How Not to Walk, Part 13 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #259)
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 4:28:
28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
A.W. Pink said, “The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. He announces a Savior from hell rather than a Savior from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “There’s not one thing in life worth having outside of Jesus Christ. If you can really sing, ‘Thou, O Christ, is all I want,’ you’ve got it made!”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Shouting was praising or rejoicing in God. It was accompanied with clapping of the hands. Shouting became a revivalistic phenomenon; added to it was shuffling of the feet, which was then followed by running around and an occasional leap. Some shouters would “run the aisle.” A circular march by the congregation was called a “ring shout.””
From this verse, we have talked about the behavior of the old man who steals from others. Paul says, “Let him that stole steal no more.” Instead, the new man in Christ is to “labour, working with his hands the thing which is good.”
Here, Paul does not say, ‘Pray for what you need,’ rather, the command is to ‘work for what you need.’ Work is sometimes thought of as a curse based upon what happened after the Fall in the Book of Genesis. But, work is not a curse. God gave Adam work to do in the Garden of Eden before Adam chose to sin against God. The curse is that Adam’s work would from then on be hard and difficult. But God still expects us to work.
Being a Christian does not excuse us from the basic duties of human life. We are not to be like those who have ceased all work and all contact with the world in order to dress in white robes and await the return of Christ. We are not to expect that God will magically supply all our needs if we pray to Him. If you need daily bread, and you have a job or other money-making endeavour at hand, then you cannot expect God to drop bread out of the sky while you do nothing. Hard work, labor at that which is good also supplies daily bread.
God expects His people to set an example before the world of what it means to work willingly and honestly with one’s own mind and/or hands. Dr. Warren Wiersbe notes: “Paul himself was an example of a hard worker, for while he was establishing local churches, he labored as a tentmaker. Every Jewish rabbi was taught a trade, for, said the rabbis, ‘If you do not teach your son a trade, you teach him to be a thief.’ The men that God called in the Scriptures were busy working when their call came. Moses was caring for sheep; Gideon was threshing wheat; David was minding his father’s flock; and the first four disciples were either casting nets or mending them. Jesus Himself was a carpenter.”
If honest work was not beneath our Lord, we should be eager to labor at that which is good.
Michael Morgan wrote:
All our work and all our being
come from you, most gracious Lord.
Ev’ry task which lies before us
is Creator’s will outpoured.
Help us as we build your kingdom
know we labor not in vain;
give us sure and deep conviction
for the tasks that you ordain.
Let us labor in the knowledge
that no task can be too small;
that the God who stretched the heavens
no less shaped the least of all.
Give us strength, Lord, to accomplish
what you set our hands to do,
that by serving those around us,
we return the gift to you.