Ephesians 3, God Is Exceedingly Abundantly Above All
1. Revealing Unknowable Mysteries (v1-5)
2. Creating Inconceivable Unity (v6)
3. Offering Unbelievable Opportunity (v7-8)
4. Distributing Unsearchable Riches (v8)
5. Demonstrating Manifold Wisdom (v9-10)
6. Accomplishing Eternal Purposes (v11)
7. Inviting Unfathomable Boldness (v12)
8. Exchanging Tribulation For Immeasurable Glory (v13)
9. Fathering Innumerable Creation (v14-15)
10. Providing Inexhaustible Strength (v16)
11. Revealing Incomprehensible Love (v17-19)
12. Doing Unsurpassable Good (v20-21)
Ephesians 3, God Is Exceedingly Abundantly Above All
Ephesians 3, God Is Exceedingly Abundantly Above All
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Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:00:00]:
Paul wraps up this chapter with a reflection on God. to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all. this thought that Paul gives here, of course, it stands out as you read this chapter. It's Superlative upon superlative exceedingly is well, that's a lot. Abundantly, that's a lot. You put exceedingly and abundantly together, and now it's even more so, but then it's also above all, there there is this picture that Paul is painting here of God going far beyond. So far beyond what we could ask or think that we cannot even imagine the full capacity and capabilities of God. I've titled the message this evening. God is exceedingly abundantly above all. Because as I was reading through this chapter and pondering, considering Lord, what do you want us to focus on? What You know, there's different parts of this. Paul, a little bit sharing about the mystery and some revelation that he had. Paul is sharing about his ministry and how God had given that to him. The prayer that he preys for the Ephesians is a powerful prayer. We can really spend some time focusing on that and learning a lot about prayer. in Paul's example of prayer here. But as I continued to read through the chapter, I began to see that there is really this thought and this mindset that Paul has throughout this chapter of the bigness of God. that it's not just in this closing verse that he's thinking about how God is exceeding and abundant and above all, but But really throughout this whole chapter, he is pondering and considering and asking us to join with him in that. Considering how awesome God is, how powerful God is, And so what I'd like to do this evening is walk through this chapter, not so much to try to look at every verse, but to identify some of those things and to help us pause this evening and consider the exceeding abundantness that God is, that God has, that God does, and how he is above all that we could ever ask think or imagine he far exceeds our ability to comprehend or request. And so twelve points this evening. You know, like, 12 points. Well, yes. When the title is exceedingly abundantly above all, I think the points need to reflect that. Normally we do maybe 4, sometimes 5. Right? But, no, twelve points to think about to reflect on how big God is how awesome he is. What he does has an exceedingly abundantly above all God. The first point we'll look at is here in verses 1 through 5. And so here's point number 1. God is revealing unknowable mysteries. Let's read these verses. It says, for this reason, I Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus, for you Gentiles, If indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which was given to me for you, how that by revelation, he made known to me the mystery as I have briefly written already, by which when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ. which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the spirit to his holy apostles and prophets. Paul is walking through a train of thought that is sometimes difficult to follow. Because he is meditating on the magnitude of God. and he kind of keeps thrown inside notes and parentheses in here to himself. He says, for this reason, looking at what Christ has done and who Christ is, revealed in chapter 2. So for this reason, because of Christ's hour cornerstone, because of his place, in the body of Christ because he is our peace, because we have been made alive in him for this reason. But then he says, I Paul, prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles. Now, he is in prison as he's writing this, And so he stops a moment to reflect who he is in light of who God is, who God is, wow, who Christ is, what he has done for us. That's powerful. But Who am I? I am Paul, prisoner of Christ Jesus, for you. But I have received the dispensation of the grace of God. God has delivered to me and entrusted to me something incredible. He calls it the mystery. But it's really a revelation of the mystery. It's not still a mystery. It was a mystery. It was hidden. He says in verse 5. In other ages, it was not made known. And now it's known. It's been revealed. God has revealed it. I would ask you to consider this evening the unknowable mysteries of life. You know, there are things that It kind of amazes me that we still don't know. There are places on the earth that are still unexplored. There are depths of the sea, never not even like factoring in outer space and, you know, all of the planets of our solar system and then beyond our solar into the galaxy and then into other galaxies, you know, like there's so much out there, but even our own home planet, so much that we don't know that science cannot explain that after thousands of years of research, building upon research, building upon research, You know what it's like to learn something. And you get to the end of a subject, and it's not that you you know, can jump right to the end because there's all these middle steps you have to learn. You have to learn how to add before you could multiply. Right? And and you kinda build on things that you've previously learned to level up and then learn the next thing and then learn the next thing. For thousands of years, humanity has been