November 20, 2016
“Lord, give me strength” is a common prayer—yet we often don’t pause to examine what it is we’re actually asking God for. Preaching from Ephesians 3, Alistair Begg explains that God empowers believers in their inner being through the Holy Spirit. As we cooperate with the Spirit’s work within us by studying the Word and praying, fellowshipping with other believers, and participating in the sacraments, our faith grows, and we are rooted and grounded in Christ.
Sermon Transcript: Print
I invite you to follow along as we read from the Bible in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, in chapter 3 and beginning at verse 14. Ephesians 3:14:
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
And we mentioned last week about the importance of prayer both before and after the preaching of the Word. And so, as we turn to the Bible together now, I want to use what was Calvin’s standard prayer before the preaching of the Word. So, if you bow your head and your heart with me, we employ this prayer from a long time ago:
We call upon you, our good God and Father, beseeching you, since all the fullness of wisdom and light is found in you, in your mercy to enlighten us by the Holy Spirit in the true understanding of the Word. Teach us by your Word to place our trust in you and to serve and honor you as we ought, so that we may glorify your holy name in all our living and edify our neighbors by our good example. May we render to you, O God, the love and obedience which children owe to their parents, since it has pleased you graciously to receive us in Christ as your children. In Christ’s name. Amen.
Well, we are still in Paul’s second prayer here for the church in Ephesus, and we’re given a portrait of Paul that is, if you like, more intimate—perhaps we might even say more vulnerable—than many of the other verbal pictures that we have in his writings and in the Acts. For example, we have—at least in our mind’s eye, some of us—a picture of Paul as he stands looking after the clothes, the cloaks, as those who have left their jackets are taking up stones to stone Stephen as the first Christian martyr. It’s hard not to think of Paul without seeing him there; or seeing him struck blind, although his eyes were still open, on the road to Damascus; or to picture him in all of the drama of the intelligentsia in Athens as he preaches to the Areopagus. Or perhaps you have a picture in your mind of him along with Silas in Philippi, their feet fastened into the stocks, and in the midnight hour, they are, Luke tells us, singing hymns of praise to God. These are all pictures that we have of him.
And here in these verses that we have just read, as I say, this is a more intimate picture, inasmuch as he allows us to hear him, as it were—almost to see him—pour out his soul to God for those to whom he writes, so that we have understood him to be going to great lengths to make sure that he explains to his readers all these things and now that he goes, if you like, to great lengths to pray that those to whom he has provided an explanation might enter into the experience that God has for them in this.
The Scottish poet Montgomery on one occasion wrote a poem which became a hymn. I think it begins, “Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, uttered or unexpressed.” In other words, what is going on inside of a man or inside of a woman when they cry out to God or even in the silence of their hearts is an expression of their sincere desire. To the extent that that is true, we hear now Paul’s sincere desire for those who are the readers of this letter—which, of course, includes us. It was either Murray M’Cheyne or John Owen who first said, “What a man is on his knees before God, that he is and nothing more.” And to the extent that is true, then here in this little section we are given a measure of the man of the apostle Paul.
Now, we began last time to look at this prayer, and we noted that, first of all, it was selfless; and then, secondly, that it was spiritual—that Paul’s concerns were not what we might have anticipated. And then we said we would go on and consider the fact that the prayer is also specific. There’s no vague generalities here from the lips of Paul or from the pen of Paul. He is very direct in knowing to whom he comes and why he comes and exactly what it is he’s asking of God. And there are essentially two requests in these verses: first of all, a prayer for inner strength through the resources of God’s Spirit, and then a prayer that these Ephesian believers might comprehend the measureless, limitless love of Christ. We’ll deal with them each in turn. In fact, we will only deal with the first of them this morning.
