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Unlimited Power and Glory

March 22, 2015 Pastor: Don Green Series: Ephesians

Topic: Sunday Sermons Scripture: Ephesians 3:20-21

49-034

We're turning to Ephesians 3 and I would invite you to turn there with me today. We've come to the climactic portion of the first half of Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus and as you're turning there, let me just remind you of what salvation in a biblical sense means in a very summary way: God, if you are a Christian, God poured immeasurable love upon you when Jesus Christ, the spotless Lamb of God, offered himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins and to satisfy the demands of divine justice against your sin. That was an act of incalculable love, of selfless love that the Lord Jesus Christ did for his sheep, for those that would ever believe in him. He gladly, voluntarily, in a great complete sufficient way purchased our salvation on the cross. It was a magnificent display of selfless love, a love that is offered to those of you here today that did not know Christ. For the simple turning from your sin and embracing of Christ, you can have the full and complete forgiveness of your sins and be brought into the realm of eternal life. This is all flowing from a gracious, eternal purpose of God that he had for his elect before the beginning of time. These are things that are beyond our capacity to understand; they are great and infinite in their scope.

When I was here 2 weeks ago, we saw Paul's prayer that his readers would grasp the marvel of that, that they would see the greatness of Christ's love for them. We're so tempted to diminish God's love, to take it for granted, to think lightly of it, to think that he is someone less gracious than he actually is. So the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:14, prays for his readers and prays that they would grasp something of the greatness of the divine love that brought them into this realm of a perfect salvation. As we said 2 weeks ago, this is a prayer for all of the church. It's a prayer for believers everywhere. It expresses the mind of God that he would have for us in grasping something of the greatness of the gift of salvation that he is given to us.

What does Paul pray? Look at it in chapter 3, verse 14. He says, "For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you," here's the prayer, here's his intercession, here's what he's asking God to do. He says, "Father, I pray that you would grant to them, according to the riches of His glory," picking it up in the third person now in verse 16, "according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints," there it is, there we are in that prayer, "with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." It's an expansive, great prayer asking God to disclose and to strengthen in his people their capacity to grasp something of the great sacrificial love of Christ that he had upon their souls. To not take it for granted. To not treat it lightly. To not think about it superficially.

And today we ask the question: what exactly can God do in response to that prayer? What is it that flows from that? Where does Paul's mind go after praying this great, magnificent prayer for the saints? For the believers in Christ? It's incredible. He says in verse 20 and 21 and these 2 verses will be our text for this morning. He says,

20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

By the time we're done in the next hour or so, I trust that those words will explode on your mind and drive you to depths of worship that you have never known before because they are magnificent. Paul in verse 20 says, "Now, now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly." What I want you to see before we get into the points of our message this morning is that this word "now" that he says, that is a connection. It is a continuation of what he has just said. He is expressing a further thought in response to his prayer in verses 14 to 19. He says, "I have prayed this way, now," and then he goes into what he has to say.

So Paul here in these verses that we are going to look at this morning, follow me here, it's so crucial, he is expanding on the implications of that prayer that he has just made. He is developing it further so that we would have a more great sense of what it means, what that prayer means and what God is able to do in response to it. Stated differently, to answer this question today: what does God bring to bear to fulfill his eternal purpose for us in Christ? For you and for me, those of us who have been on the receiving end of his saving mercy, what does God bring to bear upon that purpose in order to make sure that it is accomplished? How is it that we can be confident? How does it shape our thinking to know what God is going to do to carry out what Paul has expressed in that prayer in verses 14 to 19? How do we build upon this love of Christ which surpasses knowledge? How do we enter into that? How do we grasp it? How do we rest secure in it? How do we glory in it all the more?

Paul says, "Now," and then he goes on to explain. What does God bring to bear in response to Paul's prayer? Two things this morning, we'll structure it around 2 simple point. Point 1: unlimited power. Unlimited power. Point 2: unlimited glory. The title if you are taking notes for today's message, "Unlimited power and glory." Point 1: Unlimited power, understanding that this is a continuation of Paul's prayer. Look at verse 20 with me again. Paul identifies God as the one who is able to do. God is a working God. God is not a remote, passive deity who wound up the universe, set it into motion and then stepped back and did nothing more. We are not deists, we are biblical theists and what the Bible teaches about God is that he created the world and now he is working out his purposes, particularly among his people, those of us that gather together around the name of Christ and around the word of God this morning. What we're seeing here in verse 20 is what God is doing and what he is able to do as he carries out those purposes that he has begun in us.

