Chapter six

Ephesians 6   24 verses in this chapter

 

V1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Children are to be taught and guided by their believing parents to love the Lord and His ways. No parent would choose not to do so, and so not love their children. Our main witness should be to them, and not some perceived service for God outside the home.

There are some who will work for Christian organizations and yet not relate to their own families. It is no guarantee that our children will grow up to believe, or come to living faith in Christ. Therefore we must put every effort into giving them opportunities to hear the gospel and see the love of Christ worked out in our own lives. How can we minister to others, and reject our most precious people? What would you give to have your daughter know Christ? Would you want to be sure her salvation was true and that the Holy Spirit is living in her life?

Too many settle for legalism. Children are taught to act and speak a certain way, but they never come to a personal faith in a living Christ. They are instructed in a form of godliness and yet there is no living power. They grow to be good citizens and responsible adults, but there is no vibrancy and no potent love for Christ their Saviour. We can dupe our children into thinking they are good enough, and that faith is an outward action, with no substance in the heart for God.

As we must strive to enter in, so we teach and witness to our family members, and show the beauty and mercy of God, so that they are helped to respond to the gospel message and truly believe.

Christian parents must not bend or abdicate the message of repentance and faith in a false and foolish age. We must teach our children it is right to say “no” to temptation and evil, and the culture in our families, should be rich and full of genuine love. There should be unity of purpose and strong ties to draw each other closer to Christ and that wonderful relationship with His Spirit.

It is tempting to lessen the message when our children go wrong, and try at all costs to keep them as part of “church.” It is too easy to soften the requirement of repentance and faith, and settle for being part of a polite society, with no spiritual life.

Children are to obey. The onus is on the adults to ensure their spiritual lives are for God and to give as accurate a picture as possible of what God is like. It is God who moves in human hearts to convict and save from sin. Prayer is key. We pray for our children that God will be merciful and speak into their lives His message of repentance and faith, which alone will save. We teach our children to obey us, so that they will understand how to obey God.

At some point, some of our young ones will reject the message, and seek a life in this world. It is hard to let them go, and commit them to the safe keeping of our Heavenly Father. We can do our best work, but in the end, every person must respond personally.

Our continual role is to plead for them before the throne of God. This ministry cannot be over estimated. We pray that the obedience they have learned in the home will help them to come to Christ when He calls them. We pray they will not wander far, and that their wandering will lead them home into the Father’s kingdom.

 

 

 

 

 V2  “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with a promise:

This commandment is the first one where God promises us a reward for keeping it. The reward is all encompassing. It promises, long life, a place even in the earthly scheme of things. God’s reward is worthwhile and has no bitterness in it. The land is also the spiritual home of those who love Him enough to keep the commandments, even heaven itself. Families are crucial to God and our relationship with God is the key to all other relationships we might have.

It is imperative that we keep good relationships with each other, and treat each other as we ourselves would wish to be treated. We must get over the desire to bicker and complain, and recognize the love of God in each other. We seek to push each other closer to the Father in heaven. He teaches and strengthens us in ever good way, and gives us the faith and power to live for Him.

This is opposite to the spirit in our culture today. Families are pulled apart. Media presentations normalize bad behavior from children and adults. The institutions of our society are pulling more and more authority to themselves, and undermining family ties. At the same time they allow children to justify their bad behaviour, and think “therapy” has the answers to the problem of guilt and sin. Parents are not valued and their preferences for upbringing and child-rearing, are sidelined and children are not corrected for disrespecting adults and their own parents. This is like pulling down our house around our ears.

We may have longer life expectancy, but its value is getting less and less, as people who are regarded as weak, are ignored and ultimately disrespected, even of life itself. The lack of worth in beginning and end of life situations, is growing. People are becoming ambivalent to death. We see murders on television constantly. Our young people are settling their differences in stabbing someone to death. We play games that allow us to “kill” some one in a vicarious way. We have no responsibility for our actions and so we degenerate in our attitudes to life and death. Life is just a concept. You can choose life or death, for yourself and for someone else. We seek to make laws to strengthen these “rights.”

We are reaping the reward of our ignorance and godless attitudes. The real span of our lives only lasts the length of how long we can work. As families we must take back the right to live as our loving God intended and treat each generation with love, courtesy and respect as human beings.

It starts with the Mother and Father. They set the tone for the attitudes in the family. They pass it on to the next generation the principles of love and care. It we negate that responsibility, all around us will degenerate.

When the social forces against our principles, are pushed on us and our children or even older family members, we push back. As in no other age, Christians must speak up and stand up for the ways of God. We do not have the luxury of just hoping all will be well. We pray. We do. We address unfairness and injustice. To our shame this mainly seems to be done by those who do not name Christ or His kingdom. Honour must be fought for. Our children and grand children must be fought for. Women are good at this, so let us make sure we are shining the light of life where ever we go.