building up, and and we've learned a lot. Then there's been huge advances in knowledge and information and technology, incredible stuff. But at the same time, There is so much that humanity still comes back and says, we don't know. I mean, sometimes we don't like to be honest about it. And so we try to make up an answer and try to pretend like we know. But for for the most part, there is in any subject, in any research, in any science, in anything that we want to dive into, we can go for as long as we can for a whole to vote all of our attention and build learning upon learning upon learning and get to the end of that and say, there's still things I don't know. But that's not the case for god. And there are things about the plan of god, the purposes of god, the involvement, the including of the gentiles in the plans of god, the way that god had designed that, that was unknown. it it was undiscovered. It couldn't have been calculated. Moses could not have figured out the mystery. He had bits and pieces, he had hints at it in the things that the Lord was giving to him to record, but there are things that none of the profits knew, none of the most wisest, none of the things that even Solomon and all his wisdom, there were mysteries to him. There are things that the Godliest of the prophets couldn't understand and did not know.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:08:50]:
But god, is exceedingly abundantly above all.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:08:57]:
And there is nothing that he does not no. And so, this is one example of many mysteries that he reveals and can reveal. He says in verse 3, by revelation, he may known to me the mystery. By revelation, it is the idea here that it could not be figured out. There is no human capacity. There was no train of thought, there was no education system that could arrive at the understanding of this truth that was there and hinted about and foretold prophetically. But even the prophets who foretold it didn't fully understand it, did not know what God knows. God knows all mysteries. As we think about this, of course there is good reason for considering this not just for the salvation that we have and plan of God and understanding that, but also understanding that there are no mysteries to God that we can Russell with parts of our lives and think why this and why that. We can wrestle with things in life and how come God allows that or why won't God do that or why did God do that, and many mysteries that we don't have answers to. But there are no mysteries for God. And God is able at any time when it's appropriate, when it's beneficial, to reveal those mysteries to his people. Are you good at guessing the plot of a show or a movie as it's happening. If so, you're the worst kind of person to watch something with. Right? because you're guessing all the time. I'm not really great at it, sometimes it just like strikes me and I get it right and I react. And Kim goes, what? And I'm like, oh, I didn't mean to react so loud. I don't wanna tell you because I don't wanna ruin it for you. But but sometimes, you know, you just oh, yeah. That's gonna work out perfectly. Right? But in life, we rarely get that kind of insight. But God always has it. There is no mysteries to him. He has it all figured out. He understands it completely.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:11:24]:
He knows the beginning from the end and the end from the beginning and everything in between. God is exceedingly abundantly above all. He reveals unknowable.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:11:36]:
Uncalculable, unattainable through education or through any human process. He reveals supernaturally.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:11:47]:
the things that only he can know because only he knows all things.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:11:53]:
Well, we're gonna look at verse 6 for point number 2. And that is, he is creating inconceivable unity. It's inconceivable verse 6. that the gentiles should be fellow heirs of the same body and partakers of this of his promise in Christ through the gospel. Here he expounds a little bit upon the mystery. What it was the mystery? The mystery was that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs of the same body. The mystery was that the gentiles would have equal status and be part of something new called the body of Christ through the gospel. It was known that God had foretold that there would be salvation for the gentiles, but Their understanding of what that meant was radically different from what God had planned. And the unity that God had planned between Jews and gentiles was inconceivable. to the Jewish people of Jesus' Day to Paul and his family before he came to know Jesus, to generations of the Jews before that. There there there was just it was not even in the realm of possibility, it was inconceivable The only way for Jews to be partakers was to convert to Judaism in their mindset, that was the only way for them to have right relationship with God. But God was able to do something unforeseen. Again, nobody would have calculated this. Nobody would have figured this out. He created something new called The Body of Christ, the Church. And through the gospel, there is this new entity. And so there is no jew and gentile as it comes to the things of salvation. There is no male and female as it comes to relating to the Lord. That we, by faith in Jesus Christ, all have the same access to the father by faith in the finished work of Jesus upon the cross. where fellow heirs, equal errors, equal status, partakers of his promise. We get to partake of the promises of God were in the same body. There's a unity that got established. That was the mystery. And it was a unity that was unthinkable, that was inconceivable, there would have been no way for anyone to be able to guess or to figure out or to calculate that this is something that God could even