Incredible Power”. David’s Tree When I was just a child, my brother David planted a little twig in the back yard. Weeks passed, and finally my father noticed it. It was a little tiny tree. He didn’t want a tree in our back yard, so each week he mowed it with the lawn mower. My father was persistent. But there was more time my father couldn’t mow in Chicago than when he could mow, and my father had to leave the little twig alone. He must have soon given up, because that little twig is a beautiful Maple tree at 5900 Stuart Lane. It’s so big you can see it from Google Earth! That little tree was far, far bigger than anything my brother or my father could have imagined. So it is with the plans God has for us. In the first three chapters of Ephesians, we have the blue print of the inner man – who we are in Christ. But chapters 3-6 is all about how we live it out. The plans He has for us has to do with living in unity in the Body, living in giftedness in the Body, and living in victory (by replacing sinful habits) in the Body. He wants to help you to deal with the past. That’s all in chapter 4. The first part of chapter 5 is all about the transforming power of regeneration. We are radically different on the inside, so we can live radically different on the outside. So there is the marriage relationship picture in ch. 5. God wants to change marriages at Living Hope. In chapter 6, we find, He wants to radically your children here. He wants to change your job relationships. He wants to change the world! That’s going to take amazing power. Illustration: There are some chains in your life this morning. There are some impossible situations in your life and perhaps in your heart. And some of what you are looking at looks so distant from the reality that we have in Christ. There are some radical changes that need to happen in your life Christian. This passage that we are looking at speaks into the world of hostility and weakness and the war that often takes place in our hearts. This passage does not say, “Now unto those who suddenly get their act together.” No if it depends on us we are in deep trouble! No our hope is not in us! But if we look to Jesus there is hope for us. And what He has for us and wants for us is far, far beyond anything we could ever ask or imagine. Ephesians 3:20–21 (ESV), “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, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” I don’t know how it could be any more positive and overflowing than these verses. Here is one of the great doxologies in the Bible, perhaps the greatest in the Bible. This is a hymn of praise directed toward God. Paul is praising God with all his might, with all his soul. Paul in Prison with the Pratorian Guard Paul is not sitting in a church service as you and I are. Instead the apostle is sitting in a prison in or near the barracks of the Pratorian Guard – the band of Roman generals. He may have been in rented quarters at his own expense – chained to Roman soldiers. He is awaiting trial before the Roman officials and has suffered this specific imprisonment for two long years. Paul is confined as he writes this doxology. He is unable to travel abroad. He is unable to preach the Gospel outside the prison or to plant new churches. He is not even able to check on the previous churches he has planted except through the word of others. All Paul can do is sit and wait. The word that describes Paul: UNABLE! We cannot imagine the great difficulty for a man of such energy and zeal and industry to be in such a holding pattern with God. But as he waits, he is not a defeated man. He is not downcast. He is not discouraged. He is not deflated. To the contrary is positive, upbeat, and actually triumphant. He is praising God and full of faith and hope. Paul is a prisoner, that is a fact not in dispute. But in Ephesians 4:1, he says he is a prisoner not of his circumstances – nor is he a prisoner of the Roman Empire – He states it for what it is – he is: “a prisoner for the Lord” (Eph. 4:1). He knows that it is divine providence that provides the very chains around his wrists. He is confined in these chains by the invisible hands of God. He is not confused – He is not confounded – He is confident! Here we find the mountaintop of Ephesians. Paul states here exalted purpose of all that we do is to bring greater glory to God in our lives, both individually and as a church. This is doxology that sits on the greatest theology in the whole Bible. The Doxology of the Trinity – PRAISE to the Triune God!!! Chosen by God the Father Ephesians 1:4, 6 Before God saved us, He chose us for a purpose: Ephesians 1:6 (ESV): “to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has [made us accepted] us in the Beloved.” Verse 7 – Redemption and forgiveness by Christ Ephesians 1:12 (ESV): Christ redeemed us and forgave us, “that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.” Secured