Ephesians 3:20-21

A Few of My Favourite Things  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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As my final sermon in this church I encourage the people to expect great things from God, Expect to work hard for God, Expect all generations to benefit

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As we’ve already talked about, I would like to make next Sunday a celebration service of God’s goodness over the past 10.5 years
To that end please plan to share something. I don’t want that “something” to be about me or my family but just something good about God. Maybe you have simply found that His mercies ARE new every morning.
Anyway that makes today my final sermon as your Pastor and so I thought long and hard about which of my favourite verses I wanted to talk about
There are so many of my absolute favourites to choose from, but in the end I narrowed it down to one simple 2 verse text, a text that is in my top 3 passages for sure and is one you have heard me speak many, many times
IT comes from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and usually you will hear me use it to conclude a sermon, if you haven’t already snuck out the back door by then
Open up your Bible so that we can look at it together ,
Ephesians 3:20-21
Ephesians 3:20–21 NIV
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
As my time here wraps up and as the church begins the process of looking for a new Pastor, there is a lot of questions and a lot of uncertainty
This morning I want to provide you with 3 things that you can expect as FGt begins this new journey and this new time in its life
All 3 of these expectations can be found in this morning’s text so let’s read it shall we
Ephesians 3:20–21 NIV
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
The first thing that you can expect as FGt enters into this new season is, expect God to do great and marvelous things
If there was any wrong doing that almost every Christian is guilty of it is that fact that we expect too little out of God
What is it that your hoping God will do as this church moves ahead with a new Pastor?
Are you hoping that a few of the people who left because they didn’t like my style of ministry will come back?
Are you hoping that giving will increase enough so that the church doesn’t have to worry about the bills?
Or maybe you’re hoping that the new guy will be charismatic enough to attract some new people
Well let me speak to that last one first, don’t expect anything out of your new Pastor
And by that I mean, like me, he will just be a man, or a woman, and anything that is accomplished by his “skills and abilities” will burn like the chaff
Outside of Jesus Christ, one of the most powerful sermons ever preached was preached almost 300 years ago and yet we still talk about it today and it is often used in homiletics classes, usually as an explaination of what not to do
It was preached by a man by the name of Jonathon Edwards on July 8, 1741, the sermon was called Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, and, some have even said, this sermon is responsible for the First Great Awakening
It is recorded that while he was preaching it, he was interrupted many times by people moaning and crying out, “What shall I do to be saved?”
What I find most interesting is that, according to what we learned in school, Jonathon Edwards was a short man, was in now way what anyone would describe as handsome, had thick, thick glasses, and read his sermon verbatim from cue cards in a monotone voice
You see whatever man does in man’s strength will not stand, but whatever man does in the strength of God cannot be stopped
Saul was man who had everything that you would look for in a king, Big, strong, handsome, brave, talented, smart etc, David on the other hand apparently had nothing that you would look for in a king, on the outside at least
Yet Samuel records
1 Samuel
1 Samuel 18:12–15 NIV
Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul. So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns. In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him.
In Jesus reminds us,
Matthew 19:26 NIV
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Matthew 19:26
So let me ask you again, what great things are you expecting from God in this new season?
Moses expected God to part the Red Sea for them, Joshua expected God to hand over to them Jericho, Elijah expected fire to fall from heaven and consume his sacrifice, David expected Goliath to fall, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego expected God to save them from the fire, Daniel expected the lion to leave him alone , Martha expected that her brother would rise again, Peter expected that he would walk on the water
So let me ask you again. what are YOU expecting from God?
What ever it is, increase it, because if God is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or even imagine, isn’t it time for His children to start asking for and imagining the impossible
Can you see FGt as a center for world missions with hundreds of missionaries being sent out from this place?
No? Good, God can do it!
Can you see FGt as owning, supplying the needs of, and operating multiple orphanages in some other country?
No? Good, God can do it!
Increase your expectations
So my first point is to expect God to do incredible things, my second point is, expect God to use you to do them, “According to His power that is at work in US
Besides God, what is the one common denominator in all those Bible stories I mentioned?
Moses had to stretch out his staff over the waters, which, by the way, did not happen immediately but took all night
Joshua had to march around Jericho 13 times, David hang to sling a stone, Shadrach, Meshac, and abednego had to go into the furnace and Daniel had to go into the lion’s den
Martha had to take away the grave stone and Peter had to get out of the boat
Have you ever heard the old expression, God works in mysterious ways?
No He doesn’t. There’s nothing mysterious about the way hat God works! He works through people
God is going to do great things through FGt but only if you let Him do them through you!
I haven’t been only social media for 2 months now (so please don’t think I’m ignoring you, I’m ignoring everybody!) but someone sent me this meme recently “Church Folk, Your Expectations of your Pastor should match your Commitment as a member”
In light of point #1 I’d like to change it a little bit to say, ‘People your expectations of God should match your commitment to seeing them realized’
Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that a new Pastor is going to be the answer to seeing God do great things here
God can and will do great things through a new Pastor but it is important for you to be involved in those great things as well
I don’t know what your involvement is going to look like and quite frankly at this point I don’t have the right to tell you even if I did know
But what I do know and can say that apart from God’s people participating in God’s plan FGt will accomplish nothing
Do you remember the story of Esther? Do you remember when Mordecai asked her to “do something” and she said there was nothing that she could do?
Here’s Mordecai’s response to her
Esther 4:12-14
Esther 4:12–14 NIV
When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
If God wants to do something through you and you say no, He will get it done through someone else
And with 6 churches in Frankford He has lots of options
Expect God to do Great things but expect that He wants to use you to do them
Finally this morning, expect to see God work in all generations
There’s a whole generation, or two, who have come through the doors of FGt, who have sat under the teaching of some awesome Bible teachers, who have maybe even given their hearts to Christ and who no longer have anything to do with God or church
I want you to know this morning that God loves them and desires for them to return to Him more than we could ever imagine
In the parable of the prodigal son, in verse 20 Jesus says that the prodigal realizes his error and decides to go back to his father expecting judgement and condemnation, hoping for nothing more than to be servant
But what does the father do?
Luke 15:20
Luke 15:20 NIV
So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
I don’t have any right to preach a visionary message this morning but after 10.5 years I can tell you what I’ve learned and that is that God wants FGt to be a place where the prodigals return
A place where those who have reached the end of their ropes and who are covered with the pig slop of living life in this world, those who are tired and without hope, where these type of people can come and feel the embrace of the Father as He runs out to meet them
What will the response of God’s other children be?
Will it be like that of the older brother who got angry and sulked and refused to take part in the celebration?
Or will it be like the Father’s servants of whom says, “So they began to celebrate.”
The next weeks and months are going to have their share of uncertainty for FGt, but as we are reminded here by one of my favourite passages, it should also be filled with expectation
Let’s pray
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