Man has always been very creative. We are always looking for ways to make life easier through the constant advancement of technology. But despite man’s creativity and inventiveness, we are still limited by our own thinking. Ephesians 3:14-21 helps us realize just how great God is, and at the same time, how limited man’s imagination is compared to Him. This truth helps us understand our place, God’s greatness and the power we all have within us as His Children.
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Rather than going through verses 14 all the way through 21, let’s do something different. Let’s start from the last verse and work our way upwards. Verse 21 is a Doxology, a hymn, verse, or form of words in Christian liturgy glorifying God. Liturgy is a form according to which public Christian worship is conducted.
Why is this a significant point to understand? Because as Paul ends the first half of his letter (Ephesians chapter 1 to 3), he ends it at such a high note and with so much emotion.
Verse 21 starts with “To him be glory…” Only those who understand who God really is can express this statement with a strong conviction in their hearts. People who do not know God will feel awkward saying this, but Paul knows how great his God is (verse 20) and he knows He deserves all the glory. The glory should be seen in the church, “To him be glory in the church…” because the word church does not pertain to the building, but to the children of God. His children should show the glory and greatness of God and reflect Jesus Christ (To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus…) I like what John Piper said:
The way the church glorifies God is by simply providing an arena in which the work of Jesus Christ can take effect
As Paul proclaims his doxology in verse 21, “To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations for ever and ever. Amen.” he is expressing that the glory of God is not just for “right now” but for all generations that will pass through time.
This is such a sweet doxology to his God. A declaration of his love to the Lord. A declaration of who his God is for him. And the doxology was possible only because Paul understood how great God is from verse 20 – that He can do more than what we can imagine. Paul was addressing the church. He was able to put his total confidence in God because he knew that God can do more than what our limited minds can imagine or expect to happen. And God can do even greater things that are way beyond our imaginations because of His unfathomable love for us in verse 19. His love that is vast and complete. He’ll do great things in us because he loves us. Love that we cannot possibly comprehend to what extent because it has no end.
That’s why we are always to expect great things from God! Be in faith. Believe that great things can happen. Understand that we have a great God that we cannot even imagine how great. But achieving great things in life requires power that Paul specifically prayed for, for the church. What is sad about Christians today is that a lot of them don’t realize that they have the power to be victorious. We have to understand the unlimited power that Paul prayed for, with the believers/church in mind. The prayer in verses 14 to 19 before going to verse 20. You can have the power to do the work through his Spirit. Power to serve with such love and passion. Power to serve despite physical weariness. Power to serve despite opposition.
Paul prayed for this power. How? Let’s look at Paul’s prayer – verse 14 to 19. Verse 14: For this reason I bow my knees before the Father. The statement “For this reason” means Paul was coming back to what he wrote in chapter 2:
- You are that new creation
- Spiritually alive
- Unified into God’s household
- As a church, you are the dwelling place of God built on the words and work of the apostles and prophets
Because of this, Paul realizes that he was addressing a church who had the Holy Spirit inside of them. Therefore, power is available! One truth that the church holds on to is that Christ lives in each and every one; therefore you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you. The statement “…I bow my knees before the Father” shows Paul’s ultimate desire for the church. And when he goes on to verse 15 stating “from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name”, Paul prepares his heart to know who he is approaching (from whom), to know who holds time (Whole family in heaven and earth which refers to believers from every era of history, those dead and alive.) and to know where He got his identify (derives its name). In verse 16 he understands that God’s resources are limitless and available to every believer, hence He can ask for anything.
He then laid down his request for the church, that they may be strengthened with Power. There are 3 ways to plug-in to the power of the Holy Spirit: (1) Immerse yourself in the word of God, the Bible and believe in his truths, (2) Constantly pray and (3) Obey the leading.
When you immerse yourself in God’s word, pray and learn to remove love for yourself by loving God more (obeying the leading), you come to that point where you just reflect Christ in your heart. And the Holy Spirit, with His power, enables you to know God’s love. As you begin to experience and know God’s love, you are compelled to give totally yourself to him. You reflect the fullness of God in your life when you surrender and just reflect Christ. The fullness that is being talked about in verse 19 is about being full of love for the Lord, NOT the fullness of understanding Him because that is impossible! That God is the only one manifest in your life. You yield to God! Total surrender. Total submission. No more me. But only Christ.
When you finally experience fullness, when God is the only one manifest in your life, Verse 20 now works. God does great things in and through you, things you can’t even start to imagine. And when you realize He is using you and doing great things that you would have never expected in your life, it drives you to verse 21. A doxology. Praise to our Lord. Praise God! Praise God!
Because with the Power of the Holy Spirit, you can live rather than exist. Live with the Greatness and Love of God being reflected in your Life!
Have you merely just “exsisted?” I would love to hear your thoughts on the comment section below.
Note from the author: This is an excerpt from my message at CCF Alabang entitled “Live Rather than Exist”. We have the following Sunday services 8am, 10am, 12pm and 6pm. Everyone is invited! I would love to meet you if you have time to visit.