The Gifts God has Given to His Church, Part 19 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #243)

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 4:14-16:

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

—-

Thomas Watson said, “If we do not thirst here we shall thirst when it is too late. If we do not thirst as David did, ‘My soul thirsteth for God,’ we shall thirst as the rich man did for a drop of water hell.

Leonard Ravenhill said, “You can go to hell at the communion table or the gambling table if Jesus hasn’t saved you.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “A skeptical reporter with the Los Angeles Times heard about the Azusa Street meeting and attended. The next day, his report described ‘wild scenes’ and a ‘weird babble of tongues.’ He was the first of many to publish negative descriptions of the revival. But not all who investigated the story left as antagonistic. Before long, reports were being circulated in Pentecostal circles of those who “came to scorn and stayed to pray.””

—-

In the midst of constant threats from those who peddle false doctrine, Paul says that believers should continue to make progress in their spiritual growth. He writes in verse 15, that we “may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”

Jesus Christ is the head of the church. When the church is described in the terms of a human body, we could say that Christ is the ‘brains of the operation.’ As such, we are reminded of Philippians 2:5 which says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” The progress that we make spiritually ought to bring our minds closer and closer to the state of mind of Jesus Christ. The evidence of increasing spiritual maturity is that we begin to think more like Christ. Paul told the Corinthian church that believers can understand Scripture because we have “the mind of Christ.”

That ought to be our goal — to have the mind of Christ. It is the best defense against the winds of false doctrine that blow frequently across the land.

Stewart Salmond said the term ‘grow up into him in all things’ means “more than that we are to grow into a resemblance to Him, or that our growth is to be according to His example. It means that as He is the source from which the grace or power comes that makes it possible for us to grow, He is also the object and goal to which our growth in its every stage must look and is to be directed.”

It is easy to put all our attention on those who are teaching false doctrine. We feel like we have to “do something” about it. But God wants us to keep our eyes on Christ and focus on growing in Him in all things.

Kate B. Wilkinson wrote:

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
live in me from day to day,
by his love and power controlling
everything I do and say.

May the love of Jesus fill me
as the waters fill the sea.
Him exalting, self-abasing:
this alone is victory.

May we run the race before us,
strong and brave to face the foe,
looking only unto Jesus
as we upward, onward go.

The Gifts God has Given to His Church, Part 16 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #240)

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 4:12-13:

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

—-

Jordan Groom said, “If God calls you to be a missionary, don’t stoop to be a king.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “Peter says we’re to grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you wiser in God now than you were last year at this time?”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “As news of the outpouring spread through the community, the little home on Bonnie Brae Avenue soon became too small. The weight of the crowd gathered on the porch outside was so great that the porch collapsed. While there were no serious injuries, everyone knew a more adequate meeting place had to be found. An abandoned church building at 312 Azusa Street was available. It had most recently been used as a warehouse and livery stable. The building was swept out, and William J. Seymour’s Apostolic Faith Mission moved to its new home on Easter Saturday, April 14, 1906.”

—-

In our last message, we saw that one of the end results of every believer using their spiritual gifts is that every believer in the body of Christ will grow into maturity in Christ — they will grow into being the “perfect man” that Paul writes about. Lest anyone is confused about what or who that perfect man is, Paul adds to that statement the words, “unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”

This phrase reminds us that we are not just to grow up in the faith, but that we are to grow up in the faith until we are like Christ. The word “measure” means a rule or staff for measuring. Who is our measure, our yardstick? It is Christ. Until we measure up to Him — which we will never do on this Earth — we are never to stop growing as believers. The longer we live as Christians, the more we learn that there is something else to be done in our lives that will make us more like Christ.

That might sound discouraging, but it should give us an impetus to keep striving to be conformed to the image of Christ. Paul uses the word “stature” to describe this image — that word means “adult age or maturity.” Christ is the “adult,” and we are the children. Just as little children look up to their parents and often strive to be like them, we, too, ought to strive to be like Christ.

Finally, Paul says we not only should grow up into the measure of Christ and the stature of Christ, but also the “fulness” of Christ. This word means “that which is filled with the presence, power, agency, and riches of God and of Christ.” We ought to want to be so filled with Christ and the things of God that sin and unrighteousness have no place inside of us. The older you get in the Lord, the less of a struggle it should be to say “no” to temptation and say “yes” to self-sacrificial ministry and service.

This poem by Thomas Obediah Chisholm captures the desire which all of us should have:

I have one deep supreme desire:
that I may be like Jesus.
To this I fervently aspire,
that I may be like Jesus.
I want my heart His throne to be,
so that a watchful world may see
His likeness shining forth in me.
I want to be like Jesus.

The Gifts God has Given to His Church, Part 15 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #239)

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 4:12-13:

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

—-

Robert Speer said, “There is nothing in the world or the Church — except the church’s disobedience — to render the evangelization of the world in this generation an impossibility.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “I’m convinced that the greatest thing about the Puritan preachers is that they lived in eternity six days a week and came down to earth on the seventh. Our preachers, today, are golfing on Saturday and goofing around the other five days. Preaching is a profession to most of them when it should be an obsession with them!”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “As William J. Seymour was preparing to go to the meeting on April 9, 1906, an acquaintance named Edward Lee told him he’d received a vision. He claimed the apostles had come to him and told him how to receive the gift of tongues. Together the men prayed, then made their way to the meeting. That night, “the power fell” on those assembled and several, including William Joseph Seymour himself, began praising God in “unknown tongues.””

—-

Today, we continue looking at the end result of every believer using their spiritual gifts “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

Paul says that we ought to use our gifts “till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ…”

God wants his children to grow into ‘perfect’ men and women. The word translated ‘perfect’ is the Greek word “te-la-os.” It means something that is brought to its end and finished; lacking nothing necessary to completeness. It is used to describe human integrity and virtue. Speaking of human beings, it means those who are full grown, adult, of full age, or mature. In other words, God wants us to grow up.

But, growing up here does not simply mean getting older in the faith; it means becoming all that we are meant to be in Christ. We must remember that when God made man, He made him in His own image. He made us to fellowship with Himself. When sin came into the picture, we fell short of that ideal. So, God sent Jesus to restore the relationship between us and Him, and it is as we grow more like Jesus that we grow more into what God wants us to be — the perfect, mature man of integrity and virtue.

The Bible tells us in Romans 8:29 that God’s ultimate goal is that we “be conformed to the image of Christ.” Jesus Christ is, if you will, the perfect man. He is the second Adam who did what the first Adam failed to do. He is perfect and we are in Him. He has imparted spiritual gifts to us that we might utilize them in our spiritual growth and in the assisting of others in their spiritual growth. David Guzik said, “The gifted offices and equipping of the saints bring the saints to maturity, according to the measure of Jesus Himself. As years pass by, we should not only grow old in Jesus, but more mature in Him as well, as individuals and as the church as a whole.”

Johann Lavater wrote:

O Jesus Christ, grow Thou in me,
And all things else recede;
My heart be daily nearer Thee,
From sin be daily freed.

Fill me with gladness from above,
Hold me by strength divine;
Lord, let the glow of Thy great love
Through all my being shine.

Make this poor self grow less and less,
Be Thou my life and aim;
Oh, make me daily through Thy grace
More meet to bear Thy name.

The Gifts God has Given to His Church, Part 14 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #238)

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 4:12-13:

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

—-

Oswald J. Smith said, “Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “Do you know what’s wrong with modern preaching? It’s missing three things: one, it has no intensity; two, it has no majesty; three, it has no eternity.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Several from Sister Hutchins’ church attended the meeting along with others in the shabby neighborhood north of Temple Street. Most of the congregation was composed of domestic servants and women who took in laundry. As word of the home meetings spread, the crowds grew. People came to hear a preacher who had never spoken in tongues tell how the blessing of God would come soon when all would have this unique gift.”

—-

Today, we continue looking at the end result of every believer using their spiritual gifts “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

Paul says that we do this “till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God…” As we look at what the ‘knowledge of the Son of God’ means, it is important to remember that knowledge in the Bible is not just knowing something mentally. Rather, it is knowing connected with meaningful action. Jesus does not allow us to become more familiar with Him just so that we can say that we know Him better. The more we get to know Jesus, the more we should be becoming like Him.

Some might ask, How long will it take for a local church to attain fully to the knowledge of Christ? If we look around today, it seems as though we are far from that goal. Alexander MacLaren said, “Paul gives no clear definition of the time when one body of Christian believers should have attained to the unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God, and the question may not have presented itself to him. It may appear that in view of the immediate context he regards the goal as one to be reached in our present life, or it may be that he is thinking rather of the Future, when the Master ‘should bring together every joint and member and mold them into an immortal feature of loveliness and perfection.’ But the time at which this great ideal should be attained is altogether apart from the obligation pressing upon us all, at all times, to work towards it. Whensoever it is reached it will only be by our drawing ‘nearer, day by day, each to his brethren, all to God,’ or rather, each to God and so all to his brethren.”