do. Now, again, we consider this, and it's powerful to consider the gospel in its place, and God planned it out and having all of this in mind, but also as we consider are exceedingly abundant, above all god, understand that there is unity that God is looking to create and able to create in your life that perhaps right now at this moment is inconceivable. There's just not even in the realm of possibility to think about it would be laughable, You know, maybe if God were to give you a hint of it, maybe like Sarah in the tent, when he promised the son, maybe you would laugh. Maybe you would kind of chuckle a little bit and say, yeah. Right. That is not conceivable. That's not possible. but god is able to create inconceivable unity. He's in the business of making reconciliation, And so those who could never conceive of being right with God, he's able to provide right relationship with God and full fellowship with God. Those who are unable to imagine a reconciliation between people, it's not inconceivable. He is able, exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ever ask or think. God has ways that we know nothing about could not imagined could not pretend. No sci fi picture could create it or make it up. No no, you know, imaginative author could write a similar story, he has ways to bring us into unity with him, to one another, to the body of Christ, to do things that are well beyond our ability Moving on to verses 78, for point number 3, God is offering unbelievable opportunity. Think about that for your life. God offers to you unbelievable opportunity. But believe it. But it's unbelievable the opportunity that he gives. In verse 7, Paul goes on to say, of which I became a minister According to the gift of the grace of God, given to me by the effective working of his power. To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. As Paul is reflecting on this mystery, and how the unity that God has created and this powerful truth that just opened up incredible doors. You remember, Peter, and the book of acts wrestling with that, and God had to give him the vision. Yes. It's okay, Peter. Preach the gospel to Gentiles. Right? This was a truth that no one was expecting. It changed everything. And as Paul is reflecting on that truth,
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:17:48]:
He says, and I'm a minister
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:17:56]:
of this message, of this truth,
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:18:00]:
according to the gift of the grace of God.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:18:05]:
He is declaring here grace, gift. Paul is saying, I'm a minister of this message, of this gospel, of this mystery,
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:18:17]:
but I didn't earn it.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:18:20]:
I don't deserve it. I could never earn it or deserve it. It's a gift of the grace of God. And it's not my strength, it's not my doing. He says it's by the effective working of his power. So Paul says, I I have this opportunity that I don't deserve that I could never earn and that I'm not capable of doing. But god is working this out through me. And so I am a minister of this gospel.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:18:59]:
But not because I had anything to do with it, because of the grace of God, because of the effective working, the effective working, of his power.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:19:11]:
But, but then, he continues to reflect on this. He says, to me, Like, this is shocking to Paul as he thinks about it even as he writes it here in Ephesians chapter 3. I me. I am the recipient of this gift of the grace of God. I am an instrument of God where his power is working through me. This makes no sense. This doesn't seem right. It seems unbelievable that I would have this opportunity Paul is saying. He refers to himself here as less than the least of all the saints. Paul has used this type of language a few times in his writings. less than the least of all of the saints. He refers to himself as the worst of all sinners, the chief of all sinners. He refers to himself as the least of all the apostles. And always pointing back to you, there's that hook back to, I persecuted the Church of God. I caused Christians to blaspheme the name of Christ. I hurt and I harmed people because they believed in Jesus. And because of that past, because of that history, He always would come back to this place where he would realize how undeserving he was. I'm the I'm less than the least of all the saints. To me, I have this opportunity. It's unbelievable. I have this opportunity to share the gospel to be a minister of this mystery, to work with God where his effective working of his power is working through me. To me, this is
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:21:16]:
it's unbelievable. that this grace was given to me that I should preach the gospel to others. This is not just true of Paul, But God offers you unbelievable opportunity. seriously, the sky is the limit
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:21:38]:
on the opportunity of what God has set before you. In the previous chapter, Ephesians chapter 2 verse 10, Paul refers to us as his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. God has a whole lifetime of good works prepared for you. And that's not good works for you to do in the sense of, okay, walk this lady across the road and in your own effort and in your own strength, here is a list of all the things that you should do. The good works that God is prepared is opportunities for you to like Paul receive the gift of the grace of God experience the effective working of his power? That you you don't deserve it. You could never earn the opportunities. But God gives you these opportunities and he's prepared for you. He offers you unbelievable opportunity to participate in his kingdom to contribute to his work to make a difference in the lives for eternity of the people that he places around you. It's unbelievable. God is exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask her think. Few and I understood the
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:23:01]:
value of the opportunities that he sets before us. They would blow our minds. Paul hears, he wrestles with this. He says, it's a gift. It's grace. I'm not doing it. It's the effective working of God's power.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:23:20]:
To me, who doesn't deserve it, the least of all the saints. God uses failures and sinners and those who fall short and those who are inadequate and those who don't understand everything that they should understand or know everything that they should know. God works through all of us.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:23:40]:
with the effective working of his power, it provides you unbelievable opportunity.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:23:51]:
Sticking here in verse 8 for just a moment longer for Point number 4, God is distributing unsearchable riches. He's distributing unsearchable riches. Let's read verse 8 again. He says, to me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. Paul says, there is a wealth that God has provided And he's provided it to me to distribute it. I'm preaching among the gentiles. The unsearchable riches of Christ. The wealth that is found in Christ, the abundance, the exceeding abundance above all that is found in Christ. It's immeasurable. It's un searchable. Unsearchable. Literally, it means something that cannot be tracked down or traced out?
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:25:05]:
Can you count to a number
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:25:08]:
that cannot be counted to, that's the idea. Again, we live in a world where there's Wow. Lots of information and lots of technology, and it seems like there is no limit to the amount of information that can be collected It can be indexed and searched and found out huge wealth of information that we have and we have access to. But the wealth of information that exists today in our lifetime is searchable. But the riches of Christ
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:25:44]:
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:25:49]:
There's more than can be indexed. There's more than can be figured out or understood from beginning to end. You can't get through the whole thing and and and reach the end of it. That's the idea. You can never reach the end and find that last penny in the riches that are found in Christ.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:26:11]:
I don't know if you're picturing scrooge McDuck, you know, diving into his big bat of gold. It's indexible. It's searchable. It's countable. But what is found in Christ is unsearchable. There is more there, not just than we need, There's more there than could ever be understood or discovered the wealth that we have in Christ.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:26:44]:
Paul tells us that the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ. That's part of the wealth that we have. We understand the doctrine of access to God by faith in Jesus Christ. That's part of the wealth that we have.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:27:02]:
But we could go on and on and on, and
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:27:06]:
probably it's a good exercise. For the rest of our lives, we should be trying to search out
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:27:15]:
the riches of all that we have in Christ. Paul says,
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:27:21]:
I'm called to preach among the gentiles, the unsearchable riches of Christ. Notice that. He's preaching. How do you preach something that's unsearchable? Again, it's not that you can't know any part of it. He's preaching what is known and what is accessible what is appropriate. But then also, there's never going to be a conclusion, okay, I've run out of messages, I've run out of preaching, because I've preached everything that there is to be found in Christ. We could study the scriptures backwards and forwards every day, all day for the rest of our lives and still find their unsearchable riches more that we've not found and not discovered what God has for us. To think about the scripture where god talks about us being in his mind, The thoughts that the Lord has for you numbered greater than the sand
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:28:20]:
on the shore. But then to also realize that every one of those thoughts
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:28:27]:
are thoughts of peace and not of evil. Good thoughts, thoughts of your benefit, thoughts that will work out for your good.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:28:41]:
That's unsearchable, the riches of what we have in Christ. the grace of god extended to you.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:28:49]:
Moving on to verse 910, we got point number 5, and that is, god is demonstrating manifold wisdom. Verse 9. And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ. to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of god might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. What Paul is saying here is, Quite surprising. The unsearchable riches of Christ Paul, unworthy, undeserving he's been entrusted with it, to teach it, to preach it, to help everyone see The opportunity, the fellowship that we have, the access to God that we have. It was there from the beginning, it was part of God's plan from the beginning, the beginning of all the ages, right, from the very beginning He's the lamb, sacrificed before the foundation of the world. It was god's plan. He knew it.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:30:08]:
