Summary: Having looked at “new men”, and a new “society”; Paul now turns his attention to new standards that will define this new order.
Dakota Community Church
July 22, 2012
Grace at Work - 1
Closing thoughts on Paul’s Powerful Prayer:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
What is it about God that has Paul exploding about the glory of God?
Biblical doxologies usually have a phrase or two in them that sum up why the doxology is being sung.
Jude 1:24-25 - Doxology
24 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Jude is glorifying God for His keeping power!
1 Timothy 1:17 - Doxology
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Here Paul exalts in God as eternal KIng and ruler.
Romans 11:33-36 - Doxology
33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments,and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Here Paul glories in the all-sufficiency of God - WOW!
What about in our text?
Ephesians 3:20 - Doxology
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
What sends Paul into worship here is the thought that in the church God is able to do do more than we have asked him to do and more than we have ever thought he could do.
MORE THAN WE CAN ASK OR IMAGINE!
What would Paul see in DCC if he were here with us this morning.
Would he be discouraged by the crowd?
Would Paul leave here this morning and head home to hide under his covers in depression?
Or would Paul hear God saying, "I can do more in this church than you have yet asked or even imagined."
Perhaps we should begin to hear the same - and to pray like Paul did!
Now to Him who is able to change the hearts and minds of men - to Him be glory at DCC and in small churches and small men everywhere!
Now to Him who is able to bring unity out of division, to Him who is able to bind brothers together as one, to Him who is able to establish the shaky, set wavering hearts on solid ground, and lift up tired weary hands; to Him be glory in the Church at 230 Provencher both now and in the generations to come until Christ’s appearing!
Grace At Work - Part One: Unity
For three chapters Paul has been unpacking the eternal plan of God for humanity.
New life rising from spiritual death.
New creations, individual men reborn.
A new community of men, the Church, reconciled to God and reunited with each other - brothers and sisters from every tribe and race - equal and accepted.
This plan of God’s is indeed awesome to behold as we understand more and more of what God has in mind for us in this new kingdom.
Having looked at “new men”, and a new “society”; Paul now turns his attention to new standards that will define this new order.
These following chapters - which for the purpose of our study I have named “Grace at Work”, cannot be understood apart from the previous three.
You could not get a proper understanding of Paul’s intent here by beginning to read at this point.
If you start watching in the middle of a movie the odds are good that you will misunderstand what is going on, and wind up drawing incorrect conclusions about the plot line, characters, etc.
You cannot begin to build a house by completing the second story master bedroom. Even if that is the room you desire most - it cannot be built until the foundation is laid and the first story is framed in.
Preachers and readers come to disastrous conclusions (Legalistic self-salvation) by beginning at Chapter 4 in Ephesians!
Paul now turns from exposition to exhortation but the exhortation is only properly understood in light of the exposition.
The message now goes from what God has done to what we must do in response to what God has done. It turns from glorious other worldly theology to rubber meeting road response, from divinely revealed truth to the concrete everyday living implications of that revelation.