Our goal must be to learn to live like Christ and to love like Christ. In so doing, we will be moved to obey Christ and to exercise our spiritual gifts in His service. As we draw near to Him, He will reveal more and more of Himself to us, and we will be able to live in the knowledge of the Son of God both here and in the hereafter.

Fanny J. Crosby wrote:

I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith,
And be closer drawn to Thee.

Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord,
By the power of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.

There are depths of love that I yet may know
Before Thee face to face I see;
There are heights of joy that I yet may reach
Before I rest in peace with Thee.

The Gifts God has Given to His Church, Part 13 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #236)

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 4:12-13:

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

—-

C.T. Studd said, “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “The pastor who doesn’t weep for the lost shouldn’t expect people to come and weep for their sins.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “At William J. Seymour’s first meeting, Sister Julia W. Hutchins, pastor of the church, recognized significant differences between the preaching of Seymour and her own views of the second blessing. She considered Seymour extreme in his doctrine of the Holy Spirit, perhaps even heretical. It was clear the two could not continue to work together. When Seymour later arrived at the church to preach at an afternoon meeting, he found the church doors locked. He was no longer welcome in the little storefront church on Santa Fe Avenue. Undaunted, he agreed to preach in a home on Bonnie Brae Avenue.”

—-

Today, we begin looking at the end result of every believer using their spiritual gifts “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Paul says that we do this “till we all come in the unity of the faith…” Here he returns to a theme which he previously emphasized — unity. When every believer is using his or her spiritual gifts in service to God and others, we will have a church that is unified in the faith.

The words “we all” indicate that the Christian journey to unity is not conducted in isolation. It involves every member of every local assembly growing together and making progress in their walk with Christ. Every believer ought to participate; it is not a job just for the leaders of the church or for certain “elite” Christians who may appear to be more spiritually inclined than others. Unity comes from one thing — adherence to “the faith,” the entire belief system that makes up Christianity. And that is something that every born again person can get behind.

John MacArthur said, “The ultimate spiritual target for the church begins with the unity of the faith. As in verse 5, faith does not here refer to the act of belief or of obedience but to the body of Christian truth, to Christian doctrine. The faith is the content of the gospel in its most complete form. As the church at Corinth so clearly illustrates, disunity in the church comes from doctrinal ignorance and spiritual immaturity. When believers are properly taught, when they faithfully do the work of service, and when the body is thereby built up in spiritual maturity, unity of the faith is an inevitable result. Oneness in fellowship is impossible unless it is built on the foundation of commonly believed truth.”

Carolyn Arends wrote:

We are one in the Spirit,
we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity
may one day be restored.

We will work with each other,
we will work side by side
We’ll guard each other’s hearts
and help rid each one’s pride.

We will walk with each other,
we will walk hand in hand
And together we’ll spread the news
that God is in our land.

The Gifts God has Given to His Church, Part 10 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #234)

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 4:11-12:

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

—-

Matthew Henry said, “Some people do not like to hear much of repentance; but I think it is so necessary that if I should die in the pulpit, I would desire to die preaching repentance, and if out of the pulpit, I would desire to die practicing it.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “I think one of the serious breakdowns in modern evangelism is this: it has offered too much for too little. What we do mostly is offer forgiveness. We need cleansing! There is no true conversion until a man takes up his cross.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “When William J. Seymour met with Lucy Farrow, the woman who had spoken in tongues, he learned she had recently worked as a governess in Topeka, Kansas. Her employer had been a man named Charles Fox Parham, a white preacher who ran a Holiness Bible school, Bethel College, in the same city. Parham had introduced her to the experience he called ‘the baptism of the Holy Ghost,’ which led to speaking in tongues. Before long, Seymour headed to Topeka to seek out Parham. When he found him, he begged to be admitted into the school. In making his request, however, Seymour was once again brought face-to-face with the realities of life in America at the turn of the century.”

—-

Over the past few messages, we have looked at the spiritual gifts of four key offices in the church — the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. In the next verse, Paul explains the overarching purpose behind why God gave these gifted individuals to the church. It is “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Titles, offices, and authoritative positions in the local church are not for show. They are not status symbols, nor are they to be taken lightly. They come with great responsibility.

The first responsibility of the spiritually gifted leader is “the perfecting of the saints.” The saints are, of course, the church. The word “perfecting” means “to equip or to complete furnishing.” This verse is the only time this word is used in Scripture.