But it's been hidden since before creation.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:30:14]:
To the intent, he says, all that was leading up to this point that now The manifold wisdom of god might be made known. So god had a plan, God had understood the course that man would take, and he understood the course that he would take. so that's why in Genesis, he's able to begin to preview the gospel, Genesis chapter 3, right at the fall, He already knows what he's going to do. But now, as Paul is writing this, Christ has come, He's been crucified. He is resurrected and ascended to the father. And this new work of the church is happening To the intent, Paul says, all of this led to this point that now the manifold wisdom of god might be made known. Manifold that you can think of it like many different folds.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:31:19]:
like your bible has many different folds. Right? Each page is a new fold and a new fold and a new fold, and each fold reveals
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:31:30]:
all new stuff, new information, new words, new thoughts, new ideas, the wisdom of God is not one dimensional. It's not limited to one thing or a small portion of wisdom or all knowledge. The idea of the manifold wisdom of God is that again, there's more folds to god's wisdom than can be searched out and known and understood.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:32:02]:
His wisdom is manifold.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:32:06]:
Just when you think you got to the end of it, there's another fold. When you get to the end of that, there's another fold. And then you get to the end of that, there's another fold that again, Solomon and all his wisdom didn't come close. Maybe let's be generous and say Solomon had one fold, but god has manifold wisdom.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:32:29]:
but that's not the crazy part.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:32:32]:
The crazy part is what he says here in verse 10. The manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. Try to process this for a minute. His manifold wisdom is being made known. how? By the church? The church is making known the manifold wisdom of god. And maybe sometimes you go to church, knee walk away thinking, I don't know. I didn't feel any manifold wisdom of god coming from that church. Right? The church making known the manifold wisdom of god Well, that's pretty shocking just by itself. But who is this being made known to?
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:33:29]:
He says, the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:33:35]:
The heavenly places. God is using the Church to teach the heavens. He's using the work that he is doing inside the body of Christ In the uniting of Jews and Gentiles and the fulfilling of the plan of salvation, the the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross, as well as the ongoing and continuing work of the Holy Spirit within the church. He is using the church to teach To make known the manifold wisdom of God to principalities and powers in the heavenly places. Now, you can wrestle with this. Is this angelic beings? Is this Satan? And his forces
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:34:28]:
I would suggest all of the above. He is using the church to demonstrate his wisdom that none of them could ever know or understand or grasp.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:34:44]:
Peter writing in 1st Peter chapter 1, talking about how amazing the gospel is and how the prophets who foretold of this time where the gospel would be in full strength with the coming of Jesus. He says, it was revealed to them that they weren't ministering the things that they were prophesying to themselves But to those who would receive the gospel, things that the Holy Spirit spoke through them They didn't quite understand. They didn't quite get, but the Holy Spirit told them, it's okay that you don't get it. It's not for you. It's for those who will be able to experience the fulfillment at the coming of the messiah.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:35:30]:
But Peter said something very interesting. In first, Peter chapter 1 verse 12, he says these things are things which angels desire to look into. The work of god in your life reveals the manifold wisdom of god to principalities and powers in the heavenly places. Angels want to figure out how how god can use you and why God does use you, why God works in your life, and how the grace of God is working itself out for you. God is exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask, I think, demonstrating his manifold wisdom, not just to us and to the world around us and to our fellow believers, but to all of the heavenly places and the powers and the principalities, we are god's showcase
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:36:27]:
of wisdom and knowledge. Moving on to verse 11, we get point number 6. God is accomplishing eternal purposes. Paul continues on. And, again, this is all, like, one very complex stringed together train of thought. I'm just picking out some of the pieces here to help us think about the exceeding abundance of God. In verse 11, according to the eternal purpose, which he accomplished in Christ Jesus, our lord. What is God doing? He's accomplishing eternal purposes. What are eternal purposes? Internal purposes are purposes that were purposed outside of time, before time. before creation. Again, the lamb sacrificed before the foundation of the world. The gospel hidden in the ages to come before Christ was the creator of the heavens and the earth. And now, he's fulfilling and revealing his wisdom, fulfilling the purposes that he had established In Christ Jesus, our lord,
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:37:45]:
from eternity. And eternity is weird for us. It's hard to think about before time, after time, outside of time.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:37:58]:
It's well beyond our ability to really grasp. how it is for God to have eternal purposes. But it is absolutely definitely the truth of what he has revealed of himself. He has purpose from eternity. and God is accomplishing his eternal purposes. Again, really powerful to consider in the plan of god, the work of salvation, but also really powerful to consider in light of my life and right light of your life, the circumstances that we face. We are so moved by this circumstance in that circumstance and pushed here and pushed there and overwhelmed and rocked by these things, We get new information and it changes everything.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:38:53]:
But God has eternal purposes that he is accomplishing.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:38:59]:
Internal purposes. He thinks he's planned for you and had in mind for you and wants to do and is going to do He has purposes in your life that he is going to accomplish. They're not gonna change. He's established them from eternity. This is one of the reasons why sometimes I kind of give a warning against answers that are too simple. A lot of times, we can look at a situation. We can apply some logic to it and say, well, God allowed this in my life so that this could happen. And I would say, maybe. You have a limited set of information. And sometimes we look at something we say 1 to 1, it makes sense. That caused that and that's the one thing. And so he did that, so that could happen.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:39:52]:
I would suggest to you God's eternal purposes are much more complex than that.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:39:58]:
God's never just doing one thing in your life, allowing one thing or doing one thing or causing one thing or leading you into something for one thing. It's always a 1000 things. to fulfill the purposes that he's established for you from eternity.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:40:19]:
God is exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ever ask or imagine. Because he is accomplishing his eternal purposes.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:40:31]:
The things that he's planned from before time before you existed. But but then on into eternity, well beyond, you can imagine perhaps some frame of time for your the rest of your life. You can imagine perhaps try to picture a little bit of eternity, like, what's the 1st 1000 years gonna be like. Right? But God has eternal purposes established that he's accomplishing. He doesn't have to imagine what's it gonna be like. He He knows what it's going to be. He knows what's good for you,
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:41:05]:
and he is working your life and your heart and your soul toward that good. He started way back there before time began, and he well beyond your ability to see into the future and imagine in picture, he's got in mind exactly what you need most, what you'll be most blessed by, what will be good for you, and he is accomplishing those eternal purposes
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:41:32]:
in your life. matter what your current circumstances look like,
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:41:37]:
because you're evaluating those from your lens with your limited understanding God has eternal purposes. He began before time and he's working to accomplish them
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:41:49]:
in the right time, but well beyond what we can imagine or think. verse 12 gives us point number 7 and that is inviting unfathomable boldness. God is inviting unfathomable boldness. verse 12 says, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in him. Like, wow, wow, wow, this verse, packed full, short verse, but In Jesus, we have access to the father. We don't just have access to the father. We have boldness To come before him, as the author Hebrew says, we we can approach boldly in time of need to find mercy and grace to help. And when do you need mercy and grace? When you're really in need of mercy and grace? Failure are great. Issues abound And a lot of times, that's when we're most timid in coming before God. Right? But by faith in Christ, He invites and he says, come boldly. Come with all your failures. Come with all your weaknesses. Come when you need mercy. Come when you failed miserably. Come when you need help and strength because you don't have what it takes. We have boldness and access. Boldness to approach god. Boldness to ask of God to receive from God. Boldness, and he says, with confidence. Boldness and confidence.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:43:29]:
boldness to enter and confidence that he will hear and respond. confidence.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:43:41]:
Literally, it means to be completely persuaded that when I approach God, I have no doubt He hears me. He receives me. He forgives me. He cleanses me. He answers me. God invites. It's unfathomable. Here we are talking about the god who knows all things who began, you know, planning things, but time began and has plans that will last well beyond this lifetime and on into eternity that beyond we can't even imagine or think he's the creator of the heavens and the earth
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And we have opportunity to come boldly with confidence We have access to him, to his ear, to his face, to his presence, to his word, to his power, to his strength, to his comfort, We have access to God by faith in Jesus Christ. It's unfathomable
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No way, no right do we have to be bold
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in approaching God. But god says, come boldly. You need help. You need strength. You need Whatever you need. He invites us. Come. Because of the finished work of Jesus upon the cross, come.