As we do so, it’s very important that we recognize that Paul here is addressing those who are believers. He’s addressing those who are “in Christ.” You may remember that Paul’s way of thinking about what it meant to be a believer centers, really, on his use of that kind of terminology. “We were not,” he says, “previously in Christ. We were outside of Christ. We were bereft, we were hopeless, we were lost, we were condemned, we were enslaved”—all of these amazing things. He says, “But now that is different because of what Christ has accomplished.” It’s important that we keep this in mind. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he began his letter, “who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing.” It is “in him” that we have been chosen, and it is “in him” that we have “redemption through his blood.” If you doubt this, just go back and start reading the letter again, and you will see that he makes it perfectly clear.
He is not writing now, in praying now in chapter 3, that those for whom he prays might become Christians, might become believers. Yes, he is going to pray that Christ will dwell in their hearts through faith, but that is not a prayer for their salvation. As we will see, it is a prayer for their progress in the faith.
Now, they had heard the word of the gospel, and they had believed the gospel. Let’s just be clear, in case anybody’s wondering: when the Bible talks about believing this good news—believing the story of who Jesus is and what he’s done—to believe the gospel is to put one’s trust and confidence in the person and work of Jesus as Savior and Lord. Let me say that again: to believe the gospel is for one to place one’s personal trust and confidence in Jesus as Savior and Lord. In other words, it is not simply to believe that there was a Jesus or even to believe that Jesus was the person he claimed to be, but it is to give up all confidence in myself and place all of my confidence in Jesus.
Now, I say that because when I preach from Sunday to Sunday, I realize that people are at various stages in relationship to this reality, and understandably so. It would be a strange Sunday if there weren’t somebody who was here—a few people who are here—who, actually, when I use the phrase gospel, they haven’t a clue what it means, and they’re quite comfortable with that. They’ve decided that they don’t really care. They enjoy coming, and it’s fairly nice. They met some decent people, and the bookshop is nice, and they get a coffee. And somehow or another, it’s a nice part of life, you know; it just fits into the framework. They don’t really know what the gospel is, and they’re quite comfortable not knowing. That’s one group—small, perhaps, but nevertheless representative.
Others would be prepared to say, “I don’t know what the gospel is, but I’m teachable. I want to find out what it is, and if you could be a little clearer, then I might be a little closer.” I accept that. That’s fair. That’s a good comment.
Some have actually understood the gospel, can tell somebody else about it, but they have never been humbled to the place where they have seen their need of Jesus as a Savior, Lord, and King. So there they sit, Sunday by Sunday. They say, “Here he goes again. He’ll be on that gospel thing. I know all about that. It is what God has done for us in Christ to save us from sin and from the devil and from hell. I know it perfectly. I was telling one of my neighbors about it just the other day.” Yes, you do, but you’ve never been humbled to the point where you bowed down and cried out to Jesus to be your Savior and King.
And others who listen have been humbled to see their need of a Savior. They came, perhaps, first of all thinking that what they needed was a little self-improvement, a little religion in their life, a little change of perspective. And as they have been reading the Bible and as they’ve been thinking about things, then they realize, “No, that’s not what I need. I don’t need self-improvement. I need a Savior.” And that is the divine transaction which is accomplished by God.
Now, I say all of that to remind us again that he is writing to those who believe. That belief is a wholehearted trust in the saving work of Jesus. A wholehearted trust in the saving work of Jesus. May I just ask you: Do you have a wholehearted trust in the saving work of Jesus? And if you’re unsure about it, we want to help you to get sure about it. And we have a little booklet called The Story that is available around the building, in the prayer room behind me to my right, copies of the Gospel of John—many ways in which you can make progress in these questions, if I have described you in part this morning.
With all that by way of a long introduction, let us now consider this particular prayer that Paul is praying here, this specific request: that “according to the riches of his glory”—verse 16—“he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love…”
Let’s consider, first of all, in terms of the source. The source. Where is this strength provided? To what reservoir does Paul go, to what does he appeal, when he asks God that those for whom he is concerned may discover the strengthening power of the Spirit? Well, the answer is: the source is the riches of God’s glory. “According to the riches of his glory.”
