Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 15 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #184)
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.
Andrew Murray said, “There is need of a great revival of spiritual life, of truly fervent devotion to our Lord Jesus, of entire consecration to His service. It is only in a church in which this spirit of revival has at least begun, that there is any hope of radical change in the relation of the majority of our Christian people to mission work.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “God pity us that after years of writing, using mountains of paper and rivers of ink, exhausting flashy terminology about the biggest revival meetings in history, we are still faced with gross corruption in every nation, as well as with the most prayerless church age since Pentecost.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The other great leader of the Great Awakening was the itinerant evangelist George Whitefield. Having arrived from his native England in 1738 for his first preaching tour of the American colonies, Whitefield was soon stirring up crowds of unprecedented size. He insisted on the necessity of repentance, purity of living, and individual conversion through personal experience.”
It has already been established that the mystery that Paul has spoken of throughout chapters 2 and 3 of Ephesians is the creation of the Church and the union of Jews and Gentiles into one body through Christ. This was not revealed in the Old Testament and it was not even revealed during Jesus’ earthly ministry. Jesus hinted at it, but He never told his disciples outright. So, when Jesus ascended to Heaven, the first believers thought of the Church as a “Jews-only” body.
Only after some time had passed did God reveal directly to His apostles and saints that He intended for all to be invited into His body. Paul became the apostle to the Gentiles, traveling far and wide on three major missionary journeys to share the Gospel message. He says that his mission is “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.”
Everyone is now to know the “fellowship of the mystery.” The word fellowship is the Greek word “koi-no-ni-a”; it means community, communion, intimacy, or joint participation. God has revealed his intentions to the church and both Jews and Gentiles are to gather together around this revelation, rejoicing in it.
Steven J. Cole said, “God’s eternal purpose is to sum up all things in Christ. He is the centerpiece of history. All of the Old Testament looks forward to Christ. All of the New Testament testifies of Him. All of history will climax when He returns in power and glory to reign. Since He is the head of His body, the church, it is central to God’s purpose. It is in the church that God is bringing together both Jews and Gentiles, reconciling them to one another and to Himself through the cross.”
We are the blessed participants of something that God has kept hidden for ages. It was not revealed to the Old Testament prophets. And, as we will see in our next message, not even the angels and demons knew about it. It is like a secret that God held close to His heart and chose to bestow on us in His perfect will — all men together in Him through Christ. As one commentator said, this passage “scrapes the heavens as it reveals God’s eternal purpose.”