The Foundations of All Spiritual Blessings, Part 8 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #149)
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 1:5-12:
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.
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of time he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Steve Hawthorne said, “You can do something other than working with God in His purpose, but it will always be something lesser, and you couldn’t come up with something better.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “It is not impossible for a believer to commit sin, but it is possible not to commit sin.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The Student Volunteer Movement, an American voluntary association promoting world missions, cited six evidences of “the present day work of the Holy Spirit in Korea” the same year. These evidences included: “(1) the unity and cooperation which prevailed among Christians, (2) the remarkable numerical growth of the churches, (3) the wonderful religious awakening of 1907 which affected 50,000 converts, (4) the noteworthy interest in the Word of God, (5) the dedication of national Christians to service, including generous giving, and (6) the wonderful prayer life of the Korean Church.””
In our last message, we talked about the fact that one of the benefits we have as Christians is that God gives us a glimpse into His ultimate plan for the future of the world. This future is referred to by Paul as “the mystery of his will which he hath purposed in himself.” In the Bible, a “mystery” is something that was previously hidden that is now being revealed to God’s people.
What is the future, the purpose of the world that God has revealed to believers through Christ? Verse 10 reads, “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.”
The word “dispensation” refers to the order or organizing of things, similar to how people today speak of a “world order” or a “new world order.” The word dispensation in the Bible means “the management of a household or of household affairs; the oversight of property; the office of a manager or overseer.” The world is God’s “household” and He is the one in charge and managing its affairs.
The “dispensation” that Paul speaks of, however, is a specific one. He calls it the “dispensation of the fulness of times.” The fulness of times refers to what will happen after the events of the Last Days and the Tribulation period, namely the 1,000-year Reign of Christ. As H.W. Hoehner writes in the Bible Knowledge Commentary, “This dispensation is the millennial kingdom when ‘the times’ in God’s purposes will be completed (fulfilled), and all things both spiritual and material will be under Christ and His rule.”
The word ‘fullness’ implies that this is the end to which everything in God’s plan for the world has been building up — all things being brought under the authority of Jesus Christ. We who are under the authority of Christ even now are a part of that purpose and we are working with Him toward that glorious end.