Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 26 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #195)

spiritual-warfare

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 3:14-19:

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

—-

D. M. McIntyre said, “Before the great revival in Austria broke out, Martin Boos spent hours and days and often nights in lonely agonies of intercession. Afterwards, when he preached, his words were as flame, and the hearts of the people as grass.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “I wish, in America, that we were as concerned about the separation of church and sin as we are about the separation of church and state. Church and sin — it’s a monstrous problem.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The First Great Awakening lasted about fifty years worldwide (though only ten years in the American colonies) and had a profound impact on both the church and society. Within twenty-five years of the beginning of this revival in Hernhutt, the Moravians had sent out more than a hundred missionaries. Their example inspired William Carey to challenge British Baptists to consider sending missionaries to the unreached peoples of Asia. While later revivals recruited candidates for missions, the First Great Awakening restored the concept of missions to the evangelical churches.”

—-

Today, we are going to continue looking at Paul’s third request for the Ephesian believers (and for all believers today). This third request is, “That ye… may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge…” As we saw yesterday, this love of Christ can only begin to be fully known in community with other believers — when we see it in our lives and in the lives of others as well as when we show it toward others in the body of Christ.

When we do this, we have begun to comprehend Jesus’ love — “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of it. The text provides no context to determine what Paul means by these measurements, except to say that He means to impress upon us that the love of Christ is immeasurable. As the Bible Knowledge Commentary states, “it is too large to be confined by any geometrical measurements. It is wide enough to reach the whole world and beyond. It is long enough to stretch from eternity to eternity. It is high enough to raise both Gentiles and Jews to heavenly places in Christ Jesus. It is deep enough to rescue people from sin’s degradation and even from the grip of Satan himself.”

The reason why we still hope and pray for a revival and an awakening in our families, our churches, and our country is because, although it seems like all hope is lost, the love of Christ knows no bounds. Despite our sins, faults, and failures, and the moral decay in our nation, Jesus still loves us. He died for every one of us. He wants to save each of us. That is how great His love is. It is not based on anything we have said or done. We don’t deserve His love. But He extends it to us anyway.

As Fanny Crosby wrote —

O the height and depth of mercy!
O the length and breadth of love!
O the fullness of redemption—
Pledge of endless life above!

Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 25 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #194)

spiritual-warfare

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 3:14-19:

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

—-

Watchman Nee said, “Despite a great revival in Samaria, Philip was not responsible for the follow-up labor of strengthening. He must leave immediately for the desert in order that a ‘heathen’ eunuch might be saved. Ananias had not heard of Saul’s conversion, but he could not refuse to go to pray for Saul when sent, though by standards of human judgment he was casting his life away by walking directly into the persecutor’s hand. How then dare we follow our mind, emotion or will if even the Apostles did not move on that basis? How people today have seized upon reason, thought, idea, feeling, wish, and desire as the governing factors in God’s work!”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “I’m sick and tired of only reading about church history; let’s make some history by the grace of God.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The Fetter Lane Watch Night Revival impacted the entire nation through the Wesleys and Whitefield. Nevertheless, as the group spread out and began preaching, the response of the established church was often cool. Even Whitefield, who often drew thousands to his meetings, found churches were closing their pulpits to him. The following February, however, the twenty-five-year-old evangelist discovered an innovative way to reach the masses outside the established churches. While visiting his hometown of Bristol, Whitefield learned of opposition to his missions work in America. ‘If he will convert heathens, why does he not go to the colliers of Kingswood?’ his critics asked. Kingswood was a rough coal-mining town near Bristol without a single church. Inasmuch as the churches of Bristol were reluctant to let him preach in their pulpits, Whitefield chose to answer the challenge of his critics with action. On Saturday, February 17, he began preaching to about 200.”

—-

Today, we are going to continue looking at Paul’s third request for the Ephesian believers (and for all believers today). This third request is, “That ye… may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge…” To comprehend the love of Christ is to not just understand it (as much as one is able), but to take hold of it, to internalize it, and to express it in our life as believers.

