How Not to Walk, Part 11 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #257)
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 4:26-27:
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 Neither give place to the devil.
Samuel M. Zwemer said, “I feel now that many nations could easily be evangelized within the next thirty years if it were not for the wicked selfishness of Christians.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “God wants to get us to the place where we’d rather fast than feast; where we’d rather be unknown than known.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The preaching at the Cane Ridge camp meeting and other places was intense, hot, and moving. An eyewitness remembered: As the meetings progressed and the excitement grew more intense, and the crowd rushed from preacher to preacher, singing, shouting, laughing, calling upon men to repent, men and women fell upon the ground unable to help themselves, and in such numbers that it was impossible for the multitude to move about, especially at night, when the excitement was the greatest, without trampling them, and so those who fell were gathered up and carried to the meeting house, where the ‘spiritually slain,’ as they called them, were laid upon the floor. Some of them lay quiet, unable to move or speak; some could talk, but were unable to move; some would shriek as though in greatest agony, and bound about ‘like a live fish out of water.’ No doubt the more ‘respectable’ folks who heard such an account were scandalized, but those who took part were convinced that God was at work.”
Today, we are going to focus on verse 27 which reads, “Neither give place to the devil.” While Paul is writing specifically in the context of anger, there are many situations in our lives in which we can give place to the devil if we are not careful.
The term “give place” means to grant, to allow, or to deliver a space, a room, an opportunity, or an occasion for acting. When we give place to the devil, it is as if we fix up the guest room and invite Satan into our house. We are giving him an opportunity to work. The Greek word used to describe Satan in this verse is “diablos”; it comes from two words which mean “to divide.” When the devil enters our lives he always aims to divide. He wants to divide us from God. He wants to divide family members from one another. And he wants to divide fellow believers from each other.
Pride, envy, anger, unforgiveness, and lust are all sins of the heart. Others may not be able to see them in us, but the devil sees them as windows of opportunity. If he can get a foothold into our lives, he will exploit these sins of the heart and turn them into sins of the mind. That is why it is important that we do not give him an opportunity to do so.
Dwight Pentecost said, “When a mountain climber scales a mountain, he does not need a four-lane highway to allow him to get to the top. If you have watched a climber in a movie you can see that he or she can use the smallest foothold, and inch-by-inch, has victory over the mountain. In your life, Satan does not need a huge opening, and you are not safe if there is the slightest foothold for him to begin inching his way to your defeat.”
When a military invades another country, the first thing they look for is a beachhead, a foothold. If they can secure a beachhead as a base of operations, they can launch a successful assault. The devil is looking for a beachhead into your life. By dealing with the sins of the heart, you can deny him this opportunity.
A.B. Simpson wrote:
Resist the devil and he will flee.
Say “No!” to temptation, win the victory.
Say “Yes!” to Jesus, He will set you free,
And give you power over the enemy.