A series of homilies on Ephesians
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 (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.
TEXT: Ephesians 1:3-6:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Alexander MacLaren said, “The risen life of Jesus is the nourishment and strengthening and blessing and life of a Christian. Our daily experience ought to be that there comes, wavelet by wavelet, that silent, gentle, and yet omnipotent influx into our empty hearts, this very life of Christ Himself.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “If we have another Pentecost — and it was real — we’d all likely be in jaiI within a month. We have such an accommodating Christianity. People can live anyway they want to around a Christian today. But they couldn’t in the day of Pentecost when those first Christians were around.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “In August 1903, seven missionaries gathered in the city of Wonsan, Korea, for a week of study and prayer. Dr. R.A. Hardie confessed he ‘had not seen any examples of plain, unmistakable, and lasting conversion’ in his thirteen years of ministry in Korea. Believing the ministry was being hindered by his own failings, he confessed his faults before both the missionaries and the Korean congregation, with others making similar confessions. Just a few months later, in October of 1903, missionary advocate Fredrik Franson arrived in Korea and was invited to preach. The meetings were marked by open confession of sins. Many admitted to theft and offered to make restitution. Church members insisted that restitution be made to the Lord rather than to themselves. As a result, funds were raised for evangelism in the area. During his stay in Korea, Franson impressed upon Hardie and his fellow workers the necessity of prevailing prayer.”
Paul continues his greeting of the believers with words of blessing. First, he says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…” This pronouncement of blessing upon the Heavenly Father is simply a way of praising God. Obviously, Paul nor any of us can give God something that He would count as a blessing the way we count our blessings.
On the contrary, we bless (or praise) God because He has blessed us. Paul continues by telling us that God “hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”
Notice the type of blessings that Paul is praising God for: “spiritual blessings.” Often, we think of blessings only as being physical or material — cars, houses, money, and good health. But, the true blessings are spiritual blessings because these are blessings that no one can take away. When Paul was writing this, he was sitting in prison. He didn’t have any cars, houses, or money to speak of. He had a “thorn in the flesh”, what many believe to be some type of medical condition that affected his eyesight, that afflicted him on a daily basis. Yet, he was still “blessed” because he had “spiritual blessings.”
Spiritual blessings are things that only God can provide to His children: things such as peace, joy, and contentment. Neither people nor circumstances can take away these “spiritual blessings.” Many Christians today are dissatisfied with their material or physical blessings or lack thereof. They focus only on what they have and what they don’t have, and they do not value the best blessings of all — the spiritual blessings which they always have access to through Christ Jesus.
We need more Christians who are just as focused on abiding in and utilizing their spiritual blessings as they are on getting more material and physical blessings.