How Not to Walk, Part 1 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #247)
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 4:17-19:
17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
Paul E. Billheimer said, “A church without an intelligent, well-organized, and systematic prayer program is simply operating a religious treadmill.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “The darker it gets, the brighter your light will shine.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Charles Parham, William J. Seymour’s mentor in his pilgrimage to Pentecost, arrived in Los Angeles in October 1906 to investigate the revival for himself. Seymour welcomed the arrival of his teacher and invited him to preach in his pulpit. For years, Parham had preached about the need for a new dispensation of the Spirit, so he came to Azusa Street with great expectation. But what he saw there was far different from his own vision of the coming revival.”
The life of a Christian should be very different from the life of those who are not saved. Thus, there are some things that unsaved people do that we ought not to do because we are born again ones in Christ.
Notice what Dr. Walvoord and Dr. Zuck include in their commentary, “The Ephesian believers who were Gentiles were not to walk as the Gentiles do, or as implied, as they had once walked. Gentiles walked in the futility of their thinking. The word for “futility” suggests being void of useful aim or goal. Unbelieving Gentiles failed to attain the true purpose of the mind, namely, to receive God’s revelation which would guide them in their conduct. Since their minds could not receive God’s revelation, their understanding was darkened, being separated from the life of God. Their alienation is because of their ignorance of God; and this is because of the hardening of their hearts, their being insensitive to God and His ways.”
There was a Christian pamphlet that churches used to pass out not too long ago. It was called, “Others May, You Cannot,” by G.D. Watson. It was all about letting new believers know that they would now be required to think differently, talk differently, and live differently from others. The beginning of that tract states, “If God has called you to be really like Jesus, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.”
Others may, you cannot. There are some key words that Paul uses that emphasize his meaning. First, he says, “This I say therefore.” The “therefore” points us back to all that he has previously written in this epistle. In light of those facts — our calling in Christ, our old man being dead, us being raised to a new life in Christ, and being given spiritual gifts to use in His service — we should live differently than those who remain a part of the world. We should live in a manner that is pleasing to God.
Now, notice the word “henceforth” — “that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk.” This word means from now on or from this point forward. It still reminds us of the past, but lets us know that from here on out we ought to be doing something different — something new. We ought not to be living as the unsaved people.
In our society, people ought to be able to distinguish the Christians from the non-Christians by the way we live, work, and interact with others. If we are, as the Bible says, not of this world, then we ought not to be afraid to act like it.
Ben Vaughn and Peter Case wrote this song titled, “Not of this World”:
We are pilgrims in a strange land
We are so far from our homeland
With each passing day it’s clear
This world will never want us here
We’re not welcome in this world of wrong
We are foreigners who don’t belong
We are envoys, we must tarry
With this message we must carry
There’s much to do before we leave
With many more who may believe
Our mission here can never fail
Because the gates of hell will not prevail
Jesus told us men would hate us
But we must be of good cheer
He has overcome this world of darkness
And soon we will depart from here