How Not to Walk, Part 22 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #268)
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 4:30-31:
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
A.W. Tozer said, “Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late — and how little revival has resulted? I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work. To pray for revival while ignoring the plain precept laid down in Scripture is to waste a lot of words and get nothing for our trouble. Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “Jesus prayed at the Jordan at His baptism; He prayed at the Mount of Transfiguration; He prayed just before He went to the cross. Prayer, prayer, prayer all the way! Should we pray less than He prayed?”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “It was during one of the great camp meetings of the Cane Ridge Revival that Peter Cartwright heard a voice saying, “Thy sins are all forgiven thee.” Cartwright later described his reaction: Divine light flashed all around me, unspeakable joy sprang up into my soul. I rose to my feet, opened my eyes, and it really seemed as if I were in heaven…. I have never for one moment doubted that the Lord did, then and there, forgive my sins and give me religion.”
The second sin that Paul says a Christian should stay away from because it grieves the Holy Spirit is wrath. (Of course, all sin grieves the Holy Spirit, but Paul names these few here probably because they begin as ‘inside sins’, ‘matters of the heart’ that we may not think of as sins.) The Greek word translated as wrath means passion, anger, or heat; anger suddenly boiling up and soon subsiding again. This word is sometimes translated in Scripture as “fierceness” or “indignation.” It was often used by the Greeks to describe a rapid-moving or violent wind.
The sin of wrath begins in the heart or mind and it comes out in how we choose to respond to people and situations that we face. When something upsets us or rubs us the wrong way, how do we react? Do we lash out with our words or with our fists? Such rash action — occurring in a brief fit of anger — can have long-lasting consequences.
The Bible sometimes speaks of God’s wrath as He shows it against the wicked. Because God is perfectly holy, He cannot sin, therefore His display of wrath is justified. However, according to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, “Wrath, when used of man, is the exhibition of an enraged sinful nature and is therefore always inexcusable. It is for this reason that man is forbidden to allow anger to display itself in his life. He is not to ‘give place unto wrath’, nor must he allow ‘the sun to go down upon his wrath.’ He must not be angry with his brother, but seek agreement with him lest the judgment that will necessarily fall upon the wrathful be meted out to him. The manifestation of an angry spirit is prohibited in the training and bringing up of a family.” The words and actions that are spoken and carried out as a result of wrath are prohibited.
In the spring of 1894, the Baltimore Orioles came to Boston to play the Beaneaters. During the game, John McGraw of the Orioles got into a fight with the Boston third baseman. Within minutes, all the players from both teams had joined in the brawl. The warfare quickly spread to the grandstands. Among the fans, the conflict went from bad to worse. Someone set fire to the stands and the entire ballpark burned to the ground. The fire then spread to 107 other buildings as well.
A small argument exploded into a great inferno as a result of wrath. As Christians, we have the power of the Holy Spirit to smother the wrathful tendencies of human nature. If we submit to the Spirit, not only will we have better relationships and avoid terrible outcomes, we will not suffer the terrible experience of grieving the Holy Spirit.
Dan Thompson wrote:
Anger and wrath are sins
That destroy a person from within
They rob a person of life
And deliver nothing but strife
Anger and wrath are cancers
If left alone, they will spread
Until deep down inside
a person is spiritually dead
Now the Lord has warned us
from wrath to stay away
So from Him and His Word
we will not stray