Paul says, look at it there in verse 20, "Now to Him who is able to do." The verbal form expresses God's ongoing, unhindered, unbroken ability to act as he pleases. When we say that God is omnipotent, what we mean is that God is all-powerful to accomplish exactly what he wants to do. The Bible says that there are things that God does not do and cannot do. He cannot lie. He cannot be tempted to sin. But what God aims to do, he has every capacity to do in ways that go beyond all that we ask or think.

Now, that's not an abstract theological concept for us here this morning. Remember what I said is that Paul is continuing from his prayer. Paul is building on what he just prayed. He is not making an isolated unrelated theological concept here. He's not just suddenly drifting into a discussion of omnipotence when before he had been talking about something completely different. No, Paul had prayed for God to do something and he says, "Now, let me tell you what God is able to do in response to that prayer."

Now, Paul's earlier prayer. We summarized it last time. We said: what does it mean when Paul says that you would know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God? I'm going to slow down here for just a second and encourage you to follow along with me, especially if you weren't here when we preached this 2 weeks ago. In that prayer in chapter 3, Paul had been praying for this: he had just asked God in verses 14 to 19, to exercise the fullness of his power so that the fullness of his purpose would be accomplished in the fullness of our lives, to the fullest extent possible, according to the fullness of God's character, throughout the fullness of life and eternity. It is an expansive prayer beyond all that we can calculate. He's asking God to take the totality of his being to accomplish the totality of his purpose, in the totality of our lives forever and ever and ever amen. It is as broad and as deep as we can possibly calculate and beyond even that. That's what he had just prayed. "Fullness. Fullness. Fullness. God. Everything that you are. For everything that your people will be for all of life and eternity." This is way beyond the realms of praying for somebody's health and prosperity. Paul has entered into the eternal realm and has laid hold of the eternal character and purposes of God and said, "God, now according to your illimitable might, do what I have just asked you to do."

Now, now, beloved, that thought is incomprehensible. What Paul has just prayed there is way beyond the realm of human thought to comprehend. We can't begin to grasp the implications of that great magnificent prayer because Paul has laid hold of the infinite character of God and his eternal purposes in realms that go beyond what we could ask or think and said, "God, do that and grant to your people a sense of the love of Christ that would show them the certainty of your purposes."

Now, stay with me. Take that incomprehensible unit of thought that God would exercise the fullness of his power and the fullness of our lives according to the fullness of his character throughout the fullness of life in eternity, take that incomprehensible unit of thought, what Paul does here in verses 20 and 21, he goes still further. He goes beyond what he had just prayed in what he expresses in verses 20 and 21. What he does here in verse 20 is that he expands on the capacity of God to answer that prayer that Paul made on behalf of all the saints and in verse 20, we see a sevenfold measure of the power of God.

Look at verse 20 with me again. Let's read it again and then were going to kind of unpack it a little bit. Paul says in verse 20, "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think." He said a mouthful there. Paul has just asked God to do something in verses 14 through 19 and now he creates our sense of expectation about what will flow from that prayer. Beloved, what Paul is doing here is he is setting our expectations about what God will do in response to this prayer that Paul has made for the fullness of the church. What Paul is doing here is he is laying the groundwork for us to think rightly about the greatness of our salvation and what does he say? Remember, the pray that he has just made is already incomprehensible. Incomprehensible in the sense that it goes beyond our understanding. We can understand it in part and we can understand it truly but not exhaustively and now Paul says, "Now that I have prayed this way, let me tell you what God is able to do in response to that."

He goes through 7 parts here. We'll just tick them off real quickly. First of all, at one level, at a very superficial level: God is able to do what we ask him to do. Whatever we ask him to do, assuming that it is not something that is contrary to nature or contrary to his revealed word, God is able to do what we ask. He has the power to do what we ask. There is nothing that we could ask according to his purposes that God would not be able to do. He's able to do what we ask.

Not only that, go a step further: God is able to do all that we ask. We ask individual petitions, God is able to do that. We ask multiple things, God is able to do all of that.

