Walking Worthy of Our Calling, Part 13 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #215)
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.
C. T. Studd said, “Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “I’m concerned that the reason the world is on its way to hell-fire is because we, the church, has lost the Holy Ghost fire.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “No significant preachers were involved in the Cornwall revival. In fact, most of the gatherings were simply assemblies for prayer rather than evangelistic meetings. In 1784, eighty-threeyear-old John Wesley visited the area and immediately recognized the unique movement of God in the community. His journal entry includes the note: ‘This country is all on fire and the flame is spreading from village to village.””
From this passage, we are looking at the specific traits that should be a part of the life of one who is walking worthy of his calling in Christ. We have already looked at the traits of lowliness, meekness, and longsuffering.
The third trait that Paul names is “forbearance in love.” “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love…” The word ‘forbear’ means ‘to endure, to hold oneself, to bear with.’ It has a similar connotation to the word ‘longsuffering.’ Three times in the Gospels, this word is used to describe Jesus’ reaction to the faithless crowd and the faithless disciples. He had to bear with them despite their unbelief.
As Christians, we will also face situations that will require us to forbear with others, to hold back, to temper our response. These situations may be in the church, in the family, or on the job. These situations may not arise only because of our faith. They may arise in every day matters experienced by all people — saved and lost. The difference should be in how the Christian responds to such situations. Our response ought to be one of forbearance in love.
Above all, all of our actions, reactions, and interactions ought to take place in a spirit of agape love. The Bible says we ought to ‘forbear one another in love.’ If we let the love of Christ rule in our hearts, it will be easier to respond to any person or situation in a spirit of forbearance and love.
In closing, consider these words from A.W. Tozer:
“We do not go far with any fellow traveler on the journey of life before we find there is great occasion for the exercise of forbearance. He has a temperament different from our own. He may be sanguine, or choleric, or melancholy; while we may be just the reverse. He has peculiarities of taste, and habits, and disposition, which differ much from ours. He has his own plans and purposes of life, and his own way and time of doing things. He may be naturally irritable, or he may have been so trained that his modes of speech and conduct differ much from ours. Neighbours have occasion to remark this in their neighbours; friends in their friends; kindred in their kindred; one church member in another.
“A husband and wife — such is the imperfection of human nature — can find enough in each other to embitter life if they choose to magnify imperfections and to become irritated at trifles; and there is no friendship that may not be marred in this way, if we will allow it.
“Hence, if we would have life move on smoothly, we must learn to bear and forbear. We must indulge the friend that we love in the little peculiarities of saying and doing things which may be important to him, but which may be of little moment to us.”