The Gifts God has Given to His Church, Part 18 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #242)
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 4:14-16:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
T.A. Hegre said, “If the church would only awaken to her responsibility of intercession, we could well evangelize the world in a short time. It is not God’s plan that the world be merely evangelized ultimately. It should be evangelized in every generation. There should be a constant gospel witness in every corner of the world so that no sinner need close his eyes in death without hearing the gospel, the good news of salvation through Christ.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “I don’t ask people if they’re saved anymore; I look them straight in the eye and say, ‘Does Christ live inside you?'”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “On the morning of April 18, 1906, four days after the Apostolic Faith Mission had begun holding services on Azusa Street, nine days after the first manifestation of tongues in their midst, the earth itself shook. A major earthquake along the San Andreas fault almost completely destroyed the city of San Francisco. Its impact was felt throughout Southern California. As the ground shook beneath their feet, the lives of many who had ignored Seymour’s message were shaken also. Daily services at 312 Azusa Street quickly filled with both blacks and whites seeking salvation and “the baptism of the Holy Ghost.” One white preacher from the South commented, ‘The color line was washed away by the blood’ of Christ. As the young church witnessed what they perceived to be evidences of the end of the world, their worship of God was noisy and enthusiastic.”
Today, we look at the Christian response to the winds of false doctrine that threaten to sway believers who are not mature in the faith. How should Christians react to the deception that is so prevalent today? Paul says we ought to “speak the truth in love.” The term Paul uses means to tell, to teach, or to profess the truth.
The Bible Exposition Commentary states that speaking the truth in love is evidence of spiritual maturity. “The third evidence of maturity is truth joined with love: ‘Speaking the truth in love.’ It has well been said that truth without love is brutality, but love without truth is hypocrisy. Little children do not know how to blend truth and love. They think that if you love someone, you must shield him from the truth if knowing the truth will hurt him. It is a mark of maturity when we are able to share the truth with our fellow Christians, and do it in love. ‘Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful'”
The truth is the content of Scripture and the revelation of the Holy Spirit to the church. The Word of God is the only source of truth that the Church can rely on and draw from. We must speak this truth in the local Christian assembly, to our fellow believers, and to the world which is increasingly being led astray.
Love describes the manner in which the truth is to be spoken. We must not be spiteful, hateful, or bitter in our presentation of the truth. The truth presented in an un-Christlike manner will be of little effect.
Nothing can fight against the truth of God encapsulated in the agape love of Christ.
Alfred Arthur Graley wrote:
Be the matter what it may,
Always speak the truth;
Whether work or whether play,
Always speak the truth;
Never from this rule depart,
Grave it deeply on your heart,
Written ’tis in virtues chart,
Always speak the truth.