How To Walk, Part 4 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #276)
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 4:32:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
During the Back to Jerusalem Movement, Chinese house church leaders stated, “When the Lord reveals His will to us and we obey, our mission will be a success regardless of the results.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “If God hasn’t gone out of business, then revival must be possible. The trouble is we don’t want revival; we just want blessing. We just want our churches full! We just want an easy way.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Dr. Timothy Dwight was among the best educated and most widely respected ministers of that day. As the grandson of Jonathan Edwards, he was familiar with the stories of the Great Awakening. But more than just a man with knowledge, Timothy Dwight had caught something of his grandfather’s passion for revival. As an intellectual, he refused to believe the pursuit of knowledge was in any way hindered by faith in God. When he became president of Yale College in 1795, he chose to use his unique gifts to address headon the problems of the college campus.”
The next trait that God says the new man in Christ ought to demonstrate is that of tenderheartedness. The Greek meaning of the word is compassionate or sympathetic; one who has strong bowels — that is, a deep feeling of emotion for others. A King James translation for this word is “pitiful”, meaning to be full of pity for another. The Merriam-Webster’s definition is: “easily moved to love, pity, or sorrow.”
In world where the love of many is waxing cold, people who have tender hearts are needed. When was the last time you were really moved by somebody else’s pain and suffering. The opportunities are numerous. Families are suffering without food, without medical care, and without basic safety under constant bombing in Syria. In Nigeria, hundreds of family members still do not know what has become of their daughters who were kidnapped two years ago. In North Korea and in China, Christians are persecuted for their faith as a fact of life. Do you feel for them? Has your feelings moved you to prayer and to action?
Again, Jesus is our example of tenderheartedness. The Scottish preacher George Morrison said, “It is a continual wonder about Jesus that He was so strong and yet so tenderhearted. No authority could make Him fearful; no array of power could ever daunt Him, and yet a bruised reed he would not break, and smoking flax He would not quench. He was not tender because He knew so little. He was tender because He knew so much. All that was hidden from duller eyes He saw — all that men had to bear and battle through. Their helplessness, their crying in the night, their inarticulate appeal to heaven — all this was ever audible to Jesus and kept His heart as tender as a child’s. And He never lost this tenderheartedness even in the darkness of the cross. Men scorned Him, and they spat on Him, and crucified Him, yet He said, ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And when that mind of Christ is given by the Spirit to you and me, then whatever happens, however we are treated, we shall be kind one to another, tenderhearted.”