Walking Worthy of Our Calling, Part 2 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #204)
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 4:1-3:
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
A.W. Tozer said, “Until self-effacing men return again to spiritual leadership, we may expect a progressive deterioration in the quality of popular Christianity year after year till we reach the point where the grieved Holy Spirit withdraws — like the Shekinah from the Temple.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “If a Christian is not having tribulation in the world, there’s something wrong!”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Many cities in Scotland reported phenomenal awakenings. The Haldane brothers, James and Robert, preached to large crowds in major cities, and pastors such as Thomas Chalmers won many in their region for Christ. While the established Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian body, initially opposed the revival, before long Presbyterians themselves also reported the blessing of God in their churches.”
As we begin to consider what it means to “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” we would do well to turn our attention once again to the fact that this command is coming through a “prisoner.” Yes, Paul is in jail. He is, in fact, in jail for doing what he is telling us to do.
Speaking of himself, Paul says, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord…” Even though Paul was bound by Roman chains and had a Roman guard 24/7 and was in the city of Rome, he was not a Roman prisoner. He was not even a Jewish prisoner. He considered himself a prisoner of the Lord. He had not been jailed for disobeying Rome or for disobeying Jewish law. Paul had been jailed for obeying Jesus Christ. He is letting us know in no uncertain terms that our obedience to God — our walking worthy of our calling — may indeed result in suffering and pain on this side of eternity.
John MacArthur said, “By mentioning his imprisonment he gently reminds his readers that he knows the worthy Christian walk can be costly and that he has paid considerable cost himself because of his obedience to the Lord. He would not ask them to walk in a way in which he had not himself walked or pay a price that he himself was not willing to pay. His present physical circumstance seemed extremely negative from a human perspective, but Paul wanted his readers to know that this did not change his commitment to or his confidence in the Lord.”
Paul did not view being a “prisoner of the Lord” as a negative thing. Paul had not been forced into the Lord’s army. He had not been forced to serve others and preach the Gospel. But his Damascus Road salvation experience opened his eyes to the truth about Jesus Christ, and now he could not imagine living any other way. He was a prisoner, he was a slave, he was held captive by his duty to Christ. Earthly discomforts could be endured as long as he walked worthy of his calling.
Lina Sandell wrote:
Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.
Help me then, in every tribulation,
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation,
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
Ever to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Until with Christ the Lord I stand.