A series of homilies on Ephesians 5 & 6
A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”
I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians 5 & 6 (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Polycarp said, “Let us, therefore, forsake the vanity of the crowd and their false teachings and turn back to the word delivered to us from the beginning, ‘watching unto prayer’ and continuing steadfast in fasting, beseeching fervently the all-seeing God “to lead us not into temptation, even as the Lord said, ‘The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.'”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “God wants to get us to the place where we’d rather fast than feast; where we’d rather be unknown than known.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us regarding the 1904 Revival: “A Japanese awakening began in 1900 as part of a decade-long intensive evangelistic campaign. Campaign organizers had called the evangelical church to prayer as preparation for the evangelistic effort. This prayer resulted in a revival in Japanese cities. The total membership of the churches almost doubled within the decade, despite the interruption of a war with Russia four years into the campaign.”
Today, we are going to continue looking at the use of the word “watch” throughout Scripture in the Old Testament and the New Testament.
We are looking at Acts 20:31 which reads, “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears.”
This verse comes at the end of the book of Acts where Paul is giving his farewell message to the Elders of the Church at Ephesus. Paul is on his way back to Jerusalem where, apparently, he senses in his spirit that he will be arrested and taken to Rome. He knows that the time he has left as a free man in the Roman world is short. So, as part of his “farewell tour”, if you will, as he is sailing home from Macedonia, he stops at Miletus and calls for the Ephesian church elders to come to him.
In his speech, Paul reviews the evangelistic work that was done in their city. He recounts the persecution that he and others faced from the Jews. He said, “I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house.” He also speaks of his own immediate future, saying, “the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.” But Paul tells these church leaders not to worry because they are ready to carry on the work on their own. Why?
They will be ready if they “watch” for the things which Paul “ceased not to warn” them of “night and day with tears.” What did Paul warn them of? In verses 29-30, we read, “After my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” This is what Paul wanted the Ephesian elders to watch for — false teachers from within and from without creeping into the church spreading false doctrine and drawing God’s people away from the truth.
Even today, we must watch for the same things that Paul told these believers to watch for. People, claiming to be preachers, have snuck into the church today and are drawing people away from unadulterated Scriptural truth. That is why we need watchmen — people who are aware of such threats and are on guard against them.