Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 11 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #180)
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:
John R. Rice said, “Present-day wickedness, apostasy and modern civilization cannot prevent revival.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “You can have all of your doctrines right—yet still not have the presence of God.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “As in the case of the Samaritan woman of Jesus’ day, this young lady’s conversion resulted in many other conversions. According to Edwards, ‘This work of God, as it was carried on and the number of true saints multiplied, soon made a glorious alteration in the town. So that in the spring and summer following, the town seemed to be full of the presence of God. It never was so full of love, nor joy, and yet so full of distress, as it was then.’ In every home in Northhampton, people were converted during the revival. Parents rejoiced over the conversion of their children. Individuals with unsaved spouses rejoiced over the conversion of husband or wife.”
Paul has told the Ephesian believers that he is in jail for bringing the new dispensation — the Gospel of the grace of God — to the Gentiles. As we have already seen, many of the Jewish Christians did not think the Gospel should be taken to the Gentiles. Paul, who, before his conversion, had very much been a part of the Jewish religious establishment very well could have been one of these Jews. What convinced him, a man who once described himself as “a Hebrew of the Hebrews, a Pharisee and the son of a Pharisee,” that the Gentiles needed to hear the Gospel message as well?
Paul says that it was “by revelation” that God “made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote afore in few words.” It was divinely revealed by God to Paul that the Gospel needed to be taken to the Gentiles. We do not know when or how this revelation occurred. Dr. Charles Stanley said that, “After Paul’s conversion, he disappeared into the desert for three years, during which time the Holy Spirit instructed him in the ways of God. He emerged, ready to communicate divine truth.” Paul wrote briefly of this experience in his letter to the Galatians.
The knowledge Paul gained from God’s instruction is described as a “mystery.” As we saw from Ephesians chapter 2, a mystery is something once hidden that is now being revealed. In this case, the mystery that is being revealed is that it was always in God’s plan to bring the Gentiles to salvation. The Gospel of Christ is for Jew and Gentile. Armed with this revelation from God, Paul went forth to preach the Gospel, not allowing persecution, hunger, poverty, or personal conflicts to slow him down.
Our mandate is to do exactly as Paul did — to preach the Gospel fearlessly and boldly to all who will listen.
Charles Wesley wrote:
A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
A never-dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.
To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill:
Oh, may it all my pow’rs engage
To do my Master’s will!
Arm me with jealous care,
As in Thy sight to live;
And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give!
Help me to watch and pray,
And on Thyself rely,
Assured, if I my trust betray,
I shall forever die.