What are “the riches of his glory”? What is the glory of God? The glory of God is, if you like, the summation of his being. The glory of God is the sum and substance of all that he has revealed to us of himself that our limited minds are able to grasp. So, for example, it is an expression of his might, of his self-existence, of his majesty, of his justice, his truth, his righteousness, his holiness, his purity—and so we could go on. In other words, it is a vast reservoir. And so Paul, when he speaks of the riches of the glory of God, he clearly is not addressing some little idol that is a man-made invention. He’s not regarding God as a kind of cosmic principal. He’s not addressing God in a pantheistic kind of way, whereby God is everything, and we are part of everything; therefore, we are part of God.
No, he’s not doing that at all. No, he’s addressing the fact that God is outside of us, that God is outside of time in his essence, that God is the one who has created the entire universe, that God is in charge of the ebb and flow of the stars and the planets, and the vastness of the moon the other night is directly related to his creative handiwork. And he knows it won’t be until—what is it?—2034 that any of us will have the chance to see such a vast moon again. God does not look from the heavens, as it were, and say, “My, my! That is remarkable!” No, he is the God who has revealed himself in the sum and substance of his majesty. It’s a vast ocean we’ll sing of this evening, perhaps, in relationship to the love of Christ:
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Like a mighty ocean sweeping over me.
Now, this is the source. This is the great need, and this is the great provision. Limitless and incomparable are the riches of God.
Now, some of you, I think, will inevitably be sitting there saying to yourself, “Well, this seems a bit remote from life. Couldn’t you give us something a little more practical than this? After all, we’re just a few days away from Thanksgiving. I’ve got Aunt Mabel coming over again, and you know what a nuisance she is, and we’ve got all of these things to contend with, and so on. Couldn’t we have had something along those lines of ‘Five Pointers for a Pleasant Thanksgiving,’ or what the Bible has to say about dressing your table, or whatever it might be?”
No, you couldn’t. You couldn’t. Why? Well, because there are other ways to handle that. No, you see, what most of us think we need is different from what we really need. And that’s why we need the Bible to show us who God is and to show us what we are, so that then we may get a proper understanding of the fact that to speak about the riches of God’s glory, of his unsurpassable majesty and magnificence, is actually of fundamental importance to my Thanksgiving, to my life, to my job, to my exams, to my relationships, to my everything.
If you won’t take it from me, then take it from a twenty-year-old pastor in London in 1855. This is him addressing his congregation:
Would you lose your sorrows? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of [sorrow] and [grief]; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.
Twenty-year-old Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Remarkable.
Makes sense though, doesn’t it? How many how-to books do you have? How many times have you gone looking for the how-to answer to your predicament? And how well have you done? You see, we start from the wrong end. We start from the wrong end. It is to God and to the vast reservoir of the riches of his glory that we go first, and out of the abundance of his provision, the other things may fall into line. But some of us, you see, are thinking that we will manage to finally get to that place along the line of our other more important, practical, pragmatic considerations, and we short-circuit the resources that are made available to the believer from the source of “the riches of his glory.”
If that’s the source, then what of the agency? How are these riches then made available in the life of the believer? Well, Paul answers that, doesn’t he? He points out the fact that this will be “through his Spirit in your inner being.” Let’s just stick with “through his Spirit” for the moment. How is it that we are to know this amazing, surpassing power? Answer: by the ministry of the Holy Spirit—God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit, coequal, coeternal; the work of the Holy Spirit bringing home to the life of the individual the truth concerning God.
