Walking Worthy of Our Calling, Part 9 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #211)
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.
Nicky Cruz said, “We stink more of the world than we stink of of sackcloth and ashes. A lot of contemporary churches today would feel more at home in a movie house rather than a house of prayer; they are more afraid of holy living than of sinning; they know more about money than magnifying Christ in our bodies. They are so compromised that holiness and living a sin-free life is heresy to the modern church. The modern church is, quite simply, just the world with a Christian T-shirt on.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “We’re living in an unprecedented day when evil is no longer evil. We’ve changed the terminology — iniquity is now infirmity; wickedness is now weakness; devilry is now deficiency.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Infidelity was growing rapidly on American college campuses before the coming of revival, but the collegiate awakenings of that era are among the most dramatic stories of the awakening. Timothy Dwight, president of Yale, was the great champion of intellectual evangelical Christianity. Student revival movements swept across American college campuses, producing pastors, teachers, and missionaries for new ministries born out of the revival.”
Now, Paul begins to tell us about the specific traits that should be a part of the life of one who is walking worthy of his calling in Christ. The first trait is “lowliness.” “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called with all lowliness…”
The word “lowliness” is translated from a very long word in the Greek. Here is what it means: “having a humble opinion of one’s self; a deep sense of one’s moral littleness; modesty, humility, lowliness of mind.”
Lowliness of mind was not something that was celebrated in the Greek culture that the Ephesians inhabited. In fact, it is not something that is celebrated too much in our own culture either. But it is a mark of a Christian who is walking worthy of his vocation and calling in Christ.
It ought to be easy for us to have lowliness of mind if we simply remember that we are sinners deserving of Hell. The very first sin we committed, no matter how small it might have seemed, was enough to alienate us from God forever. Instead, God sent Jesus to save us and make us a part of His family. The fact of the matter is that we are alive even when we don’t deserve it. We are saved even though we don’t deserve to be. We are on our way to Heaven even though we are not worthy of being there. If we keep these things in the front of our minds, it will be easy to have lowliness of mind.
J Vernon McGee shares the story of a group of people who went to see Beethoven’s home in Germany. After the tour guide had showed them Beethoven’s piano and had finished his lecture, he asked if any of them would like to come up and sit at the piano for a moment and play a chord or two. There was a sudden rush to the piano by all the people except a gray-haired gentleman with long, flowing hair. The guide finally asked him, “Wouldn’t you like to sit down at the piano and play a few notes?” The man answered, “No, I don’t feel worthy.” That man was Jan Pa-de-rew-ski, the great Polish statesman and pianist and the only man in the group who was really worthy to play at Beethoven’s piano.
J. Vernon McGee adds, “How often we as saints rush in and do things we have no gift for doing. We say we have difficulty in finding folk who will do the work of the church, but there is another extreme — folk who attempt to do things for which they have no gift. We need to walk in lowliness of mind.”
Lowliness of mind is simply not thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to. Whatever value we have comes from our standing in Christ. We have nothing to be proud of except what Christ has done in us. Therefore, we should walk worthy of our calling by having lowliness of mind.