Monday, June 18, 2012

Glory to God!

Part 19 of a series through the New Testament book of Ephesians

You can listen to the sermon here.



"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" (3:20-21).


An Amazing Doxology 

"Now to him…be glory… forever and ever. Amen."

Paul ends his prayer (3:14-19) with a doxology. “Doxology” is from the Greek words doxa (“glory”) and logia (“saying”). “The doxology brings the first half of Ephesians to a close at the place it began in 1:3, in giving praise to God” (Klyne Snodgrass, Ephesians, p. 182).

There are several other doxologies in the NT (Rom. 11:36; 16:25-27; Gal. 1:5; Phil. 4:20; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16; 2 Tim. 4:18; Heb. 13:21; 1 Peter 5:11; 2 Peter 3:18; Jude 1:24-25; Rev. 1:6; 7:12).

NT doxologies usually follow a four-part pattern: (1) a reference to the one who receives the glory, (2) a reference to the glory itself, (3) a reference to the eternal duration of the glory, and (4) the term “amen.” Paul’s doxology in Eph. 3:20-21 has all four parts (Frank Thielman, Ephesians, p. 241).


Worthy of Glory 

"[God] is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think according to the power at work within us."

“To give God glory is not to add something to him; rather, it is an active acknowledgement or extolling of who he is or what he has already done” (Peter T. O’Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians, p. 268). As the psalmist says, “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name” (Ps. 29:2; 96:8).

Why does God deserve to receive glory? Three reasons:

1. God is active in creation. 

God is “able to do.” The God of the Bible is not like the gods of paganism. Speaking of the idolater, Isaiah 44:16-17 says, “Half of [a tree] he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, ‘Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!’ And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and say, ‘Deliver me, for you are my god!” 

The God of the Bible is not the God of deism. Deism holds that God created the universe but is not now directly involved in creation.

2. God is infinite in power. 

God is able to do “far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” Other translations read, “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (KJV), “far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (NASB), “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (NIV), and “infinitely more than we might ask or think” (NLT).

God is omnipotent, which means that he “is able to do all his holy will” (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 216). In other words, God can do anything he decides to do. The rhetorical question, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Gen. 18:14; cf. Jer. 32:17, 27) implies that nothing is too hard for the Lord. The angel Gabriel said to Mary, “Nothing will be impossible for God.” And Jesus declared, “With God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).

God is not limited by our requests or thoughts. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9).

3. God is working in us. 

God’s immeasurable power is “at work within us.” This is the power that “raised us up with [Christ] and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (2:6).

To him 
Who is able to do 
All that we ask or think 
More abundantly than all that we ask or think 
Far more abundantly than all that we ask or think 
According to the power at work within us 


Is Your God Too Small? 

Are you discouraged (cf. 3:13)? Is your faith wavering? Do you doubt the power of prayer? God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (NIV).

Don’t put limits on God!