Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 22 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #191)
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 3:14-19:
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;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Mordecai Ham said, “We want a revival to come just in our way. You never saw two revivals come just alike. We must let them come in God’s way.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “Christ has not conquered my affections if He has to compete for my attention.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “A few months before the Moravian Watch Night service, Peter Bohler had met the Anglican clergyman John Wesley and talked with him on board a ship traveling from Georgia to England. That voyage was a time of deep introspection for Wesley. He’d traveled to Georgia believing God would greatly use him to preach the gospel to the Native Americans, but his ministry experience in the colony was a failure. Returning to England, Wesley had written, “I went to America to convert the heathen. But who will convert my own soul?””
Now, we come to the second part of Paul’s four-fold request for the Ephesian believers (and for believers today). His first request is contained in verse 16: “That he would grant you to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.” His second request is contained in verse 17: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith…”
What did Paul mean by this statement? The Ephesians he is writing to were already believers. How did Christ need to dwell in their hearts? The Greek word translated as “dwell” means a “permanent home.” There was another word that Paul could have used which means to live in as a stranger. But Paul wants the believers to allow Jesus to make a permanent home in their hearts.
William MacDonald said, “Here it is not a question of Jesus being in the believer, but rather of His feeling at home there! He is a permanent Resident in every saved person, but this is a request that He might have full access to every room and closet; that He might not be grieved by sinful words, thoughts, motives, and deeds; that He might enjoy unbroken fellowship with the believer.”
The word “heart” is used figuratively here and it means the center of the life or the base of a person’s emotions, will, and mind. If you are saved, Jesus Christ should not only be living in your heart, but He should have taken over your heart. He should be in charge of your will and your mind. If that is not the case, then He is not dwelling in you. You have not allowed Him to make Himself comfortable in your life.
The only way that we can make Jesus the center of our lives is by faith. We must fully place our trust in Him and depend on nothing else for our salvation, our sanctification, and our ability to live righteously in the world.
One hymn writer wrote —
May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.
May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.
May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.