Alive in Christ, Part 5 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #167)
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 2:4-7:
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Stephen Olford said, “Revival is ultimately Christ Himself, seen, felt, heard, living, active, moving in and through His body on earth.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “The true man of God is heartsick, grieved at the worldliness of the Church, grieved at the toleration of sin in the Church, grieved at the prayerlessness in the Church. He is disturbed that the corporate prayer of the Church no longer pulls down the strongholds of the devil.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “John and Charles Wesley, ministers in the Church of England, were present at the Fetter Lane outpouring of 1739. Within months, Whitefield and the Wesleys were preaching in the fields and stirring the hearts of thousands of coal miners thought by many to be beyond the reach of the gospel. John Wesley possessed the organizational skills necessary to harness the energy of revival into an evangelistic movement, which became the Methodist Church. From the Moravians, the Methodists learned to worship God with a new song. The hymns written during the Great Awakening by Charles Wesley and other Methodists are still widely used in the worship of God by evangelical Christians today.”
God’s love for us is what caused Him to show us mercy and grace when we did not deserve it. Not only did He save us from our sins and make us alive when we were dead, but, as we see in verse 6, He “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
After Jesus rose from the dead, He ascended into Heaven to return to God the Father. Our home in Heaven and our eternal union with God are not just concepts for the future. Because we are in Christ and Christ is in Heaven, we are in Heaven with Him even now. We have communion with God even now.
The next wonderful thing we see in this passage is that God is not finished showing us His grace, love, and mercy. Paul says He has saved us and raised us up ‘that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.’ In the ages to come — not only in the future, but in eternity — God will still be showing us the riches of His grace. For all eternity in Paradise, we will be the beneficiaries of God’s mercy and grace. That is what we are being prepared for.
Charles Spurgeon said, “When all the saints shall be gathered home they shall still talk and speak of the wonders of Jehovah’s love in Christ Jesus, and in the golden streets they shall stand up and tell what the Lord has done for them. So is it with the grace of God: he has as much grace as you want, and he has a great deal more than that. The Lord has as much grace as a whole universe will require, but he has vastly more. He overflows: all the demands that can ever be made on the grace of God will never impoverish him, or even diminish his store of mercy.”
God’s grace is infinite and eternal. If you offer a free gift to someone and they refuse to receive it, you might leave them alone. But God, whose grace is limitless, has done everything possible to make us beneficiaries of that grace. He persistently offers and gives. There is nothing like God’s grace. We should keep this in mind, as we seek to show forth the spirit of God’s grace to a lost and dying world.
Over 100 years ago, Julia Johnston wrote this hymn which captures the essence of God’s grace as described in Ephesians:
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt,
yonder on Calvary’s mount out-poured,
there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
freely bestowed on all who believe;
you that are longing to see his face,
will you this moment his grace receive?
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
grace, grace, God’s grace,
grace that is greater than all our sin.