Paul wants us to do this “with all saints.” The word “all” tells us that every believer is capable of comprehending the love of Christ. This is not a task to be set aside for theologians and scholars. Every Christian ought to plumb the depths of God’s love expressed through His Son.

D.A. Carson said that Paul “assumes that his readers, Christians though they are, do not adequately appreciate the love of Christ.” He is not praying that we should love Jesus more, but that we might better understand and experience the love of Christ that has already been shown to us. Of course, the mind is involved, but this is not a solely intellectual pursuit. We already know the love of Christ to a certain degree. Paul’s prayer request is that all of the saints would know it at a greater and deeper level.

There are two ways all the saints begin to comprehend the love of Christ.

First, by seeing it displayed in the lives of other believers. You may not have been an alcoholic or drug addict when you came to Christ, but you might look at somebody else and say, ‘Wow, God’s love extends even to her!’ People whom you may have thought were beyond the reach of God’s love have drawn in, saved, washed of their sins, and forgiven.

The second way in which saints comprehend the love of Christ is by living it out in community with other believers. You cannot say you know what God’s love is like unless you are showing it to other believers (and unbelievers) around you. Love is action, not just from God toward us, but us toward others.

Our desire ought to be the same as that of J. Denham Smith who wrote these words:

Abide in Thee! in that deep love of Thine,
My Jesus, Lord, Thou Lamb of God divine,
Down, closely down, as living branch with tree,
I would abide, my Lord, my Christ, in Thee.

Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 24 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #193)

spiritual-warfare

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 3:14-19:

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

—-

Tom Wells said, “There are no magic formulas for revival. We cannot command it. We may await it with longing, and we are bound to express our longing in prayer.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “You know, we live in a day when we are more afraid of holiness than we are of sinfulness.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “John Wesley was so impressed with the Moravians that he encouraged many of his associates to cast their lot with them. Earlier, as a student at Oxford University, he’d been part of a ‘Holy Club,’ a student group that read Christian classics and did charitable work in the community. Most of those involved in that Holy Club were in fact at the meeting at Fetter Lane that evening. John’s brother Charles, who had experienced a conversion similar to his own only a few days earlier, was numbered among that group, as was their close friend George Whitefield, who had just returned from ministry in America.”

—-

Today, we are going to continue looking at Paul’s third request for the Ephesian believers (and for all believers today).

First, he prayed that God would strengthen them by His Spirit. Then, he prayed that they would allow Christ to take up permanent residence in their hearts. His third request is, “That ye… may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge…” But there is a prerequisite to this request which we looked at yesterday — “…that ye, being rooted and grounded in love…” Before these believers could know and comprehend the love of Christ, they first had to be rooted and grounded in love. Why? Because one cannot even begin to know and comprehend the love of Christ if one has not experienced the love of Christ.

Now that that has been established, what does it mean to “comprehend” the love of Christ? The English word comprehend means to understand something or to grasp it mentally. However, the original Greek word implies something much more vivid. This word is ka-ta-lam-ba-no, and it means to seize, to lay hold of, to apprehend, to wrestle with, or to take eagerly. In secular Greek writings, this word was used to describe a struggle against a strong opponent or the attacking and taking of a city by an army. It has to do with the seizing of something and making it your own.

That is the idea Paul is getting at. He not only wants the Ephesian believers to know and understand the love of Christ as best they can, but to take it and make it their own.

Steven J. Cole said, “‘To be able to comprehend’ or ‘to have the strength to grasp’ this immense love of Christ shows that it is not an easy or a humanly attainable goal. We must have God’s power. This is not a one-time attainment, but a lifetime and even an eternal quest. We can never say, ‘I’ve arrived!’ We will not grow towards this goal if we are not experiencing God’s power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ is coming to dwell in our hearts through faith.”

