Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 20 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #189)
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;
Lester Roloff said, “I see no hope for a revival among God’s people today. They are so enamored and so cluttered up with Hollywood and newspapers and magazines and parties and bowling alleys and camping trips and everything else. How in the world are they going to get still long enough to see anything from God?”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “Where are the eternity-conscious believers? Where are the souls white-hot for God because they fear His holy name and presence and so live with eternity’s values in view?”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The great size of the crowd in attendance at the little chapel that evening couldn’t hinder the deep commitment of these believers to this distinctive expression of worship. Neither could the ethnic differences between the German and English people who were present prevent them from having fellowship together. In fact, the sixty people at Fetter Lane knew each other well. Surprisingly few details are known about the meeting that night. The love feast was observed and no doubt enjoyed by those who had gathered. Most likely a passage from the Scriptures or some religious book was read publicly in the meeting. Perhaps one or more in the group exhorted the others from the Scriptures. These activities were common in Moravian meetings, but that night all of them were but a shadow of the one event that the great evangelist Whitefield would later describe as ‘a Pentecostal season indeed.””
In his expounding on the unity of all believers in Christ, Paul has thus far remained focused on that unity as it is present on earth. Now, in verse 15, he elevates the discussion of the mystery into an entirely different dimension. He says, “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” He is still talking about the whole family — the whole body of believers — but not just those believers on earth. He is talking about those believers in Heaven too.
Talk about an extended family! Believers alive on earth today are related to the believers who have died and gone on to glory. Our family ties to other believers run deeper than our ties to blood relatives. The ties that bind us cross the barriers of life and death, time and eternity, earth and heaven. That is the power of the blood of Jesus.
John MacArthur said “the whole family in earth and heaven” “refers to the saints of every age — those now in heaven and those still remaining on earth. They are the only ones who legitimately derive their names from God the Father. Christians are no more or less the children of God than were believing Israelites, as well as believing Gentiles, before the coming of Christ. Every family of believers is a part of the one spiritual family of God, in which there are many members but only one Father and one brotherhood.”
This realization should encourage us in our walk with Christ today. Millions of our brothers and sisters have already crossed from here to Heaven. They are even now on the other side awaiting the day when we will arrive. Heaven is not a cold, distant reality. It is a place of warmth, of family, and of friendship. It is a place where all of those who call God “Father” will live in joy and peace for eternity.