by the Holy Spirit Verse 13 tells us we are sealed and secured and transformed by the Holy Spirit Ephesians 1:14 (ESV), “to the praise of his glory.” The glory of God is the highest purpose of our great salvation. A prominent theme of the book of Ephesians is that we exist for the glory and greater praise of God. And He is worthy of glory because of His incredible ability and power. · Should you ask God to save the lost, He is able to do exceeding abundantly above and beyond all that you could ask or imagine. · Ask God for guidance in your life, and God is able beyond your comprehension! · As you have need, God is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond! · As you long to be transformed into the image of Christ, He is able to immeasurable greater than all you could ask or think! Look at this doxology: Ephesians 3:20–21 (ESV), “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, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” We are going to see… · The RESPONSE to God’s power · The RESOURCES of God’s power · The REQUEST for God’s power · The REASON for God’s power I. The RESPONSE to God’s power – now to Him be glory! Ephesians 3:20–21 (ESV), “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, 21 to him be glory…” God Centered Church We are a God-centered church. When you come to Living Hope you are going to hear about God. You are not going to get entertained. We believe the joy in being in awe of God far exceeds and superficially joy of mindless entertainment. We are not a man centered church. We are a God-centered church. If any one personality dies, this church will happily go on. We are not dependent on any man. No man has brought us here together. It is God’s glory alone! UP HIGH on the Mountain Peak Ephesians 3:20 (ESV), “Now to him”. Why NOW? Now means based on all that you’ve seen of God already in Ephesians and all you are going to Him, GIVE HIM GLORY! This word NOW pulls together the first three chapters. Paul builds to this mountain peak so that we can stand on the tallest ground, having surveyed: · The doctrines of election and predestination · The doctrines of forgiveness and redemption · The doctrine of regeneration and transformation · The doctrine of God’s free grace apart from works! · And even the doctrine of God’s omnibenevolence and immeasurable love Paul says, that you would know the love of Christ which is immeasurable and incomprehensible! · That the Spirit would strengthen you in your inner being · That Christ would be “down home in your hearts” · That you would know “all the fullness of God”. How Paul? How can I do this? Step onto this mountain peak and survey all this. Paul says, “NOW, unto Him who IS ABLE to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…” Now, as a result of all of this, there is a DOXOLOGY in response to this lofty vision of this great God - “Now unto Him” who is able be glory!!!! To God Alone be the Glory! As you survey how God saved you, at this time and at this place we must say “To God be the glory!” Let God have ALL the glory. It’s not God AND man, but may God ALONE have ALL the glory! He did it all – He deserves it all! · Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV), “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”. You didn’t save yourself. God saved you. To God alone be the glory!! · We were passive, being “dead in trespasses and sins”. Without the Father drawing us, no person can come to Jesus (John 6:44). We were totally unable to respond to God! Aren’t you glad God took the initiative to act upon our dead soul and to carry out His glorious plan? The Response is to God the Father There can only be one spiritual response! “Now to Him!” This “Him” refers to God our Father. Paul (in verse 14) bows his knees to God the Father. Prayers are normally addressed to the Father. So prayer is “to the Father”, through the Son and in the power and energy of the Holy Spirit of God who enlivens us! This is the highest ground. The highest purpose of your existence is that you would ascribe honor and glory and thanksgiving to God. When you say, “Thank you, Lord” you are living out your divine purpose! When you say “Glory to God”, you are living out your eternal purpose in Christ! This is how we pray, praise, and serve God! “Now to Him”! All we do is all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”! “Soli Deo Gloria” – All to the Glory of God! Why should we offer our praise to God? II. The RESOURCES of God’s power God’s Power is Infinite, Internal, and Active. Ephesians 3:20 (ESV), “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…” A. God’s Power is Infinite. God’s Capacity Exceeds your Ability to Ask The context of this is prayer and the promise is the inexhaustible resources that are in God. Essentially, Paul has one message now: God’s capacity to answer you infinitely exceeds your ability to ask Him! Ask all you want, all you