Existing to the Praise of God’s Glory


Sunday 04/23/23

Message: Existing to the Praise of God’s Glory

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Existing to the Praise of God’s Glory

We are turning to Ephesians today in our study of what it means to pursue a deeper and growing intimate, relational knowing of Jesus our Lord. 

In the past few weeks we’ve seen the connection it has with our development into His likeness. How our revelations of Christ increases our times of suffering, since the enemy makes all who are pursing a deeper relational knowing of Jesus a target. 

We have to truly value knowing Him so much that we cling all the tighter to Him. Both the devil and our flesh will resist us for interest in other things. 

Christ being formed in us requires a death. Or said another way, Christ being formed in us or further birthed in us requires the suffering of birth pains. 

At any rate it is a process that involves suffering and in the end this is where there’s no fudging on the power of the gospel because if we do not truly value Him and love Him with increasing and deepening admiration and respect we will never press through and endure all the opposition, birth pains and suffering necessary to know Him more and have Him formed in us. 

This is simply one reason why it brings so much glory back on God when we do. It is both a proof of and a proclamation of the undeniable fact that we see in Him something of infinite value. Something worth both living and dying for. It reveals to all of heaven and earth how deeply and truly we admire Him with hearts which love Him with an increasing longing and devotion. 

In this letter to the growing church of the Ephesians we see the connection between our growth in Him and our knowing Him and that makes it a great letter to read in this study. 

This letter to the Ephesians was not written so much to address issues as is so typical of Paul’s letters, nor is it simply for encouragement in doing good. This was written to lay out before this church and explain some of the great themes and truths of the Christian life. It addresses some of the most elevated aspects of new covenant, the kingdom and our role and response to both. The goals and desired ends of the Christian life found in the plans and purposes in the heart of God. 

Ephesians 1:1-23, 

“(1) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will: To the saints and believers in Christ Jesus at Ephesus.  (2)  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  (3)  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, in Christ;  (4)  for He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight

In love  (5)  He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will,  (6)  to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.”  

“(7)  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace  (8)  that He lavished on us with all [EVERY] wisdom and understanding.”  

In all = every

To compare these two words, we would say that sophia refers to wisdom, and phronēsis, to the right and effective use of that wisdom in order to attain desired ends.

“(9)  He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him  (10)  for the administration of the days of fulfillment–to bring everything together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him.  

(11)  In Him we were also made His inheritance, predestined according to the purpose of the One Who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will,  (12)  so that we who had already put our hope in the Messiah [the early Jewish converts] might bring praise to His glory.”

Praise – enthusiastic expression of extreme admiration and praise

This is a difficult sentence to understand. I believe however, that since it is building upon the words found in verses 5 & 6, it seems to imply that those who first believed would, in their very persons – by their very existence – exist to the extreme admiration of His glory. 

This is hard to capture in words, but every man who has a good and godly wife can grasp it almost immediately.

The very person of the godly wife exists to the glory of her husband. This is not independent of her appearance or actions, but rather those are the fruit of her person. Who she is, sponsors and enhances the beauty of her appearance and actions. 

Though the husband initially solicited and pursued her, she responded by choosing him – not only that day, but every day after. 

Her very existence is to the praise of his glory. (1Cor. 11:7)

When he is among his friends, in public around strangers or in meetings associated with his work – she is beside him. She does not seek to outshine him or draw attention away from him, but somehow, in a grace that belongs to women alone, though she is more beautiful than he and more radiant in many graces,  yet she somehow redirects that attention on him. She outlines him, underscores him and draws the attention and admiration of others to him. 

She makes him shine as it were and she does this by finding her deepest satisfaction and delight in his honor. 

He is greatly honored and glorified by her without her even having to speak a word. Her admiration of him is clear for all to see and those who see her, see not just her, but a woman who is who she is, acts as she acts, dresses as she dresses with the deliberate intention of honoring the man she loves, admires and calls husband.

This is all but a lost art in today’s world of feminine self-importance and it makes the woman obnoxious and to be pitied. It is a crippling loss to our society and world indeed. 

The beauty a godly woman brings to the world when directed toward her husband is a radiance beyond comparison.

Now with this in mind – consider that such is the meaning of this phrase. 

Our very existence, beautified as it is with praise and admiration of Him, both highlights His already immeasurable glory which is His alone, but also brings glory on Him through our choosing of Him and admiring Him both initially and every day since.

“(13)  In Him you also, [Gentile converts] when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation–in Him when you believed–were sealed [marked as approved and authentic] with the promised Holy Spirit.”


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!