Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 14 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #183)
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 3:7-12:
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
Lewis Drummond said, “A spiritual awakening is no more than God’s people seeing God in His holiness, turning from their wicked ways, and being transformed into His likeness.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “The only reason we don’t have revival is because we are willing to live without it!”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Intense conviction of sin wasn’t the only mark of the Northampton revival. As people were converted, they developed an intense passion for God. They longed ‘to be more perfect in humility and adoration.’ Jonathan Edwards noted this passion especially in the worship of God: ‘The person felt a great delight in singing praises to God and Jesus Christ, and longing that this present life may be as it were one continued song of praise to God.’ The ‘surprising work of God in Northhampton,’ as Edwards called it, soon spread to other communities throughout New England. The movement became known as ‘the Great Awakening.’ Edwards was widely recognized as a respected leader in that movement, for his books and preaching called countless people back to God.”
Paul has described himself as a servant and a minister to the Gentiles. The way he serves is by simply sharing the Gospel of Christ with them, letting them know that they have been invited to join God’s family through faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul does not feel as though he is important or special by taking the Gospel to the Gentiles. In fact, he counts it as a privilege that he does not deserve. He calls himself “less than the least of all saints.” He sees the opportunity to preach the glorious Gospel that had saved him as evidence of God’s continuing grace to him.
To preach is simply to share the good news. Paul spent his time telling impoverished sinners about the “unsearchable riches of Christ.” The word ‘unsearchable’ implies endless, limitless, infinite. Dr. John Walvoord and Dr. Roy Zuck state, “The Gentiles can know something of the riches of Christ’s blessings. Yet, Christ’s fathomless spiritual wealth can never be fully comprehended. The word Paul uses literally means, ‘not capable of being traced by footprints.’ Paul was to disclose publicly to everyone, not just the Ephesians, this stewardship of God’s sacred secret. This secret had been hidden in God, the Creator of the Universe. Even before creating all things, God had in mind this wonderful truth as part of His eternal plan.”
Just as eternity is time that cannot be measured, God’s riches cannot be quantified. No one will ever be able to write enough, speak enough, teach enough, or preach enough on Jesus’ saving grace. The more you discover about it, the more you find there is to know. Preachers have been preaching the Gospel of God’s grace for 2,000 years, and they still have not exhausted the depths of Scripture the depth of the gospel or the depths of Christ. Paul’s job was to introduce Gentiles to this grace that had been afforded to him.
We need more preachers to get back to simply telling the story of Jesus as Paul did. People today need it just as much as they did 2,00 years ago.
Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus,
Sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tidings to earth.”
Tell of the cross where they nailed Him,
Writhing in anguish and pain;
Tell of the grave where they laid Him,
Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender,
Clearer than ever I see;
Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
“Love paid the ransom for me.”
Tell how He’s gone back to heaven,
Up to the right hand of God:
How He is there interceding
While on this earth we must trod.
Tell of the sweet Holy Spirit
He has poured out from above;
Tell how He’s coming in glory
For all the saints of His love.