More than that, look at verse 20 with me again. Let's keep the text closely wound as we do this. God "is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think." Here's what we ask, he is able to do all that we ask. God is able to do all that we think. Still more, God is able to do all that we think. Still more, God is able to do above all that we ask or think. In other words, when we pray to God, when we think about what God is and who he is and we ask him for things, understand that in our wildest imaginations, God is able to go beyond what we ask and beyond what we think. That's how great his power is and if Paul had stopped there, we would have more than enough to occupy our thoughts for time immemorial. God is able to do above all that we ask or think. Notice this and let this humble your mind under the power of God in the presence of an infinite God and under the greatness of the holy Scriptures: we are talking here today now about something that transcends what any of us understand. Whatever we think in a sanctified way, anything that we ask, God is able to go beyond that.

But Paul is not done. Paul says, "Not only that. It's not that he can do just a little trickle beyond that. God is able to do abundantly beyond all that we ask or think." Our minds cannot conceive of the capacity of God to do what we ask.

And there is one more step to it: Paul says that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think. So we go to the outer limits of what we ask, God is beyond that. We go to the limits of what we could think to ask God but don't, God goes beyond that. As we go beyond that, as God goes beyond that, he's able to go abundantly beyond that realm and then he's able to go exceedingly beyond that realm as well. This is incalculable. In fact, the phrase that's translated "exceedingly abundantly" is a superlative that expresses the idea of "infinitely more than." In other words, look at verse 20, what Paul is saying is that, "I just prayed this magnificent prayer that already goes beyond the bounds of your comprehension." It was already beyond comprehension and now he says, "I want you to understand that God is able to do infinitely more than what I just asked him to do which was work according to the fullness of his character to execute the fullness of his purpose, in the fullness of your life, for the fullness of life in eternity." There is just this massive building upon one great thought upon another to bring us into a realm where we are just humbled by the massive ability of God to bless his people.

And what Paul is doing here, having prayed this great prayer and now saying, "God is able to do infinitely more than what I just prayed and I was already praying in an infinite realm." He says, "I prayed in an infinite realm and I want you to understand that God can go infinitely beyond an infinite realm to do what he purposes to do." Paul had just prayed for an unimaginable fullness to occur and then he goes further and prays in this manner, he is expressing the greatest certainty possible about the purposes of God in the church. "God, fill them up with a knowledge of Christ that surpasses knowledge," and as he goes on, he says, "God is able to go way beyond that." This is unlimited power in the context of expressing God's gracious, loving purposes in Christ for the church. There is no limit to the height of the reverence and the high view of God that we should have and the high view of the love of Christ in terms of what he intends to do for his people. Out, out, out, out on stingy views of God that think he is somehow unwilling to bless us. Out, out, out on earthbound perceptions about the purposes of God. Paul, having prayed for an unimaginable fullness to occur, climbs even higher and shouts to us, "God is able to do infinitely more than what I just prayed!"

Beloved, our minds cannot conceive of the greatness of salvation. We cannot conceive of the greatness of the purposes that God has set upon us in Christ. We cannot conceive of the boundless love and mercy and joy and peace that will be ours throughout all of eternity and of which we get a foretaste here in this life today. The breadth and the length and the height and the depth of the love of Christ. The breadth and the length and the height and the depth of the eternal Son of God offering himself as a sacrifice for your sins by name, knowing you before the beginning of time, coming to earth to die for your sins in particular to secure your redemption infallibly without fail by sacrificing his own perfect life blood. Laying his innocent life down, of infinite value, for the sake of your sinful soul.

Beloved, we must think high and lofty thoughts of Christ. We must, I say, we must honor and exalt him! We must view him with the deepest affection and allegiance of our heart. Oh beloved, let me just speak really bluntly and directly to you: if somehow your heart is indifferent to the things that I am saying right now, you are not a Christian because a Christian responds to this truth from the love of God and just says, "Yes Lord. Thank you. I am so grateful to you. Forget my earthly problems. I am just so enraptured with the greatness of your purpose that I am overwhelmed with gratitude and humility and worship and praise to you." If that is not the immediate response of your heart, you need to examine yourself because there is no reason to think that you're in the faith at all, if you could hear these things and be indifferent to them.

The capacity of the power of God is beyond us to comprehend and yet look at what Paul says in verse 20, it just gets evermore overwhelmingly wonderful. He says there in verse 20, "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think," look at this little phrase at the end, "according to the power that works within us." Paul has already said in earlier parts of Ephesians that God has given us every spiritual blessing in Christ, every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. God has put his Holy Spirit within us as believers and it is the Holy Spirit who is working out these purposes in us while we are on earth. So the power that ensures the outcome of infinite proportions is already at work dwelling in us, shaping us, molding us into what God would have us to be. It is macro, beyond us, beyond time, yet somehow it is within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. The infinite Holy Spirit resides within us and he works out eternal purposes that go infinitely beyond all that we could ask or think.

