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Intro: Up to this point, the book of Ephesians has been one long theological exhalation. Paul has emptied the contents of his soul as he has revealed mysteries that were hidden from the foundation of the world. The first three chapters of Ephesians are a theological goldmine. The verses we have studied to get to this point in the book are so embedded with heavenly nuggets of spiritual truth that it is impossible for mortals to fully grasp all they teach. But, we have tried!
After this great outpouring of truth, Paul concludes this chapter by giving voice to the praise that dwells in his heart. As Paul writes the words of this great book, he is overwhelmed by the truths he has been privileged to learn. So, after he prays for the Ephesian saints, he lifts his voice in praise to the One Who made all this possible.
These last two verses of this chapter are a doxology. The word doxology comes from the Greek words doxa and logos. The word doxa refers to the kingly majesty which belongs to God as supreme ruler, majesty in the sense of Gods absolute perfection of the deity. It speaks of splendour, brightness, magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace, and majesty. It is usually translated glory in the New Testament. The word logos means, collection. It is often translated word in the New Testament, because it speaks of the process of collecting thoughts in the mind, then expressing those thoughts through words.
Thus, a doxology is a word of glory. It is simply a statement of praise that honors the Lords majesty, that ascribes glory to Him, that exalts His. It is a word of praise. That is what Paul does in these two verses.
I want to borrow the very words of Paul from both these verses for my title. Twice Paul says, Unto Him. I want to examine Pauls doxology and share with you some statements Paul makes here. These statements exalt the majesty of our glorious God, and they teach even more about who we are, and what we have in Jesus Christ. Follow with me as we consider the thought, Unto Him.
I. V. 20a THERE IS A STATEMENT ABOUT GODS GREATNESS
Ill. In the previous verses of Ephesians, Paul has spent considerable time describing the happy condition of the church. He reminds us that we are not an accident, but we are saved because of the deliberate planning and action of God. Let me just give you a brief reminder of some of the truths Paul has already shared with us.
We were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world - 1:4.
We are predestined to be with Him in Heaven when this life ends - 1:11.
We are secure in our salvation, because the Holy Spirit has been given to us to guarantee His purchase of us - 1:14.
We were dead in our trespasses and sins, but we have been brought out of death into life by the amazing grace of God - 2:1-4.
We are saved by His grace and seated with Him in heavenly places already - 2:5-7.
We have all that we do in Jesus not because we deserve it, but because He extends grace unto us - 2:8-9.
We are a people made useful and usably to God through grace and power of God - 2:10.
We are a people who were separated from God because of depravity and sin, yet we have been brought near to Him by the precious blood of Jesus Christ - 2:12-18.
We were aliens from God and everything that had to do with Him, but now He has reached out to us in grace, and He has brought us to Himself through grace, unto salvation - 2:13-18.
Now, we fellowcitizens - 2:19.
We are in His family - 2:19.
We are His Temple - 2:20-21.
We are His body - 2:22.
There is more that Paul has told us in these three chapters, but those are enough that they should cause every saint of God to overflow with praise to the God of their salvation. He is worthy of pour love, our devotion and our praise. Let us glorify Him in a manner worthy of God glory!
May we heed the many commands of the Bible to praise the Lord.
Heb. 13:15, By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
Psa. 47:1-2, 1 O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. 2 For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.
Psa. 113:1-3, 1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. 2 Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. 3 From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised.
Psa. 135:1-6, 1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the LORD; praise him, O ye servants of the LORD. 2 Ye that stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God, 3 Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant. 4 For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure. 5 For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. 6 Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.
We need to get busy praising Him, because we are way behind!
Having told us about the glory of God in saving us, Paul prays for the church. He prays for three specific things to happen.
He prays that they will be filled with Gods power - 3:16.
He prays that they will both know and live out the awesome love of God - 3:17-19a. His prayer is that they would love God, and one another, completely and without reservation. He also prayed that they would come to the full understanding of just how much they were loved by the Lord God.
He prays that they will be able to experience the very fullness of God Himself - 3:19b. This is a prayer for them to be fully aware of Who God is and all that He has done for them.
These three petitions are powerful, wonderful, and glorious. They should be on our own hearts and lips at all times. However, they are impossible for us to accomplish within our own power. We could never walk in His power without His help. We could never know and show the love of God apart from His power. We could never understand the even the smallest truth about God unless He opened our eyes and revealed it to us personally.
So, as part of his doxology of praise to the Lord, Paul lets us know that we have help! Thank God, there is help for those who desire His power. There is help for those who want to know His awesome love. There is help for those who want to show that same awesome love to others. There is help for all those who desire to know the Lord in His fullness! This verse tells us about the source of that help.
