Ephesians 6


Ephesians 6:1-3

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 "that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land."

 

In the sixth chapter, Paul continues to give examples of how the lifestyle of walking “in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1), being an “imitator of God” (Ephesians 5:1), and walking “in love” (Ephesians 5:2) will effect the life of a Christian.  His first example is for children.  They are told to “obey your parents in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1).   Notice the reason for doing this: “for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1).  This reason is the controller of a Christian’s actions!  The second part of this example deals with attitude: “Honor your father and mother” (Ephesians 6:2).  The Christian life is a combination of actions and attitude.  This passage is quoted from the original Ten Commandments and may be found in Exodus 20:12.  It is mentioned that there was a promise for the sons of Israel, that is, if they kept this commandment, they would remain in the land that God was giving them, “the land of milk and honey,” (which is often referred to as "The Holy Land") for a long time.

 

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

 

A second example is given using fathers.  That is, “do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).  This is another example of how actions and attitudes are related.  As opposed to demands and orders that may bring about anger and rebellion, the Christian father is to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”  The words translated as “bring them up” could have been translated “give them what they need.”  In other words, a Christian father is to be aware of what a child needs in order for the child to grow up knowing and loving the Lord.  The action is to provide for the child’s needs; the attitude is to do it in a way to draw the child to the Lord.  This is an awesome command and one that takes a significant amount of work.

 

Ephesians 6:5-9

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 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.

 

In Ephesians 6:5-9, the relationship of slaves and masters is discussed.  Again, attitude as well as action is discussed.  Slaves should “obey” their masters, not just giving eye service as people-pleasers (Ephesians 6:5-6).  This is the action.  The attitude is: “doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord” (Ephesians 6:6-7).  The motivation for this is “knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord” (Ephesians 6:8).  Masters are to do the same thing (Ephesians 6:9) knowing that the slave and the master have the same “Master” in heaven.  This realization helps all of us to understand what our true position is in this world whether we are the slave or the master, the employee or the boss (see also Colossians 3:22-4:1).

 

Ephesians 6:10-17

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

 

Followers of God are encouraged to “put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-11) for the purpose of being able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  Christians must understand that the earth is not the only place that a battle is taking place.  A major battle is being waged against rulers, authorities and cosmic powers of this present darkness (Ephesians 6:12).  This battle includes “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”   There is the visible battleground of the world where a battle between good and evil is fought.  However, the scriptures affirm that there is another battle taking place in the spirit world.  For our part, the pieces of armor that we are to put on include:  

ü A belt or girdle to gird the loins with truth ü A breastplate of righteousness

ü Shoes to spread the gospel of peace

ü A shield of faith to extinguish the flaming darts of the evil one

ü The helmet of salvation

ü The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

 

Ephesians 6:18-19

praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,

 

Prayer and supplication are to be a part of the Christian life “at all times” (Ephesians 6:18).   While prayers should be offered “for all the saints,” Paul requests prayers specifically for himself.  He was asking for words to be given to him that he could “boldly” proclaim the gospel (Ephesians 6:19, see also Colossians 3-4).  

 

Ephesians 6:20-24

for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

21 So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts. 23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

 

Paul's final comment to the Ephesians includes four words that are hallmarks of the Christian life.  They are:

1.   Peace

2.   Love

3.   Faith

4.   Grace   

Review Questions:

1.   In Paul's admonition to children he deals with both action and attitude.  What was the action?  What was the attitude?

 

2.   Fathers are told to bring up their children "in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).  What does this mean?

 

3.   Many times in the scriptures Christians are warned that they should battle against the flesh (for examples see Galatians 5:19-21 and I John 2:15-17).  However, in Ephesians 6:12 it is suggested that another battle is going on.  Where is it taking place?

 

4.   Paul describes the armor of God listing several pieces of armor.  If one has on all the armor of God, is he/she fully protected?

 

5.   What are some of the lessons that one can learn from Paul's statement about prayer and supplication in Ephesians 6:18-20?

 

6.   Peace, love, faith and grace are words that the scriptures use in this passage and often elsewhere.  How would you define them?

 

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