How Not to Walk, Part 26 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #272)
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:
An old Puritan prayer states, “Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, and that to bear the cross is to wear the crown.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “We’ve got more books on the Holy Ghost than any generation ever, but we’ve never had less power. Like most of our praying, it’s all in print on book shelves.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Some criticized the emotional expressions known as ‘jerks’ that were manifested in Peter Cartwright’s meetings, but they were manifested in all the great Cumberland revival meetings. Some said the ‘jerks’ were purely nervous reactions caused by suggestion when others were seen jerking. Others said it was a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Cartwright himself had the ability to sense when people were imitating the ‘jerks,’ and he dealt with them strictly. He even told the story of one man who, claiming to have the ‘jerks’ but wanting to get rid of them, went to get a bottle of whiskey to ‘drink them off.’ As the man attempted to raise the bottle, a ‘jerk’ more severe than any before broke his neck and he died.”
The sixth sin that Paul says a Christian should stay away from because it grieves the Holy Spirit is malice. Malice is defined as a spirit of ill-will toward others; it is a desire to injure; it is also wickedness that is not ashamed to break laws. Merriam-Webster’s states that malice is “a desire to cause pain, injury, distress, or harm to another.” It is the “intent to commit an unlawful act or cause harm without legal justification or excuse.”
In these definitions, notice the words “desire” and “intent.” The command here is not, ‘Do not harm another person,’ but ‘Do not have malice in your heart toward another person. Do not have the intent or desire to cause harm to another person.’ God is concerned with what is going on in your heart and mind, not just what you do with your body. Even if you do not carry out malicious acts against someone, you ought not to secretly wish that something bad would happen to that person. Rejoicing in some misfortune that befalls someone else is also evidence of malice.
H.A. Ironside said every Christian has an obligation to put away all malice. “If you do not live up to that, you are not living a real Christian life. This is Christianity lived in the power of the Holy Ghost.” You might feel like the malice in your heart is justified because of what someone did or said to you. But, you must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit and bring your feelings under the authority of Christ. You must choose to put on the new man who will not walk in maliciousness, but in a spirit of love and forgiveness toward all.
George Cuff wrote:
There are sins from the former life that simply must be denied,
Things the godless revel in, that a believer must sweep aside.
Immorality of every kind, impurity, lust and greed;
You will be bound to idolatry if scripture you fail to heed.
You must also rid yourselves of anger, malice and rage.
Watch your speech carefully. Do not in profanity engage.
You threw off the sinful man who reveled in foul deeds;
The new man is renewed in mind, empowered by Christ indeed.