Subject: Ministering and Operating in God’s Overflow
Text: Ephesians 3:14-21
Introduction: In this portion of Scripture, the apostle Paul prays for his friends. His primary prayer and concern were for their spiritual blessings, which are the best blessings. Really, every time we pray, we should seek for ourselves and others these same spiritual blessings. The only way believers can be successful in their assignment is that God would give them an ample supply of Spiritual strength for the work and duty to which they were called.
Even though, we have been called to a “worthy calling,” many times ministry can be frustrating. Because of the trials and difficulties of our call, we must learn to minister and operate from God’s Overflow. There are numerous things that cause frustration in ministry, but one of the main sources of frustration is the disparity between what the church ought to be and how the church really is; the disparity between how its leaders ought to be and how we really are; even between what its member should be like and what we are really like. This frustrating fact has not only discouraged new people from coming into the church; it has driven many people away from the church. Others have been driven from the ministry completely! The good news is there is a bridge between is-ness and ought-ness of the church. There is a bridge between what the church is and what the church ought to be. How can we become what we ought to be? The secret is to allow the Holy Spirit to live and work in us. Hear the word of the text in the King James Version: Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Eph 3:20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, (RSV)
When we operate from God’s overflow, there is no limit to what God can do in us and through us as we allow His Spirit to work in us. This text shows us that God can make us what we ought to be if we let his power work in us. Four things in the text: God can make us what we ought to be if we let Him Strengthen us with His Might in the inner man. We can overcome every frustration and limitation as we allow His Spirit to fortify us on the inside.
1. God can make us what we ought to be if we let Him Strengthen us with His Might. Eph 3:16 “that He would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;”
There are two things that make us destructive: Inner wounds and inner weakness. There is a tendency to hide injuries within. Our deepest wounds come from people we love and trust, our family, friends, co-workers and even from the children of God. Others come from loss we experience. An adage says, “Hurt people hurt people!” If we do not allow God to heal our wounds, we become like the people who hurt us. People that are mean are people who use to be nice but got hurt and never got healed. Many of our weaknesses flow out of our pain. His spirit must be allowed to strengthen us in the inner man. WE cannot run away from pain that we carry. God can make us what we ought to be if we let Him strengthen us with His Might. God can make our weakness a source to strength to help others if we allow Him to. Jas 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Because God pardons the sins of those who confess and acknowledge them, and not those who justify themselves. Therefore the apostle adds, we ought to freely confer with one another concerning those inward diseases, that we may help one another with our prayers. God can heal our wounds and strengthen our weaknesses.
2. God can make us what we ought to be if we let Him indwell us with His presence. Eph 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
St. Augustine said, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the human heart that can only be satisfied with God.” Many of us struggle with trying to fill the void in our lives in our own strength. Some people try to fill the void with bad things; while others try to filled the void with good things. King Solomon wrote a book about it called Ecclesiastes which could have been called Can I save you some time? Drugs, sex and money won’t fill it. You see, bad things lead to bondage; good things lead to burdens and frustrations. After experiences every pleasure, along with 700 wives and 300 hundred concubines, Solomon concluded that al were vanity of vanities, all is vanity under the sun. It’s like chasing the wind! God alone can satisfy the longings of our heart. “Can’t nobody do me like Jesus!” God can make us what we ought to be if we let Him indwell us with His presence. We must allow Jesus to live in our hearts by faith. This is the only remedy against fear, anxiety and loneliness. We need to practice the presence of God. Ps 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” The presence of God changes every thing!
3. God can make us what we ought to be if we allow Him perfect us in His love.
Eph 3:17b-19….being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Every believer has God’s love shed abroad in their hearts. To have God’s love perfected means that we mature enough to practice the love we have in our hearts. We must allow the Spirit of God to perfected His love in us. God’s love must become soil which our souls are nurtured; God’s love must be the foundation on which we build our lives; and God’s love must be the meditation which we draw our motivation. His love passes knowledge. We will do more out of love than we will out of fear. If you love me….. keep my commandments. True love to Jesus always shows itself by obedience, all other love is only a thing of the lips and reveals a hypocritical heart. Are we daily giving proof of our love to Jesus by doing as he has bidden us? We can love one another with a love that passes knowledge. Love me in spite of what you know about me.
4. God can make us what we ought to be if we allow Him To fill us with His fullness. V. 19….that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
There is a desire in the human heart for a place of significance. All of us want to make a difference in this world. The things that cause a person to make a difference is what he or she is full of. What they are full of may be good or bad, a negative or positive difference, but they always make a difference. When we are filled with alcohol we make a difference. It might be negative and destructive, but it makes a difference.
Eph 5:18, says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” One of things God desires is that we not just have the Holy Spirit, but that we would be filled with His Spirit. We must allow God filled us with his fullness. When we allow God to fill us, He moves us from worldliness to Holiness; He moves us from darkness to light. God is Light! His Light moves us to walk in the light. God transforms us from selfishness to service. Service to others demonstrates our love. God is love. His love transforms us into loving servants. We love others the way He loves us. He transforms us from timid faith to bold witness. We boldly share His word. God is Spirit. His spirit empowers us to be bold witnesses in the world. A Child of God full of His Spirit can do the impossible. There is no limit to what God can do in us and through us. We are called to do greater works. I thank God for your ministry and all you are doing for the kingdom of God, please know that God can do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think. There is no limit to what God can do in us and through us if we allow His Spirit to work in us. Eph 3:20 Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
5. There is a danger in allow God to make us what we ought to be! There is a danger in allowing God to strengthen us with might in the inner man, to indwell us with His spirit, to fill us with presence and perfect his love in us. The danger is that there is a possibility that we might try to take His glory for ourselves. So, Paul concludes this open invitation with a word of caution in Eph 3:21, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
The text says, unto Him be glory, not unto us. Remember during the story of the Exodus, Moses was not allowed to go into the promise land. Why? Numbers 20 gives us the details. In a nutshell, the children of Israel were murmuring again. They were thirsty again and God told Moses to speak to the rock. Moses in his anger, smote the rock twice and water came out. Listen to these words;
Nu 20:10-12 “And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. 12 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.”
Though Moses was used by God for many years, God does excuse Moses’ attitude towards his people nor would God share His glory with Moses. God said, “Ye believed me not to sanctify me in the eyes of Israel. In other words, you did not give me the glory or glorify my power in doing this miracle, and of my truth in promptly fulfilling my promise, and of my goodness in doing it notwithstanding the people’s perverseness.
This was a moment in which God’s glory, goodness and goodwill in spite of the people’s murmuring should have been magnified. When God blesses us to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, unto Him belongs the glory and honor! Have you ever thought about why this happened to Moses? Moses leaned on his pass experience rather than God’s command. He thought he knew how to do it. This might be our downfall too. Maybe that’s why the church has so many annual events.
We must close the gap between is-ness and ought-ness. For some that means salvation; for some it means repentance and renewal; For some it means coming be heal of our inner wounds and weaknesses; others may come saying Lord, perfect your love in me and finally, others may come saying, Lord, do it again! Fill me again! Samson said in Judges 16:28 after his brokenness, “And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.”