can, everything you can even imagine, and God’s capacity to answer you is infinitely greater than you can ask or imagine!! God’s ability to answer you is FAR, FAR above anything you could ever ask or imagine. We are Only Human Now we need this because let’s all be honest: we are only human! We cannot do here at Living Hope what needs to get done. We need to see sinners converted. We need to see saints growing. But this cannot be done with human power. “Not by the might of armies, nor by human power, but by my Spirit says the Lord!” Without Christ We are Nothing We need God’s power, as Jesus said, “Without me you can do NOTHING”. Psalm 127:1 (ESV), “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” B. God’s Power is Internal. Ephesians 3:20 (ESV), “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…” Now it is amazing to see God at work all around us, but the most fascinating and thrilling endeavor is to observe God at work “according to the power at work within us…” It is glorious to see God working under us and above us and before us and behind us, isn’t it? But oh how we feel the loving touch of God when we read that His power is at work within us! God is Not Limited by our Weaknesses And so when we pray God is not limited by our limitations. This is why Paul over and over says things like: · “God chooses the weak things of this world… that no flesh should glory in His presence” · “When I am weak then I am strong” · “I will glory in my infirmities and boast in my weaknesses” · In fact he says, “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” More Weakness in YOU = More Glory for God Not only is God not limited by our limitations when we pray, the weaker you are the more glory God gets!!! God is Not Limited by our Resources Ephesians 3:20 (ESV), “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,” God is unlimited in Himself. That is to say “God has an inexhaustible supply of grace and power to be at work within us! God is unrestricted even by our feeble and fleeting prayers. We cannot even ask or imagine in prayer what God is going to do for us. God goes infinitely farther than anything we could ever ask or imagine! God has infinite power to act upon our tiny, finite prayers. This is why He says in Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV), “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” You cannot even imagine or begin to comprehend the surprising display of His power toward you! God is so much greater than even our prayers. He’s so much bigger. He goes over and above and beyond – even the greatest prayers that come to Him. In other words, Matthew 7:7–8 (ESV), “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Superlatives to Describe God’s Incredible Power Paul piles superlative upon superlative upon superlative to describe God’s incredible power. Ephesians 3:20 (ESV), “Now to him who is able to do far more [exceeding] abundantly [above, beyond] … all that we ask or think [imagine], according to the power at work within us…” He is able to do He is able to do what we ask He is able to do ALL that we ask He is able to do all that we ask or even imagine! He is able to do beyond all that we ask or imagine! -and we think we can’t go any farther! He then adds… He is able to do abundantly beyond all that we ask or imagine! He is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we could ask or think! He is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power working in us! There is no exaggeration in this. Human language fails to properly convey the magnitude of God’s incredible power. God is sufficient for all you are facing. This verse is testimony of God’s abundant sufficiency for everything we are and everything we face. Who is going to accomplish this? The Triune God! God is able to do this. His Spirit will strengthen you, Christ will dwell in you, and God will fill you! · Ephesians 3:16, “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” · Verse 17, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” – comprehend His love… Try to measure His love! The greatest way to say I love you is to move in to you! · Verse `19, “that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” C. God’s Power is Active! Ephesians 3:20 (ESV), “Now to him who is able to do…” The word “to do” is poi-e-o, which means “to make, cause, effect, bring about, accomplish, perform, provide, or create”. God is able to bring about and accomplish. This points to God as an active worker in our lives with infinite power in our lives. God is at work in you “both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). God is always at work in the lives of His beloved children. He is never idle. He is always at work. And He is able to accomplish all His plans for them. God is able to do “exceeding, abundantly beyond all you ask or imagine”. God has so much more than anything you could ask or need! Mr. John Davis – WWII Fighter