To help a discouraged congregation not too far from us, I proposed a course that will be held next Saturday, called “The Unlimited Church.” For six hours I will speak on seven or eight topics.
My list is this:
- The Unlimited Prayer
- The Unlimited Courage
- The Unlimited Spirit
- The Unlimited Power
- The Unlimited Support
- The Unlimited Christ
- The Unlimited Word
- The Unlimited Disciple
Years ago, I found myself in a depression because of a lie I told myself. I thought that I had no options going forward, that I was blocked from working as planned. It was a devil’s lie. God always has a way forward, with power, just as he offers a way out of temptation, at all times. If he shuts one door, he will open another.
In the beautiful declaration of the Christ that he would establish his church, our Lord also said that “the gates of Hades will not overpower it” Matthew 16.18c. The powers of evil did not prevail when Christ died on the cross. Nor have they ever prevailed since the church was established. People may abandon the faith, false teachers may enter and cause havoc, persecution may scatter the saints, but the church of God will thrive and live forever. Its success is guaranteed. In the church the Savior will complete his mission.
Wherever we have failed to live and act as the unlimited church, we have lacked faith. Like the nine disciples in the valley who failed miserably to cast out a demon in a possessed child, while the Transfiguration was happening on a high mountain, our lack of prayer and fasting and confidence in God’s power has left us dazed and puzzled. We wonder why God has not blessed us. But Isaiah and James already revealed the problem. God is not weak or deaf. Our own sins have short-circuited the working of Heaven, “we wait for deliverance, but there is none, for salvation, but it is far from us” Isaiah 59.11. So many turn to denominational tricks and structures to do the job. Our honor is at stake, our pride requires other measures. Our egos took root far back in time. So our prayers, when they were sent upwards, were made to spend on our own religious passions, James 4.1-3. The truth is that we often do not even ask, because of inner conflict and family fights.
The church of God is unlimited because God is unlimited. Our prayers are unlimited because we make petition to the unlimited God. God is omnipotent, the All-Powerful. “Power belongs to God” Psalm 62.11. Although he does not share his authority, he freely grants us his power.
The doxology in Ephesians 3.20-21 needs careful study, because it is far more than an exclamation of praise. It is a road map for the unlimited church.
Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
This praise is located in the middle of the letter to the Ephesians. Some see it, along with 4.1-6, as the center and main section. God’s power works within us, so that his glory comes through the church. This power is far beyond our imagination. God will do more in us and through us than we dare dream of — if we cooperate.
Let us ask him and be bold in our asking. Let us depend upon his power and be bold in our action.