How To Walk, Part 5 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #277)
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.
A.W. Tozer said, “Faith enables our spiritual sense to function. Where faith is defective the result will be inward insensibility and numbness toward spiritual things. This is the condition of vast numbers of Christians today. No proof is necessary to support that statement. We have but to converse with the first Christian we meet or enter the first church we find open to acquire all the proof we need.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “There is no other way for America to be saved unless we have a Holy Ghost revivaI that makes men hate sin, loathe sin, turn from sin, and repent of sin!”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Recognizing the passion with which his students engaged in debate, Dr. Timothy Dwight challenged their thinking in a series of lectures that confronted aspects of the philosophy they had begun to embrace. Among his lecture topics were ‘The Nature and Danger of Infidel Philosophy’ and ‘Is the Bible the Word of God?’ In another lecture series, Dwight discussed the various principles of deism and materialism. In a forum that had for so long been sympathetic only to rationalism, the college president’s lectures convinced students that Christianity was intellectually credible. While many chose not to embrace the faith of their president, the student body came to respect him deeply and even to admire him. He preached the gospel of their forefathers in the language of their professors.”
The final trait that Paul speaks of in this passage that should be a part of the life of the new person who is filled with the Holy Spirit is forgiveness. “Forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
No one is exempt from the command to forgive. It applies to everyone, for everyone, at some point in their life, has experienced offense or wrongdoing. We are instructed to forgive rather than to grow bitter, wrathful, angry, or to let malice grow in our hearts.
The Greek word translated as forgiveness means to pardon, to give graciously or freely, or to graciously restore one to another. The Hebrew word translated as “forgive” means to pardon.
Merriam-Webster’s defines “forgive” like this: “to stop feeling anger toward someone who has done something wrong; to stop blaming someone; to stop requiring payment.” People feel a keen sense of injustice when they are wronged. They feel as though the person who has offended them needs to pay. They seek revenge. They only feel justified when the other person has suffered sufficiently.
But Christians must abandon this definition of justice. Justice for the Christian is ceasing to demand — whether outwardly or internally — that the other person be “paid out” for their crimes against us. We know that God will judge every one fairly in the end. But it is not our place to demand that judgment because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. Because of His sacrifice on the cross, God no longer feels anger at us for our sins. He no longer sees us as guilty; He no longer requires payment for our sins. We ought to extend His forgiveness to others.
John MacArthur said, “If God, Who has received the greater offense, can forgive us, then believers, who have been offended far less, must forgive. If they forget the forgiveness they’ve received and refuse to forgive, God causes them to endure such ‘torturers’ as stress, hardships, troubled consciences, and other trials until they deal with the sin. James says, ‘Judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy.'”
Rosamond Herklots wrote:
‘Forgive our sins as we forgive,’
you taught us, Lord, to pray,
but you alone can grant us grace
to live the words we say.
How can your pardon reach and bless
the unforgiving heart,
that broods on wrongs and will not let
old bitterness depart?
In blazing light your cross reveals
the truth we dimly knew:
what trivial debts are owed to us,
how great our debt to you!
Lord, cleanse the depths within our souls,
and bid resentment cease;
then, bound to all in bonds of love,
our lives will spread your peace.