The Foundations of All Spiritual Blessings, Part 12 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #153)
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 1:12-16:
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.
15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
Andrew Murray said, “May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love and joy of God’s presence and not a moment without the entire surrender of myself as a vessel for Him to fill full of His Spirit and His love.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “In the garden, Jesus travailed for your life and for mine. Will you travail for someone until the glory of God comes down on them? Weep for them so they won’t have to weep in hell. It’s not an easy way, but it’s a glorious way.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “If there was ever a man whose very life was defined by revival, it was Jonathan Goforth. As a student at Toronto’s Knox College in 1887, his life was impacted by a college revival conducted by the American evangelist D. L. Moody. Later, when he was a missionary in China, news of the Welsh Revival created a deep hunger for a similar movement of God in his own ministry. Once he learned of the Korean Pentecost, he traveled to see it for himself. After Goforth returned to China, he became a carrier of revival who brought awakening to Manchuria in 1908.”
In verses 15 and 16 of Ephesians chapter 1, we see that Paul is a man who truly rejoiced in the spiritual growth of young believers. After explaining to them the process that they have gone through in the acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Savior and the impartation of the Holy Spirit into their lives, Paul expresses his joy at their progress in the way of faith.
Not only was he glad to hear that they had received Christ, but that they were living as a true Christian community, showing love to each other and unto all the saints. It is one thing to love God who first loved us, but it is another thing to love sinful people like ourselves who, in most cases, have done nothing to deserve that love. Even in the church, people are not angels, and it really does take Christ-like agape love for everyone to get along. As John said, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” So Paul was especially happy that this church family was showing love one to another.
Can you honestly say that you have love toward all the saints? Or are there certain people in the body of Christ that you hold on to cold feelings for? We must remember that love is a choice, not a feeling. It is also an obedience issue. One of Jesus’ commands to the disciples was that they love one another as He had loved them. If Christians today practiced that principle, we would not have as much division and disputes as we have in the church today. We need to get back to the ‘old time religion’ that makes us ‘want to love everybody.’