Summary: In the Christian life we need to be sure that we are basing all we do on the foundation of prayer and worship - otherwise we will be striving in vain for the work of God.


Core Values 5:- Being a People of Prayer and Worship

A sermon on Ephesians 3:14-21

The Amplified Version of the Bible translates Ephesians 3:20 as follows:-

Now to Him who … is able to do superabundantly, far over and above, all that we dare ask or think. Infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams.

Is that how we expect God to work?

Far above all that we dare to ask and think.

Beyond our desires, hopes and dreams.

Or are our expectations of the way God works limited?

It is a good issue to think about because the “Law of Expectations” basically says that we only get out of life what we expect to get out of life.

In Job 3:25 Job says, "Everything I fear and dread comes true." He focused on what he didn’t want and he got what he expected.

Paul on the other hand says in Philippians 1:20, "I live in eager expectation while I’m going through all these trials." He expected God to make a difference even when life couldn’t be perfect.

We will see what we expect to see. We will act in a way that we expect to act. We will achieve what we expect to achieve. It is our expectations which mostly influence our happiness, our attitude in life, and our relationships.

So what Paul is trying to tell us in this text is that our limited expectations can stop us from tapping into the tremendous resources that God has made available to us.

God works far above all that we dare to ask and think.

God achieves far beyond our desires, hopes and dreams.

No matter how big we think – God is bigger than that. When you hear that in the context of speaking about the core values of the church you can see how that opens up a whole world of opportunity.

Our current circumstances should never stop us from expecting God to work in powerful and unimaginable ways.

I have seen a picture of an aerial photograph of a prayer meeting being held in South Korea. There are more are more people in this photograph then there are at an NRL grand final. That is amazing isn’t it … especially when you know the history of Christianity in that country. In 1905 there were a handful of Christians in South Korea. Today almost half the population of 44 million citizens are Christian. As the number of Christians grow so do the number of missionaries South Korea sends out – today thousands of South Korean missionaries are bringing the Gospel to 140 countries … including Australia. God is able to do superabundantly above what we dare ask or think.

In 1949 there were 1 million Christians in China – which sounds like a lot but it represented only 0.2% of the population of China at the time. Today it is estimated that there are 130 million Christians in China – that is about 10% of the current population. But let’s not forget that this growth has occurred in the middle of suffering and persecution. Despite what is going on 10,000 people in China becoming Christians each day. God is able to work beyond our hopes, desires and dreams.

What about our little suburb of Banyo? What about our field of influence?

Do we expect God to work like this here? Do we expect God to work like this through our own church? It’s easy to become a little despondent isn’t it?

There are some churches in Australia that have seen incredible growth.

But the statistics are that only one 1 in 10 Australians have an active faith … and it has been like that for quite a while.

From a practical point of view it feels like the events in Korea and China won’t happen in Australia.

But Christians are not called to be practical.

We are called to have faith in a might God.

Our current circumstances should never stop us from expecting God to work in powerful and unimaginable ways.

So what is it going to take to live in such a way that we never stop expecting God to work in unimaginable ways? The answer to that question is found in our text. It starts here:-

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. (Ephesians 3:16-17a)

Expectations are a heart issue. If we are going to change our expectations we need to start at the heart. We will keep expecting God to work in unimaginable ways when we keep on praying that Christ will dwell in our hearts.

The problem with our Western mid-class thinking is that we can often get caught up with appearances.

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