What Does it Mean to Say ‘Yes’ to God? (Gospel Light Minute X #336)

This is the “chief of sinners,” Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the Gospel Light Minute X Podcast #336 titled, “What Does it Mean to Say ‘Yes’ to God?.” I’m here to remind you of what the Bible says, that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” like you and me.



There is a lesson in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians where he describes what it means to say ‘Yes’ to God. You can read Paul’s words in Ephesians 2 in the Bible.
Saying ‘Yes’ to God means to throw yourself into the Arms of Jesus—the only Son of God Who:

  • lived among us for a time,
  • gave His life to make us right with God,
  • was raised from the dead,
  • was seen by hundreds in His new body,
  • and returned to the side of His (and your) Father where He is building His church and getting ready to set all things right when He returns.
  • This is the same Jesus Who invites you, right now, to come and join Him in His long term project for our world: setting all things right.

When you say ‘Yes’ to God, you invite God to set things right between Him and you. This is not a project you undertake. You don’t start following a set of rules. You simply throw yourself on God’s mercy and trust Him to fix things in you and for you. Continue reading “What Does it Mean to Say ‘Yes’ to God? (Gospel Light Minute X #336)”

The Foundations of All Spiritual Blessings, Part 16 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #157)

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 1:15-19:

15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

—-

Andrew Gih said, “God’s time for revival is the very darkest hour, when everything seems hopeless. It is always the Lord’s way to go to the very worst cases to manifest His glory.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “It doesn’t say in Scripture that you lose your first love, it says you leave it.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “In 1907, Jonathan Goforth made a tour of Korea, something he’d wanted to do ever since he’d heard the first reports of the Korean revival. While there, he was deeply moved by what he experienced. He realized the movement in Korea was “no wild gust of religious enthusiasm,” but rather a deep, moving work of the Holy Spirit. He was also challenged by the prayer life of the Korean missionaries and national church leaders. Believing God was “no respecter of persons,” Goforth began praying for a similar outpouring of the Holy Spirit in China.”

—-

Regarding the verses we are studying in Ephesians 1, Warren Wiersbe wrote, “By making us His inheritance, God has shown His love. By promising us a wonderful future, He has encouraged our hope. Paul offered something to challenge our faith: ‘the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe.’ So tremendous is this truth that Paul enlisted many different words from the Greek vocabulary to get his point across: du-na-mis which means ‘power’ as in dynamo and dynamite; e-ner-geia which means ‘working’ as in energy; kra-tos which means ‘mighty’; and is-chus which means ‘power.’ Ephesians 1:19 can be translated, ‘What is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the operation of the might of His strength.’ He is talking about divine, dynamic, eternal energy, available to us!”

Yesterday, we talked about Paul’s prayer (which should be our prayer): that the ‘eyes of our understanding be enlightened’ that we might know God and Jesus better. Today, we are going to look at, specifically, what it is God wants to open our eyes to. The first thing we see is “the hope of his calling.”

“Hope” is always a positive word that implies that we are looking forward to something good in the future. The word “calling” refers, first, to the call of God that drew us to salvation through Jesus Christ. After we received Christ, the “call” took on new meaning as we are all called to sanctification in Christ. Part of this call was addressed when we looked at Ephesians 1:4, which reads, “He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”

By extension, the “call” extends to what we do as believers — the ministry or service that God has called us to. And the hope that we have in this call is the guarantee that, because God is faithful, He will do everything that He has promised us as believers. This includes our future resurrection, eternal life, freedom from sin, and union with God himself in Heaven. All of that is wrapped up in our calling.

If we know that to which we are called, this knowledge fills us with hope while we are on this earth. We do not have to get discouraged by the things that are happening in this world. We have a higher calling that we are certain will be fulfilled — not because of who we are, but because of who God is.

The Foundations of All Spiritual Blessings, Part 15 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #156)

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 1:15-19:

15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

—-

Andrew Bonar said, “Revivals begin with God’s own people; the Holy Spirit touches their heart anew, and gives them new fervor and compassion, and zeal, new light and life, and when He has thus come to you, He next goes forth to the valley of dry bones. What responsibility this lays on the Church of God! If you grieve Him away from yourselves, or hinder His visit, then the poor perishing world suffers sorely!”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “There’s one thing we need above everything else; it’s something we don’t talk very much about these days: We need a mighty avalanche of the conviction of sin. David said, ‘My sin is ever before me.'”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “According to J. Edwin Orr, the Chinese awakening occurred in three phases. From 1900 through 1905, a significant prayer movement emerged in many parts of the nation. These prayer meetings actually preceded the Boxer uprising, and many who were involved in the prayer movement became martyrs in the revolt. The years 1906-07 were marked by a widespread awakening as large numbers of Chinese nationals responded to the preaching of the gospel. The third phase of the awakening, an extraordinary revival, began in 1908 and continued up to 1911.”

