Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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PENTECOST 10 – July 29, 2018 – Eph. 3:14-21 “HE STRENGTHENS YOU, HIS GLORY”

Introduction:  Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Epistle Lesson just read, from Ephesians 3.  We begin with prayer.

 

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • A couple of weeks ago I preached on Ephesians chapter 1, where over and over again Paul remarks that God has blessed His people of faith – and that also means you and I, we who believe in Jesus today. He has blessed us with His love, mercy, grace, and salvation precisely so that we are “to the praise of His glorious grace.”  When people see how wonderfully God has loved us and blessed us, they should give God thanks and praise.  That is the goal, God’s goal! 
  • What God makes His Christians, His children, to be, is glorious, and He intends for us to be displays of His glory. This is a remarkable thing, a remarkable privilege and blessing!  But this is what we are called to be, and what God is working in us. 
  • When you walk into the athletic offices of a great university, you are usually greeted immediately with a display of trophies – for conference championships, regional championships, national championships, and perhaps even individual honors. The trophies and displays are polished, and well-lit, and easily visible behind clean and polished glass.  Why?  Because these trophies display the university’s conquests, its glory.
  • It should not surprise us then, what Paul writes about in our text. We are to the praise of His glorious grace, so it is inevitable that God is going to be “shining us up,” by continuing to bless us and strengthen us!
  • Now, it is too seldom that we really come to grips with this topic, with just how much God loves us, and just how richly He blesses us. And it may be that we are shy, and unsure of ourselves, so that we do not want to put forward.  But Paul assures us in our text that “GOD STRENGTHENS US” and blesses us!  We do not need to worry, or to exert a lot of effort.  We merely have to receive what God seeks to give us.  But we must beware, for:

 

I.  There Are Dangers In The World, Because Of Human Sin And Guilt

 

A.  Consider The Flood, And The Coming Final Judgment Of God

 

OT Lesson:  “God said to Noah and to his sons with him . . .  ‘I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’”

 

B.  Consider Also That Even The Disciples Suffered From “Hardness Of Heart”

 

Gospel:  “Jesus got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased.  And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.”

 

Statement:  People today likely think that there is nothing particularly remarkable or terribly evil about the world today.  We were born into the world, and we get to know the world, and whatever it is just seems to be the norm, and therefore normal.  Likely, the people in the days of the flood were the same and thought the same about their culture, their religion, and the typical behaviors of the time.  We know that it will be the same on the Last Day:  people will be going through their normal motions and routines.

 

Application:  However, evil is wretched and reprehensible regardless of how human beings may be dulled and desensitized in thinking about it.  So the Scripture is full of warnings – to us and to all people of all time:  do not be sleepy and unaware of the evils and dangers around you!  And the message from God’s Word is also clear:  do not rely upon yourselves, or trust in yourselves; but rather allow God to bless you, to prepare you, to enlighten you, to empower you, and to do His work in you!  This is the principle import of our text, that:

 

II.  By The Riches Of His Glorious Grace God Strengthens Us With Power

 

Text:  “I bow my knees before the Father [praying earnestly] that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being.”

 

A.  Christ Actually Dwells In Us – Through Our Faith

 

Text:  “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”

 

B.  As A Result Of This, We Become Rooted And Grounded In Love

 

Text:  “that you, being rooted and grounded in love.”

 

C.  And We Are Able Increasingly To Grasp The Greatness Of Christ’s Love, And Thus Be Filled With The Fullness Of God

 

Text:  “that you may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with the fullness of God.”

 

Statement:  Stop to think about this astonishing statement, this amazing description.  First, this is God’s will for you – to be filled with the fullness of God!  Second, God is eager to do this for us, to give us strength to comprehend the full measure of the love of Christ – which is astonishing.  This happens through faith in Christ [and “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God].  And this results in a transformation of our very inner being, our hearts, so that they are “rooted and grounded in love.”  This is absolutely amazing!

 

Application:  You are His glory.  You are to the praise of His glorious grace!  As He strengthens us, people around us are able to see and experience the love of God at work within us and through us, and they praise your Father in heaven, just as Jesus described.  This is ultimately what overcame the “hardness of heart” in the disciples, and what will overcome our hardness of heart as well.  It is not only glorious, it is God’s will for you!  And Paul further encourages us to:

 

III.  Remember – God Is Able To Do Far More For Us, So Let Us Give Him Glory

 

Text:  “Now to Him Who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.”

 

Statement:  I wouldn’t have thought that He wanted to do all that much with me, or with His people!  Really, who could imagine that He wanted to fill us with “the fullness of God”?  And “far more abundantly”?   What could this mean?

 

Application:  But it is obvious – you are His glory, and He intends for you to be shiny and prominent and on display, “to the praise of His glorious grace.”  And He is the One Who grants us this strengthening and empowerment, through His Word and His Spirit!

 

Conclusion:  Perhaps we think that this is something that we must accomplish.  This is NOT so.  We simply cannot do this, it is God’s work! 

 

But thanks and praise be to Him, that this is what He wills to do in us, and for us, and ultimately through us!  We are to the praise of His glorious grace, and He intends for us to be glorious indeed! 

 

So let us give Him thanks and praise, and all honor and glory, and submit ourselves to the guidance and shaping of His wondrous love.  He will strengthen us with power through His Spirit – in our inner being.  Thanks and praise be to God forever.  Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.