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A Great Benediction

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
January 5, 2021 7:00 am

A Great Benediction

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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January 5, 2021 7:00 am

Christian parents can often be overheard reminding their children that God is not just a big Santa Clause in the sky - in other words, He doesnt always just give us what we want. While this is certainly true, what if there was a way to guarantee that God would grant 100% of our requests? Today on The Bible Study Hour, Dr. Boice explains how praying in Gods will changes everything.

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Christian parents can often be overheard reminding their children that God is not just a big Santa Claus in the sky. In other words, he doesn't always just give us what we want.

While this is certainly true. What if there was a way to guarantee that God would grant 100% of our requests today on the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce explains how praying and God's will changes everything. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically throughout Scripture we see God depicted as a father is a warrior and as a shepherd, but have you ever pictured God in a hard hat and boots. Let's listen as Dr. Boyce leads us to the end of Ephesians 3 which depicts God as a worker Bible study is a kaleidoscopic experience because what we learn as we study the Bible and the experiences we have.

As we study under multiple sometimes when were studying the Bible we are humbled because it reveals our sin to us and we cry out for mercy. Other times, as we study the Bible we are lifted up and thrilled because it points us to the Lord Jesus Christ and his work is the solution to our sins and holds out the abundance of life in him. Bible study instructs us Bible study rebukes this Bible study motivates us to right action, at times, as we study the word we feel that the lid is being lifted up on Helen we catch a glimpse of how horrible life can be added.

Other times we sense that it bore is being open for us into heaven blasters the experience we have is we come to the end of the third chapter of Ephesians to this great benediction and doxology with which Paul ends his prayer before this he has been praying for the Christians at Ephesus and for all Christians as well and his prayer has gone as far as human thought or imagination can go Sprague not merely that they might be strengthened and established and be given understanding whether the very end of it. He prayed that they might be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God as something that goes beyond even as we would say our wildest imaginations.

When you get to that point, you are literally standing on the edge of the infinite yet partisan satisfied with that because having prayed in those terms. He now breaks forth in this great doxology is great praise to God and says 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, forever and ever. Amen. This doxology is Charles Hodge once wrote, it is God's power and not our prayers or even our highest expectations. That becomes the major of the apostle Paul's desire for us. That is why is Hodge also said this doxology has ended more of heaven than it does a birth I when we were looking at the earlier verses. I said that they are something like a prayer staircase. Here is a place where wrong by wrong step-by-step. The apostle Paul leads us up in his great desires for us to be filled to all of the fullness, it is possible in God through Christ Jesus. This doxology has something like that to I would call it a doxology staircase because Paul and see begins to praise God for what he can do just expands upon his basic idea word by word and concept by concept Ruth Paxson and her study of this great book of Ephesians arranges this doxology as a pyramid in the paramedic's likeness first line under him second line who is able to do a hard line. All that we ask or think, fourth line above all that we ask or think for flying abundantly above all that we ask or think.

Six line exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. And finally, according to the power that is at work within us, what I want to suggest is that a passage like this deserves the most careful consideration.

Let's take it one idea the time the first idea is that God is able to do something. Paul uses the word plano, which often translate to do, but it's a very rich word.

One of our dictionaries translates it to make the cost effect bring about to accomplish to perform to provide to create so on is what Paul says God is able to do. He's pointing to him as a worker in other words, as John Stott says he is showing that God is neither idle nor inactive nor dead. I think at this point. By contrast to what God says in the Old Testament of the idols of the false gods of the heathen marvelous section in the middle of Isaiah's prophecy, in which God speaks of the idols describes them for what they really are is as you know, they're nothing but a piece of wood that the worshiper cut down Jordan car sets up in his home and then bows down to Rod says they don't analyze I can see they don't have ears I can hear they don't have minds like and think they can do anything or nothing. He says with a block of wood and then there is this great passage in Isaiah 41 begins in verse 21, where God challenges the idols to do something funny in my way of thinking because he challenges them to do anything at all, do something good. He says are something bad. He says I don't care, just do something in order that we might know that your real God's wife says you can do anything at all, there's the way the text runs present your case. The Lord says set forth your arguments bringing your idols to tell us what's going to happen is what the former things were. That is if I have a memory so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. That is if they can tell the future declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds so that we may know that you are God's do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.

