Alive in Christ, Part 6 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #168)

spiritual-warfare

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 2:8-10:

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

—-

Ted Rendall said, “Perhaps the greatest barrier to revival on a large scale is the fact that we are too interested in a great display. We want an exhibition; God is looking for a man who will throw himself entirely on God. Whenever self-effort, self-glory, self-seeking or self-promotion enters into the work of revival, then God leaves us to ourselves.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “The best title of the [professing] church of God today, in my judgment, is ‘Unbelieving Believers.'”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The First Great Awakening that swept Germany, America, and England also had a profound impact on the native peoples of North America. As a young missionary to the Native Americans, David Brainerd was surprised to see these usually stoic people crying out to God for mercy after he preached to them. The highly emotional Indian Revival at Crossweeksung, New Jersey, had a significant and lasting impact on the social fabric of the tribe. Families were strengthened and alcohol use declined.”

—-

The verses we come to today build directly on the two great pillars of the first seven verses of Ephesians 2. (1) That we were once hopelessly lost in our sins and headed for destruction. And, (2) that God loved us, saved us, and showed us mercy and grace entirely because of His own will.

Warren Wiersbe said, “Salvation cannot be ‘of works’ because the work of salvation has already been completed on the cross. This is the work that God does for us, and it is a finished work. We can add nothing to it; we dare take nothing from it. When Jesus died, the veil of the temple was torn in two, from the top to the bottom, signifying that the way to God was now open. There is no more need for earthly sacrifices. One sacrifice—the Lamb of God—has finished the great work of salvation. God did it all, and He did it by His grace.”

“For by grace are ye saved,” Paul writes. Without God’s grace there is no salvation. But we must receive that grace “through faith.” The reason why is because we naturally look for a justifiable reason why God would show us grace. Of course, we won’t find such a reason because there is nothing in us that is deserving of God’s grace, so we must accept it and receive it based only on the fact that God has offered it to us.

As Paul said: “it is not of yourselves.” You had nothing to do with it. Whether you are a believer or an unbeliever, stop trying to make yourself “worthy” of salvation. Your best efforts on your best day are nothing but filthy rags. Salvation, no matter which way you try to bend it, has nothing at all to do with you. It is all of God and all of grace.

Paul goes on to say that salvation “is a gift.” You don’t buy it. You don’t work for it. It is given to you. Somebody else has paid the price for it. It is not a reward for your “works.” God specifically set it up this way so that no one would have a reason to boast. God knows how we are. If it was our “works” that got us into Heaven, we would try to act as the gatekeepers of salvation. We would say to other poor, lost souls: ‘You have to do what I did in order to be saved. You have to give as much money to the church as I gave. You have to attend church this many Sundays in a row like I did. You have to go help this many homeless people like I did.’ If salvation were up to us, we would find ways to keep people out that we think are undeserving.

But we are all undeserving, and we are all in need of God’s wonderful grace.

Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Greater than all my sin;
How shall my tongue describe it,
Where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burden,
Setting my spirit free;
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Reaching to all the lost,
By it I have been pardoned,
Saved to the uttermost;
Chains have been torn asunder,
Giving me liberty;
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Reaching the most defiled,
By its transforming power,
Making him God’s dear child,
Purchasing peace and heaven
For all eternity—
The wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

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