The Armor of God
Read Ephesians 6:10-18
Throughout the book of Ephesians, Paul encouraged and warned the new pagan converts on several issues. He showed them their spiritual blessings in Christ and the meaning of spiritual wisdom. He has explained why good works will not save them and how Jesus' sacrifice unites humanity. He showed them how they should live in light of their salvation. He also explained to them the importance of Spiritual Gifts and what it means to submit to one another. So far, it seems, everything Paul has shared in this letter is to help the Ephesians understand who they are in Christ and what their lives should look like. But he has one final word of warning for them.
Read Ephesians 6:1-9
And now, we come to the last chapter of Ephesians. After instilling in the Ephesians the importance of submission and what that looks like for married couples, Paul continues to instruct these new Christians on how they should treat their children and their servants and how they should respond to those in authority over them.
Interestingly, Paul's underlying submission theme can still be seen in his instructions in three little words, "in the Lord." For it is in the Lord we abide, and through our reverence for Him, we submit to one another and learn to live in peace with each other.
For children, this meant obeying their parents, and it came with a promise from God "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." Their act of submission to the Lord was by obeying their parents. But there was an added warning from Paul when dealing with children. It is specifically addressed to the fathers, "Do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord."
In the pagan world of Paul's day, most men ruled their families with rigid and domineering authority. The feelings of wives and children were seldom considered. But Paul is showing them a new way to raise children. The word "admonition" is nouthesia in Greek and means "the training by word," whether of encouragement or, if necessary, by reproof, so Paul is showing the fathers the importance of being the spiritual head of the home. For it is through the Word of God that we find our peace. Putting God first above all in the home had a "trickle-down" effect. Women would submit to their husbands out of reverence for God, and children would obey their parents out of reverence for God.
The same principle was put into practice for those with servants. Servants were to serve their masters as they would serve Christ, and masters were to do the same thing. The only exception is regarding a command that involves clear disobedience of God’s Word, as illustrated in Acts 4:19, 20.
In today's world, we are to serve our bosses (however disagreeable they may be) as we would serve Christ and vice-versa. Submission to each other "in the fear of the Lord" (reverence for God) is how peace within the body of Christ is established and the only way the church will survive in this turbulent world.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. - Colossians 3:15
How Submission Really Works
Read Ephesians 5:22-33
This will be a long post but stick with me because, in the end, you will never have a problem with the word "submission" again.
Today we will carefully examine a section of Scripture that most women have struggled with for centuries. The modern woman of today finds it highly offensive, and some Christian men misinterpret it and use it as an abusive form of control over their wives. It stems from this verse: "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord." Let's look into the Word of God and find out precisely what it means to submit to our husbands. And how some churches use it as a form of control over the women in their congregations.
Eight Keys to Godly Living
Read Ephesians 5:8-21
Paul has laid out the basics for the converted Ephesians on how a Christian should live and behave. In today's reading, he reminds them again who they are now in Christ. He seems to be really trying to get this concept of who they are now across to them. It must have been hard for the Ephesian converts because their former lifestyles were so completely and utterly dark. Yet, Paul repeatedly assures them that's not who they are now.
Sometimes we must be reminded that what we were is not who we are now. Some new Christians are so hard on themselves that they find forgiveness for their former lifestyles hard to accept. They have a hard time forgiving themselves, so they reason Jesus must also have a hard time doing it. We come out of the darkness, yet it somehow still clings to us in the form of regrets. Paul's words in today's verses remind us and encourage us to walk in the light of Christ and in reverence of Him.
Read Ephesians 5:1-7
Previously I talked about how Christians should live in light of their faith in Christ. In today's reading, Paul continues to instill in the Ephesian Gentiles the importance of how they behaved regarding their newfound faith.
Again, the Ephesian believers Paul was talking to came out of idol worship and paganism that employed some of the lewdest and detestable acts you could ever imagine. It was, therefore, imperative that Paul drove home that their previous behaviour of "devotion" (lewd acts, drinking blood, debauchery, orgies, etc.) towards their former gods was unacceptable to the one true God. He continues from Ephesians chapter four with more advice for them on how to behave. He begins with an appropriate admonishment in the first two verses - "Be imitators of God, as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma."
How A Christian Should Live
Read Ephesians 4:17-32
If you have followed along with me in Ephesians, you will have begun to notice a theme Paul had with this letter - one of unity within the body of Christ. In my last post, we learned how each Christian's spiritual gifts are to be used - to equip us for ministry and to edify each other in the Lord. With the theme of unity and spiritual gifts in mind, Paul now tells the Ephesians (and us) how we should be "walking the walk" as followers of Jesus Christ.
The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts
Read Ephesians 4:7-16
In my last post, we learned that we have been called to walk in unity with each other. For the Ephesian Christians, this was quite a challenge. Not only were these Gentile converts coming out of paganism and idol worship, but they were adopting for themselves the promises God gave to the Jews. This ultimately caused friction between the Gentile converts and the Jewish converts, which the apostles solved by giving them only three rules to obey: that they abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from eating animals that were strangled, and from blood (Acts 15:19-20). There was wisdom in this edict because what the Gentiles had come out of (idol worship) involved all those sorts of practices.
But Paul reminds them that there is now one Lord, one faith and one baptism. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all (Ephesians 4:6).
And in today's verses, we are shown how God makes that unity possible. We learn in Ephesians 4:7 that to each, "grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift." For the church to remain unified, each member was (and still is) bestowed "a measure of grace," or a gift from God, to be used by each individual to create unity within the body of Christ. So what gifts of grace were available to the early church, and are they still available to us today?
What are Spiritual Gifts