I added that, but I think that's there, you are less than nothing. God says, and your works are utterly worthless. See, according to these verses. The character and existence of the true God is proved by the simple fact that he can do things and that's what the apostle Paul says to him who is able to do now take another step up on this doxology staircase with me all begins by saying that God is able to do that is active now. He says God is able to do what we ask. Now that's obviously a step forward. God being able to do something significant that makes him God, at least when he can do what the others cannot do God could of course, as we would say spend all of eternity doing his own thing with no relationship to us whatsoever.

But Paul says it's not the case is God is not a distant God on real God. From the point of view of our experience but we says this God is able to do what we ask is this God relates to us in his activity. This is a great statement about God's ability and willingness and actual activity in answering his peoples prayers were very cautious in our prayers. Generally, I think I know why it's because as James says we often pray you miss as we pray for wrong things. James spells out in rather direct language. He says you pray for wrong things in order that you might spend it on your own sinful desires. We don't like to acknowledge that often, but many of our prayers are like that because the wrong prayers prayers for the wrong things offered out of the wrong motives.

God doesn't answer. At least he doesn't give us what we want and so we get cautious in our prayers because, well, if God isn't going to give us what we want, we holdback, we don't want to embarrass either him or ourselves that when you read the sweep of what the Bible has to say about prayer.

The thrust of prayer is not that we should be cautious but rather that way. If we really are seeking God and God's will should be bold.

One of my favorite passages on prayers in first John III chapter where John is speaking of his own experience in prayer and he says brothers and sisters, I always receive what I asked for and that explains why because you said I keep God's commandments and I do what is pleasing in his sight as a formula for blessing and prayer. John is saying if you obey the commandments of God, that is, as you read the Scriptures and you read there what God wants of you and having read that it understood it, you do it and if, in addition to that, as you read the Scriptures to understand something of the character and ways of God. You try to seek out what you think would be ways that would please him that his things and go over and above those negative or even positive commandments. If you're really trying to do that. John says, then anything you pray for God will do. There is a great promise, and that is what Paul is saying he is breaking forth into praise to God, who he says is able to do what we ask and he wants us to be encouraged by that is even more than that you take another step up on the staircase. He says, is not only the God is able to do what you ask God is able to do what you ask or even imagine.

That is what you're thinking. Never had the experience.

I'm sure you have where there is something that you have been thinking about that you think is the kind of thing that God might want to do. It seems in line with his desires and certainly is not in conflict with the Scriptures, but yet you're cautious and your prayers for it because well might be the right kind of thing but it's not necessarily what God wants to do with you or what he wants to do with you now and so you think about it, but you don't really pray about.

I do that Things I pray for boldly that I know the Scripture wants us to do promises that God will do for us. Certainly is his desire that we might have victory over sin. We can pray positively and confidently about that we could name specific sins and God will give us power to be victorious over them when I preach the word, I pray to God will bless it because he says that's his desire that his word not Goforth Boyd that it always accomplishes what he wants to.

I pray for that. I believe that God does that day by day and Sunday by Sunday month by month, but there are other things, things that I think God might want to do. I back on and don't always pray for precisely and I went asking whether he ever had that experience. I month saying that what I do is right I probably should be a great deal bolder in my prayers and I am but I nevertheless do holdback at times and in a situation like that. It is a great comfort and joy to come to a verse like this because this verse doesn't merely say that God knows what were thinking about all of course he does. But in the same context in which it is promising that God will answer our prayers. It says God is able to do, not only what you ask for in prayer, but even what you're thinking of what according to his own perfect will.

The bullets in his own perfect timing, but God knows what you're thinking of that if you're desiring great things for him.

You can find great encouragement in the text like this now to him who is able to do what the ass or imagine, yet you know he doesn't just say it that way doesn't the apostle Paul does not say that God is just able to do what we ask or imagine. He says God is able to do all we ask or imagine.

That's the next step up the music. God isn't able to do just 99% of what we might request the lie would be wonderful.

Or the God is able to do 90% of it or 50% of half of what you ask for. You get all the promises that if you're asking according to the will of God and obeying his commandments and seeking out what would please him. God is going to do everything 100% whenever I think of a promise like that. I reminded of something my father-in-law only on one occasion he was a banker in New York City and used to share with me the kind of jokes that bankers obviously tell one another and one of them had to do with a banker who was a loan officer. My father-in-law was a retired in his retirement years. He thought he would open a gas station, which he did done very well in the banking business. But he failed as a gas attendant and the reason was this whatever the customer would drive in and say could I have 10 gallons of gas. The reply could you get by with five God doesn't do that with this. It's not the case that we come with our requests and say Lord I need 10 of this and God says, well, how about who Paul says God is able to do all you ask or think, according to his power that is at work within us.

