Praying for the Preachers, Part 4 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #118)

spiritual-warfare

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.

Ephesians 6:10-20:

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;

19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

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Bill Hybels said, “Prayerless people cut themselves off from God’s prevailing power, and the frequent result is the familiar feeling of being overwhelmed, overrun, beaten down, pushed around, defeated. Surprising numbers of people are willing to settle for lives like that.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “How do you learn to pray? Well, how do you learn to swim? Do you sit in a chair with your feet up drinking coke learning to swim? No, you get down and you struggle. That’s how you learn to pray. Prayer is our strength. Prayer generates strength; it generates vision; it generates power. And the devil will drive you away from the prayer closet more than anything.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “While the revival had limited effect in South America, both Brazil and Chile were exceptions to the rule. The growth of the evangelical church in those nations began during the revival and continued uninterrupted throughout the century. Approximately one hundred years later, both nations boasted more evangelicals than Roman Catholics attending church in what had once been predominantly Catholic nations.”

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Today, as we once again consider the reasons why we should pray for the preachers of the Gospel, we focus on Paul’s words — repeated here, twice in two verses — “that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” “Therein” means ‘while I am in such a situation’, ‘while I am in my chains, I ought to preach the Gospel boldly.’

It is one thing to preach boldly when you are not opposed by the world and the devil. But it is another to preach when you are in chains. Yet, Paul said this is what he “ought” to do. In other words, this is what is expected or required of him. In a way, it was Paul’s destiny or purpose to declare the Gospel before the highest echelon of organized government in that day. Paul was following the example of his Master. Just as Jesus had not backed down before the Jewish religious establishment, Paul would not back down before the Roman court. It was the least he could do for his Savior.

Adam Clarke wrote the following about Paul’s condition in prison. He said, “Of course, the ancient Greek word for chains meant a prisoner’s shackles. But it could also be used for the gold adornment worn around the neck and wrists of the wealthy and powerful. On special occasions, ambassadors wore such chains to show the riches, power, and dignity of the government they represented. Paul considers his prisoner’s chains to actually be the glorious adornment of an ambassador of Jesus Christ.”

It would be wonderful if we had more preachers who valued the temporary gold and silver ‘chains’ of the world less and valued the ‘chains’ of Christ more. Christ’s chains may come in the form of persecution and suffering now, but they will be turned into chains of glory for eternity.

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