Thursday, July 09, 2020

2020.07.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 3:20–21

Questions from the Scripture text: What is God able to do above (Ephesians 3:20)? How much above? According to what power? To Him be what (Ephesians 3:21)? In what? By Whom? Unto how many generations? For how long? 
God does according to what His unsearchable wisdom intends and thinks, and prayer reaches out for what God Himself has intended to do, rather than an attempt to change anything to what we would have God do for us.

So, apostolic prayer acknowledges its own limitations. It asks, as well as possible, according to Scripture, but it does not stop there. He is able to do what we ask. He is able to do what we ask or think. He is able to do all that we ask or think. He is able to do above all that we ask or think. He is able to do abundantly above all that we ask or think. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. Here are those unsearchable riches (Ephesians 3:8) of God’s manifold wisdom (Ephesians 3:10)! Prayer, being made by the Spirit through union with Christ, reaches for that which takes its dimensions not from us and our thoughts, but from God Himself!

And behold how God has emboldened us to make such a request: He has already been demonstrating the power by which He will accomplish all that His wisdom has intended! This transformed Pharisee who hated Christ and the nations is now writing not to an individual but to a church that is made up not only of Jews but especially of reconciled believers from those once-alienated nations! Almighty power has accomplished redemption already in Christ. Almighty power is producing a church that will at last be perfectly glorious with the glory of God Himself, having been filled with the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).

How can this happen? Because it is not only by the power of God that this is being accomplished but in the second Person of the Godhead that this occurs in the church: “by Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:21). That is to say that it is by grace. Union with Christ. Christ’s worthiness as our worthiness. Christ’s power as our power.

But it is not ultimately for the glory of the church that the apostle prays, for the church is not his ultimate and highest love. It is ultimately for the glory of God that a believer must pray, since it is God who must be the believer’s ultimate love.

The apostle prays not only for the saints, but for their God and their Savior. Love issues forth in a desire before God that love’s object would receive what is good and right. And when love's object is God, it prays for His glory. Thus, it is good to end every prayer, which itself is an act of love unto God, with a petition for His infinite and everlasting glory—even as our Lord Jesus modeled for us when instructing us in prayer. Let not just our prayers, but all of our worship, indeed all of our actions, and our very lives and beings, end in His praise!
What place do your prayer limitations have in your prayers? What place does praise have in your prayers?
Suggested songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song to the Lord” or TPH100B “All People That on Earth Do Dwell”

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