The Foundations of All Spiritual Blessings, Part 13 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #154)
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;
Charles Finney said, “A revival is nothing else than a new beginning of obedience to God.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “The greatest loss in life is not losing an arm or losing a friend or losing a fortune, it’s losing your relationship with God.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “As a young man preparing for ministry, Jonathan Goforth read Hudson Taylor’s book describing missionary work in China. He was already involved in work at an area rescue mission, but he was so impressed by what he read that he committed his life to serving God in China. Rather than join Taylor’s China Inland Mission, Goforth and his wife Rosalind served under the sponsorship of their local Presbyterian church.”
One of the practices which Paul was faithful to throughout his ministry was praying for those saints who came to faith in Christ through his preaching. In verse 17, he tells the Ephesian believers, “I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.” Paul praised God for their progress in spiritual growth, but he continued to pray for them on a consistent basis. In Romans, in Thessalonians, and in Philemon, Paul also expressed that he was praying for the believers in those churches as well.
This shows us that a minister’s job is not just to preach to God’s people and teach God’s people, but to pray for his people. We must remember that Paul did not stay at one church to pastor. When he wrote these letters, he was hundreds of miles away, yet he continued to aid their spiritual growth not just by his writings, but by his prayer to God for them.
We need more pastors who pray for God’s people behind closed doors. Ryan Fullerton said, “A pastor who fails to pray for his people is as unbiblical as a pastor who refuses to preach God’s Word. The prophet Samuel made this abundantly clear when he promised the people of Israel that he’d pray for them saying, ‘far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you.’ To leave God’s people un-prayed for is to leave them uncared for, unprovided for, unprotected, and unled, ‘like sheep without a shepherd.’ We must learn to flee the sin of prayerlessness and to put on the righteous and wonderful habit of praying for God’s people.”
In the book of Acts, the twelve disciples who were leading the early church put prayer on the same level as preaching. They said, “We will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” They had seen Jesus repeatedly turn to His Father in prayer throughout his three-year ministry. How could they do any less?