Now, we understand this if we are in Christ, don’t we? Because we realize that it was the work of the Holy Spirit that convicted us of our sins. Because in many cases, we had decided that yeah, sure, there were some problems in our life, but they weren’t really that bad, and especially if you consider them in relationship to the other people in our class or to the rest of the people working in our office or our lab: “You know, I’m not the best of guys, but wow, I’m sure if God is grading on the curve, I’m going to be absolutely fine, because you should meet some of the people that are in here with me.” And we used to think in those terms. And then, suddenly, we began to see ourselves in a different light. We began to read the Bible. The Bible seemed to understand us. We began to listen to the Bible as it was explained, and suddenly, in a way that we couldn’t fully articulate, beyond the voice of a mere man, it was as though the very Bible itself was speaking to us. It was as though the Bible was doing diagnosis on us. It was as though the Bible was saying, “Now, this is you here, you see.” When it says, “All have sinned and fall[en] short of the glory of God,” we found ourselves saying, “Well, that includes me,” whereas before we said, “Well, that must include them.” It’s the work of the Holy Spirit.
How was it that we were then convinced that Jesus is the Savior that the Spirit has convicted us that we’re in need of? Answer: by the same Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit says, “And what you need is not self-improvement. What you need is not just to turn over a new leaf. What you need is a life-transforming encounter with the living God.” And that was the work of the Holy Spirit. It’s mysterious, isn’t it? The hymn writer says,
I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing [men] of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
[And] creating faith in him.
It’s miraculous. It’s mysterious.
And it is the ongoing ministry of God the Holy Spirit to do what Paul prays for the believer in these verses. Paul has reminded these believers that the Holy Spirit has been given to them as a guarantee of their inheritance, and one day we will enter into the fullness of that inheritance. “Now,” he says elsewhere, “we see through a glass dimly; one day we will see face-to-face. One day we will know even as we are known.” But for now, here is where we are. And what a tremendous encouragement it is that he would pray for them that out of the vast resources of God’s provision and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit this may be their portion.
We need the work of the Spirit, don’t we, in our lives? We’ve sung about it: “every hour.” “Every hour.” Frankly, every moment. Why? Because we’re so easily distracted. Easily distracted. You can go through a day, two days, three days, a week, a month suddenly realizing you’re diverted from course. In the words of the hymn writer, “I[’ve] see[n] the sights that dazzle,” and “the tempting sounds I hear.” How do we handle “the sights that dazzle” and “the tempting sounds [we] hear”? “Well,” somebody would say, “well, you need to stop that. Well, you need to turn those sights—get away from those sights!” And, of course, that’s good to do. But what will really set us free from it is an understanding of the immensity of the riches of God’s grace and glory. You see, because then we are so transfixed with that, that that means nothing.
When you’ve fallen in love with somebody who has captured your heart, and you love her with a passion, and you write to her, and you long to see her, there’s not a person in the world can turn your head; there’s not a girl in the world can turn your head. You could walk through all the J.Crew models for forty-five minutes and never give it a consideration. Why? Because of this! Because of this! “I see the sights that dazzle.” I thought they would only dazzle when I was a teenager or only dazzle when I was a young married man, but they still dazzle. What do I need? And how is it provided? Through the Spirit.
If you’re not distracted, some of you are depressed. I know, because you tell me. I know what it is for you to feel destabilized, overwhelmed. What do you need? You don’t need a book about that. All the resources in relationship to that are provided in the glorious riches of God, which are ministered to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. The same is true of those of us who have doubts, where they come from nowhere. What is the answer? Not a book on apologetics; the ministry of God’s Spirit. And what about the devilish thoughts that come our way—strange and bizarre and horrible thoughts that can come while you’re singing or while you’re engaged in something? What is this? Where does this come from? How is this addressed? Answer: through the agency of God’s Holy Spirit.
You see, that’s why the notion of Christianity or some kind of external religious experience whereby we try and attach things to us that make us look as if we’re different from what we are, that we attempt to make ourselves acceptable to go to God, is a complete nonstarter. It is a dead-end street. It is not Christianity. No, “if [any man or a woman] is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, [and] the new has come!”
