Ephesians 6

Ephesians 6 begins with instruction to a number of different groups of people.  As a parent, I always loved verse one: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right”.  Somehow my kids weren’t nearly as fond of it when we had them memorize it.  Because of the sin nature of all mankind, we have to teach our kids obedience as it doesn’t come naturally.  It’s hard to do, and requires that parents do their job leading ‘in the Lord’ – not just their own desires and whims.  The next verse sets that foundation: “Honor your father and mother….that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land”.  Part of parenting in the Lord is to treat our own parents with honor.  That principle and requirement never ends.  We can’t expect obedience from our kids without honor for our own parents.

Paul continues the topic of parenting when he addresses fathers.  “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”.  Obedience is required of children, but good parenting is required of fathers.  They must be careful not to have an unkind, over-critical attitude that torments the child instead of training them.  When you are disciplining a child, you must first control yourself and your emotions and not discipline out of anger or frustration. How can you tell your child that he needs discipline when you obviously need it yourself?

Paul then shifts to slaves and masters, which is sometimes applied to the workplace in today’s world. He first addresses the ‘slaves’ or workers.  “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free”.  God cares how we do our jobs.  Our heart shows our motive and why we do what we do.  Spurgeon wrote “Grace makes us the servants of God while still we are the servants of men: it enables us to do the business of heaven while we are attending to the business of earth: it sanctifies the common duties of life by showing us how to perform them in the light of heaven.”  How we act in the workplace reflects on our walk as a Christ Follower.

But Paul also addresses the bosses.  “Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him”.  How bosses treat their employees is also important.  As Paul admonishes workers to work hard and honestly for their masters, he also tells these bosses to do the same.  God watches the heart of all people.  Being a master does not give anyone a pass on how they are to live.  In fact, the standards are higher for those in authority.

Paul ends the letter to the church after sharing the truth of our place in God’s Kingdom through Christ, and the basics of our walk as Christ Followers.  Now he turns the focus on a key area we must pay attention to when he says ‘finally’. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against  the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places”.  We’re in a battle and Paul warns us to get ready for spiritual warfare.  This enemy is far different than any other we may have faced.  We need to consider ourselves as being in basic training preparing for the battle of our life.  God will equip us with the weapons and armor we need, but we have to put it on and learn how to use it to fight.

Paul gives us a detailed description of what it will take to ‘stand firm’ which is our charge as a soldier for the Lord.  “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of  the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication”.  We can only ‘stand’ when we are equipped and properly dressed with God’s armor:

  • Belt of truth – tying together all of God’s truth
  • Breastplate of righteousness – not our own righteousness, but that of Christ that becomes ours through faith
  • Shoes for your feet – living in constant readiness and flexibility
  • Shield of faith – faith that will deflect the enemies attacks of thoughts, feelings, imagination, fears and lies
  • Helmet of salvation – knowing that our salvation is secure and we need not be discouraged
  • Sword of the Spirit – God’s truth which is our offensive weapon in this battle – which means we must know it
  • Praying at all times – prayer must underlie all our efforts in battle

God has equipped us with all we need to be victorious.  But we must put on the armor, learn to use it, and then undergird our efforts with prayer.  This battle is not something we can win alone.  We need to be part of the Lord’s army of Christ Followers who stand together to face the enemy of darkness!

Advertisements

One response to this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: