Ephesians 3:20-21

Sunday Morning Bible Study

April 9, 2006


Think about the things that Paul has prayed for the Ephesians (verses 16-19).

He prayed for them to be strengthened in the inner man (vs. 16)

He prayed for Jesus to be “at home” in their hearts (vs. 17)

He prayed that they might begin to grasp the dimensions of the love of Christ (vs. 18)

He prayed that they might experience the love of Christ (vs. 19)

He prayed that they might be filled with all the fullness of God (vs. 19)

Now He winds up his prayer …

:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,

who is abledunamai – to be able to do something; to be capable, strong and powerful; this is the root of the word dunamis.

exceedingly abundantlyhuper experissou – from perissos: exceeding some measure

The way Paul writes this, he takes the word for “exceeding some measure”, then adds a prefix that makes it stronger, “really exceeding some measure”, and then puts an additional word for “over”, meaning, “over-really exceeding some measure”. It’s on top of that that Paul throws the words “above all”, as if you could take anything that we could ask or think of, and it’s not only “above all”, but it’s “over really exceeding some measure above all”.

It would be like in the old days pulling into the gas station and the attendant asks you how much gas you want. You tell him you want 15 gallons of gas. He tells you “No problem”, he has way more than enough gas to fill you up. In fact this isn’t just an ordinary gas station, it’s attached directly to the refinery behind the fence, so it has WAY more than enough gas to fill you up. But more than that, the refinery is sitting on top of a huge oil field and the oil is being pumped directly into the refinery. And not only that … but this oil company has found a way to take water from the ocean, turn it into oil, then pump it down into the oil wells, so it can be pumped out, refined, sent to the gas station, and fill your car. And it’s all free. Now THAT’S a gas station!!!!

askaiteo – to ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require. It’s a request from the “will”. It’s in what is called the “middle voice” which means, “to ask for one’s self”.

thinknoeo – to perceive with the mind, to think upon, ponder, consider

No matter what you think God can do, He can do more.


God’s amazing power

We serve a great God.
(Isa 40:12-18 NKJV) Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, Measured heaven with a span And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales And the hills in a balance? {13} Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has taught Him? {14} With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, And taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, And showed Him the way of understanding? {15} Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, And are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing. {16} And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, Nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering. {17} All nations before Him are as nothing, And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless. {18} To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him?
Just how big could God be if He can measure the oceans with the palms of His hand? Just how big could He be if He can measure the universe with the span of His hands? He is pretty big.
(Mat 14:14-21 NKJV) And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. {15} When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food." {16} But Jesus said to them, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." {17} And they said to Him, "We have here only five loaves and two fish." {18} He said, "Bring them here to Me." {19} Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. {20} So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. {21} Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
He can feed the hungry. He can take care of your needs even when you don’t think there’s enough left.
(Mat 14:22-33 NKJV) Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. {23} And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. {24} But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. {25} Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. {26} And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. {27} But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." {28} And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." {29} So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. {30} But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" {31} And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" {32} And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. {33} Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God."
There was an article that hit the news this week about some “scholar” claiming that Jesus was really walking on ice on the Sea of Galilee. The claim is that there could be a possible condition where the lake could possibly freeze. I don’t know if windy conditions are the right way to freeze the lake. John records that the waves were up as well (John 6:18). And how were the disciples able to “row” if the lake was frozen over?

A mother was watching her four-year-old child playing outside in a small plastic pool half filled with water. He was happily walking back and forth across the pool, making big splashes. Suddenly, he stopped, stepped out of the pool, and began to scoop water out of the pool with a pail. “Why are you pouring the water out, Jimmy?” the mother asked. “’Cause my teacher said Jesus walked on water, and this water won’t work.” The boy replied.

Jesus CAN walk on water.  Any kind of water.  We may be terrified of the storms we’re going through, but Jesus can grab your hand and help you walk through them.

What is it that you’re facing today?  God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.

:20 according to the power that works in us,

the powerdunamis – strength, power, ability

Does this mean that there is a limit to how God will work in my life? Is God’s work in my life limited to what I will allow Him to do?

No, this isn’t talking about what limits God.  It’s talking about what’s available to us.

The same amazing incredible power of God is the same power that He is working inside of us.


God’s power in me

This is why before ascending into heaven Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they were filled with the Holy Spirit.  He said,
(Acts 1:8 NKJV)  "But you shall receive power (dunamis) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

They waited, and ten days later they were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus was arrested, Peter had run away and abandoned Jesus.  Three times he denied even knowing Jesus.  Yet a little more than a month later, something happened to Peter.
(Acts 2:14-17 NKJV)  But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. {15} "For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. {16} "But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: {17} 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.
(Acts 2:32-41 NKJV)  "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. {33} "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. {34} "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, {35} Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."' {36} "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." {37} Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" {38} Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. {39} "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." {40} And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." {41} Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
Something happened to Peter.
Paul wrote,
(Rom 8:11 NKJV) But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
But that wasn’t the end of it for Peter.  There was so much more ahead.
He can do much more in us than we can ever imagine.
He wants to work through us with His power.
(2 Chr 16:9 NKJV) "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…”
The Bible is filled with examples of men and women who got a taste of God’s power in their life.
(1 Sam 14:1-14 NKJV) Now it happened one day that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who bore his armor, "Come, let us go over to the Philistines' garrison that is on the other side." But he did not tell his father. {2} And Saul was sitting in the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron. The people who were with him were about six hundred men. {3} Ahijah the son of Ahitub, Ichabod's brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord's priest in Shiloh, was wearing an ephod. But the people did not know that Jonathan had gone. {4} Between the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistines' garrison, there was a sharp rock on one side and a sharp rock on the other side. And the name of one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. {5} The front of one faced northward opposite Michmash, and the other southward opposite Gibeah. {6} Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, "Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the LORD will work for us. For nothing restrains the LORD from saving by many or by few." {7} So his armorbearer said to him, "Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart." {8} Then Jonathan said, "Very well, let us cross over to these men, and we will show ourselves to them.

It seems that Jonathan woke up that morning musing to himself.  He knew that God was all powerful.  He knew that it was nothing for God to use just one man to bring a great deliverance.  And he thought to himself, “What if God wants to use me?”

And so Jonathan and his armor bearer made a “venture in faith”.  And their step of faith brought a great victory to the nation that day.

What if God wants to use you?  What if …?

:21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.


God’s glory in the church

God has this power to give us so we will bring Him glory. Not so we can get attention.
Sometimes we do things so we can be appreciated. Sometimes we do things to get the attention we crave.
I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but God doesn’t want people attracted to you.  He wants people attracted to Him.  He has the help that people need.  You don’t.
(Acts 14:8-18 NKJV)  And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother's womb, who had never walked. {9} This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, {10} said with a loud voice, "Stand up straight on your feet!" And he leaped and walked. {11} Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!" {12} And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. {13} Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes. {14} But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out {15} and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, {16} "who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. {17} "Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." {18} And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.
I would imagine it might have been tempting to let the people keep bowing down to them.  But Paul and Barnabas were terrified that they were getting the kind of attention that God deserved.  Does that terrify us as well?
We need to be careful that the attention goes to God, both now and as it will be forever.