When we think of equipping somebody, it puts us in the mind of getting them ready for some endeavor. That is the job of church leadership — to continuously be in the business of getting God’s people ready for whatever He would have them to do. Getting them ready, in a spiritual sense, means praying for them, explaining the Bible to them, and helping them obey God in all things. It is the pastor who sets the tone for the local church.

Dr. Warren Wiersbe said, “The saints do not call a pastor and pay him to do the work. They call him and follow his leadership as he, through the Word, equips them to do the work. The members of the church grow by feeding on the Word and ministering to each other.” And evangelizing the world

The local church is a place where prayer to God, the Word of God, and service for God are paramount. Nothing should ever be allowed to eclipse those three things. John MacArthur said, “The surest road to a church’s spiritual stagnation, to the pastor’s burnout, or to both is for the pastor to become so engulfed in activities and programs that he has too little time for prayer and the Word. It is a lack of knowledge of God’s Word and obedience to it, not lack of programs and methods, that destroy His people. When they fail, it is not because of weak programs, but because of weak preaching and teaching.”

The pastor helps every believer find their place in the body of Christ. He guides his local flock, ensuring that each one is praying, obeying, and serving at his or her maximum level for the benefit of the body of Christ and for the salvation of lost souls.

Joseph Henry Thayer wrote:

By God’s design, there lies in wait for you
Important work that no one else can do.
Just as the planets find their paths through space,
You too must grow to fill your proper place.

The Gifts God has Given to His Church, Part 9 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #233)

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 4:11-12:

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

—-

Samuel Logan Brengle said, “All great soul-winners have been men of much and mighty prayer, and all great revivals have been preceded and carried out by persevering, prevailing knee-work in the closet.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “If we had a super revival of a billion people being saved, it would still be too late. Could you imagine a billion people being saved — in governments, in hospitals, in universities, in schools, business people? Yet there would be four billion people in the world still unsaved.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Despite the attractive interracial idealism of the Evening Light Saints, William J. Seymour soon found himself back in the South, in Houston, in a black church. He had little choice: In Houston at the turn of the century, if you were black and attended church, you attended a black church. It was while in this church that Seymour witnessed something he’d never before seen: He heard a woman praying in what seemed like another language. It was widely held by Holiness groups of that day that “speaking in tongues” was a sign that would accompany the arrival of the last days. Seymour sensed this woman had something he longed for but hadn’t yet found. He knew he had to talk with her.”

—-

Today, we are looking at the spiritual gift of the pastor and teacher to the church. “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers…” The word translated “pastor” means: “A shepherd; one that has the care of flocks and herds, or a minister of the gospel who has the charge of a church and congregation, whose duty is to watch over the people of his charge, and instruct them in the sacred doctrines of the Christian religion.” The word translated “teacher” means: “One who teaches concerning the things of God, and the duties of man; those who in the religious assemblies of the Christians, undertook the work of teaching, with the special assistance of the Holy Spirit.”

Dr. Warren Wiersbe said, “The fact that the word ‘some’ is not repeated indicates that we have here one office with two ministries. Pastor means ‘shepherd,’ indicating that the local church is a flock of sheep, and it is his responsibility to feed and lead the flock. He does this by means of the Word of God, the food that nourishes the sheep. The Word is the staff that guides and disciplines the sheep. The Word of God is the local church’s protection and provision, and no amount of entertainment, good fellowship, or other religious substitutes can take its place.”

The pastor-teacher has a great and serious responsibility as he ministers to the flock of God. But, he must realize that his authority comes, not just from his ability to teach, but from his own righteous lifestyle before God and before the people. A pastor must practice what he preaches. No one was ever able to accuse Jesus of preaching one thing and doing another.

A pastor-teacher must also truly care for the people of God. He cannot be in his office for fame or money. The Gospel of Mark tells us that when Jesus saw “a great multitude, He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.” The word used for “shepherd” in this verse is the same word translated as “pastor” in Ephesians. In another Gospel, Jesus said that He longed to gather the lost sheep of Israel like a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings.

The pastor-teacher of the local church, as an under-shepherd, should strive to emulate the Great Shepherd.

Someone once wrote:

My Savior the good Shepherd is,
He’ll never leave the flock.
The One Who truly loves the sheep,
Became the Lamb of God.
Despised, afflicted in my stead,
He spent His soul for me.
And to the slaughter He was led,
That perishing I won’t be.

