How To Walk, Part 2 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #274)
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.
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:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
A.W. Tozer said, “What we need is what the old Methodists called a sound conversion. There is a difference between conversion and a sound conversion. People who have never been soundly converted do not have the Spirit to enlighten them. When they read the Sermon on the Mount, or the teaching passages of the epistles, or the doctrinal passages that tell how they should live, they are unaffected. The Spirit who wrote them is not witnessing in their hearts because they have not been born of the Spirit. That often happens.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “In evangelism, the preachers make the altar call; but in revival the people make the altar call.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “As students increasingly embraced rationalism, the effect on the moral life of American colleges was disastrous. Students formed societies named in honor of French philosophers. Colleges originally founded for Christian purposes became centers of skepticism. At some schools, radical students took control of the entire campus. Mock communion services were conducted in college chapels. One college president was forced to resign. On another campus, a group of students attempted to blow up a building.”
The first of the positive traits that Paul says a believer ought to possess is kindness. “Be ye kind one to another.” We think of kindness as a simple virtue, yet so many struggle to actually carry it out. That is why one commentator called this passage a shift “from natural vices to supernatural virtues.” The vices that Paul named are all easy for us to fall into as human beings, but it takes the supernatural power of God for us to be consistently kind to one another.
The Greek word translated as “kind” means fit for use, useful, virtuous, good, mild, pleasant, and benevolent. Do any of these words describe your spirit and behavior on a consistent basis?
A person who is useful is someone who is well-employed in doing good. He is not employed in doing evil, nor is he lazy and doing nothing at all. A useful person, or one who is fit for use, is ready to serve, to volunteer, to minister, or to help out in any way possible. Some people are especially gifted in what Paul called in 1 Corinthians the ministry of “helps.” They thrive on being of assistance to others. But all of us should have a spirit of usefulness in whatever situation we are in. This is a part of being kind.
Then, we should all be virtuous. A virtuous person is one who has and shows forth high moral standards generated by the power of the Holy spirit. As Christians, we know that the ultimate moral standard is to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This requires us to be unselfish and to think of others not only just as we think of ourselves but more highly than we think of ourselves. That is a high standard that we can only fulfill by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We will not reach these measures all at once. It is a growing process. John Phillips translated this verse as “be becoming kind…” He said, “God knows our frame. He makes allowance for us to learn and practice, even though we already have the indwelling Holy Spirit to provide the energizing power needed for change. But God does demand that here and now — right away — we start putting away the old nature and putting on the new.” Be ye kind one to another.
May R. Smith wrote that we should “scatter seeds of kindness” because we will reap what we sow:
Let us gather up the sunbeams,
Lying all around our path;
Let us keep the wheat and roses,
Casting out the thorns and chaff;
Let us find our sweetest comfort
In what we do for others today,
With a patient hand removing
All the briers from the way.
Let us scatter seeds of kindness,
For our reaping some future day