Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 10 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #179)
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 3:1-6:
1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
A.W. Pink said, “It’s true that many are praying for a worldwide revival. But it would be more timely, and more scriptural, for prayer to be made to the Lord of the harvest, that He would raise up and thrust forth laborers who would fearlessly and faithfully preach those truths which are calculated to bring about a revival.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “If you have the smile of God what does it matter if you have the frown of men?”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “While this was the beginning of what Jonathan Edwards had prayed for, he could not help but be concerned when he heard of the conversion of one young lady in particular. She had a reputation as a woman ‘who had been one of the greatest company-keepers in the whole town.’ When she asked to meet with her pastor, he had no idea God was working in her life. Yet as they talked, Edwards himself became convinced that she’d experienced ‘a glorious work of God’s infinite power and sovereign grace’ in her life. Apparently, she was truly converted. Strangely, although Edwards had been preaching for conversions, this conversion caused him some concern. He’d hoped the moral members of the congregation would see their need for Christ and be converted. He feared that news of this young lady’s conversion would cause the unconverted members of his church to become even more complacent about their need for Christ. As it turned out, Edwards’ fears were unfounded. It was in fact the conversion of this young lady that fueled the flame of the revival. The change in her life was so significant that soon the whole town was talking about it. The converting power of God was discussed at every level of society.”
Paul returns to the subject of Gentile believers being brought into the family of God and united with Jewish believers. He calls it the “cause” for which He is currently in prison. But there is no bitterness about this matter. In fact, Paul says he is a “prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.” It was the Romans who had Paul under arrest as he awaited his trial in Rome. However, it was Paul’s preaching to the Gentiles that had got him there. So Paul regards his imprisonment as being in the will of God for the sake of the Gospel.
What was it that Paul was preaching that got him imprisoned? He says it was “the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward.” According to the Bible Knowledge Commentary, “the word ‘dispensation’ has the sense of stewardship or a trust to be dispensed. Paul was to administer ‘God’s grace’ which was given to him to dispense to the Gentiles at Ephesus because he was an apostle to the Gentiles.’
This dispensation was the sign that God was dealing with the world in new ways. *** He was now inviting Gentiles to be a part of his family. He was now extending the olive branch of grace rather than the hammer of judgment. Paul was in the position of being a conduit of God’s grace. He was giving the grace message to the Gentiles who had no knowledge of this act of God.
What Paul did for the Gentiles is precisely what we should be doing for the world around us today. We ought to be administering or dispensing grace to the lost souls of this world. If it causes us to be ridiculed and criticized as Paul was, so be it. If it causes us to be thrown in prison as Paul was, so be it. Whatever befalls us as we are doing God’s will is okay. He will give us grace to handle it.
Grace! ’tis a charming sound,
Harmonious to the ear;
Heav’n with the echo shall resound,
And all the earth shall hear.
’Twas grace that wrote my name
In life’s eternal book;
’Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took.
Oh, let that grace inspire
My heart with strength divine;
May all my powers to Thee aspire,
And all my days be Thine.