So, when Paul said in chapter 2, verse 7, look over at that with us. Ephesians 2:7, we'll go back to verse 5. Paul said, "even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus," for what purpose? "So that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." Now beloved, that is a pulling back of the veil. It is a snapshot. It is pulling up the blinds and letting us look into the window of heaven for a time and Paul says in that verse, he says that "there are surpassing riches of the glory and grace of God that will be displayed to us throughout all of the ages to come." That realm can't be calculated. It is endless. It is immense. How great the blessing that Ephesians 2, verse 7 says.

Now, what Paul is saying here in our passage this morning in Ephesians 3:20, he's already talked about surpassing riches for eternal ages to come and he says, "Contemplate that and realize that it goes infinitely beyond even that." This gives us a glimpse of how great it is that God has saved us. The incalculable magnitude of being a recipient of God's grace means that we are going to see and experience surpassing riches forever and ever and ever that go beyond anything we could begin to imagine here in this room today. If you are a Christian here today, your heart should be bursting in worship and praise and gratitude and wonder at the majesty of a grace that saved a wretch like you and took you from that realm of death and darkness and sin and placed you into the stream of God's eternal purpose, sure to carry you into the throne room of God forever. May it never be that we think unworthy thoughts of our Savior. May it never be that we question his love for us, that we question his purposes simply because some earthly circumstances go in a way that we would have chosen that they didn't. We've used the extent of human language at our disposal to paint the highest picture of this that we possibly could. The one thing that I can say for certain is that when you get to heaven as a Christian, you will find for a certainty that it was not oversold to you here today. It will be greater than the most that we could say with these sinful finite lips.

Now, what do we say to a God like that? What do we think? How do we respond? We have been overwhelmed at the infinite purposes of God for his people. Paul goes on now to our second point here in verse 21 as he speaks of unlimited glory. Unlimited glory. Paul concludes this magnificent first half of Ephesians with a doxology, with a statement that ascribes glory to God here in verse 21. Paul takes the momentum of all of these infinitely high thoughts about God and the love of Christ and turns them to praise. He gives us an example of what you should do in response to hearing these things here today. There should be such an utter humiliation of yourself before God, of profound worship and thanks that drives every other unworthy thought out and just says, "O God, I glorify you and I honor you for the fact that you have included me in a purpose like this."

Paul turns these high thoughts to a climax of praise. Look at verse 21, "to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." Now, just in terms of following the flow of his thought, I want to show you what he has done here. Look at verse 20, he says, "Now to Him who is able to do," okay, so he's begun in verse 20, he's begun to make this statement of praise and then he expanded on the omnipotence of God as it relates to his eternal purposes for the church. Now he is resuming in verse 21 what he started to say in verse 20. "Now to Him who is able to do," verse 20, now in verse 21 he picks it up, "to Him." To Him. Whenever you see a pronoun, you should ask, what's the antecedent of that pronoun? To whom does this pronoun refer? Here it's very clear and obvious what that pronoun refers to. "To Him," that is, "To this one of whom I was just speaking in verse 20 who is the one who will and is able to work out his purposes in the church. To that one what I'm about to say applies." He expands and he picks up on the thought and he says, "To this one of whom I have just spoken, this one of infinite purpose, infinite might, infinite love, incalculable love of Christ upon us, with purposes begun before time that will continue after time. To that one be glory." Be glory. "To this one of whom I'm speaking, I ascribe superlative honor that belongs to no one else." That's the idea. Superlative honor. Surpassing honor. To this God that goes to no one else.

If you're a Christian, there should be a massive throne room in your heart where allegiance and loyalty and love and fidelity and honor is given to God alone and there is no human that ever approaches that. Not your spouse. Not your children. Not anything in this world. Not anything in this life. Nothing. There is this massive throne room in your heart that is reserved to worship alone this God. That is the sense of superlative glory given to this one who has done such great things for his people in salvation.