—-

Today, we continue looking at the importance of growing in the knowledge of God and communion with Jesus Christ as believers. God wants us to know Him better, but we must have a heart that is willing to learn of Him and from Him. Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers, that “the eyes of your understanding be enlightened.”

Later on in this epistle, Paul describes unbelievers as those who have their ‘understanding darkened.’ They are ‘alienated from God,’ so they do not have the knowledge they need to understand God and His ways. However, as believers, we are given the ability, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to know and understand God’s ways and what He would have us to do. Our eyes of understanding have been enlightened.

Some scholars and some translations of the Bible propose that a better translation for “eyes of understanding” is “eyes of the heart.” The term understanding implies that only the mental faculties are involved in knowing God. But, according to Steven J. Cole, “‘The eyes of our hearts’ refers to our total inner person, which includes the intellect, the emotions, and the will. In other words, this is not just an intellectual ability to understand or teach these truths. There are seminary professors who can exegete the Greek text here, but these glorious truths do not thrill their hearts. The knowledge that Paul is praying for includes an intellectual grasp of the truth, but it also grips our emotions and brings our will into greater submission to the lordship of Jesus Christ.”

Ultimately, the knowledge or enlightenment that we gain from God is not for the sake of the knowledge itself. God wants us to know Him better so that we can love Him better, obey Him better, live for Him better, love others better, serve others better, pray better, witness better, and preach better. To this end, we all ought to follow Paul’s example and pray for ourselves and each other that we would grow in the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ.

The Foundations of All Spiritual Blessings, Part 14 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #155)

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 1:15-19:

15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

—-

Leonard Ravenhill said, “It seems to me that the richer we get in the church, the poorer we get in the spirit. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus never pronounced a blessing on a material thing.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “When Jonathan Goforth and his wife were assigned to serve in Honan Province, Goforth contacted Taylor to ask for advice. The China Inland Mission had tried unsuccessfully to establish a work in that province, so Taylor rejoiced to learn that another group was bringing the gospel to that part of the Asian nation. Knowing the work would be difficult, Taylor wrote back urging the younger missionary to “go forward on your knees.””

—-

In verse 17 of our passage, we find one of Paul’s specific prayer request for the church at Ephesus. He told the believers that He was praying “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.” Essentially, Paul is asking God to reveal himself to the believers so that they could know Him better.

Every Christian life ought to be centered around this one thing — becoming closer and closer to God through Jesus Christ and growing in our knowledge of Him. This was the reason why Jesus came to Earth — that man might know God. We who are saved already have the privilege of being in a relationship with Him. Unlike relationships with other human beings, God is infinite and eternal, and you will never “get to the bottom” of who He is. We can only even begin to grasp a little of how awesome God is by the wisdom and knowledge granted to us through the example of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, our teacher.

Many preachers get burnt out trying to hold the hands of God’s people and walk them along in their relationship with Christ. What ends up happening is you have many Christians who are dependent on the preacher rather than dependent on Jesus for their daily spiritual sustenance. Many ministers, today, need to follow Paul’s example and pray that God would give the people themselves the wisdom and revelation of Himself so that they can not only get to know Jesus, but begin to live like Him on a consistent basis.

As the hymn says…

More about Jesus would I know,
More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love Who died for me.

More about Jesus let me learn,
More of His holy will discern;
Spirit of God, my teacher be,
Showing the things of Christ to me.

More about Jesus; on His throne,
Riches in glory all His own;
More of His kingdom’s sure increase;
More of His coming, Prince of Peace.

The Foundations of All Spiritual Blessings, Part 13 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #154)

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 1:12-16:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

—-

Charles Finney said, “A revival is nothing else than a new beginning of obedience to God.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “The greatest loss in life is not losing an arm or losing a friend or losing a fortune, it’s losing your relationship with God.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “As a young man preparing for ministry, Jonathan Goforth read Hudson Taylor’s book describing missionary work in China. He was already involved in work at an area rescue mission, but he was so impressed by what he read that he committed his life to serving God in China. Rather than join Taylor’s China Inland Mission, Goforth and his wife Rosalind served under the sponsorship of their local Presbyterian church.”

