Walking Worthy of Our Calling, Part 4 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #206)
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.
Joseph Parker said, “The man whose little sermon is ‘repent’ sets himself against his age, and will for the time being be battered mercilessly by the age whose moral tone he challenges. There is but one end for such a man — ‘off with his head!’ You had better not try to preach repentance until you have pledged your head to heaven.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “The aspirant for spiritual wealth and for the ear of God will know much loneliness and will eat much of ‘the bread of affliction.’ He may not know too much about family or social opposition, but on the other hand, he may. But this is sure, he will know much of soul conflict, and of silences (which may create misunderstandings), and of withdrawal from even the best of company. For lovers love to be alone, and the high peaks of the soul are reached in solitude.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “In North America, the limited revivals in the 1780s produced the leaders of the wider awakening in the decades following. Sporadic revivals began breaking out in New England in 1792. The Baptist pastor Isaac Backus of Connecticut and others began organizing ‘concerts of prayer,’ following the model established in Britain.”
Paul, a prisoner of the Lord, beseeches us to walk worthy of the vocation with which we have been called.
The word beseech takes this command beyond a suggestion. To beseech means to ask earnestly, to beg continually, to implore desperately. It is the difference between calling someone out of the house because you think they are taking too long to get ready and calling someone out of the house because the house is on fire. Paul wants us to realize that walking worthy of our vocation is a very important and very serious matter.
But, first, what is our “vocation”? The word translated as “vocation” means a calling. In fact, in most of the New Testament, that is how it is translated. Our vocation or calling is the all-encompassing purpose of our salvation through Jesus Christ. We are not saved just so that we can be delivered from eternal punishment. If that were the case, Jesus would have taken the disciples back to Heaven with Him. But He left them behind with work to do. He has done the same for us as well. The work that we are to do as we grow closer and closer to being like Christ and being with Christ is our vocation or calling.
The Bible speaks about the vocation of a believer eight times outside of the book of Ephesians in the New Testament.
Romans 11:29 says, “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” This means that once God places this calling upon you, it will not be revoked. You cannot lose your salvation, and you cannot get out from under this calling.
First Corinthians 1:26-27 says, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” This is the amazing thing about being called by God. If you were being considered for a position in the government, you would have to go through a vetting process. Your background would be looked at, your education would be reviewed, and your accomplishments would be scrutinized. If you did not meet the government’s expectations or requirements, that calling would be rescinded. However, when God places His call upon your life, He does not look at your status or accomplishments. Any good things that you have done are seen as filthiness in His sight anyway. But God calls us in spite of who we are and what we have done.
First Corinthians 7:20 says, “Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.” This is Paul’s way of saying, ‘Serve Christ wherever you are at.’ In this passage, he was getting on circumcised Christians who said that those who were uncircumcised could not be true servants of God. Paul said, “Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.”
That is what our vocation, our calling is: keeping the commandments of God in light of our salvation through Jesus Christ. Octavius Winslow said, “Let the lowliest and the highest vocation of life be dignified and sanctified by the heavenly calling. Wherever you are, and in whatever engaged, do not forget your high calling of God. You are called to be saints; called to a separation from the world; called to a holy, heavenly life; called to live for God, to labor for Christ; and soon will be called to be with the Lord forever!”