How Not to Walk, Part 2 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #248)
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.
Francois Fenelon said, “God never ceases to speak to us, but the noise of the world without and the tumult of our passions within bewilder us and prevent us from listening to him.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “Before too long, it’s going to demand a lot of courage to really live and maintain a truly Christian life according to the Word of the living God.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Charles Parham shuddered to see blacks and whites praying at the same altar during the Azusa Street Revival. When a white woman ‘slain in the Spirit’ (that is, overcome by the power of God) fell back into the arms of a black man, he was horrified at what he called a ‘darkey revival.’ When he began preaching, he accused those gathered of practicing animism and rebuked them for their disregard for racial distinctions. The elders of the Azusa Street Mission, both black and white, rejected Parham’s condemnation. What Parham considered a work of the devil was perceived by them to be the work of the Holy Spirit. Parham was asked to leave and barred from returning.”
The first way in which Christians should differ from the world is in their thinking. Paul says, “Walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind…” The worldly person has a mind that is vain. The word translated as “vanity” means: “that which is devoid of truth and appropriateness; perverseness, depravity; weak or lacking life.”
One of the main things God wants His children to understand is that they ought to no longer think like the world. We are told to have “the mind of Christ.” We are told, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” We are told to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” We are told what things we ought to be thinking on: things that are “true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtue, and praise.”
God is not just concerned about the outer man — what you do with your body. He is first concerned with your mind and your heart. If you get that right, your actions will follow suit.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe said, “Salvation begins with repentance, which is a change of mind. The whole outlook of a person changes when he trusts Christ, including his values, goals, and interpretation of life. What is wrong with the mind of the unsaved person? For one thing, his thinking is ‘vain’ (or futile). It leads to no substantial purpose. Since he does not know God, he cannot truly understand the world around him, nor can he understand himself. Our world today possesses a great deal of knowledge, but very little wisdom. Thoreau put it beautifully when he said that we have ‘improved means to unimproved ends.'”
God alone can give you the wisdom to live a life that is not futile. Many Christians, however, still follow worldly ways of thinking after they are saved and they wonder why they are not fulfilled. That is why Paul, speaking to Christians, says, “Walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.” Through Jesus Christ, you have new life and you have access to spiritual truth. Take advantage of that and live a victorious life.
Katie Barclay Wilkinson wrote:
May the mind of Christ my Savior
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.
May the Word of Christ dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.
May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.