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verse 13 gives us Point number 8. God is exchanging tribulation for immeasurable glory verse 13. Therefore, I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. Paul's in prison. He's been in prison for a long time. He's been suffering greatly. Paul says, don't lose heart
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because these tribulations are easy. Now that's not what he's saying. These tribulations are worth it is what Paul is saying. Don't lose heart. These tribulations
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are worth it. and God is working glory from it. He's exchanging tribulation
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for immeasurable glory. Paul writing to the Corinthians. In 2nd Corinthians chapter 4,
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Talking about the extreme difficult things that he was going through. He says, therefore, we do not lose heart. just as Paul tells the ephesians here, don't lose heart. We don't lose heart in the midst of our tribulation. Though the outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, he says, which is but for a moment is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. God is exchanging those tribulations. And all the hurt and the ache and the pain and difficulty that we face here God is exchanging that. He's transforming that. So Paul says, it's working for us. a far more exceeding this superlative talk again that Paul is picturing here, an eternal weight of glory in exchange for what can only be called a light affliction in
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contrast to the reward, to the glory that God has in store.
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How can god take the hardest things of our lives?
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And have it be that when we enter into eternity and look back, we can say, Lord, I don't regret one thing that you did in my life. I don't regret one moment that you allowed. I don't regret one hurt that I experienced. I don't regret one pain or one tribulation that I faced. I don't regret any of it.
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In eternity, I look back and I say, Lord, thank you
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for your infinite wisdom and for exchanging that tribulation for immeasurable glory for all eternity. God is exceedingly abundantly above all. We can ever ask or think.
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Verse 1415 gives us point number 9. He is fathering innumerable creation. Verse 14 says, for this reason, I bow my knees to the father of our lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. And so Paul is getting into his prayer now. Notice in verse 14, he says, for this reason, he's kind of picking up where he tried to start back in verse 1. Verse 1 of Ephesians 3 for this reason. Right? The outflow of what he's been considering of what Christ has done and who Christ is in chapter 2 of Asians has kind of left Paul reeling. He's overwhelmed by the magnitude of who Christ is and all that it means for us. And so he's going on and on kind of chasing down some thoughts just marveling at the abundance of who God is. And now he comes back and says, for this reason, where was that? Oh, yes. Yes. That's right. For this reason, I bow my knees to the father of our lord Jesus Christ. But as he thinks about the father,
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he says, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. Again, he's just taking a step back and saying, I'm talking about the creator. I'm talking to the creator.
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Who is the father of all heaven and all earth, all of creation, visible and invisible, past, present, and future, He's not just the creator in the sense that he's, you know, distant and dispassionate and, you know, doesn't care and he just, like, threw things out there in the wild. I bow my knees to the father
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of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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The father, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.
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Father speaks of his provision, his care, his concern. He's not the bad example of the father that we might have had or come up with. We are seen. He is the perfect, the best example of a father could ever be imagined and then exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ever ask, I think, beyond that. The perfect above all perfect fathers is the father of all creation innumerable Men and women, animals, all creation. Jesus in luke chapter 12
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calls us to think about that. He says, are not 5 spiro sold for 2 copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. he doesn't even forget one of them. They're so inexpensive. They're so invaluable. Not invaluable. They're so
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valueless. They're so cheap. Yeah. Just give me a couple pennies. Give you 5 sparrows, but not one of them. That's the kind of father he is. And then Jesus goes on to say, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
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And you're more value than many sparrows.
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So you can rest assured. He cares for you. He knows every detail of your life. He is your heavenly father.
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Well, Point number 10 found in verse 16, God is providing inexhaustible strength You can never reach the end of the strength that God provides verse 16 that he would grant you. Here's Paul's prayer for the Ephesians. I'm praying that God would grant you according to the riches of his glory to be strengthened with might through his spirit in the inner man. You know those times where we just feel like we can't take it anymore. We have no more strength left. No more resolve left.
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the lord can provide us inexhaustible strength. inexhaustible.
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We can never reach the end where we're beyond god's strengthening where we're beyond what god is able to provide in the might, in the strength that we need in the inner man. We're never beyond that. So Paul says, I'm praying that he would grant you according to the riches of his glory. Again, the abundant wealth, the strength that he provides, there's an abundance of it that It's rooted in the riches of his glory.
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How much strength do you need?
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You know, we often look at that verse in Corinthians where
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the word tells us he doesn't allow us to go through what we're not able to bear. But that's certainly not saying
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he doesn't allow us to go through what we're unable to bear in our own strength.