—-

One of the practices which Paul was faithful to throughout his ministry was praying for those saints who came to faith in Christ through his preaching. In verse 17, he tells the Ephesian believers, “I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.” Paul praised God for their progress in spiritual growth, but he continued to pray for them on a consistent basis. In Romans, in Thessalonians, and in Philemon, Paul also expressed that he was praying for the believers in those churches as well.

This shows us that a minister’s job is not just to preach to God’s people and teach God’s people, but to pray for his people. We must remember that Paul did not stay at one church to pastor. When he wrote these letters, he was hundreds of miles away, yet he continued to aid their spiritual growth not just by his writings, but by his prayer to God for them.

We need more pastors who pray for God’s people behind closed doors. Ryan Fullerton said, “A pastor who fails to pray for his people is as unbiblical as a pastor who refuses to preach God’s Word. The prophet Samuel made this abundantly clear when he promised the people of Israel that he’d pray for them saying, ‘far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you.’ To leave God’s people un-prayed for is to leave them uncared for, unprovided for, unprotected, and unled, ‘like sheep without a shepherd.’ We must learn to flee the sin of prayerlessness and to put on the righteous and wonderful habit of praying for God’s people.”

In the book of Acts, the twelve disciples who were leading the early church put prayer on the same level as preaching. They said, “We will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” They had seen Jesus repeatedly turn to His Father in prayer throughout his three-year ministry. How could they do any less?

The Foundations of All Spiritual Blessings, Part 11 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #152)

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 1:7-14:

7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of time he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

—-

Sadhu Sundar Singh said, “To harmonize the thoughts and imaginations of men the presence of the stimulating breath of the Holy Spirit is necessary. When that is present there will be produced heavenly airs and joyous harmonies in men’s hearts, both in this life and in heaven.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “I tremble at the awesomeness of preaching God’s Word. Sometimes I hear preachers read the Bible as if it were a weather report.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Fasting with prayer is widely practiced in Korea. More than 5,000 “prayer mountains” have been established—mountain retreats where Christians go for days or weeks of prayer. The prayer life of the Korean church remains a role model for Christians around the world. No wonder that.by the year 2000, a third of the Korean population had become members of a Christian church.”

—-

On last night, we left off talking about how we, as believers, are sealed by the Holy Spirit once we believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. Prior to that, we talked about the inheritance that believers have in Christ. Today, we see how those two things come together. Paul writes, “Ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

If you have ever wondered about receiving your inheritance, you can rest assured that you will receive it because the seal of the Holy Spirit is your guarantee. That is what this verse is telling us. The Holy Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance. The Greek word translated “earnest” is “arrabon.” It means “money given as a pledge or down payment that the full amount will subsequently be paid.” If you are saved, you already have the Holy Spirit living inside of you. He is the guarantee of your inheritance. God would not have given you the Holy Spirit if He did not intend to give you your inheritance in Christ as well.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary says, “The Holy Spirit who seals is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. The ‘deposit’ is more than a pledge which could be returned; it is a down payment with a guarantee of more to come. It guarantees believers’ ‘inheritance’ of salvation and heaven. In essence, the ‘deposit’ of the Holy Spirit is a little bit of heaven in believers’ lives with a guarantee of much more yet to come.”

With the Holy Spirit inside of you, you already have a little bit of your inheritance with you. You don’t have to worry about the future. God has made you a promise, and He will keep His promises. He cannot lie. He is faithful and true. You will receive all of the blessings and benefits that He has promised you.

The Foundations of All Spiritual Blessings, Part 10 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #151)

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 1:7-14:

7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of time he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

—-

Bonaventure said, “As our Lord asked the sick man whether he wished to be healed, so, without our consent, He will not save us; and sinners are without excuse for not consenting to the will of the Lord and their own salvation.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? The man who has a degree? The man who wears a collar? The man who stands behind an ornate desk with stained glass windows? No, a man can be plowing in the fields and ascend unto the hill of the Lord. He that hath clean hands — that’s our relationship with the world; and a pure heart — that’s our relationship to God, has access to the throne of God at any time.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The Korean Revival was born out of intense prayer, and prayer remained an integral part of Korean church life throughout the twentieth century. In many churches, ‘concerts of prayer’ are still practiced in Sunday morning services, with the whole church confessing their sins to God and then calling on God in unison for his blessing. In what have come to be called the “Dawn Meetings,” many Koreans still gather every morning at their churches at five o’clock for prayer. Friday nights are devoted to all-night prayer meetings.”

