Summary: The power that is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we can ask or think, is the same power that works in and through us, to bring glory to God. (#9 in The Unfathomable Love of Christ series)
“Thou art coming to a King;
Large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and power are such,
None can ever ask too much.”
We are on the threshold of the portion of this epistle that deals with the Christian’s walk. To this point, Paul has laid out very clearly and powerfully, what God has done. The salvation He has provided through Christ, the unity He has established between Jew and Gentile through Christ and by the Holy Spirit, the blessings He has bestowed, the spiritual house He has built and continues to build as He adds new saints to the structure, the free and glorious access He has provided to the presence of the Father, all through the death and resurrection of His Son, and the work of the Holy Spirit.
As we enter into chapter 4 we will see that word ‘therefore’ again, as Paul begins to paint a picture of what kind of person the Christian ought to be, and we will be reminded that his exhortations there are founded upon what he has taught us in the first three chapters.
But before we leave chapter three we have to stop for a time of refreshing and encouragement, as in our mind’s eye we can almost see Paul, lifting up holy hands and praising our marvelous, gracious, merciful, just, …and all-powerful, God.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding 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.”
One of the first things I think about when sitting down to prepare a sermon, is what the main point was in the mind of the writer. I ask, ‘what did the human writer want to convey first and foremost, in this passage; or in this verse; or in this sentence; or in using this word?’
Then I ask, ‘what was the Holy Spirit saying through the writer, and further, what might He be saying to me and want me to say to others, now, through this same verse?’
Because you see, the Holy Spirit still speaks. And He will never contradict Himself, that we know and can be confident of; but from the unfathomable depths of God’s Word, He can continue to speak to us from the same portion of scripture and never exhaust its message for us.
So when I asked my first question this time, ‘what did the human writer want to convey first and foremost’, the conclusion I drew was that he wasn’t overly concerned at this moment about conveying anything deep or mysterious; he was praising the God he had been writing about. He had been prayerfully brooding over his work as he carefully chose his words and as he poured them out, he became increasingly filled. By the time he finished with the things he wanted to express to the Ephesians for their strength and future growth, he was so blessed by all he had been contemplating that he just burst into a virtual song of praise.
It’s what the Holy Spirit was, and is, saying, that I want us to go forward and consider today.
THE POWER THAT WORKS WITHIN US
The Spirit has inspired the human writer to make promises that no human would dare to make on his own, unless he was a false prophet, or a priest of false gods, and knew he had the people duped, or had his route of escape already planned.
He has talked about ancient mysteries being revealed to us. He has prayed in faith that we would receive a supernatural strengthening in the inner man; and more, a supernatural understanding of that which is unknowable to the unregenerate mind.
He has prayed, … and again, the fact of his prayer is a statement that he believes what he’s asking is both possible and available … he has prayed that we would be filled up to all the fulness of God.
Now remember, I‘m wanting us to get a look at what the Holy Spirit’s message is, in inspiring the man to write these things. So if we believe in that inspiration, we have to believe that the Holy Spirit of God, who is that power working within us, wants to impress upon us that these are things God wants to make real in our lives. They are not just the yearnings of a loving old man in a jail cell, wishing the very best for his children.
God has told us through this prayer of Paul that He wants us to know the unsearchable riches of Christ; He wants us to comprehend the unfathomable love of Christ; He wants to fill us up to all His fulness, and give of Himself to overflowing, until we become veritable fountains of His love and grace.