A. The Greatness Of His Ability - While we are unable to do any of the things Paul mentioned on our own; He is able! The word able means, to be capable, strong and powerful. Our God is a God Who possesses all power in Heaven and in earth, Matt. 28:18.
Our God is the God of Creation - 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist, Col. 1:16-17.
Our God is the God of Revelation - Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself, Eph. 1:9.
Our God is the God of Salvation - I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me, Gal. 2:20.
Our God is the God of Resurrection - I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death, Rev. 1:18.
Our God is the God of Manifestation - Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee, Jer. 32:17. He spread His fingers and made the universe, Isa. 40:12. He said, Light be, and there was light, Gen. 1:3. May times He has moved in power on behalf of His people. (Ill. Moses, Noah, David, Elijah, the widow, three Hebrews, Daniel, 5,000, disciples, us!)
Pauls point is that our God is able to do all those marvelous things I just mentioned and more, and if He can do all that, then He is more than able to give us the great blessings Paul prayed for in Eph. 3:16-19. He is able to empower us, Acts 1:8. He is able to enable us to know His love, Eph. 3:19, and to show that same love to others, Rom. 5:5. He is able to enable us to grasp Who He Is and all that He has done for us in Jesus Christ. Our God is capable, powerful and strong! We should praise Him for Who He is!
B. The Greatness Of His Abundance - Paul says that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think. The phrase exceeding abundantly above had the idea of, going above and beyond. Gods ability exceeds the lengths to which our minds can think. His ability goes beyond the limits of what we can ask.
Verse 20 is a pyramid of praise declaring Gods ability: He is able; He is able to do; He is able to do exceeding abundantly; He is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask; He is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. There is no question in the minds of believers that God is able, but far too many of us fail to enjoy the privilege of seeing Him do that in our lives because we fail to follow the pattern for living mentioned in those verses.
When we are walking in His power, v. 16; when we are walking in His love, v. 17-19a; and when we are walking in filled with the fullness of the Lord, v. 19b, we are able to tap into the awesome power of God in our lives. When we are walking in Him and in His love, He works in us and through us to accomplish the things He desires in our lives. In other words, it does not fall to us to make the Christian life happen. Our duty is to yield to Him. When we do, His power transcends our weakness and enables us to live for the Lord, and to accomplish great things for His glory.
Every true believer wants a closer relationship with the Lord. We all want to live cleaner, more holy lives. We all want to honor God and serve him faithfully. We ask for that. We pray for that. Often, we think we will never achieve our spiritual goals, and we cant in ourselves. His power exceeds the limits of our weakness and He is able to help us achieve holiness and godliness in our lives.
Thank God, there are no limits to His power! He can move mountains, change lives, lift burdens, meet needs, and He can change the lives of substandard saints and transform them into vessels of honor for His glory. That is just a small glimpse of how great our Lord is.
I. There Is A Statement About Gods Greatness
II. V. 20b THERE IS A STATEMENT ABOUT GODS GRACE
The grace of God is the ground of our salvation. Because the Lord extended His grace toward us, He loved us. He put us in His eternal plan. He sent His Son to die for us on the cross. He sent the Gospel message to us. He sent the Spirit of God to convict us. He saved us when we called upon Him. And, His grace continues to sustain us day by day and moment by moment. Ill. 2 Cor. 12:9.
The grace of God also works in our lives to help us accomplish is will in the world. Paul gives us some insights into the way the grace of God works in our lives.
A. His Grace Empowers Us - Paul tells us that the Lord is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. This phrase simply reiterates what I have already said, God empowers His people to live for Him.
Before the Day of Pentecost, the Lord made this promise to His disciples. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth, Acts 1:8.
The word power in that verse and in Eph. 3:20 is the same word. It refers to inherent power, or the power that resides in a thing because of its nature. When the Lord moved into your life, He came is with power. He came into you to enable you to love for Him.
The Lord enabled Paul to preach for His glory: 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God, 1 Cor. 2:4-5.
The Lord enabled Paul to live for the Lord day by day: 3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: 4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things, 2 Cor. 6:3-10.
The Lord wants you to know that His grace is sufficient for you too. He is able to empower you for service. He is able to empower you to to live for Him every day you spend in this world. His grace empowers us!
B. His Grace Enlivens Us - Paul says, according to the power that worth in us. The power to live for the Lord comes from Him, but it comes from within. How is that possible? It is possible only because He lives in us. When He saved us, the Spirit of God came into us with power for God;s glory. He empowers us by enlivening us. He empowers us by imparting His life to us.