Beloved, I say it lovingly, I say it to set your aspirations where they should be: it should be clear in your mind that no one that you love on earth approaches the glory that you give to Christ alone. To him and him alone. Loved ones will come and go, our Christ is constant. He has done for us what no one else could do. Your nearest and best on earth did not die for your sins. The nearest and best in your life did not offer their life blood to redeem you from your iniquities. Your most cherished human affection has nothing to do with the one who cleansed your soul from sin and set into motion these lofty, eternal purposes of which we have been speaking here today so that it is clear in your mind then that when we talk about glory, when we talk about superlative honor, Christ has been lifted so high in your mind, so high in your thinking, that the glory you give to him could never be possibly countenanced to even think for a moment that anything of like affection would be given to anything here on earth. To him be glory. To him be superlative honor. Surpassing praise and worship.

Now, just to be clear: God already dwells in perfect glory. His perfection in his attributes cannot be improved upon by anything that we say or do. His glory is independent of us. Paul is not adding to the perfect glory that already belongs to God. You can't improve on a God like this by what sinful lips would say, rather he is ascribing this superlative honor to God so that men and women, boys and girls like you and me, would better appreciate who God is. When God's people declare his honor, they make it more possible, more likely, they draw others to also ascribe that praise to him. Paul is saying as he brings this to a climax, "In light of this God that I have been describing to you, I ascribe to him the highest possible worship and adoration that exists in the human mind. To him be the glory." He lifts our hearts to worship by ascribing fame, worth and honor to this God.

When you speak of Christ to your family, to your friends, saved and unsaved, there should be a sense of a quickening of the animation of the affections in your heart. There should be a sense of urgency that comes about and you just get involved. You get involved in the essence of it because we're not talking about carpet and concrete, we're talking about the greatness of God and that elevated throne room in our hearts when we start to speak of what dwells there, our heart is drawn up into it as well and it is reflected in your countenance and in the very tone of your voice. A man who can't be animated about these things, whatever else we might say about his salvation, the man who can't be animated about these things, who doesn't have his heart captivated by them, is a man who has no business being in a Christian pulpit, that's for sure. If you've been saved and you're in a pulpit, there ought to be something that comes upon you when you speak of this Christ that makes it plain to others that they too should join in this glory that you give to him. A dead voice in the pulpit is unworthy of the God of whom he claims to speak.

Now, Paul had been building up to this theme in Ephesians if we had been watching. Let me remind you, he had already been praising God. He had already been expressing his adoration for God and ascribing glory to him. Look at Ephesians 1:5, let me just remind you of these things very quickly so that you see this as the capstone that it is. Ephesians 1:5, "God predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace." Verse 12, chapter 1, "to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory." Verse 14, the Spirit "is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory." Paul is bursting with praise. His mind is captivated by ascribing honor to God and drawing men into the recognition of the praise of which Christ is so preeminently worthy. Praise him! Praise him! Praise him! Glory is exploding on the sky like a fireworks finale.

Turn back to chapter 3, verse 21. Somehow this glory is expressed through the church. Verse 21, "to Him be the glory in the church." Our world may curse his name and never bow their knee but, beloved, as a church both locally and universally, we are meant to be the place where the glory of God can be seen and displayed and proclaimed. Whatever else we do, we must proclaim the glory of that great name. Whatever else we do, we must say that there will be one corner on this earth where the name of Christ is honored and proclaimed and held up as the most lofty thought in all of the universe. And we don't care, we don't care if the world doesn't help us do that. We don't expect them to do that. We understand with the hymn writer who said, "Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God." But for those of us that have a part in his saving purpose, those of us that are covered by the blood of Christ, those of us that have this infinite purpose of God laid forth before us, God will find, the world will find here in the realm that we influence, you say to yourself, we say corporately as a church, "In the realm in which we exist, there will be a light shining for the glory of God. That light will never go out. We'll never turn that lamp off from now until our dying breath. We'll be found as those people who are found giving glory to God just like the Apostle Paul taught us to do." And we don't care what opposition or rejection comes with it. We're glad to go outside the city and join in the reproach of Christ if only we are given the privilege of announcing the honor of that great name. Superlative honor in the highest, most intimate throne room of our hearts and our mouths speak accordingly.

Now beloved, let me speak to you in real life terms, speak to you as a pastor. You see in your day to day life and no doubt have thought in the midst of this exposition, you have thought about how you fall short of this glory of God. On the one hand, the Bible declares this great glory to us and yet at times we sometimes only see our weakness and our defeat and our failures and our betrayal of that love of God. You see that but Scripture says if this passage means anything, it indicates that God will use his boundless power to bring you to the glory that he appointed for you before the foundation of time. God will use this great power that he exercises on behalf of his people to overturn your weakness, to even work through your weakness so that even more glory is brought to his name in the end and the result of God's work in your feeble, frail, sinful life is going to be tremendously better than your wildest dreams because the power is from Christ, it is not of you and aren't you glad?

