Text: Ephesians 3:20-21
Paul has just been talking about the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of God’s physical creation and the spiritual distance of things. He has been setting forth a grand scale, universal setting of enormous proportions. If we were to just think of the physical creation, the universe itself is exceeding abundantly above all that we think.
Limitations of the flesh are opportunities for the spirit of God
- Children born from woman who can’t have children
- Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. (John the Baptist and Jesus born. John born from Elizabeth who was past age. Jesus born from a virgin.)
- Parting Red Sea
- Daniel in lion’s den
- Shadrach, Meshach, Abed Nego in the fire
- David and Goliath
- Mark 10:27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
- Philippians 3:21. O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?
- Joni Eareckson Tada
- Quadriplegic as a teen from diving accident
- Sought solace in alcohol. Blamed God.
- One day gained a completely new perspective on her problem. How God could use it.
- She’s now been a quadriplegic for 50 years. Says I’d rather be in my wheelchair a know Jesus Christ like I know him now, than be able to walk and not know him.
- Befriended trial. Wheelchair story, security guard tells her to put up the wheelchair. She says, It’s MY wheelchair. A friend realized what she said a later said it was an encouragement for her to hear Joni say, It’s MY wheelchair.
- Suffering as a mirror. However, if I were to nail down suffering’s main purpose, I’d say it’s the textbook that teaches me who I really am, because I’m not the paragon of virtue I’d like to think I am. Suffering keeps knocking me off my pedestal of pride. Sometimes, when my scoliosis becomes extremely painful, I’ll murmur and drop hints to God that he’s piling on too much. Later, when the pain dissipates, I’ll make excuses: Lord, that’s not like me. I’m not like that at all. But it is like me. It’s exactly like me. (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/reflections-on-50th-anniversary-of-my-diving-accident)
- Inexpressible Joy – The process is difficult, but affliction isn’t a killjoy; I don’t think you could find a happier follower of Jesus than me. The more my paralysis helps me get disentangled from sin, the more joy bubbles up from within. I can’t tell you how many nights I have lain in bed, unable to move, stiff with pain, and have whispered near tears, “Oh, Jesus, I’m so happy. So very happy in you!” God shares his joy on his terms only, and those terms call for us to suffer, in some measure, like his Son. I’ll gladly take it. Half a century of paralysis has also shown me how high the cosmic stakes really are. Whenever I fidget in my confinement, I can almost hear Satan taunt God—as he did with Job—“Look at her, see? She doesn’t really trust you. Test her with more pain and you’ll see her true colors!” When the Devil insists God’s people only serve him when life is easy, I have the high honor of proving him wrong. To be on the battlefield where the mightiest forces in the universe converge in warfare? By God’s grace, I’m all in. (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/reflections-on-50th-anniversary-of-my-diving-accident)
My estimation of God is too small
- We all know and say God can do anything. We all know that the Lord has all power. Yet, we are still surprised when He works outside of our box.
- Exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…
- Take the physical world for a moment
- Consider the cosmos, the universe. No one has found the end of it in spite of looking at it for thousands of years.
- You take a look at biology and the working of even just a part of the human body such as the eye. The complicated processes and chemistry. It’s receptors and nerves receiving and interpreting light and color. How about the extreme speed with which the eyelid catches a foreign object. You consider the aperture of the pupils and the lenses working together. It’s an incredible creation exceeding abundantly above all that we think.
- Consider zoology. There is such an incredible diversity of fish, creeping things, birds, and cattle. Just take fish; shellfish, scaled fish, jellyfish, crab, crustaceans, freshwater fish, saltwater fish, sharks, whales, seahorses, up to 32,000 species someone said. The point is in just one category of living creatures, fish, God is exceeding abundantly above all that we think.
- Matthew 12:42 – 1 Kings 10:1-8 the half was not told me
- That tells me I don’t know what to ask for because it’s too small. So what I need to do is listen to him, do what He says to do, and watch Him work.
He is able to do much more through you and I
- Then comes the convicting part of this verse – that worketh in you. That power is not a remote power, but a very personal power.
- You and I draw strength from His ability. Every step of obedience is met with these three words, He is able. He is able.
- Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God. – William Carey, cobbler turned missionary to India.
- Hebrews 11 speaks of ordinary people whose trust in God made them extraordinary.