—-

Early on in Ephesians 1, we talked about the meaning of predestination and election. Some mistakenly view these doctrines in a vacuum, separate and apart from other passages of Scripture. However, we see in verse 13 that human will plays a role in salvation. Paul writes to the believers of Jesus “in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed…”

Three times in this verse we see human action in the salvation process. First, the Ephesians “heard the word of truth, the gospel of salvation.” It was not forced onto them. They chose to hear it. Then, they “trusted.” It was a choice to trust that what they were hearing was true. Finally, they “believed.” They chose to believe in Jesus. While God knows who will choose to hear the Gospel, trust that what they are hearing is true, and believe in Jesus Christ, this does not mean that He forces anyone to make those choices.

Once a person willingly makes the choice to believe in Jesus Christ, Paul says, ‘Ye are sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.’ Now, this is something God does. Once we are His, He seals us by the Holy Spirit. In the Bible, the word “seal” has several meanings which apply to Christians:

1. The seal is a mark of ownership. It shows that we belong to God.

2. The seal is a mark of security. It keeps us from being snatched back by Satan.

3. The seal is a mark of authenticity. It shows that we are true believers of God and that we are what we profess to be. It means that we are saved beyond a shadow of a doubt.

4. The seal is a mark of preservation. It shows that God will keep us and preserve us until He calls us home.

In short, God calls us (in His love, mercy, and grace), we answer (by our own choice and of our own will), and then God seals us as His own.

The Foundations of All Spiritual Blessings, Part 9 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #150)

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 1:5-12:

5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of time he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

—-

David Platt said, “Radical obedience to Christ is not easy… It’s not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “If I’m not known in hell, I’m not worth a hill of beans. In Acts, the demon said, ‘Jesus I know and Paul I know…’ Is there any better compliment than this?”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Although the Korean church represented only about 1 percent of the entire population in Korea, its influence in daily life was far greater because of two unique conditions imposed upon new converts. First, missionaries required illiterate Korean adult converts to learn to read Korean in a simple phonetic alphabet before they could be admitted to membership. Second, Korean patriots viewed Christians as Japanese collaborators because they cut their hair as the missionaries and Japanese did rather than in the traditional Korean style. To distinguish between collaborators and Christians, the patriots required Christians to recite chapters from the Bible to prove they were Christians. The result was a 100 percent literacy rate among Christians in a largely illiterate nation. Their ability to read made Christians the natural leaders of the Korean society.”

—-

God’s ultimate plan for the world, as we saw yesterday, is to bring everything under the headship of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that, eventually, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. However, for those of us who bow and confess now, there are extra blessings that we will receive. Paul tells us that it is this same Jesus “in whom also we have obtained an inheritance.”

The word inheritance means ‘a heritage or private possession that is passed down.’ The term is most often used when speaking of how an adult child might receive money, a house, land, or other property from his parents who received it from his grandparents. As members of God’s family, we also have an inheritance — a set of blessings that are passed down to us from God the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Some commentators believe that this verse can also be taken to mean that not only are we to receive an inheritance from Christ, but we ARE an inheritance FOR Christ. Dr. Warren Wiersbe explains: “Both are true and the one includes the other. In Christ we have a wonderful inheritance, and in Christ we are an inheritance. We are valuable to Him. Think of the price God paid to purchase us and make us part of His inheritance! God the Son is the Father’s love gift to us; and we are the Father’s love gift to His Son. Read John 17 and note how many times Christ calls us ‘those whom Thou hast given Me.’ The church is Christ’s body, building, and bride; Christ’s future inheritance is wrapped up in His church. We are ‘joint-heirs with Christ’, which means that He cannot claim His inheritance apart from us!”

Paul also tells us that this inheritance is “predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” There is nothing mysterious about this predestination. As we have learned before, it simply means that the inheritance spoken of is something that has been a part of God’s plan for the redeemed for a very long time — since before the foundation of the world. It is a great encouragement for us in our spiritual walk to know that God already has rewards and blessings set aside for those who believe on His Son and place their faith and trust in Him.

