Ephesians 3:14-21 New King James Version (NKJV)
Appreciation of the Mystery
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—
19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
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,
21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Aren't children the greatest?. Sometimes the funniest!
--Eric Marshall writes of children's letters to God.
--One wrote, "Dear God, are you real? If you are, you better do something quick!" Signed, Harriet Ann.
--Another, "Dear God, we are going on vacation for two weeks so we won't be in church. I hope you will be there when we get back." Donnie.
--And, "Dear God, I wrote you before, remember? I asked you for a horse. I did what I promised, but you have not sent my horse. So what about it?" Lewis.
--We smile, but do we adults often pray like that?
People ask me, "Is God able to do, this or that?"
--They had prayed, without results, as yet.
--Yes, God is able. "Able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" (Eph. 3:20). Believe it!
--You see, God created this universe, out of nothing.
--He made us. And able to mend us. To do for us.
However, God's ability is balanced with His wisdom and love for His children; and with our faith, in Him.
--Our own children ask for different things we are able to provide; yet, that may not be the time, or be best for them. Wisdom and love motivate God's ability.
--Certainly God knows best. He came to save, bless.
--"That you may be filled with all fullness of God."
--"Strengthened with all might .. so we may be able to comprehend .. and know the love of Christ" (v 16-19).
God is able, but are we able to trust, and obey, Him?
--To pray, as Jesus, "not my will, but Thy will."
--To pray, the Lord will have His way, which is best.
--To leave the details to Him; He knows all things.
The Lord seeks, in His Word, to teach this.
--With God, nothing is impossible except what's wrong.
--Except, what is not right and best for His own.
--Jesus' life, miracles, death and resurrection, prove this for those who love the Lord. Who loves us so.
--The experiences of His saints, today, confirm it.
--Explore with me what God is able to do for anyone.
I. GOD IS ABLE .. TO DO ABOVE ALL WE ASK OR THINK.
--This is our Scripture, from Ephesians 3, Paul shares with us, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
--God is able to do what we are able to believe He will.
--"To Him who is able to do.. above all we ask" (v 20).
--Able to make diverse people "one in Christ Jesus."
--To unite in Him many nationalities. Families. Denominations. And mission organizations. Or nations.
How is He able to do this, for sinful, selfish folks?
--By His Spirit! Spiritually "strengthened with might, through His Spirit in the inner man" - our soul. --Like our bodies, our souls need God's Spirit's power. We need the Holy Spirit's "strength." Also Jesus Christ.
--"That Christ may dwell in your hearts," be at home.
--With our Heavenly Father, all part of our One God.
--"Being rooted and grounded in love" - to God, others.
--Free from hatred and bitterness. Flowing with joy.
--"That you be filled with the fullness of God."
--With "His fullness," not ours. Being Christ-like!
What is a Christian? It is "Christ in you." We in Him.
--The more we have of Him, the more God's able to do!
--So He is "able to do .. above all we ask or think."
--The name Christian itself declares "Christ in you."
--What a difference Jesus makes, when He's in charge.
What is it you really need? Tell the Lord.
--"God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19). Mark it.
--You see, believers, God is able .. "what we need."
His answers are wiser than our prayers. God "is able."
--Able to remove blinders from our eyes, so we believe.
--Able to forgive .. and forget .. all our iniquities.
--Able to lift us up, when we fall; to walk in light.
--Able to lead ... we know not the way.
--Able to "heal all our diseases," in His holy will.
--Able to dry our tears, in our sorrows and losses.
II. WHAT ELSE? GOD IS ABLE TO DELIVER.
--You know the story of Daniel in the lion's den, as all children do, in Daniel 6, how he was delivered.
God has a history of delivering His people .. from enemies who would attack .. over rivers and seas .. even from fiery furnaces! God is "able to deliver."
--Three Hebrew youth, delivered from a fiery furnace!
--We read about it in Daniel 3.
--They refused to worship a pagan idol, image of a king.
--These young people declined to follow a wrong crowd!
--In a strange land. Away from home, and temple.
--But they took God with them! Knew God's Word!
--Knew to have "no other gods" before the True God!
If they would not bow down, they faced a furnace fire.
--Hear their reply, "Our God we serve is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace .. but if not .. we will not serve your gods, nor worship the gold image."
--Do we have any heroes for the Lord like that today?
They said, "God is able! But we leave it up to Him!"
--That kind of faith delivers, or gives grace to face.
--They did not bow. They did not burn. Did not bend.
--I want to be like that! I want it for you, for all.
With worsening world conditions, we need a Deliverer!
--Many feel the furnace fires of affliction, or persecution, and oppression, or some addiction.
--My friend, with the Lord it is cool.
--Dare to live for the Lord! Let's do it, for Jesus!
In the dark days of Civil War, Lincoln felt the heat.
--So Abraham Lincoln in the Oval Office often prayed.
--Prayed aloud. On his knees. For a united nation.
--Under God. Where the people were all free.
--"0 God, You heard Solomon who prayed for wisdom, I pray you will hear me, for this nation, to be united and deliver us in Your grace and power." God did!
--Not with guns! But with God! Not war! By prayer!
God is a big God. Go to Him. He's "able to deliver."
--Deliver you and me. And our nation, from evil, if we will repent .. trust .. and obey the Lord.
III. GOD IS ABLE TO SAVE .. ANYONE. Yes, anyone.
--He is "able to save to the uttermost, all who come to, God through Him (Jesus), since He (Jesus) always lives to make intercession for them" (Heb. 7:25).
--That's right, God "is able to save" all believers in Jesus as their Savior. He is God in the flesh.
--Took our place on a cross. Paid our sin debt.
--One that He did not owe, and we could not pay.
--Could call legions of angels to His aid; but He died and, best of all, Jesus arose - so we may also!
--No other in all history, like Jesus in all He did!
--Friend, He is our kind of God. Don't you love Him?
Paul Getty, one of the world's richest, was asked what it takes for one to be satisfied and really happy?
--His reply, "Just a little bit more!" How true.
--The more we get, the more we want, I guess for many.
--Let's apply that to the Lord God, my friend.
--When we know Him, the more of Him, the more we want.
--To know Him, even the poor are rich! He satisfies.
--What else can we know of God's great ability?
IV. GOD IS ABLE TO KEEP - KEEP YOU FROM FALLING.
--How we need that! It is so easy to fail, and fall.
--"Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling, or stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 24).
--Jude, like James, half-brothers of Jesus, now believers .. leaders in church .. writers in the Bible!
--They were kept by a God "able to keep us ..."
We have an enemy out there! The devil and his like.
--Satan as a roaring lion, "seeks whom he may devour."
--He is so alluring, cunning, crafty, deceiving.
--Without God in us, none can defeat the devil.
--We need a God, "able to keep us .. from falling."
Our world is not getting any better; but we ought to.
--To be its reflected "light" and "salt" but are we?
--As Harriet Ann said in her letter to God, "You'd better do something quick," God asks for our help!
--Friend, you and I better do something to show we're on the Lord's side, in a lost and dying world!
--As young Herbie wrote, "Dear God, count me in."
--How about you? Let's make sure. Young Herbie did.
--I never regretted my decision for Christ.
--God is able to do all this - even heal, in His will.
--We leave it up to God. He knows best, in His love.
--How about you?
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 45