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What he's saying is, there's nothing that you will ever experience that will be on that will be beyond the strength that I can provide you the strength that I can work into you. Strength that's not by power and not by might, But by my spirit, says the lord of hosts. You have strength, that you haven't even yet explored.
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As the author of Hebrew says, you haven't wrestled yet to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin. You have strength against sin. You haven't even explored yet. You don't even know. You have strength to take steps of faith that you you've not even tapped into a small fraction of what is available and what is provided for you. You have strength to endure tribulation, difficulty hardship that that you haven't even begun. to reach the middle of. It's inexhaustible.
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He has the strength that you need. He has the strength for whatever we face
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to provide our inner man. or point number 11 in verses 17 through 19. God is revealing incomprehensible Love verse 17 through 19 says that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. God is at work revealing incomprehensible love that he has for you. It's not incomprehensible that you can't comprehend any part of it. It's incomprehensible and that you can't comprehend the depths and the lengths and the breadth, you can never reach the end or understand the limits of God's love for you. It passes knowledge. He loves you so fully and completely.
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Plus, I'm I'm praying that you would grasp more and more. that you would comprehend,
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not just you, but all the saints, the full extent of God's love for you. It passes knowledge. So you're never gonna know all of it. Yep. I understand.
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I have all the measurements. I got all the you know, precise understanding of the love of Christ and got it down. No. You're never going to. the love that Christ has for you, the love that the father has for you. It's incomprehensible. But not every part, you just can't reach the end of it. So Paul's saying, I want you to I'm praying that God will show you that you'll know You have opportunity right now.
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Again, no matter how you feel, no matter what you think, no matter what you face, You're not outside of God's love. And you can right now experience and know the love of god
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for right where you're at, for your circumstances, for your situation, for exactly what you're going through. And when you're going through more, when you're going through worse, when you failed it even harder, exceedingly abundantly above all that you could ask or think. That's how much love God has for you. I mean, the Lord revealed that to you more. And more finally, point number 12 for verse 20 21, God is doing unsurpassable
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good. Now to him, he was able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us to him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever Amen. God is at work. So Paul explains this phrase. The one who is able He does. He's at work fulfilling his purposes from eternity on into eternity.
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And what is he doing? You know, you'll be satisfied with it. You'll get to eternity and you go, yeah, that's pretty good Lord. Thanks. No. What is he doing? exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think. Princess Lehr told Han Solo, you'll be rewarded more than you can imagine. He said, I don't know. I can imagine a lot.
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I can imagine a lot. Can you imagine a lot? How much can you ask of God? God's able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that you could ask, above all that you could imagine before anything, way beyond what you could come up with or you could create, That doesn't mean he does what you come up with and what you create. That means he's working you towards what he has planned, which is far far, far better,
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exceedingly, abundantly, for your good. It's unsurpassable. There is no better good
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that can be done for you than what God is doing for you. That's hard to believe sometimes with what we face and what we're going through.
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But there is no better good for you than what god is doing for you. It's unsurpassable. the good that he is doing, the good that he has planned, the good that you will appreciate for all of eternity. And so here in Ephesians chapter 3,
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I pray that you're encouraged and refreshed and reminded
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and how big God is exceedingly abundantly above all. Knowing all things
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able to work out unity and reconciliation, providing opportunities to serve him and be part of his work, distributing unbelievable, unsearchable riches in the wealth of what he has provided for us, demonstrating his wisdom through us, to the world around us and to all of the heavens as well accomplishing his eternal purposes, inviting us with unfathomable boldness to enter into his presence and have access to him exchanging all of our tribulation for immeasurable glory fathering us and all of creation, providing inexhaustible strength for everything that we face, revealing his incomprehensible love that is well beyond the breadth, the width, width, the depth, the height that we can ever understand or imagine doing unsurpassable good for us. Truly, god is exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask her think. Lord, we thank you. We are so unworthy and undeserving of your attention.
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Much less, all this good This grace, your mercy, your presence, your love, and yet you give it It's all delivered to us through your son by faith in Jesus, would you declare we have access to you fully and completely and that all of these things are true in our lives because we believed in Jesus. Lord, help us. We can't understand it all. We can't reach the end. Lord, would you help us to develop a little bit more to appreciate a little bit more your wisdom, your love, your grace, the wealth of all that you provide for us by faith in Jesus, may we trust you, more and more. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.