The Foundations of All Spiritual Blessings, Part 8 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #149)

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 1:5-12:

5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of time he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

—-

Steve Hawthorne said, “You can do something other than working with God in His purpose, but it will always be something lesser, and you couldn’t come up with something better.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “It is not impossible for a believer to commit sin, but it is possible not to commit sin.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The Student Volunteer Movement, an American voluntary association promoting world missions, cited six evidences of “the present day work of the Holy Spirit in Korea” the same year. These evidences included: “(1) the unity and cooperation which prevailed among Christians, (2) the remarkable numerical growth of the churches, (3) the wonderful religious awakening of 1907 which affected 50,000 converts, (4) the noteworthy interest in the Word of God, (5) the dedication of national Christians to service, including generous giving, and (6) the wonderful prayer life of the Korean Church.””

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In our last message, we talked about the fact that one of the benefits we have as Christians is that God gives us a glimpse into His ultimate plan for the future of the world. This future is referred to by Paul as “the mystery of his will which he hath purposed in himself.” In the Bible, a “mystery” is something that was previously hidden that is now being revealed to God’s people.

What is the future, the purpose of the world that God has revealed to believers through Christ? Verse 10 reads, “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.”

The word “dispensation” refers to the order or organizing of things, similar to how people today speak of a “world order” or a “new world order.” The word dispensation in the Bible means “the management of a household or of household affairs; the oversight of property; the office of a manager or overseer.” The world is God’s “household” and He is the one in charge and managing its affairs.

The “dispensation” that Paul speaks of, however, is a specific one. He calls it the “dispensation of the fulness of times.” The fulness of times refers to what will happen after the events of the Last Days and the Tribulation period, namely the 1,000-year Reign of Christ. As H.W. Hoehner writes in the Bible Knowledge Commentary, “This dispensation is the millennial kingdom when ‘the times’ in God’s purposes will be completed (fulfilled), and all things both spiritual and material will be under Christ and His rule.”

The word ‘fullness’ implies that this is the end to which everything in God’s plan for the world has been building up — all things being brought under the authority of Jesus Christ. We who are under the authority of Christ even now are a part of that purpose and we are working with Him toward that glorious end.

Let’s pray.

The Foundations of All Spiritual Blessings, Part 6 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #147)

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 1:5-12:

5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

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Albert Barnes said, “Think amid your plans and anticipations of future enjoyment what the redemption of your soul has cost, and how the dying Saviour would wish you to act. His wounds plead that you will live for better things. ”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “Every day we live somebody around the world dies for Jesus Christ in Asia or in the Middle East. We just go about our business. Of course, we have our hardships. Sometimes we go to McDonald’s and don’t get a very good hamburger and that’s a grief; sometimes we get a flat tire and that’s terrible. We gripe over such things while others are in prison, tormented, suffering beyond anything we can understand.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “From the revival of 1905 to 1910, the Korean churches recorded 79,221 additions in membership. That was more than the total number of Japanese church members after fifty years of missionary effort. It was also twice the number of Chinese Protestants after eighty years of missionary labors. By 1912, there were about 300,000 Korean Protestant church members in a nation of twelve million people.”

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As we continue considering the foundations of our spiritual blessings, we move into verse 7 of this chapter where talks about the redemption that we received through the blood of Christ Jesus. Grace has been shown to us, and that grace compels us to bring glory to God with our lives. But, we would not have that grace if it had not been for the redemptive work of Christ.

According to the Bible Knowledge Commentary, “Redemption denotes release or deliverance from a state of slavery. This redemption is from sin, and thus this work of Christ delivers believers from slavery to sin. This is further defined by the forgiveness of sins, which is the immediate result of a believer’s release from sin’s hold.”

Jesus blood being shed and His death on the cross were a price that had to be paid for us to be free from sin. Neither you nor I would have willingly paid that price. But Jesus did. As the saying goes, “Freedom is not free.” Jesus bought our freedom at a heavy price.

Not only are we redeemed — that is, free from sin — but we are “forgiven.” The word “forgiven” means that our sins are removed from us. Some people might forgive you of a debt that you owe, but they continue to hold that debt against you. God does not do that. When He forgives you, He places you in the standing of Jesus Christ who has never sinned, and sees you as such.

Again, in this verse, we are reminded that all of this is done “according to the riches of his grace.” There is no such thing as limited grace; God’s grace does not only stretch so far. God redeemed us and forgave us out of his abundant mercy and grace. There is no limit to the number of people Jesus can save. The fountain filled with blood is still overflowing; the river of life is still wide.