Apostles & Saints, Part 7 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #140)
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.
William Romaine said, “Gratitude to God makes even a temporal blessing a taste of heaven.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “We hear about many people who go to a conference or a meeting and say, ‘Boy, wasn’t that good? Weren’t we challenged?’ The question isn’t ‘Weren’t you challenged?’ The question is, ‘Were you changed?'”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “In 1905, Japan’s victory over Russia resulted in the Japanese occupation of Korea, provoking a new Korean nationalistic spirit. Christians looked to the church to organize resistance. Instead, missionary and church leaders preached forgiveness and forbearance. This preaching was followed by a second wave of revival in 1905 and 1906, described as “a spreading fire” and “a continuing religious awakening.””
Paul continues speaking of the spiritual blessings that believers have in Christ Jesus. Notice the location of these blessings: they are “in heavenly places in Christ.” The blessings that Christ gives are higher, richer, and more secure than anything this world has to offer.
Furthermore, the fact that we have these blessings even now reminds us of our true spiritual location. Ephesians 2:6 tells us that God has “raised us up and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Although we are still present on Earth, our spiritual citizenship has already been transferred to the heavenly places where Christ is now. That is why we have access to all of the spiritual blessings that God gives us. These blessings can only be had in Christ, and we have them because we are indeed in Christ. When we accepted Him as our Savior, He transferred our citizenship from this world to Heaven.
If we want true revival in our churches, one of the first things that we must do is realize where we stand in Christ and begin to live according to that standing. Too many Christians live like they are still citizens of this world — with worldly thoughts, worldly desires, and pursuing worldly dreams. And we wonder why we do not have revival.
Revival will never come to the church and awakening will never come to the world unless Christians begin living according to their standing of being in heavenly places with Jesus Christ. We must adopt His mindset and see ourselves and the world as He does. As C.S. Lewis said, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” The Church used to sing about heaven, now we sing about how to make it in this sin cursed world.