Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 19 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #188)
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 3:14-16:
14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
J.I. Packer said, “Christians in revival are accordingly found living in God’s presence, attending to His Word, feeling acute concern about sin and righteousness, rejoicing in the assurance of Christ’s love and their own salvation, spontaneously constant in worship, and tirelessly active in witness and service, fueling these activities by praise and prayer.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “Any method of evangelism will work—if God is in it.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “In the midst of these deplorable spiritual conditions, the Moravian congregation of the Fetter Lane Chapel in London sought to live a devout Christian life. Following the custom of the early church and their Moravian brethren in Germany, they were known for celebrating the ‘love feast’ as a prelude to the observance of the Lord’s Supper. It was a time of sharing together around a common meal. According to Moravian custom, New Year’s Eve was the occasion for one of these feasts, followed by an opportunity to begin the new year in prayer and praise to God. On December 31, 1738, the Fetter Lane Moravians faithfully made their way to church for this annual ‘Watch Night’ service, as they called it. As the sixty young men belonging to this particular Moravian Society made their way to the meeting, none could imagine the profound effect that night would have on the world.”
The passage we are looking at today is the beginning of a prayer that Paul has been leading up to since the beginning of Ephesians chapter 3. This prayer is connected to all that Paul has talked about before regarding the union of Jews and Gentiles in the body of Christ and the revelation of that mystery to the world. “For this cause,” Paul says, “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul was so overwhelmed by the wonderful mystery that had been revealed to him and that he had the privilege of revealing to others that he could only fall to his knees in prayer and praise to God. Paul was blessed to experience first-hand the greatest history-changing event since God called Abraham and said He would make of him a great nation. As a Jew — someone on the inside looking out — this was particularly awe-inspiring.
Warren Wiersbe said, “You have noticed, no doubt, the emphasis on spiritual posture in Ephesians. As lost sinners, we were BURIED in the graveyard. But when we trusted Christ, He raised us from the dead and SEATED us with Christ in the heavenlies. Because we are seated with Christ, we can WALK so as to please Him; and we can STAND against the devil. But the posture that links ‘sitting’ with ‘walking’ and ‘standing’ is ‘bowing the knee.’ It is through prayer that we lay hold of God’s riches that enable us to behave like Christians and battle like Christians. Whether we actually bow our knees is not the important thing; that we bow our hearts and wills to the Lord and ask Him for what we need is the vital matter.”
Some of us as Christians have been saved so long that we have forgotten the amazing, wonderful privilege that it is to be a part of God’s family and to be united with believers of every nation, race, ethnicity, and culture. Every day in our prayer time we ought to pause and thank God just for saving our souls and placing us in the church.