And it is to these new believers that Paul says, “You should be sure about the source, and you should be clear about the agency, and thirdly, you should be aware of the locale.” Of the locale: the work of God “in your inner being.” “In your inner being.” Look at that there. What is this “inner being”? Well, it’s like in your hearts, your soul, your mind, your will, the epicenter of who you are. The outer man is our body, with all of its functions and its faculties, and it’s important to us. But what he’s saying here is that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is at work in terms of our inner self—at work within us. We all know that in terms of our outer self, all of the powers are declining. They’re declining. I mean, I see it every Sunday when I come here, and people go to speak to me, and I’m like, “I don’t think I can jump down there.”
Now, I can’t believe that I even feel “I don’t think I can jump down there.” But I don’t think I can jump down there. In fact, I’m not even going to try it. But that’s ridiculous. What do you mean you can’t jump down there? And it’s embarrassing every time I sit down on my bottom, and then I slide off, and I say to myself, “What are you doing that for?” Because I have to! Why? Because you’re declining. You’re declining. But not inside I’m not! No! Inwardly, I’m “being renewed day by day.”
That’s why, you know, they said of Moody… You remember Moody says, “One day that you will read in the newspaper that Moody is dead. But do not believe it for a moment, because on that day, I will be more alive than I have ever been.” What did he mean by that? He was talking about the inner man: the real you and the real me. Our whole Western culture is preoccupied with the outer man: how I look, what I have, where I live, what I do, what I earn, how significant I am, my identity, and all of these things. And the Bible says to us, “That is flawed thinking. No, it’s in your very inner man that these things then find their place and find their significance.”
And just in case you’re wondering about how that would then take place: Is this ministry of the Holy Spirit in our inner being, then, something that just happens, as it were, in a completely mysterious and unrecognizable context? The answer to that is no. No. Because, you see, the work of the Holy Spirit in our inner being is a work that he conducts through means. Through means. And the means that he uses to fulfill his purpose—“so that Christ may dwell in [our] hearts through faith,” so that we might, as we will see tonight, “be filled with all the fullness of God”—this does not happen in a vacuum. And the means that God uses to complete his purposes are these: preaching, prayer, fellowship, and the proper use of the sacraments. You say, “Where’d you get that from?” From the Bible. From the Bible.
God says, “My Spirit will work through these means. I have appointed them to this end.” You see? So when we do not attend upon the preaching of the Bible, when we do not engage meaningfully in the fellowship of God’s people, when we decide that we actually don’t need to be baptized, when we absent ourselves from the Lord’s Table, when we disengage from seeking God in prayer, then we ought not to be surprised if we discover in our lives an absence of the strengthening power for which Paul prays.
You see, again, we start at the wrong end. We, some of us, are waiting for God to move us—whatever that means—so that we might then pay attention to the teaching of the Bible; then we might get involved with God’s people; then we might start praying; then we may do a bunch of stuff. It doesn’t happen that way. He uses the means to fulfill his plan. So we neglect the means, we miss out on the provision.
Finally, he has provided the source in “the riches of his glory”; the agency in the power of the Holy Spirit, by means that he has given to us in and through his Word. The locale is within that part of us that will be there when everything else is gone. Essentially, Paul is dealing with, in a spiritual way, what has become common parlance in physical exercise. I mean, there’s hardly a person now that’s involved in any kind of physical exercise that doesn’t want to tell you about the core. The core. When I was fifteen, nobody knew about the core. That had to do with an apple or something like that. But now: “No. No. It’s the core. Are you’re dealing with the core?” Well, that makes perfect sense—your abdominal muscles and your back and various things. It’s perfectly understandable. That’s why golfers are able to hit the ball so far: because they’re able to deal with that core. That’s the significance of Pilates and all these different things. I get that. It makes perfect sense. And what Paul is saying is that’s the same thing true spiritually. It’s the core that God is interested in. It’s the very inner being. It’s the part of you that isn’t obvious to people. It’s the real you. It’s you on your own. It’s you in your bedroom. It’s you in your car. The part of you that lasts forever.
