Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 30 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #199)
A series of homilies on Ephesians.
A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”
I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.
TEXT: Ephesians 3:20-21:
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
P.T. Forsyth said, “It is well to get rid of the idea that faith is a matter of spiritual heroism only for a few select spirits. There are heroes of faith, but faith is not only for heroes. It is a matter of spiritual adulthood. It is a matter of maturity.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “The church as we know it today seems a million miles from the New Testament church. That may be a great generalization, but I will stand on it. There is a gulf between our average Christianity and the church of the New Testament that makes the Grand Canyon look like a cavity in someone’s tooth.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “It is by revivals of religion that the Church of God makes its most visible advance. When all things seem becalmed, when no breath stirs the air, when the sea is like lead and the sky is low and grey, when all worship seems to have ended but the worship of matter, then it is that the Spirit of God is poured upon the Church, then it is that the Christianity of the apostles and martyrs, not that of the philosophers and liberals, keeps rising … from the catacombs of oblivion, and appears young and fresh in the midst of the obsolete things of yesterday and the day before.”
As Paul comes to what has been called the “doxology” of his prayer, he focuses words of praise on God whom he expects will answer the requests he has just made on behalf of the Ephesian believers. In so doing, he turns the attention of his readers to God as well.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…” Paul had asked for four things that the Ephesian believers could not do for themselves — that, perhaps, even they did not think were possible. He had asked: (1) that they would be strengthened by His Spirit; (2) that Christ would dwell in them; (3) that they would be able to comprehend or take hold of the love of God; and (4) that they would be filled with all the fullness of God. All before that, Paul had talked about how Gentiles and Jews were now members of one family in Christ — something that had been previously thought impossible.
How could all of this be done? It could only be done by God who is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”
Dr. John Walvoord and Dr. Roy Zuck wrote: “Paul praised God who is able to do far more than one could ask or imagine, according to the standard of His power that is at work within us. No human or angel would ever think that Jews and Gentiles could function together in one body. But with God’s power of love in each believer’s life, Paul was confident that Jewish and Gentile believers can function and love one another. This is astounding and though it is not naturally possible, God is able to accomplish it. Paul therefore ascribed to God glory which is to be manifest in the church, where the miracle of love will occur, and in Christ Jesus, who made the union of Jewish and Gentile believers possible.”
Any good thing that you have experienced, God can do above that exceedingly and abundantly. Any good thing that you have thought about or imagined, God can do above that exceedingly and abundantly. Any good things that you can not even think to name, God can do above that exceedingly and abundantly.
Many believers, today, unfortunately don’t take God’s ability seriously. We have become so influenced by humanism and secularism that, mentally, we limit God. We don’t think of Him as being able to do exceedingly and abundantly, above and beyond what we can ask or think. Thus, we don’t ask for the things that we should ask for. We forget that some things may seem impossible to us, but nothing is impossible to God.