How Not to Walk, Part 19 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #265)
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 4:30:
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
In the book, “The Gospel and Personal Evangelism”, Mark Dever writes, “According to the Bible, converting people is not in our power. And evangelism may not be defined in terms of results but only in terms of faithfulness to the message preached. John Stott has said, ‘To “evangelize”’…does not mean to win converts…but simply to announce the good news, irrespective of the results.’ At the Lausanne [loh-zAAn] gathering in 1974, evangelism was defined as follows: To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gift of the Spirit to all who repent and believe.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “It’s a tragedy when you try and prove your spirituality by things you don’t do rather than proving it by the things you do.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Peter Cartwright’s family moved from Amherst, Virginia, to Kentucky in 1785 to an area called Rogue’s Harbor. The frontier spot had no school, no newspaper, and very little civilization. All the farmers were self-sufficient, eating what they grew and wearing what they wove from cotton or made from the skins of animals they killed. Cartwright described his early life: ‘I was a naturally wild, wicked boy and delighted in horse racing, card playing and dancing. My father restrained me little, though my mother often talked to me, wept over me, and prayed for me.’ One day an itinerant Methodist preacher came through the encampment, staying at the Cartwright home and giving young Peter his first orientation to religion. When a camp meeting was held in his neighborhood, Cartwright said, ‘Scores of sinners fell under the preaching, like men slain in a mighty battle; Christians shouted for joy.’ But Cartwright was not moved to conversion; in fact, he believed he couldn’t be saved because he was a reprobate bound for hell.”
When we have grieved the Holy Spirit, and thus do not feel the fellowship with Him that we are used to, the devil will use this opportunity to try to get us to doubt our salvation or to think that we have lost our salvation. That is why Paul made sure to mention that it is by the Holy Spirit that we remain saved — “sealed unto the day of redemption.” When we do not feel the Holy Spirit’s presence, or when it appears that God is ‘silent’, that does not mean that we are not saved. In fact, the silence of God, the distance that we feel between us and Him, can speak volumes. It ought to serve as a warning that we need to check ourselves to make sure that we have not grieved Him in any way, that there is nothing between our soul and the Savior.
But it does not mean that we have lost our salvation. We remain sealed unto the day of redemption. To seal something means to prove, to confirm, to authenticate, or to place beyond doubt. If you have trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior and your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, then it is beyond doubt that you are saved. And nothing that you or the devil can do to make you unsaved.
The fact that the Holy Spirit can be grieved reminds us that He is a real person whom we are in a real relationship with. We can offend Him just as we might offend another human being. William MacDonald said the fact that the Holy Spirit can be grieved “also means He loves us, because only a person who loves can be grieved. The favorite ministry of God’s Spirit is to glorify Christ and to change the believer into His likeness. When a Christian sins, He has to turn from this ministry to one of restoration. It grieves Him to see the believer’s spiritual progress interrupted by sin. He must then lead the Christian to the place of repentance and confession of sin.”
To grieve the Holy Spirit is a serious offense, one that we ought to strive to rectify as soon as possible so that we can dwell in peace and harmony with God.
Fanny Crosby wrote:
Dwell in me, O blessed Spirit,
How I need Thy help divine!
In the way of life eternal,
Keep, oh, keep this heart of mine.
Let me feel Thy sacred presence;
Then my faith will never decline;
Comfort Thou and help me onward,
Fill with love this heart of mine.
Dwell in me, O blessed Spirit,
Gracious teacher, friend divine,
For the home of bliss that waits me
O prepare this heart of mine.