And to what end? “Well,” he says, “to this end: that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” How does Christ come to dwell in our hearts? By the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Don’t stumble over the fact that the believer is already indwelt by Christ; otherwise, he wouldn’t be a believer. “If any man does not have the Spirit, then he is none of his.” So we’ve covered that, haven’t we? We’ve said these people are believers. So what does he mean, then, that “I’m praying for you, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith”?
Well, I think the verb is important. It is an important verb in Greek. And the dwelling is the notion… In other words, your heart is not to be regarded as an Airbnb but rather as a permanent residence—that God comes to dwell intimately and consistently and progressively in your heart. “And as he does so, you will discover,” he says, “that you will then find your roots are going down into the wonder of his love, and your life will be built upon that same foundation.” You have there at the end of verse 17 two metaphors, don’t you? One is horticultural, and the other is architectural. And Paul does this all the time.
So he says, “When out of the vastness of his resources the Spirit strengthens you with power in your inner being, so that Christ now is manifesting himself with you, he’s dwelling within you, that the Spirit is at work within you, you are then rooted and grounded in love”—not a superficial passing display but a deep-seated, settled affection.
And it is that which provides the context for us to be enabled to then—and this is his second specific request in prayer, to which we will come this evening—it is then in that context that we may then “have strength to comprehend … and to know the love of Christ that surpasses [all] knowledge.”
And here we are, November morning. Friday we played golf. Saturday we dodged the rain. Sunday we struggled in the snow. This is Ohio, and we love it here. I love it here. And “outwardly we[’re] wasting away.” I had a visitor to the church a week ago, ten days ago. I met him in the car park. And as he put his face in my car window, he says, “You know, Begg, I’ve watched you age.” I said, “You know, Ron, I’ve watched you age too. In fact, we’re both aging at the exact same rate.” But we had a little interchange about the ravages of gravity and so on. But we were able to say, “But by God’s mercy, ‘inwardly we[’re] being renewed day by day.’”
This is not an impractical prayer. This is as vital a prayer as Paul could ever pray. And we might pray it for one another as you think of one another during the week, praying that we might be “rooted and grounded in love,” that we might comprehend the wonder of the resources that are ours in God’s vast and limitless reservoir of grace, that we might seek to know Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that our preoccupation will be with that which lasts rather than the transient, passing fancies that clamor for our attention.
Again, if you are on the spectrum of saying, “I don’t know about that stuff, but I would like to consider more,” then please come, and we’ll provide you with resources to help you think it through.
Now let’s use Calvin’s prayer upon the preaching of the Word as we bow:
Now let us cast ourselves down before the majesty of our good God, asking him to forgive our sins and to renew in us the image of Christ and to fulfill all his purposes in us and through us, to the praise of his glorious grace. Amen.
 See Acts 7:58.
 See Acts 9:8.
 See Acts 17:22–33.
 See Acts 16:24–25.
 James Montgomery, “Prayer Is the Soul’s Sincere Desire” (1818).
 Ephesians 2:1–5 (paraphrased).
 Ephesians 1:3–4 (ESV).
 Ephesians 1:4 (ESV).
 See Ephesians 1:7 (ESV).
 See Ephesians 1:13.
 Samuel Trevor Francis, “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus” (1875). Lyrics lightly altered.
 C. H. Spurgeon, “The Immutability of God,” New Park Street Pulpit 1, no. 1, 1.
 Romans 3:23 (ESV).
 Daniel Webster Whittle, “I Know Whom I Have Believed” (1883).
 See Ephesians 1:13–14.
 1 Corinthians 13:12 (paraphrased).
 Robert Lowry and Annie Sherwood Hawks, “I Need Thee Every Hour” (1871).
 John Ernest Bode, “O Jesus, I Have Promised” (1868).
 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV 1984).
 2 Corinthians 4:16 (ESV).
 Paul Dwight Moody and Arthur Percy Fitt, The Shorter Life of D. L. Moody, vol. 1, His Life (Chicago: The Bible Institute Colportage Association, 1900), 9. Paraphrased.
 Romans 8:9 (paraphrased).
 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV).
 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV).
Copyright © 2023, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.