All glory and honor and praise belong to our God! Yet for many Christians, this reality is not reflected in their lives nor declared from their lips.

In this expositional message, Nathan Johnson examines the end of Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 and explains Paul’s theology of doxology—for God to receive all glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. 

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Key Passage: Ephesians 3:21

Ephesians 3:20-21 – Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

A Simple Bible Study Resource

  • To Him Alone Belongs Glory
    • Glory (doxa) – praise, splendor, radiance, majesty, glory, honor, renown
    • Scholar: “In the Old Testament doxa was primarily the brightness or radiance of God’s presence. To give God glory is not to add something to him; rather, it is an active acknowledgement or extolling [praising enthusiastically] of who he is or what he has already done (Ps. 29:2; 96:8).”**
  • Forever and Ever (aion aion)
    • “Forever and ever” shows up in NT 22x (predominantly in Revelation)
      • 5 speak of God reigning forever and ever
      • 14 speak of “to Him be glory (and honor) forever and ever”
    • OT (23x)
      • Psalm 45:6, 17 – Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. … I will cause Your name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore the peoples will give You thanks forever and ever.
      • Psalm 145:1-2, 21 – A Psalm of Praise, of David. I will extol You, my God, O King, And I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. … My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.
    • » There will never be a time when we are not about His praise and glory
  • God’s Glory in Jesus [He is God]
    • Hebrews 1:3 – And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
      • Jesus is the highest and greatest expression of God’s glory
    • 2 Timothy 4:18 – The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
    • Jude 24–25 – Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
    • Romans 11:36 – For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
  • God’s Glory in the Church
    • Scholar: The wording “to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus” is unusual. It does not imply that “the church” and “Christ Jesus” are placed on a level with each other. God is to be glorified in the church because the church, comprising Jews and Gentiles, is his masterpiece of grace. It is through the church that his wisdom is made known to the spiritual forces of the heavenly realm. “The heavens declare the glory of God” but even greater glory is shown by his handiwork in the community of reconciliation. This community, moreover, consists of human beings who are united in Christ, members of his body, in whom Christ dwells: the glory of God “in the church” cannot be divorced from his glory “in Christ Jesus.” The “glory of God in the face of Christ” has illuminated the hearts of his people (2 Cor. 4:6) and is reflected in the glory which, in life as well as in word, they ascribe to God through Christ.***
      • His life, radiance, and praise should be evident in the Church because He has given us and showcased His goodness and grace within the Church
  • Making it Personal
    • Romans 3:23 – … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God …
      • God’s glory is our standard and reality we’ve fallen short of
    • Romans 1:23 – … and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
    • Scholar: The primal sin of humanity is idolatry, worshipping and trusting that which is not God and so losing the glory of God. ****
    • Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
    • John 17:10b – [Jesus high priestly prayer] … and I have been glorified in them.
      • Jesus is working His power in our lives, demonstrating Himself, He is showing Himself “beyond, beyond, over and above, beyond” in our impossible circumstances
        • When He works like that, only He gets the credit (glory)
    • Judges 7:12 – Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore.
    • Judges 7:2 – The LORD said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’”
    • Galatians 1:5 – … to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.
  • 1. It’s ALL about Jesus
    • John 16:13-14 – But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.
      • The Holy Spirit is glorifying Jesus because He is teaching and guiding us into Jesus
    • Romans 11:36 – For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
  • 2. It’s ALL the time
    • 1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do (poieo), do (poieo) all to the glory of God.
      • This is not go out and whip up things for God’s glory
      • But allow God to move in your life, demonstrating Himself, and allow Him to glorify Himself through your life!

Practical Questions:

  • What in my life am I trying to pull off in my own strength, resource, power?
  • Is there anything in my life that is distracting or taking away from His glory?
  • If someone was to watch your life at every moment, would they hear the Gospel, would the only words they could exclaim be, “the life you live is impossible, there must be a God, to Him be glory!”?
  • What areas of your life do you need Jesus to get in the middle of and begin to demonstrate Himself?
    • Would you allow Jesus to use your life as a vessel to proclaim His praise and glory through 
      • … to demonstrate to all the nations that there is a God 
      • … that the life you live is completely and utterly impossible to live on your own
      • … that the only explanation for your life is Jesus

** Peter Thomas O’Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999), 268.
*** F. F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1984), 331.
**** N. T. Wright, “The Glory of God in Paul’s Letters,” in Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016).

In Our Next Study Together …

I invite you to join me on this journey from the book of Ephesians to discover God’s eternal purpose, His plan for your life, and learn how to practically live out an abundant and fruitful Christian life. 

  • The focus of our next study: Ephesians 4:1
  • We will begin to look at the posture of prayer that Paul talks about in Ephesians 4:1.
  • I encourage you to read through Ephesians a couple of times this week and focus specifically on Ephesians 4.

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About The Deeper Christian Bible Study Series

The Deeper Christian Bible Study Series in Ephesians is a Christ-centered practical in-depth verse-by-verse study of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Join NRJohnson (Nathan Johnson) as he expositionally preaches from this incredible book – which will help you grow in your faith, gain greater intimacy with Jesus, and understand how to study God’s Word.

Many Christians feel frustrated because they don’t grow spiritually. Deeper Christian equips Christians to understand the Word of God and cultivate a passionate love for Jesus that turns the world upside down.

About NRJohnson (Nathan Johnson)

NRJohnson (Nathan Johnson) is a Christian who has an overwhelming passion for Jesus, the Gospel, and Studying God’s Word. He is a writer, teacher, and communicator who helps Christians discover and experience a passionate love for God and His Word so that they can grow in their faith, live victorious lives, share the Gospel boldly, grow in their intimacy with Jesus, and transform the world through the indwelling life of Christ.
Read more about him here.

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