Plane When I was a child of 14 I got in trouble with the law and I had a great need. The judge gave two options: juvenile detention or probation. One of our kind neighbors stepped up. He was a business owner. He owned a world renowned propeller shop near the New Orleans International Airport (Louis Armstrong). I was sweeping floors there for $2.65 an hour. I was just glad to get out of trouble. But my expectations of the good Mr. Davis wanted to do for me were low. One day Mr. Davis’ friend pulled up in a restored WWII fighter plane. Mr. Davis asked me “do you want a ride?” He took me high into the sky. He asked me do you want to “roll”? I had just seen the movie Top Gun, and of course I said YES!!! There I was flying upside down, suspended in the air above New Orleans. God’s Power is Like that. It far exceeds our expectations! Over and above and beyond the greatest abundance – this is the power the God has promised you. III. The REQUEST for God’s power A. We are to ask knowing God’s capacity far exceeds our ability to ask. Ephesians 3:20 (ESV), “Now to him who is able to do far more [exceeding] abundantly [above, beyond] … all that we ask or think [imagine], according to the power at work within us…” Bring on whatever you want to ask God. God’s ability to give far exceeds your ability to ask in prayer. Do you understand that God is super abundantly more than able to answer your most difficult requests and even beyond what you could imagine to ask? He can answer your most difficult request without breaking a sweat! · Genesis 18:14 (ESV), “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” Can Sarah, at 90 have a baby long after the change of life has occurred? Yes! · Jeremiah 32:17 (ESV), “‘Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” Nothing is impossible for God. When God created the universe, He did it out of NOTHING! Some times there are things we hold back asking God for in prayer. We hardly have the courage to ask God for something, so we think it without even saying it. God says, Ephesians 3:20 (ESV), “Now to him who is able to do far more [exceeding] abundantly [above, beyond] … all that we ask or think [imagine], according to the power at work within us”. B. We are to ask knowing God’s desire for you is greater and higher than your own desire. You want Christ to be formed in you? God wants Christ formed in you FAR MORE! According to the Power in us Even you asking shows that God is at work in you. But remember God’s plan for you is always bigger and greater than what ever you ask. And His power is at work in you to do what He has planned. God’s invested in you. God’s more concerned about your welfare more than you are! Your requests hardly touch what God’s wisdom has for you. Keep asking. Keep conforming your requests to the will of God. The Hoover Dam The Hoover Dam was built during the Great Depression. It had been years in the planning to tame the floods of the Colorado River. They wanted to build hydro-electric facilities. It was a way these engineers would tame the Wild West. The Hoover Dam is a marvel of Engineering and it is done during the Great Depression. It is the largest use of concrete in the world up to this point, with massive armies of workers. It was treacherous work. You have to dynamite areas. They didn’t know if concrete would set properly. Hoover Dam in the summer can get up to 120 degrees F. There were cliffs that were 1000 feet tall and they were sitting on a board pouring concrete. They worked 12 hours a day. A total of 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete were poured. Today the Hoover Dam provides power to about 1.3 million people. Unlike the great Hoover Dam, God’s power cannot be contained! It is far greater! And it is at work within you! Oh the Hoover Dam holds harnesses 9.2 Trillion gallons of water at any given moment, but God’s power is far greater!! His ability to conform you to Christ is far more than you can comprehend! Ephesians 3:20b (ESV), “according to the power at work within us…” God is not stingy with His power. His power is AT WORK. And His power is at work in you and me if we have surrendered to Christ at the Cross. God’s Power is at Work in YOU to accomplish something! God is at work in you. What is that? That brings us to our final point IV. The REASON for God’s power Ephesians 3:20–21 (ESV), “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, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” God displays His power in you so that you might praise Him. GLORY: To Give the Right Opinion The word “glory” means “to give the right opinion of”. This is a theme that weaves it’s way through Ephesians and through the Bible: “to the praise of His glory”! TWO GLORIES: Intrinsic and Extrinsic or acclaimed glory There are two ways God’s glory is spoken of in the Bible. There is His intrinsic glory and His acclaimed glory. God’s intrinsic glory is His very Person which is immutable and all wise and incomprehensible. In that way God’s glory cannot be added to. But when Paul says in Eph. 3:21, “21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” – he’s talking about God’s acclaimed glory. We glorify God by acclaiming and blessing His Person and becoming more and more like Him! A. He wants to form Christ in you. “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus” This is what is what God is up to in your life! He wants to form Christ in you. Jesus Exegetes the Father Jesus Christ exegetes the Father: He is the image of the invisible God. He gives the perfect opinion of God. God pours His power out upon us and is at work IN US in order that we might fulfill our purpose. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church To be in Christ Jesus is to be Regenerated. It is to be born again. It is to be united to Christ by His Holy Spirit. It is to be sealed by the Spirit so that your life reflects Christ and your heart burns with the love of the Father. You love what God loves and hate what He hates. Are you giving glory to God IN CHRIST Jesus? · Oh you would be to the praise of His glory in every area of your life! Chapters 4-6 describe how this is going to take place in the church, in your family and in the world. Are you ready? B. He wants to display Christ Jesus in the Church. “to him be glory in the church” Chapter 4 speak of your unity, sanctification and giftedness in the church. It also speak of godly communication. Paul says in Eph. 3:21, “21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” This speaks both of the church local and the church universal. You cannot be a healthy Christian if you are a lone ranger Christian. You cannot be healthy if you are born again but unbaptized. You are not connected to Christ’s Body in a healthy way. You cannot be healthy as a Christian if you are not accountable through Church membership. If you are not a church member true church discipline in your life is not a possibility. You may be an attender but if you are not a member something is missing. I say this because Jesus wants to display His glory through you as you are connected in vital union with other believers in covenant accountability. C. He wants to display Christ Jesus in your family. “throughout all generations” In all generations, God has His glory being gotten by sinners saved by grace! 10 Generations of Jill’s family. Family tree. Will it be your family? D. This work of God’s glory is an eternal work. How long is this to go on? 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” It is to go on in your family and in your children’s family and in your grandchildren’s family. We are all about multi-generational discipleship! And it is to go on until the last generation is on earth!! Until the end of time. And then when time is over, the praise of God’s glory is to go on and on forever and ever. [and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever] Amen.” Conclusion: Amen! Yes, Lord I want this more than anything Let it be so! Amen! To God be the glory in all generations. In my generation. In the generations to come! Use me Lord! This is the purpose of God’s amazing power. · God can split a Red Sea · God can open the barren womb of a 90 year old woman · God can heal the sick, make the blind see, and raise the dead · God can form Christ in you. Let it be. Let it be in our church. Throughout all generations. Forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. Amen! Amen! Amen! And so Paul concludes as “an ambassador in chains” (Eph. 6:20). Is He complaining? Is He down and out? No, he’s soaring in the heavenlies. He’s seated with Christ Jesus. He’s reigning over sin death and hell. He’s a victor. Why because God is able. I’m not able. I’m weak. But God is able. He is able. He can do it. He will do it. He is the Author and Finisher of my Faith. He is the One who “works to will and to do of His good pleasure” in me! Where ever Paul is he is an ambassador. With or without chains, Paul is praising God and giving this great doxology. He is Able · He is able! · He is abundantly able. · He is exceeding abundantly able. · He is exceeding abundantly able to do far more than ALL we ask or imagine! To Him be the glory in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever and ever and ever. Amen!! The CLOCK – Appropriating God’s Fullness: Where Do I Put it? Last week someone gave us a grandfather clock. The clock is the new center piece of our living room! Jill painted. Rearranged furniture. I don’t recognize my house. But the clock has a prominent place! Rearrange your life and make God’s Love and Fullness working out His incredible power for you the centerpiece of your life. Ephesians 3:20–21 (ESV), “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, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
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