Reconciled to God, Part 1 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #170)

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 2:11-13:

11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

—-

William Sprague said, “Let Christians remember, that in a season of revival as well as in a season of coldness, the evidence of piety is to be sought in the fruits of the Spirit. And let sinners remember that no degree of attendance or means, no degree of fervor, can be substituted for repentance of sin and faith in the Savior.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “If we had more hell fire preaching in the pulpit then we would have less hell bound people in the pew.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The Moravian movement began with Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf a young nobleman converted to Christ early in his childhood. At age four, he wrote and signed his own covenant with God: ‘Dear Savior, do Thou be mine and I will be Thine.’ When asked later in life about the driving force of his life, Zinzendorf responded, ‘I have one passion: It is Jesus, Jesus only.’”

—-

In the first ten verses of Ephesians 2, Paul has reminded us of our status as sinners and how we were saved by grace. Now, he reminds us of our status as Gentiles, separated from the family of God. *** He says, “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands.”

In the Old Testament, there were two classes of people: Jews and Gentiles. The Jews were God’s chosen people, the seed of Abraham, whom God had set apart to remain in communion with Him and to be a light of righteousness to the Gentile world. Many of the Jews became proud in their status as the “Circumcision” and began to look down their nose at those who were the “Uncircumcision.” They forgot that their mission was to bring people like us closer to God; instead, they enforced the division between Jews and Gentiles, taking pride in the fact that they were set apart. On top of that, the Jews often drifted from God and began to engage in idolatry, and God had to punish them. So the light that they were supposed to shine was very dim.

The Bible Exposition Commentary states, “God called the Jews, beginning with Abraham, that through them He might reveal Himself as the one true God. With the Jews, He deposited His Word, and through the Jews He gave the world the Saviour. Israel was to be a light to the Gentiles that they too might be saved. But sad to say, Israel became like the Gentiles, and the light burned but dimly. This fact is a warning to the church today. When the church is least like the world, it does the most for the world.”

Because we were cut off as Gentiles, the Bible says we were “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” This verse describes the sad, lost state of one that is without Christ. An alien. A stranger. Hopeless. And without God. That is a terrible way to be.

This division continued until the time when Jesus came to earth. Even as Jesus and His followers began reaching across the divide to bring Gentiles into the fold, there was some resistance. Some of the Jews thought the sacrifice of Christ on the cross was for the Jews only. Others wanted the Gentiles to become Jews and to become circumcised before they came to Christ.

But, thank God, Jesus accepted us just as we are. As verse 13 says, “Now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Jesus is the bridge by which anybody can draw near to God through faith in Him. There are no middle-men or gatekeepers. Just Jesus, God Himself, standing before us all — Jew and Gentile alike — and saying, “Come.”

Charlotte Elliott wrote:
Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidst me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
to rid my soul of one dark blot,
to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
sight, riches, healing of the mind,
yea, all I need in thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thy love unknown
hath broken every barrier down;
now, to be thine, yea thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

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