It will take all of eternity to fully understand the love of Christ. But, we should start now — not only trying to understand it, but living it out in our everyday life.

W.E. Littlewood wrote:

There is no love like the love of Jesus,
Never to fade or fall,
Till into the rest of the house of God
He has gathered us all.

Jesus’ love, precious love,
Boundless, and pure, and free;
Oh, turn to that love, weary wand’ring soul;
Jesus pleadeth for thee.

Jesus Comforts Troubled Hearts, Part 15 (Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign, Day 228)

JJMessage


TEXT: John 14:19-21

19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

———-

Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate to win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.

This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 228.

Marcus Dods said, “The love to which Christ promises a manifestation of Himself is not an idle sentiment or shallow fancy, but a principle prompting obedience.”

Jesus has expressed that the disciples are and forever will be uniquely connected to Him and the Father. This union would be further solidified in Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to Heaven. On Earth, they would be filled with the Holy Spirit, the representation of Jesus living inside of them. When Jesus returned to take them to Heaven, they would be with Him and the Father forever.

Jesus has previously identified those who are true believers as those who love Him and who have the love of the Father in them. Now, He expands on another qualification that He has only touched on before. “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me…”

To “have” Jesus’ commandments is an interesting expression. It does not mean merely to know about them or to receive them as one might receive facts in a history class. But “having” Jesus’ commandments means that one is holding on to them, has embraced them, has internalized them, and has made them a part of one’s self. Obviously such a person will also be obeying these commandments. It is this person whom Jesus says, “shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”

One commentator expounds on this with these words: “Jesus says that he himself will love such a disciple — a disciple who obeys his commandments — and will show himself to him or her. Thus, Jesus himself will remain in personal contact with his disciples. He may be departing, but he will remain in relationship with them although the relationship will exist in a new form.”

If you are truly saved and you have sinned somewhere along the line, you can testify to this truth. When you disobeyed, you no longer felt the presence of God and Christ like you used to. You could tell that the Holy Spirit was grieved even if you tried to carry on as though nothing was wrong for some time. You had not lost your salvation, but that unconfessed sin had cut off the special fellowship with Christ that believers enjoy. That fellowship was only restored when you confessed and repented of that sin.

Every believer should grow continuously in their relationship with Jesus and the Father. While prayer, Bible reading, Bible study, and church attendance play a role in this, the primary means of Christian growth is through obedience. In fact doing all of the above falls under being obedient to God.

Daniel S. Warner wrote:

By Thy blessed word obeying,
Lord, we prove our love sincere;
For we hear Thee gently saying,
“Love will do as well as hear.”

In Thy wisdom, Lord, confiding,
We will follow in Thy way;
With Thy love in us abiding,
It is delightful to obey.

Dear Redeemer, we would hallow
All Thy word so firm and true;
In Thy footsteps meekly follow,
Thy commands we love to do.

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you are ready to trust Him as your Savior today, here is how.

First, please understand that you are a sinner and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…” This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell.

But here is the good news. John 3:16 reads, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The phrase “For God so loved the world” means that if you are in this world, God loves you no matter what you have done.

The next phrase, “that He gave His only begotten Son” refers to Jesus Christ. He is God’s son who suffered, bled, and died on the cross for your sins and for mine, and He was buried and rose again.

Our next phrase is “that whosoever believeth in Him”. The word “whosoever” means anybody at anytime. The phrase “believeth in Him” means to trust in Him, to depend upon Him, to rely on Him, or to have faith in Him for your salvation.

Our next phrase, “should not perish”, refers to eternal punishment in a place called hell.

And, lastly, the phrase “but have everlasting life” means to live eternally in Heaven with God.

The Bible also says in Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please e-mail me at dw3@gospellightsociety.com and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 23 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #192)

spiritual-warfare

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 3:14-19:

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

—-

Shelton Smith said, “We need a sweeping revival where people confess their sins and get right with God, where folks turn out in bigger crowds at the church house than they do at the sports venue, and where the old-time religion still gets top priority.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “Lord, strengthen me where I am too weak and weaken me where I am too strong!”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Peter Bohler was part of God’s answer to John Wesley’s question: I went to America to convert the heathen. But who will convert my own soul? During the transatlantic voyage, a vicious storm arose at sea. Wesley was terrified, but he heard Bohler and the Moravian families on board singing hymns. Wesley was impressed with their composure and ability to continue praying and worshiping God in the face of imminent disaster. That experience drew the Anglican pastor into a relationship with this group that lasted several years. Indeed, it was in a Moravian chapel on Aldersgate Street in London, just seven months before that fateful Watch Night service, that Wesley heard, understood, and applied the message of the gospel to his own life and received personal salvation. He later wrote about his conversion that night, claiming that as he had listened to the public reading of the introduction to Luther’s Commentary on Romans, he had felt his heart ‘strangely warmed.’”

—-

Now, we come to the third part of Paul’s four-fold request for the Ephesian believers (and for believers today). His first request was for God to strengthen them by His Spirit. His second request was for Christ to take up permanent residence in their hearts. His third request is found in verses 18 & 19 which read, “That ye… may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge…” But there is a prerequisite to this request found in the latter part of verse 17: It reads, “…that ye, being rooted and grounded in love…” Before these believers could know and comprehend the love of Christ, they first must be rooted and grounded in love. What does that mean?

The word “rooted” is from the Greek word “rhizoo.” It is an agricultural term used to describe how a plant takes root in the earth. Figuratively, for the believer, it means to be firmly planted, to be stable, to be firm, to be fixed.

The word “grounded” is from the Greek word “the-me-li-oo.” It is an architectural term used to describe the foundations of a building. A well-grounded building — one on a firm, solid foundation — can withstand adverse conditions such as flooding, earthquakes, or fierce winds.

Both of these words — rooted and grounded — are in the perfect passive tense. The perfect tense indicates that these are things that have been done once for all time. The passive tense indicates that it is not the believers taking these actions; rather, it is Someone else acting on the believers, rooting and grounding them so that they cannot be moved.

Believers are rooted in the soil of Christ’s love giving us the ability to grow and flourish for Christ. We are also grounded in the bedrock of Christ’s love giving us the strength to stand firm against the attacks of Satan, the temptations of the world, and the whims of the flesh. William MacDonald said, “To be rooted and grounded in love is to be established in love as a way of life. The life of love is a life of kindness, selflessness, brokenness, and meekness. It is the life of Christ finding expression in the believer.”

David W. Whittle wrote:

Moment by moment I’m kept in His love;
Moment by moment I’ve life from above;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine;
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.

Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 22 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #191)

spiritual-warfare

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 3:14-19:

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

—-

Mordecai Ham said, “We want a revival to come just in our way. You never saw two revivals come just alike. We must let them come in God’s way.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “Christ has not conquered my affections if He has to compete for my attention.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “A few months before the Moravian Watch Night service, Peter Bohler had met the Anglican clergyman John Wesley and talked with him on board a ship traveling from Georgia to England. That voyage was a time of deep introspection for Wesley. He’d traveled to Georgia believing God would greatly use him to preach the gospel to the Native Americans, but his ministry experience in the colony was a failure. Returning to England, Wesley had written, “I went to America to convert the heathen. But who will convert my own soul?””

—-

Now, we come to the second part of Paul’s four-fold request for the Ephesian believers (and for believers today). His first request is contained in verse 16: “That he would grant you to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.” His second request is contained in verse 17: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith…”

What did Paul mean by this statement? The Ephesians he is writing to were already believers. How did Christ need to dwell in their hearts? The Greek word translated as “dwell” means a “permanent home.” There was another word that Paul could have used which means to live in as a stranger. But Paul wants the believers to allow Jesus to make a permanent home in their hearts.

William MacDonald said, “Here it is not a question of Jesus being in the believer, but rather of His feeling at home there! He is a permanent Resident in every saved person, but this is a request that He might have full access to every room and closet; that He might not be grieved by sinful words, thoughts, motives, and deeds; that He might enjoy unbroken fellowship with the believer.”

The word “heart” is used figuratively here and it means the center of the life or the base of a person’s emotions, will, and mind. If you are saved, Jesus Christ should not only be living in your heart, but He should have taken over your heart. He should be in charge of your will and your mind. If that is not the case, then He is not dwelling in you. You have not allowed Him to make Himself comfortable in your life.

The only way that we can make Jesus the center of our lives is by faith. We must fully place our trust in Him and depend on nothing else for our salvation, our sanctification, and our ability to live righteously in the world.

One hymn writer wrote —

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.

Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 21 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #190)

spiritual-warfare

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 3:14-16:

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

—-

Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “The revived begin to get a concern for the members of their own family — husband, wife, father, mother, children, brother, sister — who do not know that they are outside God’s family. They tell them about the Gospel; they feel they must. There is a constraint that is driving them. They talk about it to people, to friends and to everybody, and they begin to pray for them.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “What good does it do to speak in tongues on Sunday if you have been using your tongue during the week to curse and gossip?”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “As the evening passed and the morning of the first day of the New Year began at an annual Moravian ‘Watch Night’ church service in 1738, the group began praying. As they continued praying together, ‘the power of God came mightily upon’ the group about three in the morning. Responses to this outpouring of the Holy Spirit were varied. Some fell to the ground, awestruck and overwhelmed with the very presence of God. Others were filled with ‘exceeding joy’ as they experienced the presence of God. All were caught by surprise, but when they recovered somewhat, they united their voices to sing a hymn: ‘We praise Thee, O God, we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.’ The Evangelical Revival, as it came to be called in England, had begun.”

—-

Now, we get into the meat of Paul’s prayer. He has praised God for the revelation of the mystery. And now he has moved on to the main request. It is a four-fold request for the Ephesian believers (and for believers today). The first request is contained in verse 16: “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.”

Paul had previously told the believers not to be discouraged by his own persecution and imprisonment. Now, he asks that God would grant them strength and power through the Holy Spirit. This strength and power is to be given “according to the riches of his glory.” God’s glorious riches are abundant and limitless. The fact that Paul asks for a request “according to” these riches is significant. He could have asked for strength and power to be given “out of” God’s riches.

Peter T. O’Brien states, “Paul draws attention not simply to the idea of God being a source, thereby signifying ‘out of’ the wealth of His glory, but also indicates that His giving corresponds to the inexhaustible riches of that glory. It is on a scale commensurate with His glory: He gives as lavishly as only He can. The One to whom Paul directed his requests gives richly and generously. By formulating his prayer along these lines, the apostle assured his readers that the Father was wholly able to meet their needs.”

A billionaire might give you ten million dollars; that means he is ten million dollars poorer than he was before. But when God gives of His spiritual riches, He does not suffer any loss. He gives and gives and gives, and yet His storehouse is never depleted. That is why the Ephesian believers could depend on God for the supply of strength and might that they would need for the difficulties they faced in the future.

Paul knew what he was talking about when he made this prayer request on their behalf. He had experience with the depthless strength of God. He had a thorn in the flesh that was always afflicting him, yet he continued on for the Lord. Once he was stoned, dragged out of the city, and left for dead, but he got up and continued on for the Lord. Why? He had God’s hand of limitless power strengthening his “inner man.”

Christians today need to realize that we don’t have to live defeated lives. We don’t have to give up and lay down our weapons whenever we are attacked by the devil, the flesh, and the world. We, too, can have strength in our “inner man” if we pray to God for might and power according to “his riches in glory.”

One poet wrote —

Help us, O Lord, when troubles come
To trust Your Word and not succumb,
And help us not to turn aside
But in Your strength and love abide.

Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 20 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #189)

spiritual-warfare

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 3:14-16:

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

—-

Lester Roloff said, “I see no hope for a revival among God’s people today. They are so enamored and so cluttered up with Hollywood and newspapers and magazines and parties and bowling alleys and camping trips and everything else. How in the world are they going to get still long enough to see anything from God?”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “Where are the eternity-conscious believers? Where are the souls white-hot for God because they fear His holy name and presence and so live with eternity’s values in view?”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The great size of the crowd in attendance at the little chapel that evening couldn’t hinder the deep commitment of these believers to this distinctive expression of worship. Neither could the ethnic differences between the German and English people who were present prevent them from having fellowship together. In fact, the sixty people at Fetter Lane knew each other well. Surprisingly few details are known about the meeting that night. The love feast was observed and no doubt enjoyed by those who had gathered. Most likely a passage from the Scriptures or some religious book was read publicly in the meeting. Perhaps one or more in the group exhorted the others from the Scriptures. These activities were common in Moravian meetings, but that night all of them were but a shadow of the one event that the great evangelist Whitefield would later describe as ‘a Pentecostal season indeed.””

—-

In his expounding on the unity of all believers in Christ, Paul has thus far remained focused on that unity as it is present on earth. Now, in verse 15, he elevates the discussion of the mystery into an entirely different dimension. He says, “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” He is still talking about the whole family — the whole body of believers — but not just those believers on earth. He is talking about those believers in Heaven too.

Talk about an extended family! Believers alive on earth today are related to the believers who have died and gone on to glory. Our family ties to other believers run deeper than our ties to blood relatives. The ties that bind us cross the barriers of life and death, time and eternity, earth and heaven. That is the power of the blood of Jesus.

John MacArthur said “the whole family in earth and heaven” “refers to the saints of every age — those now in heaven and those still remaining on earth. They are the only ones who legitimately derive their names from God the Father. Christians are no more or less the children of God than were believing Israelites, as well as believing Gentiles, before the coming of Christ. Every family of believers is a part of the one spiritual family of God, in which there are many members but only one Father and one brotherhood.”

This realization should encourage us in our walk with Christ today. Millions of our brothers and sisters have already crossed from here to Heaven. They are even now on the other side awaiting the day when we will arrive. Heaven is not a cold, distant reality. It is a place of warmth, of family, and of friendship. It is a place where all of those who call God “Father” will live in joy and peace for eternity.

Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 19 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #188)


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 3:14-16:

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

—-

J.I. Packer said, “Christians in revival are accordingly found living in God’s presence, attending to His Word, feeling acute concern about sin and righteousness, rejoicing in the assurance of Christ’s love and their own salvation, spontaneously constant in worship, and tirelessly active in witness and service, fueling these activities by praise and prayer.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “Any method of evangelism will work—if God is in it.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “In the midst of these deplorable spiritual conditions, the Moravian congregation of the Fetter Lane Chapel in London sought to live a devout Christian life. Following the custom of the early church and their Moravian brethren in Germany, they were known for celebrating the ‘love feast’ as a prelude to the observance of the Lord’s Supper. It was a time of sharing together around a common meal. According to Moravian custom, New Year’s Eve was the occasion for one of these feasts, followed by an opportunity to begin the new year in prayer and praise to God. On December 31, 1738, the Fetter Lane Moravians faithfully made their way to church for this annual ‘Watch Night’ service, as they called it. As the sixty young men belonging to this particular Moravian Society made their way to the meeting, none could imagine the profound effect that night would have on the world.”

—-

The passage we are looking at today is the beginning of a prayer that Paul has been leading up to since the beginning of Ephesians chapter 3. This prayer is connected to all that Paul has talked about before regarding the union of Jews and Gentiles in the body of Christ and the revelation of that mystery to the world. “For this cause,” Paul says, “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Paul was so overwhelmed by the wonderful mystery that had been revealed to him and that he had the privilege of revealing to others that he could only fall to his knees in prayer and praise to God. Paul was blessed to experience first-hand the greatest history-changing event since God called Abraham and said He would make of him a great nation. As a Jew — someone on the inside looking out — this was particularly awe-inspiring.