Now if Paul and Rick. Nothing else that would be a great doxology wouldn't God is able to do God is able to do what you ask God's got able to do what you ask or imagine God is able to do all that you ask or imagine, but he doesn't stop even there. Paul says God is able to do more when all you ask or imagine. I'm sure if you live with the Lord any length of time you know that that's the case sometimes as I said, we ask for things that are wrong, and God doesn't give its course because would be harmful and sometimes for his own purposes. God does bring frustrations in our lives. There things that we would like that are good. The God eventually gives many delays in giving. I'm sure that if you live with the Lord.

Any length of time when you look back over your life's you would conclude that on the whole God and his answering of your prayers does not merely what you asked for but well he gives you much more than anything you could possibly ask for, or even imagine is undoubtedly true of the biblical characters you take a character like Abraham Manna gonna walk with them for many, many long years. I don't know what Abraham would've thought God was promising to do with them when God first called him out of the Chaldees, God said he was going to bless him and he was going to take him into a great nation it was going to give them a land and we know because of the way the story unfolds and I had to do with the coming of the Messiah and a great spiritual progeny, but I suppose that at the beginning, Abraham wasn't thinking along those lines, Abraham would hear that word nation he would think well patient nation that people a large client in the land in which they live. I suppose he would've thought God is going to make me into a sizable body of people living on the earth, and of course God said that he was going to do it through giving them a sonnet had to do with the promise of the sun and we know that that was the trial or Abraham. He had to wait many, many long years, well into old age. The time when he and Sarah were beyond the age of being able to conceive or give birth to a sodomy waited and God bless Dave and the sodden. All that was wonderful and we know moreover that affect first son was born Abraham at other children yet six children that are mentioned in the first verses of Genesis 25 and then God multiplied his household, so that even before that when his nephew Lot was carried off by the workings of the planes and he mustered his troops yet 318, trained man was a fulfillment that it might've been the kind of thing that Abraham would've expected to know God's answering of his promises to Abraham went far beyond anything that Abraham would've thought in those early days because it wasn't merely the fact that he gave them a son say Isaac, the son of the promise no Isaac became a figure of Christ, the Messiah was the promise of the Messiah and through his experience with his son, Abraham began to learn something about spiritual realities. Although it's true that God made Abraham into a great nation physically real blessing was not merely in the blessing of the establishment of the Jewish nation but the fact that God gave them spiritual progeny.

Those who would come from Jew and Gentile.

The faith in that Messiah, Jesus Christ, and would make up over the whole scope of history the great family of God gathered from every nation and every time and every kindred, these are the ones were as numerous as the stars in heaven of the sand of the seashore. If we called Abraham to be a witness, Abraham would say God is able to do more than all I could possibly ask or think you needed my case are again we think of Moses. Moses was called by God to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt.

She didn't want to do it. He felt that he wasn't adequate to the task. He failed once beside that he couldn't speak eloquently, God said well I'll go with you in power.

What's that in your hand the staff. Well, God said thrown on the ground. He did turned into a separate rods and I'll pick it up by the tail.

He did it turn back into a staff budget.

I'll do that when you get Egypt, he said take your hand and thrust it into the folder garment he did. He pulled it out it was leprous. He said not put it back in. He did. He pulled it out it was made whole. So Moses said all right I'll go when he went in.

I don't know what he expected to happen, I suppose.

He expected resistance on the part if they were already expected to use the miracle of the staff hand but couldn't Moses that. Possibly of expected fullness of the plagues that God poured out upon the Egyptian nation earning waters of the land.

The blood and sending a multiplication of frogs and naxalites and plagues on the cattle and the blotting out of the sun.

Finally, the killing of all the firstborn so Pharaoh let the people go goodie anticipated the miracles in the wilderness as God brought forth water from the rock and sent down manna from heaven and provided the cloud overshadowed the people protect them and guide them during the years of their wandering. I'm sure Moses would never have expected all those things.

And if we would call Moses.

The witness we would say Moses is God able to do what you ask. All he said. Not only is God able to do what you ask God is able to do more than anything you could possibly ass or imagine or think of David. David the shepherd boy least in his family. The youngest of the son sent out the take care, of the family sheep God anointed David to be the king of Israel, and David was a great man.

He waited for God to establish him. He didn't try to seize it by himself.

God did establish it made him a great King gave him a great name and prospered Israel under his rule. But you know you come to that marvelous scene toward the end of David's life and God is promising blessing on Amon.

God said to David, I'm going to bless you in such a way that through your descendents events. The Messiah ultimately your throne and your kingdom is going to be established for ever and ever.

David in his response to God admits that that is something beyond even the imagination of man. David says that it's not recording the man to be established in any way for ever and ever all things human pass away all kingdoms fall. David was a man of faith that he said if that's what you're going to do, so be it. You do it in the glory be to your name. David would've confessed in the moment that God is able to do more than all we can possibly ass or imagine. So I put it to you the experience that a God.

Don't you want to learn out about God. Don't you want to live so closely.

The one on high as you pray as you live as you look to see what God is doing in your lives, you begin to experience God really does do even beyond your greatest desires. Well, I say we run pretty high up that staircase, you get kind of giddy at these sites and yet there's one more one more step all says to him who is able to do, not merely all or more than all we ask or imagine, but under him who is able to do it measurably more than all we can ask or imagine, this is one of those cases in Scripture where Paul coined the word he wanted to say something that the Greek language didn't even provide a word for him to say, so he invents the word so long-winded you might expect (Teresa, it's translated abundantly more super abundantly more, and so on. In various versions of our Bibles. I asked the question how can it be that God will do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine. We can understand how God will do more than we ask or imagine. Because we think small, and even if, by the grace of God we should be giants in the faith of Abraham, Moses, and David were still even in their cases. You wouldn't say that what God did was immeasurable might take a long time to describe it.

It might take longer to measure it if you could in the literal sense and weigh it out but is not immeasurable. We can say if we had time in detail.

If we had the information precisely what it was.

God did we ask is Paul just using hyperbole at this point doesn't really mean it is the just fishing around for language to say something that is magnificent but has no basis in reality I don't think so. The reason I don't think so is that you have something very similar to this black in the second chapter in verses six and seven where he uses not the word immeasurable. But the word incomparable and where he says this God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. See what is talking about. There is not this life is talking about the life to come. Paul is talking of eternity because eternity is infinite God is literally able to bless his people and answer their requests and enrich their lives. Immeasurably because you can't measure eternity. You can't measure the fullness of the gifts of God to his people in eternity either. You see, I'm sure that he is saying here in verse 20 exactly what another language. He said in verse 19 prays that we might know this love that surpasses knowledge and that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of the eternal, infinite's Almighty God.

Why suppose we have a tendency when we get to the end of a doxology like that to pull back timorous lady and say well, that sort of thing may be true for the giants of faith might be true for Abraham. Maybe for Moses and David in Isaiah. Some of the others, but these are words that are meant for me.

Paul doesn't allow us to get away with that because notice what he says. Having talked about these great things that God not only is able to do, but will do. He brings it right home to those whom he is writing he brings it home to us by saying that all of this is according to his power that is what already at work within us. In other words, he says this is not some experience that's reserved for eternity.

Or perhaps you might be one that enters into it.

Then, this is not some experience that is reserved for some elite class of Christians saying if you have come to faith in Jesus Christ. Your salvation is in effect a resurrection from the dead. The power that worked in Christ, raising from the dead physically is the power that works in you to bring you from the dead spiritually and it is in accordance with that same power is the same essence of that power.

The God is going to do these things not only in this life but continuing throughout all eternity.

In other words, you see, he says if you're a real believer in Christ, if you're really saved, if you been brought from death into life and you already know that power at work within you and is in accordance with that power. God is able to do these immeasurably great things. The doxology ends as it must and with the ascription of praise to God.

To him be glory. John Stott says in his commentary and says rightly all the power comes from him.

So all the glory must go to him and it certainly shall, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.


Spray our father, we thank you for this great text. We thank you for these great promises and against them we must confess we measure our own poultry understanding and weak spiritual lives. How can that be our father. When the resources are infinite, why are we so weak. Grant us grace to draw close to you and draw upon that power already at work in those were your people by our Christian walk, especially by our prayers as we desire be useful to you and be what you would have us be that we might experience more and more and more the praise of the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord. You are listening to Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.

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