This past weekend was our annual State of the Church Sunday. We stepped away from our 1 Corinthians series and spent the morning in Ephesians 3. It was here that we saw the emphasis God calls His church to bring Him glory. This has to be the driving emphasis for us as a body in all that we are and all that we endeavor to do. In thinking through this, there were two primary aspects in the text driving us to bring glory to God.
- We Humbly Submit Ourselves to God the Father: v.14-19
We see Paul’s submission come in the form of a prayer that he brings before God, praying over the church. In his submission, we see that one of the ways that we submit to God is in prayer. For us to be a church that humbly submits implies that we must be a church that prays! There’s so many ways in which we can come to the Lord in prayer: whether it be us expressing gratitude, making known a need, confession and repentance of sin, or worship, we are to come before the Lord in prayer. Additionally, we see our humble submission in the gracious work that God does for us. This work, in verses 15 through 19, is overwhelming. God names us. God strengthens us with His power. God strengthens us to comprehend His love. God fills us with the fullness of Himself. These incredible works are both the motivation and catalyst for our humble submission before God.
- We Ascribe Unrestrained Glory to God the Father: v.20-21
In the closing verses, it’s clear that Paul is excited, or unrestrained in his giving glory to God. We see that we glory in God’s ability to do all things. There’s nothing that God can’t do. In fact, there’s nothing that we could think of that God can’t do abundantly more than that! We glory in God’s power at work within us. Finally, we embrace God’s call for his church, namely that to Him be glory from us! This is the ultimate objective, the primary goal of the church; that in and through the church, glory would be ascribed, given, credited to God Almighty!
In light of these truths, there were a few aspects that we highlighted with respect to our church; where we believe God is moving us forward in.
- A Church that Humbly Submits:
Is a church that prays! God help us that we would be a church that prays! I’m so desirous that we would capture this in our lives. Look for coming opportunities to share in this corporately. Whether it be in our current prayer emphasis that leads up to Easter, the prayer workshop after second service on April 14 or our next corporate prayer gathering on June 2, we must be a church that prays, and that prays together! Additionally, we will begin to have people who are praying during the service, for the work of God to be accomplished in the gathering of His people.
Is a church that goes where God leads! God help us that we would be willing to go where God is leading us. That we would not become paralyzed in fear, comfort or doubt, but by faith stepping into the spaces and places that God would lead us; as we pursue church planting and what we talked about at the business meeting with the Spanish-speaking church plant, continued staffing needs, discipleship and the other items that God has for us.
- A Church that Ascribes Unrestrained Glory to God:
Is a church that worships without reservation! Inasmuch as we have to celebrate as a church, this is an area where we needed to hear the firm rebuke of God’s Word. At this point, this is not true of us as a church, not in totality and not consistently. But by God’s grace and prompting, we want to see God grow us in this area! How crucial it is for us to be reminded that we are coming into the presence of the sovereign, ruling, reigning God of the universe! This should stir up all kinds of things within us! When we gather, let us first come prepared, ready to worship. In doing that, it means that we come to church prayed up and worshipped up; and what we really need is an outlet for all that God has been doing in us. Additionally, as we come, God help us that we would come expectantly. That we would expect God to show up, to speak to us, to have His way with us!
God calls His church to bring Him glory! God help us that this would be true of us!