Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 28 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #197)
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.
John Berridge said, “All decays begin in the closet; no heart thrives without much secret conversation with God, and nothing will make amends for the want of it.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “The secret of praying is praying in secret. A sinning man will stop praying, and a praying man will stop sinning.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The First Great Awakening had tremendous political effects. Following Whitefield’s encouragement of itinerant preaching, many evangelists ended up establishing new churches without government affiliation. These churches involved lay people in ministry, but more importantly, they gave lay people a voice in the affairs of their churches. It wasn’t long before lay people were wanting a voice also in the affairs of their government and society in general. These churches competed with the tax-supported churches for members. When the political establishment in Connecticut recognized this threat, the colonial assembly passed a law banning itinerant preaching in 1742. As a result, some itinerants went to jail. The revival continued to spread, however, unchecked by the laws of men.”
As we continue looking at the fourth of Paul’s requests for the Ephesian believers (and for all believers today), consider these words from Adam Clarke: “Among all the great sayings in this prayer, this is the greatest. To be filled with God is a great thing; to be filled with the fullness of God is still greater; but to be filled with all the fullness of God utterly bewilders the sense and confounds the understanding.”
As we make Paul’s prayer request our own — that we may be filled unto all the fulness of God — it is important to remember that there is nothing we can do to fill ourselves. Paul uses the passive tense in his prayer. It is God that must do the filling up, not the Ephesian believers.
One commentator compared being filled with all the fulness of God to a balloon being filled with air. A new balloon just sits there. It’s limp; it’s boring; it’s dead. But, when you start to fill a balloon with air, it perks up. It get’s bigger. It grows far bigger than the limp, dead piece of plastic that was just sitting there a few moments ago. It begins growing wide and tall. Lo and behold, the balloon begins to rise up. It begins to float; it begins to fly. In fact, you have to tie a balloon down because if you don’t it will keep going up, and up, and up.
The Christian who begins to be filled with God is like that balloon. The presence of God in that person’s life stretches and pushes him into bigger, greater, more impactful service for the kingdom of God. And as that person is filled, he grows spiritually, rises up, becomes more mature, and most importantly, he is closer to God than ever before.
That is what God wants for all His children. He wants to fill them with Himself so they can be close to Him and so they can serve and minister to others out of a Christ-like spirit.
Charles E. Orr wrote:
As men seek for hidden treasure,
As for rain thirsts the drying sod,
As the hart pants after water,
So my heart pants after God.
I seek not for worldly pleasure,
I pray not for earthly store;
My whole soul goes after Jesus—
I am seeking nothing more.
Oh, to be holy, holy, holy,
Like my Savior every day,
To be filled with all His fullness,
It is for this I pray and pray.