The Fellowship of Believers, Part 12 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #130)
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.
Frederick W. Robertson said, “On earth we have nothing to do with success or its results, but only being true to God and for God; for it is sincerity and not success which is the sweet savor before God.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “In evangelism, the preachers make the altar call; but in revival the people make the altar call.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “”
In our last message, we talked about the virtue of God’s grace — how it is present in the lives of Christian believers and how we should be conduits of that grace to others. The latter part of Paul’s verse tells us that this grace is only present “with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.” He qualifies those who actually have this grace as those who love the Lord in sincerity.
The Greek word translated “sincerity” is “af-thar-see-ah.” It means incorruptibility, genuineness, or purity. In others words, Paul is saying that God’s grace — His favor, goodwill, and lovingkindness — is given only to those who genuinely love the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are some in the church and in the world who only profess to love Jesus, but to truly love Jesus is to love Him above all others and above all else, and to obey Him no matter what. As a Christian, Jesus should be your “first love” — not necessarily the first thing or person you ever loved, but the one you love now above everything else. This sincere love will translate into obedience to Him. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
Throughout the Bible, we see examples of people who experienced God’s grace and favor — not because they were perfect individuals, but because they loved God more than anything else. People like Abraham and David show us that it is our hearts that matter more than anything. If our hearts are sincerely in love with God and His Son, Jesus Christ, we will experience grace and favor that we can only begin to dream of.