Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 31 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #200)
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 3:20-21:
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Samuel Chadwick said, “Truth without enthusiasm, morality without emotion, ritual without soul, are things Christ unsparingly condemned. Destitute of fire, they are nothing more than a godless philosophy, and ethical system, and a superstition.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “Satan fools and feigns, blows and bluffs, and we so often take his threats to heart and forget the ‘exceeding greatness of God’s power to us.'”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Because the erosion of faith on both sides of the Atlantic at the end of the eighteenth century was such a great concern, one after another Christian denominations began to call the faithful to prayer. In England, the first Monday evening of each month was set aside for prayer. Two items were high on the prayer list. First, the churches prayed for a revival that would restore many who had lapsed into secularism. Second, they prayed for an extension of God’s kingdom into the unreached nations around the world.”
Perhaps, the most remarkable thing about the things that God is able to do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” is that these things are carried out “according to the power that worketh in us.” What Paul is saying is that we should not be surprised at the amazing things God is able to do. We ought to be familiar with it. In fact, we ought to expect it because that power is at work within us.
P.T. O’Brien said, “In the earlier petition of chapter 1, God’s effective power towards believers was said to be nothing less than the operation of His mighty strength exerted in the resurrection of Christ. Now that same power which raised Christ from the dead, enthroned Him in the heavenlies, and then raised and enthroned us with Him, is at work within us to achieve infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. In the doxology, Paul thus praises God for the bestowal of strength by His Spirit on His people, and affirms that the full realization of God’s gracious purposes for them and in them becomes possible.”
Now, the thing about power is that power can be at rest or in action. The batteries in a store contain power — power available to everyone — but power that is dormant. That power is not activated until the batteries are set into an electronic device.
God’s power, activated through the Holy Spirit, is present in every believer. However, in some believers, that power lies dormant because they have grieved or quenched the Holy Spirit through unconfessed sin. If we want God to do exceeding abundantly in our lives, above all that we can ask or think, we must make sure that we have not grieved the Holy Spirit in any way, for it is through the Spirit of God living inside of us that His power is activated.
Frances Havergal wrote:
Church of God, beloved and chosen,
Church of Christ for whom He died,
Claim thy gifts and praise the Giver,
Ye are washed and sanctified.
Sanctified by God the Father,
And by Jesus Christ His Son,
And by God the Holy Spirit,
Holy, Holy, Three in One.
By His will He sanctifieth,
By the Spirit’s power within;
By the loving hand that chasteneth
Fruits of righteousness to win;
By His truth and by His promise,
By the Word, His gift unpriced,
By His own blood, and by union
With the risen life of Christ.