My Shepherd is the Lamb of God,
He calls to me each day,
To drink the waters flowing free,
From His pierced side of grace.
Yet when I stray or choose my way,
He still would search for me,
And bring me home on shoulders strong.
Do I not His love see?

The Gifts God has Given to His Church, Part 8 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #232)

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 4:11-12:

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

—-

D.E. Hoste said, “It is morally impossible to exercise trust in God while there is failure to wait upon Him for guidance and direction. The man who does not learn to wait upon the Lord and have his thoughts molded by Him will never possess that steady purpose and calm trust, which is essential to the exercise of wise influence upon others, in times of crisis and difficulty.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “We need to get into the Word and eat it. It’ll hurt us at times, but it will revive us. It may unclothe us to clothe us, empty us to fill us, cast us down to lift us up, and yet this is all we need.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The Evening Light Saints revivalistic group that William J. Seymour was saved through believed human history was coming to an end and anticipated Christ’s imminent return to establish his kingdom. Just before that happened, the group believed, there would be a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, a ‘latter rain.’ To prepare for this, the group encouraged Christians to leave existing denominations to become part of a pure and interracial church God was beginning to raise up.”

—-

Today, we are looking at the spiritual gift of being an “evangelist” in the church. “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists…” The word translated “evangelist” means: “One who possesses a special gift of communicating the Gospel in relevant terms to those who are not yet Christians and sees souls saved.

In Acts chapter 8, Philip is described as an “evangelist.” The two most significant actions that we read about him doing are (1) explaining the Gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch, and (2) leading an evangelistic crusade in Samaria. He was led by God to go outside the bounds of Jewry to reach people who were unfamiliar with the Gospel.

An evangelist is one who knows the Gospel thoroughly and is empowered by the Holy Spirit to explain it to unbelievers. The evangelist helps the sinner understand how God sees him and then shows him the way out of his sinful state through Jesus Christ. Not only that, but his primary concern in life is the salvation of lost souls. It is an all-consuming passion set on fire by God. The true evangelist will always turn the conversation to the all-important matter of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Obviously, the gift of the evangelist can be combined with other gifts. For example, Peter and Paul both had the gift and calling of being an apostle. However, under Peter’s preaching after Pentecost 3,000 people were added to the church in one day. That is the gift of evangelism at work. Paul traveled hundreds of miles on three separate missionary journeys in order to share the Gospel. Many came to Christ through his evangelistic ministry as well.

Dr. Warren Wiersbe said, “The apostles and prophets laid the foundation of the church, and the evangelists built on it by winning the lost to Christ. Of course, in the early church, every believer was a witness, and so should we be witnesses today. But there are people also today who have the gift of evangelism. The fact that a believer may not possess this gift does not excuse him from being burdened for lost souls or witnessing to them.”

While the gift and calling of an evangelist is only given to some in the church, every Christian should have an evangelistic outlook. We all ought to be concerned about the lost and we all ought to fulfill the Great Commission by sharing Jesus with those around us. In fact, God instructs pastors to do the work of the evangelist.

Eliza Hewitt wrote:

Many in darkness are far astray,
Carry the light, carry the light,
Spreading the beams of the Gospel day,
Carry the beautiful light;
Tell them the gift of the Father’s love,
How the dear Savior He gave;
Tell them of mercy that smiles above,
Jesus almighty to save!

The Gifts God has Given to His Church, Part 6 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #230)

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 4:11-12:

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

—-

Norman Grubb said, “Revival, as contrasted with a Holy Ghost atmosphere is a clean-cut breakthrough of the Spirit, a sweep of Holy Ghost power, bending the hearts of hardened sinners as the wheat before the wind, breaking up the fountains of the great deep, sweeping the whole range of the emotions, as the master hand moves across the harp strings, from the tears and cries of the penitent to the holy laughter and triumphant joy of the cleansed.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “I can think of one thing when I get to the Judgment and that is that Jesus might look down and say, ‘I had many things to tell you but you couldn’t bear them.’ We’re too busy running our own lives: praying when we want to pray, eating what we want to eat, going where we want to go, spending what we want to spend, reading what we want to read. Do you call that a spiritual life? No, it is carnal as carnality!'”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “William J. Seymour was well acquainted with rejection. He began life as the son of recently freed slaves in Centreville, Louisiana. The South was in transition following the Civil War, but despite the liberation of slaves, in 1870 it was a society still steeped in class distinctions. In those days, receiving a good education was nearly out of the question for an African American. If Seymour was going to learn how to read and write, he would have to teach himself. The fact that he did so is a commentary on his strength of will and determination.”

