By Christ Jesus
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. Ephesians 3:21
Let us notice in this text the possibility of worship and the duration of worship.
We see the possibility of worship in the words by Christ Jesus. There is no way that worship can exist apart from Jesus Christ. Apart from Christ, we remain hostile toward God and alienated from God. Apart from Christ, we will die in our sins. Apart from Christ, we have no righteousness and no forgiveness. It is only in him that we can be reconciled to God. It is only because on the cross he took our sins so that we might have the righteousness of God that we can approach God’s throne as a throne of grace. Apart from Christ, the power of God is terrifying. Apart from Christ, God’s power is against us. But when we trust in Christ, when we belong to him, God’s power is no longer against us, it is for us. It is no longer the power of God to condemn and destroy; it is the power of God to save and to rescue.
I think it was John Piper who said that missions exists where worship doesn’t. Missions and worship go hand in hand. Which is why missionaries carry the gospel with them. It is why the preeminent message of the church to those on the outside is to preach Christ and him crucified. There is no hope for worship to exist where the gospel is yet unknown.
Not only does the work of Christ make worship possible by breaking down the barriers to worship, it also makes worship possible by giving us a window into the character and love of God. How is it that we can be filled with all the fullness of God? It is only as we come to see the multifaceted love of Christ which is supremely magnified by the work of redemption that he accomplished through his life of obedience and sacrificial death. The more we come to know God through Christ, the more we will be able to worship him in ways that are appropriate to his glorious nature. So it is that the church gives glory to God “by Christ Jesus.”
And finally, we note the duration of worship: “throughout all ages, world without end.” There is nothing on this earth that deserves eternal praise. But the fact of the matter is that we couldn’t even if we tried. No created thing can give us eternal satisfaction. No created and finite thing can delight us forever. We would eventually tire of it. And at that point our praise would run out.
And so the fact that Paul says that doxology will be given to God for ever and ever tells us something about God. It tells us not only that he is worthy of eternal praise, but also that he is such a fountain of blessing and delight that the saint will never tire praising God. In heaven, our experience of God will be undiluted and pure, and so the expression of our hearts will be forever overflowing in praise to God.
Thank God, we can begin even now. Through Christ, we can come into a relationship with God our Father and begin to experience all the fullness of God. May we do so more and more. And as we do so, may our lives become a chorus of praise and doxology to our powerful and gracious and loving and glorious God. Amen.