How Not to Walk, Part 6 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #252)
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 4:20-22:
20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
G.F. Oliver said, “He can do all things who prays well. All soul-winners have conquered on their knees. Wherever the secret of prevailing prayer is found, something supernatural will come to pass.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “Jesus died to make us earthly examples of the heavenly life.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The influence of the Azusa Street Revival spread far beyond the national boundaries of America. The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada recognize their spiritual indebtedness to William J. Seymour and the Azusa Street mission, especially in the earliest manifestations of charismatic phenomena in Winnipeg and Toronto. Many of their founding fathers first experienced the Pentecostal blessing under Seymour’s preaching, or were mentored by him in their early Pentecostal experience.”
Having told us how we ought not to walk, Paul now shows us how that walking according to the manner of Christ is a choice. The fact that becoming a mature Christian is a growth process does not negate our ownership in the matter. We must choose to grow. We must choose to begin walking like Christ and in Christ.
Even though we have learned Christ, and heard Christ, and been taught in Christ, it is still our choice to “put off concerning the former conversation.” The word “conversation” means lifestyle, and it is our choice, our decision to put off the old lifestyle. The old lifestyle does not simply fall away. It is peeled back, piece by piece, like an animal shedding its skin. With God’s grace and the Holy spirit’s help, every time you make the choice to do something according to the ways of the new man in Christ, every time you say no to temptation, you are cutting away a piece of the old man.
You must choose to put on the new man every single day. For a long time — especially as a young believer, the old man will still fight to keep control. It will be a battle. But, who wins the battle is up to you.
Remember the story of the old Indian told his son about the two dogs fighting inside of him — a good dog and an evil dog. The boy wanted to know which dog would win. The man said, “The dog I feed the most is the one who wins the fight.”
We must feed the new man and starve the old man. This too is a choice. We feed the new man by continuing to listen to and receive the teaching of Christ. Charles Spurgeon said, “So, if you want to know the Lord Jesus Christ, you must live with him. First, he must himself speak to you, and afterwards you must abide in him. He must be the choice Companion of your morning hours, he must be with you throughout the day, and with him you must also close the night; and as often as you may wake during the night, you must say, ‘When I awake, I am still with thee.'”
Lewis Edson wrote:
“The new way brings forth the new man,
The new man walks on the new way.”
Lord, give this new vision to us,
To all of the churches today.
We’re walking in newness of life
And singing a joyful new song;
In newness of spirit we serve,
This new one accord makes us strong.
We’re drinking the new life divine,
Oh, how this new wine our heart cheers!
The new man will walk this new way
Until the new city appears.