The Gifts God has Given to His Church, Part 16 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #240)

spiritual-warfare

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 4:12-13:

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

—-

Jordan Groom said, “If God calls you to be a missionary, don’t stoop to be a king.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “Peter says we’re to grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you wiser in God now than you were last year at this time?”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “As news of the outpouring spread through the community, the little home on Bonnie Brae Avenue soon became too small. The weight of the crowd gathered on the porch outside was so great that the porch collapsed. While there were no serious injuries, everyone knew a more adequate meeting place had to be found. An abandoned church building at 312 Azusa Street was available. It had most recently been used as a warehouse and livery stable. The building was swept out, and William J. Seymour’s Apostolic Faith Mission moved to its new home on Easter Saturday, April 14, 1906.”

—-

In our last message, we saw that one of the end results of every believer using their spiritual gifts is that every believer in the body of Christ will grow into maturity in Christ — they will grow into being the “perfect man” that Paul writes about. Lest anyone is confused about what or who that perfect man is, Paul adds to that statement the words, “unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”

This phrase reminds us that we are not just to grow up in the faith, but that we are to grow up in the faith until we are like Christ. The word “measure” means a rule or staff for measuring. Who is our measure, our yardstick? It is Christ. Until we measure up to Him — which we will never do on this Earth — we are never to stop growing as believers. The longer we live as Christians, the more we learn that there is something else to be done in our lives that will make us more like Christ.

That might sound discouraging, but it should give us an impetus to keep striving to be conformed to the image of Christ. Paul uses the word “stature” to describe this image — that word means “adult age or maturity.” Christ is the “adult,” and we are the children. Just as little children look up to their parents and often strive to be like them, we, too, ought to strive to be like Christ.

Finally, Paul says we not only should grow up into the measure of Christ and the stature of Christ, but also the “fulness” of Christ. This word means “that which is filled with the presence, power, agency, and riches of God and of Christ.” We ought to want to be so filled with Christ and the things of God that sin and unrighteousness have no place inside of us. The older you get in the Lord, the less of a struggle it should be to say “no” to temptation and say “yes” to self-sacrificial ministry and service.

This poem by Thomas Obediah Chisholm captures the desire which all of us should have:

I have one deep supreme desire:
that I may be like Jesus.
To this I fervently aspire,
that I may be like Jesus.
I want my heart His throne to be,
so that a watchful world may see
His likeness shining forth in me.
I want to be like Jesus.

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