Sermon outline: This is an abbreviated outline with the complete sermon downloadable at the bottom of the post.
Text: Ephesians 3:13–21
Title: Living for God’s Cause
Introduction: Don’t faint (to be weak or fail). Why? Paul said that there is a cause! In the Christian life there is a cause!
Paul was concerned about the Christians in and around Ephesus because they were in danger of losing heart. Perhaps you know what it feels like to lose heart.
Imagine an athlete competing in a marathon—a foot-race of 26 miles, 385 yards. Now that is an endurance contest! To run over 26 miles requires an extraordinary level of perseverance. When a runner has been running for two or three hours straight, knowing that the finish line is still miles away, when his legs begin to turn to rubber and every breath becomes excruciatingly painful, he knows he must keep running or fail. And when he finishes, everyone looks at him with admiration and wonder, saying what a great heart he’s got!
But when you lose heart, you lose your stamina, your morale, your will to persevere. You come to a place where you say, “What’s the use? Why keep going? I can’t make it.” And you give up.
That is what Paul fears is about to happen to the Christians at Ephesus. They were about to lose heart and give up the race. So Paul says to them in verse 13, “Don’t lose heart. The situation isn’t the way you think it is.” And he closes his great morale-boosting message with a prayer, as we see in verses 14 to 19.
For this cause…
I. Paul Surrendered His Will—vv. 14–16
A. Christ Is the Preeminent One—v. 15
B. The Key Is the Inner Man—v. 16
II. Paul Desired for People to Be Saved—vv. 17–19
A. Faith in Christ Changes a Life
B. Realizing the Love of God
III. Paul Desired for God to Be Glorified—vv. 20–21
A. His Power (Ability) Is Incomprehensible
B. His Power Works in Us
Conclusion: There is a song entitled “It Is No Secret What God Can Do.” Stuart Hamblen was a popular singer, songwriter, actor, poet, and radio personality from the 1930s through the 1950s. He was first a hit on radio, but appeared in films with Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and John Wayne and wrote several chart-topping country songs. Some have called him radio’s first singing cowboy.
Billy Graham came to Los Angeles in 1949 for what became an historic evangelistic crusade. Graham’s appearance on Hamblen’s radio show was arranged as part of the publicity for the crusade. Hamblen was known for his hard living and drinking, but he warmly welcomed Graham as a guest. It was at that interview that Graham extended an invitation to Hamblen to attend the crusade and he accepted. Hamblen later contacted Graham at his hotel and asked to talk. The result was that he “surrendered his life to Christ.” Hamblen’s became the first publicized conversion from the 1949 crusade and contributed to the decision to extend the event, which lasted for eight weeks.
Hamblen later ran into John Wayne who asked him about the rumor around town that he’d changed his ways. Hamblen told Wayne that it was no secret what God had done for him and that he could do it for Wayne too. Wayne said it sounded like a song and suggested he write one. The result was one of Hamblen’s best known tunes, “It is No Secret What God Can Do.”