Ephesians, Chapter 6
© Copyright 1998 Darroll Evans-all rights reserved
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
In my opinion, Ephesians 6:1-9 belongs to the pervious chapter as a commentary on human relations. These verses continue the thought begun in chapter 5. "Obey you parents in the Lord" is an appeal for children to listen to their parents. Some young people think that their parents do not understand their situations.
Instead, it's a matter of, "Been there, done that, and found out it was not worth the effort." Children should learn from their parents' experiences. The old adage, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it," is true in all areas of human relations.
In directing his comments to children, Paul appeals to the Ten Commandments to support his position. For someone who supposedly taught that the Ten were annulled or done away with, Paul seems to hold the truth of the Ten in high esteem.
There are those who teach that the Ten Commandments are for Jews only and do not apply to Gentiles. By that, they teach that Gentile children are under no compulsion to obey their parents. Grace does not nullify our spiritual responsibility.
If we refuse to obey and honor our earthly parents, how can we obey our heavenly Father?
We honor Him by honoring them. This does not indicate that God expects a blind obedience to our parents, or to any person. Our obedience must be consistent with God's Law.
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
This verse is written to fathers. They are not to "provoke," or enrage their children. Respect and honor are not located on a one-way street.
As Children are to honor their father and mother, parents are also to respect their children. Lack of respect breeds many things, none of them good for the individual or society.
What does it mean to bring children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?
"Nurture" means to educate or instruct. Our children must receive proper instruction to live productive lives. We are born as infants. Then, we are "born again" as infants in Christ. No person is "born again" as a mature Christian.
We are expected to mature as we live the Christian experience. The fact is, too many of "us" don't want to grow up. Eventually we need to be weaned from the milk of the word, and started on the meat of the word.
"Admonition" is calling attention to something. We are to call attention to the blessings we receive when living in obedience to Christ. As parents, we are to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
Servants are to be obedient to masters according to the flesh. Let me put it this way, Follow the instructions of the one who is your employer. We follow instructions for two reasons. Primarily, because we are Christians. And, secondly, because we are employees. The good life depends on following good instructions.
As Christians, we are to respect those in authority. We are not to work just when someone is watching. God has used your employer to so that you may provide for your family. Directly or indirectly, we all work for the benefit of others. God wants us to enjoy our labor and the fruits of our labor. We know that whatever good any person does comes from God. Paul says that the good done will be rewarded by God.
Ephesians 6:9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
Respect is not just the duty of employees. It is also the responsibility of employers. If you are an employer, God has placed you in that position to bring benefit to others as well as yourself.
"Forbearing threatening" may be put into modern terminology as, "cut them some slack." An employer should not be too easy-going or too intimidating. Christians who are employers should always conduct themselves as children of God.
This is clearly seen in Paul's letter to Philemon. Onesimus was a runaway slave. Yet, Paul asked Philemon to accept him as a fellow Christian (Philemon 15-17).
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
We are to be strong "in the Lord." That strength is shown through reliance on Him. Strength is not shown through self-reliance. The power of His might is found in obedience to Him. Your power is not your power. The secret to godly strength is found in reliance on God.
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
We do not put on the full armor of God to empress other Christians. This is not like the knight in shining armor riding up on a white horse. We are in a real battle.
We put on the full armor of God so we "may be able," or have the power to stand up to the "wiles," methods, or trickery of the devil. Satan knows our weaknesses, and he exploits them.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
This battle is not against other Christians, or people. It is against the wiles of the devil
According to 1 Peter 5:6-8 we are to be humble before God. We are to cast our care on Him. We are to be humble, sober, and vigilant in Christ. Those are rules to gain victory in the battle with Satan.
Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
"That ye may be able to withstand in the evil day" is an interesting way of putting it. The Greek indicates that the "evil day" is a day of degeneracy, or spiritual depravity. We can look around and see that the days are evil. The individual and corporate sins of America are great.
Improprieties of all types are taking place within the highest political offices in the land. America is leading the way into a period of extreme spiritual depravity. The days are indeed evil.
However, it is not our main objective as Christians to point out, or even try to root out sin. Our main objective is to present Christ.
Ephesians 6:13 speaks of "the evil day." It points to the day when antichrist will hold sway over the world in an unprecedented display of ungodly power. The evil day will not be what many suppose. It will be a period of unparalleled subtleties in corruption.
We are on the threshold of Satan's powerful display. Here is a point many Christians miss. God's armor is not meant for lashing out at the devil. The armor of God is meant for our protection as we "stand" in Christ.
"Having done all," having put on the armor, we are to stand. We receive God's armor to enable us to stand. You do not need to go looking for the devil. Satan will find you.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Some things you might want to look at
in the listing of armor:
1. Most of the things listed are for defensive purposes.
2. Only one is for offensive purposes.
3. There is no mention of guarding your back.
We are girded, protected by the truth of God's mercy and grace. The breastplate guards Christ's righteousness within us. Our feet are shod for the purpose of carrying the gospel wherever we go. The shield of faith protects us from the daily onslaught of Satan's methods. The helmet of salvation guards our minds where the main battle takes place. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God.
At this point, I must ask, "How did Christ use the word?"
When Satan tempted Him, Christ Jesus began each reply with, "It is written." We should learn to wield the sword of the Spirit with such accuracy. Any person who has ever studied sword technique understands that it may be used for offense or defense. Our defense and offense begins with, "It is written." We are to stand, pray, and watch.
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Utterance was given to Paul. He did not assume it on his own. Having been given this avenue of service to God, Paul spoke boldly. He was not timid in making the gospel known.
"Ambassador in bonds" does not necessarily mean that Paul was in chains. Paul was a bondservant. Paul was bound in the Spirit to Christ. As an ambassador, he boldly represented Christ.
21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:
22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.
Paul sent Tychicus to represent him. He was to teach the Ephesians in whatever area of the gospel they were found deficient. Tychicus must have been an excellent teacher. Tychicus means fortuitous. It was fortuitous for Paul to have him as part of the ministry. He is mentioned in Acts 20:4, Colossians 4:7, 2 Timothy 4:12, and Titus 3:12.
The remark in 2 Timothy is historically significant.
2 Timothy 4:12 And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.
Second Timothy was written after Paul's first trial. It is an authentic prison letter. For that reason, 2 Timothy may have been the next to the last letter written by Paul. Ephesians may have been written just prior to his death.
2 Timothy may also be an authentic prison letter, it is not one of the "rented house" letters.
23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
Paul closes with his standard "peace and grace." These are not throwaway words. They form a very real blessing pronounced by the Spirit of God upon the children-of-faith.
Sincerity comes from the Latin "sincerus." In biblical times, when buying a piece of pottery, a person would take that piece out into the sunlight to inspect it for defects. If none was found, the pottery would be said to be "sincere." In Christ Jesus, we are exposed to SON-light.