The Fellowship of Believers, Part 6 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #124)
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;
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.
21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:
22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.
23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
Amy Carmichael said, “If I am content to heal a hurt slightly, saying ‘Peace, peace,’ where there is no peace; if I forget the poignant words, ‘Let love be without dissimulation,’ and blunt the edge of truth, speaking not right things but smooth things, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “Preachers, if you tell me this, I’ll tell you how spiritual you are: will you tell me how much you pray? I’m not interested if you’re booked up ten years; I’m not concerned about how many books you’ve read, how many doctorates you have, or how large your church is, tell me how much you pray!”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “In response to the conditions around them, Welsh pastors began a season of intense prayer. As they prayed, a small group claimed to experience God’s power in their preaching as they challenged their congregations. Among the group was pastor Joseph Jenkins, who led a church in New Quay, Cardiganshire.”
We are continuing to look at the virtue of peace which should be present in the lives of all believers. We have already seen how it should be apparent in a Christian’s personal life as well as in Christian families.
Today, we are going to look at the virtue of peace as it should be evident in the local church.
Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace, so it follows that His subjects should be people of peace. The church should not be characterized by strife, anger, and discord. When this is the case, it is likely because people in the church are not submitting to the Word of God and Spirit of God. They are trying to have their own will done, rather than letting God’s will be done.
A person who is intent on having their own will done will not be inclined to reconcile with others in the church whom they have come in conflict with. Many times, these conflicts occur over issues that are non-spiritual, non-essential, and that could be resolved rather quickly if one or both parties were not so driven to see their agenda pushed through. What people do not realize is that, when there is conflict in the church, the devil is often in the middle of it. He knows that we cannot be effective in our fight against him if we are constantly at each other’s throats. As Jesus said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
With that in mind, we should be keen to follow another of Paul’s commands found in Romans 14:19, which reads, “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace…” In other words, we ought to pursue those things which foster peace in the body of Christ. If the church is undergoing renovation, and a discussion comes up about whether the auditorium should have traditional pews or new theater-style seating, and most people want theater seats but you want pews, there is no need to cause a disagreement over a nonessential matter such as that.
The people of the Prince of Peace should be peaceful. The local church should be a place of peace as a testament to Christ who lives within us.