To Infinity And Beyond
If you do not watch cartoons or animated movies you may not fully appreciate the message title for today. If however you are a fan of the movie Toy Story you will get it. (Cue “Buzz Lightyear” clip.) I thought this might be a fitting icebreaker for this passage of scripture. It has little actual meaning except for the comedy of that adorable movie and perhaps the idea of infinity.
We have had a break from our study of Ephesians. It seems to have been ages since we were here, but surely it has only been a few weeks.
Paul continues his letter to the church at Ephesus in chapter 3 verse 14 as he says:
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power ( the Greek 'dunamis' means great power or miraculous power) through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power ( power here is from exiskuo. it means able, ability, capability), together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able (able here is from dunamis so it could read: to Him who has great and miraculous power) to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power (dunamis again) that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. NIV
If you are reading this in another translation or if you come back to this passage at home you can know when Paul uses the “dynamite word” for power when he is talking about God's power or ability. In these last 8 verses of Ephesians 3, he uses a different word when he speaks of our ability. God has great, miraculous power. We do not.
This is Paul's second prayer for the church at Ephesus in this letter. In chapter one he was thanking God for the believers in Ephesus and asking God to give them wisdom and revelation so that they would know God better; to know the hope to which God has called them; to know the power ( He used that dynamite word again -dunamis- miraculous power) of God for us who believe.
This prayer is for more of that power in their lives. He prays for the Ephesians, and for us, that we might be strengthened as he says in verse 16. Strengthened has the meaning of being invigorated with power (again using dunamis - the dynamite word) through the Holy Spirit, so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith.
Have you ever been invigorated? The presence of God, the Holy Spirit, invigorates us. He infuses us with life, with energy, with vitality. He strengthens us when we believe He is with us, when we accept the truth that He came to live within us when we experienced the new birth.
The Holy Spirit, God's Presence, gives us the power, the miraculous, the God kind of power, to believe that Christ dwells in our hearts, that we have been changed from the creature that was dead, cut off from the life giving presence of God. We now have the power of God, the dynamite of God, living in us.
There may be days when you do not feel that presence, that power. However, if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, He is there. The life of God, the vigor, the vitality of the Almighty God lives in you. I pray with Paul that you may be strengthened to believe that Jesus is your salvation. I pray that you may know the power of God in your life. The purpose of that life that flows into you from God's Personal Presence is that we may know that Christ dwells in our hearts through faith.
Faith is a choice we make. It is not something we work up. Faith is agreeing with the truth. It is resting in the truth that life comes from God. It is relaxing in the arms of our Loving Heavenly Father. Have you chosen to believe that God loves you and that He is the Lord of your life? When we surrender ourselves to Him, it is like surrendering ourselves to a comfortable chair.
At the end of a long day at work, do you ever go home and just collapse in your favorite chair? It fits you. It allows you to relax. It almost enfolds you. You long for that comfort that awaits you. Some of you are probably dreaming right now of getting home after a good Sunday dinner and going to your chair and falling into it and taking a good nap.
Trusting God is like that. He has the power to save us. He has the miraculous strength to be for us what we cannot be for ourselves. Will we trust Him? Will we surrender ourselves to this truth? Will we relax in Him? This is the choice we make each day.
The enemy will come at us and try to convince us that Our Heavenly Father does not love us; that HE does not have our best interests at heart. Do not believe Him. He is a liar and the father of all lies. Do not base your life on His lies. Relax in the truth of God, in the strength and power of His Presence, in the Holy Spirit. He will give you the ability to believe if you simply surrender to the truth.
Once we have made the choice to love and trust God, our other choices will begin to fall into line. Coming back to our choice to love and trust God is where wisdom begins. There is life in no other. He is our source of truth, our source of peace, our source for the love we so desperately need.
He is our strength, our power to believe, our ability to know the love of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul prays that we, being rooted and established in love, may have the ability to understand just how great God's love for us really is. In verse 19 he prays that we may “know this love that surpasses knowledge”. How great is God's love for you? How great is His love for me? It is so big it goes beyond knowledge. It goes beyond what anyone can comprehend or understand. Paul prays that his readers would have an understanding of the love of Christ that goes beyond knowledge.
How big is God's love for us? To infinity and beyond!!!!!!
How much of God does Paul pray his readers would have?
He prays that we, his readers, would be “filled to the full measure of all the fullness of God”. I would translate that into our language today like this. Paul is praying that we would be “crammed full with God”. Paul's desire, and God's desire, for us is that we would be as full of God as we can possibly be. You just cannot get enough of Him. You cannot hold all that He has to give of Himself. So He will cram you full of Himself.
What does being crammed full of God leave room for in our hearts? NOTHING. There is room for nothing else if we are filled to the full measure of all the fullness of God. Self must make room for God in us. You have to allow God to crucify your flesh if you want more of God. You have to give up what you want and accept the greatness of knowing, the greatness of living in a relationship with the Creator of the Universe.
How much of God does Paul pray for his readers to have? “To infinity and beyond.”
Verse 20: Now to him who is able (or: to Him who has great and miraculous power) to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power (His dunamis) that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. NIV
How much can God do for you? As much as you will allow Him to do. There is no limit to his power that is at work in our lives. To infinity and beyond – He has the power to do way, way, way beyond what we could ever ask or imagine. To infinity and beyond is the power of God to perform what He has planned for you and I.
And Paul comes back to the reason for all of this as he closes this prayer for his readers: “...that God would be glorified in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!”
For ever and ever! Sounds like 'to infinity and beyond” to me.
The reason the church exists... The reason Green Valley Church of God exists... The reason you and I exist is to bring glory to our creator. To that end God supplies all we need to love and obey Him. He has the power we need. He has the love we need.
To infinity and beyond
is the power of God to perform
what He has planned for you and I.
To infinity and beyond
Is the LOVE of God
For all of us.