Paul said it this way: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me, Gal. 2:20. When we yield to Him and allow His life to flow from us, we will live lives that are pleasing to the Lord and empowered by Him. Thus, God will use us to glorify Him in the world.
Here is what Jesus said about it. 12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it, John 14:12-14.
As we live for Him, and as we allow Him to live through us, He fills us with His life and He is seen, He is glorified, and He uses us as His light in the world. Paul says that His power worth in us. The word worketh means. To be at work, to put forth power, to be operative. When we are yielded to Him, He is operative in our lives. This enlivens us and allows us to brea fruit for His glory. Ill. John 15:5, I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
His grace empowers us for service. His grace enlivens us for living. Thank God for grace!
I. There Is A Statement About Gods Greatness
II. There Is A Statement About Gods Grace
III. V. 21 THERE IS A STATEMENT ABOUT GODS GLORY
Paul ends his doxology by making a grand statement about the glory of God. Notice what he says about God and His glory.
A. The Place Of His Glory - to Him be glory in the church - This phrase reminds us that the church exists for the sole purpose of bringing glory to God. He is glorified in the church, because the church is made of of sinners who have been saved by His grace. He loved us when we deserved to be cast into Hell. He reached out to us in love and grace and drew us to Himself. He saved us when we called on Him by faith, and He changed our lives.
Now, as we live for Him and honor His Word, He receives glory from the church. As we love Him and love one another, He is glorified. As we preach the Gospel and gather for worship, He is glorified. As we sing, pray, work, and serve in the church, He is glorified. The church is an organism that exists to bring glory to His name, and when we function as we should, that is exactly what we do!
We must keep this truth in mind as we go about the business of doing church. Everything we do at the church should be done with a view to bringing glory to the Lord. Every decision we make, every dollar we spent, every missionary we support, every job we assign, should all be for His glory and for no other reason. Every person who serves here in any capacity should perform his or her job to the best of their ability for the glory of God alone. We must not work for the applause of men. We must not work to make a name for ourselves. We must work for the glory of God. Ill. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God, 1 Cor. 10:31.
B. The Person Of His Glory - Nowhere is God more glorified that in the person of His Son, Christ Jesus. Jesus always has been and ever will be His beloved Son in Whom He is well pleased. Since God is glorified in His Son, we should be in the business of making much of Him. We need to examine our music, our preaching, our service, and our motives and be sure that everything we do serves to magnify the name of the One Who brings the ultimate glory to God.
If we will talk about Jesus, preach about Jesus, sing about Jesus, praise the name of Jesus, and be head over heels in live with Jesus, God will be glorified by our lives. If we can bring that attitude with u when we come into the church, God will be glorified by our church.
C. The Permanence Of His Glory - This glory that God receives through the church, and through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, is not a fleeting glory. Paul says that it will last through out all ages, world without end. That phrase literally means unto all the generation of the age of ages. God will be receiving glory from His church, because of His Son, when the end of time comes and eternity flows into eternity.
One day, the Lord Jesus will come for His church. He will take his bride home to Heaven to live in the Fathers house forever, and as the endless ages of eternity unfold, the church in Heaven, will continue to bring glory to Him as we worship Him and exult in His glory forever. A glimpse of the amazing future of the church is given to us in Rev. 4-5.
Would to God that we could grasp all He is and all He has done for us. We will never grasp the fulness of His glory and grace in this life. One day, however, our bodies and our minds will be glorified. When that happens, we will understand Him. We will know even as we are known, 1 Cor. 13:12. Then, we will glorify Him throughout the ages for His grace in our lives.
Even though we cant grasp it all right now, it still doesnt hurt to glorify Him concerning what we do know. So, give Him glory in the church, because that is the business of Heaven.
Conc: Johann Sebastian Bach said, All music should have no other end and aim than the glory of God and the soul's refreshment; where this is not remembered there is no real music but only a devilish hub-bub.
At the top of every composition, he wrote the letters: J.J. Those initials stand for Jesus Juva, which means Jesus help me. Bach ended every composition with the letters S.D.G. Those letters stand for Soli Dei gratia which means To God alone the praise.
Bach had the glory of God at the heart of every piece of he authored. That same desire should dwell each of our hearts.
This moment in time is as good as any for the church to get busy bringing Him glory.
Perhaps you would like to come before Him to glorify Him for His gracious work in your life.
Perhaps you would like to come and talk with Him about the issues in your life that prevent you from serving Him as well as you, and He, would like.
Perhaps you need to come seek His power for service, to tell someone about Jesus, or to walk faithfully day by day.
Perhaps you need come before Him to ask Him help you to live for Him day by day.