The Foundations of All Spiritual Blessings, Part 10 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #151)
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 1:7-14:
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.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Bonaventure said, “As our Lord asked the sick man whether he wished to be healed, so, without our consent, He will not save us; and sinners are without excuse for not consenting to the will of the Lord and their own salvation.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? The man who has a degree? The man who wears a collar? The man who stands behind an ornate desk with stained glass windows? No, a man can be plowing in the fields and ascend unto the hill of the Lord. He that hath clean hands — that’s our relationship with the world; and a pure heart — that’s our relationship to God, has access to the throne of God at any time.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The Korean Revival was born out of intense prayer, and prayer remained an integral part of Korean church life throughout the twentieth century. In many churches, ‘concerts of prayer’ are still practiced in Sunday morning services, with the whole church confessing their sins to God and then calling on God in unison for his blessing. In what have come to be called the “Dawn Meetings,” many Koreans still gather every morning at their churches at five o’clock for prayer. Friday nights are devoted to all-night prayer meetings.”
Early on in Ephesians 1, we talked about the meaning of predestination and election. Some mistakenly view these doctrines in a vacuum, separate and apart from other passages of Scripture. However, we see in verse 13 that human will plays a role in salvation. Paul writes to the believers of Jesus “in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed…”
Three times in this verse we see human action in the salvation process. First, the Ephesians “heard the word of truth, the gospel of salvation.” It was not forced onto them. They chose to hear it. Then, they “trusted.” It was a choice to trust that what they were hearing was true. Finally, they “believed.” They chose to believe in Jesus. While God knows who will choose to hear the Gospel, trust that what they are hearing is true, and believe in Jesus Christ, this does not mean that He forces anyone to make those choices.
Once a person willingly makes the choice to believe in Jesus Christ, Paul says, ‘Ye are sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.’ Now, this is something God does. Once we are His, He seals us by the Holy Spirit. In the Bible, the word “seal” has several meanings which apply to Christians:
1. The seal is a mark of ownership. It shows that we belong to God.
2. The seal is a mark of security. It keeps us from being snatched back by Satan.
3. The seal is a mark of authenticity. It shows that we are true believers of God and that we are what we profess to be. It means that we are saved beyond a shadow of a doubt.
4. The seal is a mark of preservation. It shows that God will keep us and preserve us until He calls us home.
In short, God calls us (in His love, mercy, and grace), we answer (by our own choice and of our own will), and then God seals us as His own.