And if the glory of all of these things seems remote through the prism of your earthly failures, understand that it seems remote only because we are unable to grasp it. From God's perspective, it is certain. It will happen without fail because God who saved you is powerful to complete what he began. And Paul says, "I'm praying that all of this will come to pass in the fullness of everything, according to the fullness of God, for the fullness of eternity and understand that God is able to do infinitely more than what I just expressed." Paul has launched a supernatural, infinite skyrocket into the remote recesses of the universe proclaiming the purposes of God and that skyrocket of purpose pierces the end of the universe and goes even further. That's the power of God that has saved us in Christ.

Beloved, God had and God has immeasurable purposes in saving you that go beyond anything that you could ask or think. The Lord Jesus Christ was the object of that delivering power in the resurrection. That's why it says in part that, "to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus." We see the glory of God displayed in Christ. We see his power displayed in the resurrection of Christ from the dead. What Paul is saying that now we are the objects of that same immeasurable, illimitable power of God and for that, God receives the glory not only now but forevermore.

Now watch this, look at how Paul concludes it here at the end of verse 21. He says, "to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus," look at this, "to all generations forever and ever. Amen." That phrase in the original language would literally be translated, "to all generations of the age of the ages." He's using this to express something of the concept of eternity.

Now, the way that this is structured in the original language, let me try to give you some little sense of what that's like and the vastness of what Paul is expressing as he talks about the glory given to God throughout all of eternity, the certainty of the fullness of his purposes in the lives of his people forever and ever amen. You have, most of you have a wristwatch. Mine has a second hand on it. It just hit 12. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. What Paul is saying here is like this: each tick of that watch is like an eternal age and within that eternal age, wrapped in each tick, wrapped in that eternal age, are countless other endless epics of time and each epic within that eternal age opens up into another eternal age into geographically remote infinity. Tick. And then an eternal age, and endless epics within that age that open up into other ages for all of eternity. And then, another tick just like the one before. Tick. Tick. Tick. All expressing again and again the unlimited power and glory of God into incalculable perpetuity energized by the unlimited power and glory of God. The generations of the age of eternal ages. It's as if each tick of the watch had embedded in it countless eternal ages that contained other countless eternal ages and then the watch ticks and it starts all over again. Never to be calculated. Beyond all human comprehension.

Beloved, that, what we just described, that is an inadequate way of expressing how long God will sustain his omnipotent, gracious, glorious purpose toward us who are in Christ. Geometrically incalculable perpetuity, wrapped up in eternal ages, is an inadequate way, it is an insufficient expression of how great and infinite the purposes of God are toward his people. And in that incalculable geometry of perpetuity, we are going to somehow see in ever unfolding measure the surpassing riches of God and the surpassing riches of his grace and kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. The wonder will never cease. The blessing will be forever and it will never grow old.

Look at it there, verse 21 with me again, "to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever," and he says, "Amen." That word "amen" is our opportunity, it's the reader's occasion, watch this, here's your response to this to everything that we've said, here's the response: amen is the response that joins in that ascription of glory to God and affirms this expression of praise for his love and power. Those of you who are Christians have the fullness of the purpose of God forever which will be expressed in unending ages of glory to you and all you can do in response is join in and say, "Amen. That's my God. I affirm what's just been said. I am confident of its fulfillment in Christ."

So Paul says, "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." And to that you all say? Amen.

Let's bow in prayer.

Father, eye has not seen and ear has not heard the beginning of the greatness of your being and the beginning of the greatness of your purposes in the church and toward your people. We thank you that we are on the receiving end of such incalculable grace. We praise you for that which we have yet to experience in eternity, the fullness of the surpassing riches of the grace of your kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. We thank you now, Father, by faith for that which will one day be our immediate present permanent experience. Thank you, Father. And in our present day earthly weakness, Father, for the sake of those here who have felt the weight of failure even in this past week, for us, Father, in light of everything that we've said, we pray that you would fulfill it and we pray with the confidence that you are able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that is already at work in us, and for that, Father, we ascribe our glory to you, the superlative honor that belongs to you alone. We disclaim any other affection or allegiance for the sake of giving all of the allegiance of our heart, all of the desires and aspirations, Father, we devote them to your glory alone and pray that you would fulfill it in ways that go beyond all that we ask or think. In the name of Christ Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

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