Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 16 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #185)
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.
Billy Sunday said, “A revival does two things. First, it returns the Church from her backsliding and second, it causes the conversion of men and women; and it always includes the conviction of sin on the part of the Church.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “When God-given, heaven-sent revival does come, it will undo in weeks the damage that blasphemous Modernism has taken years to build.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “George Whitefield also thundered forth against unconverted clergymen. At the time, most of the pastors in New England approached religion from a more rationalistic, less experiential perspective. They had been trained in colleges where the curriculum was heavily influenced by Enlightenment thinking. The old emphasis on Bible, theology, and ministerial preparations had been replaced with math, science, law, and medicine. Not surprisingly, then, Whitefield’s preaching disturbed many.”
Throughout this passage, we have talked about the fact that God has revealed the mystery of the church — all men together in Him through Christ — to both Jews and Gentiles. God has put His mercy and grace on display for all to see. However, there is another audience that is looking in on the revelation of this mystery. Paul writes in verse 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.”
“Principalities and powers” are paying close attention to the unveiling of this mystery as it shows forth the “manifold wisdom of God.” Who are these principalities and powers? The Bible Knowledge Commentary states that “the recipients of this revelation are the angelic hosts ‘in the heavenly realms.’ These refer to both good and evil angels. As the angelic hosts witness the church, they must admit that having Jews and Gentiles in one body is evidence of God’s wisdom.”
The angels, who did not know about this part of God’s redemptive plan until He began to implement it on the earth marvel at God’s wisdom. They celebrate when they see Jews and Gentiles worshipping their God together just as they celebrate when a sinner repents.
Satan and his hosts, on the other hand, are not so pleased. The unity of Jews and Gentiles was something they didn’t see coming. They watch in dismay as Jew and Gentile, black and white, rich and poor, urban and suburban come together under the banner of the cross. The devil fights against this unity. He is the adversary of the church, the accuser of the brethren. He seeks to divide and sow discord among God’s people. The reason why we have some of the divisions that we do in the church today is simply because of the devil trying to tear us apart.
The fact that angels and demons have a vested interest in this mystery which we are a part of, should remind us that we are at war. We are on a battlefield between light and darkness, good and evil. We must strive and fight to carry out God’s vision of unity in the church.
Years ago, Isaac Watts wrote:
Father, how wide thy glory shines!
How high thy wonders rise!
Known through the earth by thousand signs,
By a thousand through the skies.
Our thoughts are lost in reverent awe;
We love, and we adore;
Thy holy angels never saw
So much of God before.
Here God hath made his nature known,
And thought can never trace,
Which of his glories brightest shone,
In our Redeemer’s face.
O may I bear some humble part
In that immortal song!
Wonder and joy shall tune my heart,
And love command my tongue.