—-

In this verse, we see the specific roles that Jesus Christ has gifted to His church. These roles are to be filled by people whom God has called for these positions. Defining these roles — seeing what they meant to Paul as he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write about them — is important because there are many people who seek a title or a role that they are neither qualified for nor called to.

We should note that this verse is not an exhaustive list of the gifts in the church. Dr. Warren Wiersbe said, “There are three lists of spiritual gifts given in the New Testament: this one, one in First Corinthians 12, and one in Romans 12. Since these lists are not identical, it may be that Paul has not named all the gifts that are available. Paul wrote that some gifts are more important than others, but that all believers are needed if the body is to function normally. Here, Paul names not so much ‘gifts’, but the gifted men God has placed in the church.”

The first of these gifted persons named by Paul is the apostle. “And he gave some, apostles…” The word “apostle” means “a delegate, a messenger, one sent forth with orders.” The apostle is one who is sent forth by another with a special mission and a special message.

We often refer to the 12 apostles and the 12 disciples interchangeably. But Jesus had many disciples, however, He only commissioned 12 apostles. We learn from First Corinthians 9 that the apostles were to give witness of the resurrection, thus they had to have seen with their own eyes the living Christ. (The Bible tells us that the largest group of people to have seen Jesus after He rose from the dead numbered at around 500.) The church was built on the firm foundation of irrefutable eyewitness testimony that Jesus Christ was alive. The apostles facilitated the construction of that firm foundation.

In the strictest sense of the word, there are no apostles today. They had a special mission that they faithfully fulfilled. They did what was required of them and passed the torch to the next generation of believers. However, we could say that ALL believers have an apostolic job description. It is our job to tell the world that Jesus is risen.

Alfred Henry Ackley wrote:

I serve a risen Savior
He’s in the world today.
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy;
I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him
He’s always near.

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him,
The Help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.

The Gifts God has Given to His Church, Part 5 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #229)

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 4:8-10:

8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

—-

Samuel Zwemer said, “The energies of the universe, nay, of God Himself, are at the disposal of those who pray – to the man who stirreth up himself to take hold of God.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “I still believe in the majesty of that eternal court. God will say to some, ‘Come, ye blessed!’ and to the rest, ‘Depart from Me, ye cursed!’ I don’t want to stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ and have God say to me, ‘I left you a book of blank checks signed in the blood of Jesus and you didn’t use half of them!'”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “William Joseph Seymour had come to Los Angeles to preach, but now the church doors were locked. He’d traveled from Texas to Southern California at the invitation of the pastor, but the message he preached had caused the pastor to change her mind. The views espoused by this African-American preacher were questionable at best, at least in the pastor’s mind. There was no way she would allow that message to be preached in her church. She couldn’t stop Seymour from preaching, but she could and would stop it from being preached in her church.”

—-

In verses 9 and 10 of this passage, Paul offers a parenthetical commentary on the previous verse. He speaks of Jesus’ ascension (His return to Heaven), pointing out that He had to first descend into the “lower parts of the earth.” This same one who descended is now raised up “far above all heavens” and ‘fills all things.’ It is He who gives gifts to men.

Dr. John Walvoord and Dr. Roy B. Zuck tell us that Jesus’ descending could be taken to mean one of three things: (1) It could refer to Jesus incarnation — His initial ‘descent’ to this earth. (2) It could refer to His descent into Hell to preach to the spirits in prison there. Or, (3) It could refer to Jesus’ descent to the grave. They conclude, “The third view best fits the context because in His death Christ had victory over sin and redeemed those who would be given as ‘gifts’ to the church.”

One practical takeaway that we can apply to our own lives is this: Jesus, being God, did not think it beneath Himself to descend to lower realms in order to serve others and do God’s will. Jesus humbly descended to earth, and to the grave, and to Hell. We should not think of any form of service that God calls us to as being beneath us. We, too, should be willing to descend, to take on the form of a servant. Any service that God calls us to is the highest service in the world — not because of what we do, but because of who we are doing it for.

Walter and Ella Edmiaston wrote:

Are you working for the Master,
Are you toiling day by day?
Are you sowing seeds of kindness,
For the reapers on the way?

Hear you not the Master calling,
For glad toilers brave and true?
Will you enter now the harvest,
For the call is unto you?

There’s a work for all, my brother,
Sheaves are falling by the way,
Go you forth into the harvest,
Enter now, without delay.