Warren Wiersbe said, “You have noticed, no doubt, the emphasis on spiritual posture in Ephesians. As lost sinners, we were BURIED in the graveyard. But when we trusted Christ, He raised us from the dead and SEATED us with Christ in the heavenlies. Because we are seated with Christ, we can WALK so as to please Him; and we can STAND against the devil. But the posture that links ‘sitting’ with ‘walking’ and ‘standing’ is ‘bowing the knee.’ It is through prayer that we lay hold of God’s riches that enable us to behave like Christians and battle like Christians. Whether we actually bow our knees is not the important thing; that we bow our hearts and wills to the Lord and ask Him for what we need is the vital matter.”

Some of us as Christians have been saved so long that we have forgotten the amazing, wonderful privilege that it is to be a part of God’s family and to be united with believers of every nation, race, ethnicity, and culture. Every day in our prayer time we ought to pause and thank God just for saving our souls and placing us in the church.

Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 18 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #187)

spiritual-warfare

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.”


Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

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 3:7-13:

7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

—-

Henry Blackaby said, “All revival begins, and continues, in the prayer meeting. Some have also called prayer the ‘great fruit of revival.’ In times of revival, thousands may be found on their knees for hours, lifting up their heartfelt cries, with thanksgiving, to heaven.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “The law of prayer is the law of harvest: sow sparingly in prayer, reap sparingly; sow bountifully in prayer, reap bountifully. The trouble is we are trying to get from our efforts what we never put into them.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Only a few years after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Herrnhut, the Moravian evangelist Peter Bohler preached the gospel in the colony of Georgia and then went on to plant the Moravian Church in England. At the time, England was desperately in need of revival. In the city of London, for example, one house in six held a ‘grogshop’ where a man could drink gin until he was drunk—and it would cost him only a penny. The rampant use of alcohol led to widespread crime in the street.”

—-

As Paul is writing from prison to the young, mostly Gentile church at Ephesus, it is not farfetched to see how his audience could become discouraged. Even though Paul had just explained the revelation of God’s great mystery that they were a part of, two thoughts were likely going through these young believers’ minds: First, they might have felt badly for Paul seeing that he had risked his life and his reputation to preach the Gospel to them and all Gentiles, yet he was the one sitting in prison. Second, some must have felt some apprehension about this idea of being a Christian if it meant that they, too, might end up in prison.

Paul addresses such feelings in verse 13 where he writes, “Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.” Paul is the one in prison, yet he is writing to others not to become weak or weary in heart on his behalf. Paul was not looking for sympathy or even compassion. He recognized his imprisonment as part of God’s plan. Dr. Walvoord and Dr. Zuck state in their commentary, “If the Ephesians truly understood ‘the administration of God’s grace that was given to’ Paul, they should not be discouraged because of his sufferings for them. His sufferings were for their gain and glory. If Paul had not dispensed to the Gentiles the stewardship of God’s grace, then Jews would not have been hostile to him and he would not have been imprisoned. His preaching brought salvation to the Gentiles, but it incurred the wrath of many Jews on him. However, many others became members of the church, Christ’s body, and this was their glory.”

Paul chose to have a good attitude throughout his imprisonment. Instead of focusing on his chains, he focused on what had caused him to be put in chains. If imprisonment was the reward for preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, he would gladly accept that reward every time.

In fact, Paul says that, for the Ephesian believers, his suffering is part and parcel of their glory. As members of the body of Christ, they are taking part in the great mystery that God was revealing to the world. There were forces — both spiritual and physical — that opposed this revelation. That is why Paul was persecuted. That is why early Gentile Christians experienced hatred from some Jews. But to be part of the glory of God was worth it all. As Paul told the Romans, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”