The Foundations of All Spiritual Blessings, Part 21 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #162)
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 1:18-23:
18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Frank Bartleman said, “A revival almost always begins among the laity. The ecclesiastical leaders seldom welcome reformation. History repeats itself. The present leaders are too comfortably situated as a rule to desire innovation that might require sacrifice on their part. And God’s fire only falls on sacrifice. An empty altar receives no fire!”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “I want to see something that God builds. I want to find some people so hungry for God that every night they want to pray. We’re not going to move America any other way. We’ve tried every scheme, every fancy thing, and we try and work something up, but what we need is for somebody to come down. Some person! Not a new theology, a person! Jesus Christ!”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The First Great Awakening flashed like a bolt of lightning on a dark night across the German skies, crossed the ocean to America, jumped over to England, and from there went on to touch the world. God had said, ‘I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh,’ and in this awakening we see clear evidence of the fulfillment of that promise: The Holy Spirit began falling on the aristocracy of Germany, the poor masses of England, and the rich merchants of Connecticut.”
As we close out our study of Ephesians chapter 1 today, I call your attention again to the fact that all things are under the feet of Jesus Christ and that He is the head of all things. When we talked about this previously, we spoke of Jesus’ authority over those forces which oppose the church — the world, the flesh, and the devil. However, we must also realize that we, God’s people, have Christ as our head. We are also under His rule.
While we are a part of God’s family and share in Jesus’ inheritance, we are in no way on the same level as Jesus Christ. He is our Master, and we are His servants. He is the head and we are the body. We owe Him our allegiance and our obedience. The church is ineffective and dysfunctional when it begins operating in opposition to the direction of its head, Jesus Christ.
God made Adam, and Adam was to be obedient to God as his Head. Adam, however, disobeyed and brought down sin, death, and destruction on the human race. Jesus Christ has made us new creatures in Himself. Unless we abide by the leadership of our Creator, we, too, will mess up the good thing that God has given us by His mercy and grace.
Ultimately, we must remember that it is all about Jesus. That is why Paul includes this last phrase: “the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” The word “fulness” describes “the body of believers, as that which is filled with the presence, power, agency, and riches of God and of Christ.” When we look at what He has done for us and through us, we can do nothing less than be obedient to Him. Through obedience, we will also find victory.