To God be the glory in the church!
[Text: Ephesians 3:1-21]
Ephesians 3 ends with a prayer of praise: To Him be the glory
in the church in Christ Jesus1 to all generations of an eternity of
eternities! Amen! (Ephesians 3:21 RD).
The church glorifies God in various ways.
The church reveals the wisdom of God.
God’s wisdom shines forth in His work of redemption through
Jesus Christ. You are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom
from God - and righteousness and sanctification and redemption -
that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord’ (1
Corinthians 1:30, 31).
The church makes God’s wisdom known, first, because of the
marvelous beauty of God’s plan of redemption for man, and second,
because in word and deed the church glorifies God.
The redeemed are the salt of the earth and the light of the world
(Matthew 5:13, 14). Let your light so shine before men, that they
may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven
In the church, God will be glorified forever!
The church of Christ is the only institution on earth that will exist
in all eternity. When Jesus promised to build His church, He said:
And the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).
Hades is the realm of the dead. Thus, the church of Christ exists
beyond the grave.
On earth, the church represents the kingdom of heaven. Our
citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). When the Lord adds the
saved to the church4 they are registered in heaven. Their names are
in the book of life (Philippians 4:3). Only those who are written in
the Lamb’s book of Life may enter the heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation
21:27). They are the church of the firstborn who are registered in
heaven (Hebrews 12:23).
God is glorified in the body of Christ, His church.
Those who are in the church are in Christ because the church is
His body: He is also head of the body, the church (Colossians 1:18).
There is one body (Ephesians 4:4). We are one body in Christ
(Romans 12:5).5 If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (2
Corinthians 5:17). God put all things under His feet, and gave Him to
be head over all things to the church, which is His body (Ephesians
Christ has one body, one church. Often in Scripture the church of
Christ is simply called the church because there is only one church.
Other religious institutions will be uprooted. Then His disciples
came and said to Him, ‘Do You know that the Pharisees were
offended when they heard this saying?’ But He answered and said,
‘Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be
uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if
the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch’ (Matthew 15:12-14).
All denominations and religions of human origin will be uprooted.
Only the church of Christ will glorify God forever. To Him be the
glory in the church in Christ Jesus to all generations of an eternity of
eternities! (Ephesians 3:21 RD).
The church must be cleansed and sanctified to glorify God.
This cleansing is necessary because all have sinned and fall
short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Christians are justified
freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
(Romans 3:24). We have been sanctified through the offering of the
body of Jesus Christ once for all (Hebrews 10:10). The church
consists of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians
1:2). There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in
Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
As a gift of God’s grace, this cleansing and sanctification occurs
at baptism. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior
toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to His mercy, He saved us through the washing
of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4, 5). We
are born again of water and the Spirit (John 3:3, 5). We are baptized
into the body of Christ: For by one Spirit we were all baptized into
one body (1 Corinthians 12:13).
By water Noah was saved from an evil world. Peter says: There
is also an antitype6 which now saves us - baptism (not the removal of
the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward
God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21).
After Paul had fasted for three days, he was asked: And now
why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your
sins, calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16).
Christ cleanses and sanctifies the church to present her to
Himself, a glorious church. Paul wrote: Husbands, love your wives,
just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He
might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the
word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not
having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy
and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27).
The sanctified church glorifies God as the beautiful bride of
Christ: ‘Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the
marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself
ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean
and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints
(Revelation 19:7, 8).
The church glorifies God in its preaching and in its service.
If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If
anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies,
that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom
belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter
When we serve we must give God all the glory because He is the
one who gives us the ability, strength and resources to serve.
When we speak we must give God all the glory by speaking as
the oracles of God. Jesus said, He who speaks from himself seeks his
own glory (John 7:18). God receives the glory only when our
preaching conforms to His word.
Paul told Timothy: Preach the word! (2 Timothy 4:2). The
church is the foundation of the truth: I write so that you may know
how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the
church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth (1
Timothy 3:15). The church glorifies God by preaching the truth in all
The church glorifies God in its worship.
In Psalm 22 David predicts that the Messiah will be remembered
in all the world. On the cross, Jesus quotes the first four words of this
psalm: ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why
have You forsaken Me?’ (Matthew 27:46). Psalm 22 gives details of
the crucifixion. The Jewish leaders used words from Psalm 22:8 to
mock Jesus as He hung on the cross: He trusted in the Lord, let Him
rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!7
They pierced My hands and My feet (Psalm 22:16). They
divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots
After His plea for help, the Messiah says, You have answered
Me! (Psalm 22:21). Then the psalm is victorious: I will declare Your
name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You
(Psalm 22:22). In Hebrews 2:12 this statement is ascribed to the
Messiah in the Christian age. My praise shall be of You in the great
assembly (Psalm 22:25). Since this is said after the crucifixion, the
great assembly is the church of Christ.
In the closing portion of the psalm, David says the Messiah will
be remembered in the whole world: All the ends of the world shall
remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations
shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the LORD’s, and He rules
over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth shall eat and
worship (Psalm 22:27-29). The worldwide observance of the Lord’s
supper is a fulfilment of this prophecy!
To glorify God as the church of Christ let us sing praises to God,
let us worship and eat the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week,
let us proclaim the good news to all peoples so they can turn to the
What have we learned?
The church will glorify God forever. God’s wisdom is made known
by the church. On earth, the church represents the kingdom of
heaven. The saved are registered in heaven. God is glorified in Christ,
in His one body, the church. The church must be cleansed and
sanctified to glorify God. By grace, this occurs at baptism. The
sanctified church is the bride of Christ. The church glorifies God in its
preaching, in its service and in its worship.
Our goal, as a congregation and as individual Christians, must be
to glorify God.
To Him be the glory in the church in Christ Jesus to all
generations of an eternity of eternities! Amen!
The Scripture quotations in this article are from The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc. Publishers, unless indicated otherwise. Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive