Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 32 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #201)
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.
Oswald Chambers said, “Beware of reasoning about God’s Word. Obey it!”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “We have adopted the convenient theory that the Bible is a Book to be explained, whereas first and foremost it is a Book to be believed (and after that to be obeyed).”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Within a decade, the movement of prayer that began in Great Britain was duplicated in the United States and many other nations. The story of the Second Great Awakening is a story of God bringing revival to praying saints and giving birth to a renewed missionary vision in the church. The outpouring of the Spirit that fell in these meetings impacted the evangelical church for half a century.”
When God does things that are “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” it is not we in the church who get the credit or the glory. It is not a testament to how great we are, because we are nothing without Christ. Instead, Paul writes, “Unto him [that is God] be glory in the church by Christ Jesus.” The exceeding abundant work that God does in the life of His children individually and in the body of believers collectively is a testament to His might, power, love, and grace.
Now, we must not make the mistake of thinking that these exceeding abundant works will always be something that we approve of or desire. When they happen, we may not always consider them to be miracles. Many Christians have found out years later that a terrible situation that happened to them was actually God working in their lives for the good of the kingdom of Christ and for God’s own glory.
You know the story of Jim Elliot. In 1956, he was trying to reach the Auca Indians of South America for Christ. Just three years earlier, after watching an Indian die in a jungle hut, he had affirmed his willingness to serve God and die if necessary among these people. At that time, he prayed, “Lord, let me live until I have declared Thy works to this generation.”
Jim Eliot was not planning to die. He didn’t expect God to answer his prayer by letting him be speared to death before he was thirty years old. But neither did he have any idea that within three years his name would be known all over the world and that his writings would challenge many to give themselves to missionary service. He did not know that his death — his violent untimely death, might I add — was a catalyst that brought hundreds of Indian heathens to Christ.
God’s exceedingly abundant work in Jim Eliot’s life involved pain, difficulty, and death. What we must remember as Christians is that, as we walk with Christ, all things may not appear at first to be miraculous or blessed, but God is at work bringing glory to Himself out of everything that happens in our lives.
Steven J. Cole said, “Because God is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, we should pray for that which would further His glory through Christ and His church.”