Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 5 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #174)

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 2:11-18:

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.

14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

—-

E.M. Bounds said, “To look back upon the progress of the divine kingdom upon earth is to review revival periods which have come like refreshing showers upon dry and thirsty ground, making the desert to blossom as the rose, and bringing new eras of spiritual life and activity just when the Church had fallen under the influence of the apathy of the times.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “Prayer is not an argument with God to persuade him to move things our way, but an exercise by which we are enabled by his Spirit to move ourselves his way.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “One result of the Moravian revival was “\’a joyful assurance of their pardon and salvation.’ This was the message they took to all who would listen. It crossed social, economic, and cultural barriers with similar effect. Through this message the Moravian revival had its greatest impact. Though many of the poor received the Moravians’ message gladly, their converts were found in all classes of society. For example, one popular European countess found herself dissatisfied with her affluent life. In the midst of her despair, she met a humble Moravian shoemaker and was puzzled with his cheerfulness. When she asked him why he was so happy, he responded, ‘Jesus has forgiven my sins. He forgives me every day and he loves me, and that makes me happy through all the hours.’ That answer was the beginning of the countess’s own spiritual pilgrimage. She discovered for herself ‘the same joyful faith’ and had a profound impact as she shared her newfound faith among the titled families of Europe.”

—-

From this passage, we have talked about how the Jews and Gentiles were divided one from the other by the barrier of the Law. But now we see that both Jews and Gentiles were divided from God. Paul says Jesus died “that he might reconcile BOTH — Jews and Gentiles — unto God.” Technically, it might be accurate to say that the Jews were closer to God, but since God’s standard is that of perfection, we are really in the same boat. When the early Christians had their debate on whether or not the Gospel should be preached to the Gentiles and how saved Gentiles should be integrated into the church, this was the conclusion they came to.

We should remember this when we go before God. Paul writes in verse 18, “For through him [Jesus Christ] we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Through Christ; by the Spirit; to the Father — three Persons working together as One. Adam Clarke said, “Jews and Gentiles are to be presented unto God the Father. The Spirit of God works in their hearts, and prepares them for this presentation. And Jesus Christ himself introduces them.” We desire access to the Father for prayer, for worship, for confession of sin, for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. How can we go before the unified Godhead when we do not follow their example and reflect that unity in the church? How can we say we love God when we do not love our brothers and sisters who are made in the image of God?

One great example of division and subsequent unity that the world has seen in history is the Berlin Wall. For nearly 30 years, this wall stood dividing Communist East Germany from Democratic West Germany. Friends and family members were separated one from another. Many realized that communism was a failed system much too late and were not allowed to escape. The east became poorer and less stable; the west became stabilized and prosperous. Some were killed trying to escape over the wall. However, in 1989, the wall began to be torn down and the two Germanys were reunited.

By the blood shed by His Son on the cross, God has enabled the walls that stand between people today to be torn down. It is we who must cease putting them up. Let God himself be our guide as we seek unity in the church.

Colin Gibson wrote:

We are many, we are one,
and the work of Christ is done
when we learn to live in true community,
as the stars that fill the night,
as a flock of birds in flight,
as the cluster of the grapes upon the vine;
as the branches of a tree,
as the waves upon the sea,
as the cluster of the grapes upon the vine.

All division is made whole
when we honour every soul,
find the life of God in every you and me,
as the fingers of a hand,
as the grains that form the sand,
as the cluster of the grapes upon the vine;
as the threads upon the loom,
as a field of flowers in bloom,
as the cluster of the grapes upon the vine.

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