Honouring is an active outlook and a “doing” for those we love and are protecting and guarding against evil.

 

 

 

 

 V3   “that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth.”

God promises wonderful things to those who love Him. We can believe Him, because of who He is. If we walk in His ways, then it stands to reason that we will be blessed, because His ways are designed for our favour and benefit. The commandments were made for our total well-being. Every aspect of our person is covered by the commandments. God knows us and He knows our failings. So He has set His law down for us to read in plain language. He has also set it in our hearts, so that we will not miss it, and so we will be able to follow and obey.

When we read the Word of God, there is something that we recognize within ourselves. We know there is more, and we are not the authors of all things. In our culture, this knowing has been dampened down, and some believe the lie that we are alone to face the world and society. It has brought a perceived liberty, but much sorrow.

He knows we are frail flesh and apt to sin, so He Himself has come to pay for those very sins. Jesus did this for His people so they will be able to obey and enter into the rich promises He has for us. We are not alone, but have a loving God who cares for us.

The promises are not all spiritual. When our wickedness is taken care of, repentance is offered and we believe, we are promised heaven forever. It is an eternal home that never fades or ceases to be glorious. But the family question is still reinforced in this command. Respect of parents, and godly authority will also bring long life and a good life. If I obey authorities, it is reasonable that I will have a measure of peace and security in this life. This also will make for good health of body, mind and soul.

However, we live in days when authority is becoming more and more godless. We have wickedness in high places. We have much injustice and various kinds of prejudice. The years of forgetting God, are bringing their hurtful reward. We have a semblance of security in the West, as yet, but the clouds are gathering and sin is open and flagrant, even put upon our children. We openly teach our children wrong ways to live and behave. Our teachers have a light hold on moral issues, such as honesty and justice. We have become circumspect in what we choose to do, and protective of our own particular lifestyle, with little understanding of how it hurts others.

The presence of morality causes great concern. The idea that a person is living life by a set of commandments for a God we do not know, causes us anger and resentment. The concept of “goodness” is fleeting and personal. Objective truth is a curse and must be stopped at all costs. We really have lost our bearings and things are not right with us. Our lives do not go well. Even if we get what we want, there is only dissatisfaction.

In other nations, sisters and brothers are cruelly treated. Christians loose everything. They lose their homes, jobs, family, and even their lives. Such is the growth and prevalence of evil in this world today. Evil has always been around, but it is spread and propagated through media, in a way not known before. We need to be sure we are of the faith or not. We cannot hide in churches. We cannot expect fair treatment. Our faith must rest in God, and seeking to show honour for His name in every part of our lives.

 

 

 

 

V4    You fathers, don’t provoke your children to wrath, but nurture them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. 

 Our teaching of our children is of crucial importance. The way we operate in our families and the way our schools and teachers behave, is crucial. The philosophy behind our methods of upbringing and controlling children and young people, is very important, as it will make a big impact on their lives, their view of themselves, their view of authority and their view of God. A Christian at work is very different from others, and in these days, it is increasingly difficult to fit in with regimes and work ethos.

It is easy to become preoccupied with rules, as we can insist on certain behaviours, and when people don’t cooperate, punishment ensues. I can become a very hand to mouth experience and this actually undermines the young person’s ability to think of themselves and to learn to regulate their own behaviour. When we go wrong, God does not automatically beat us down, but gives us time to learn and change. God is kind.

An authoritarian regime just frustrates people and takes away their ability to think and judge themselves. The key is good relationships. If parents, teachers, etc, can be open with children and explain things and admit their own faults, it is a much more powerful relationship than just based on cold right/wrong.

Children have minds and judgment too. They recognise unfairness and when they are being manipulated. The young are not able to verbalise it, but the imprint of God is on their lives too. It is easy to crush a child’s spirit in the name of “control.” We should be encouraging our little ones to be able to know when they are in the wrong, and even talk about it. The facing up process is so helpful, and the child and the adult both need to examine what they are doing. This takes time, trust and patience, and we must ask God for these skills and the wisdom the use them for His glory and the family good.

Youngsters can pick up godless ideas quickly and take on the culture of their environment, learning to play it for their own benefit. It is so cynical. This world teaches them to take what they can get, fight for their corner and stand up for themselves. If other people don’t like it, tough.! It is serous to be involved in teaching children and young people and we are accountable.

“He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no occasions of stumbling should come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, rather than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble.”    Luke 17:1-2

We should model God, which presumes we actually know God well. As our children grown to love and respect us, so their hearts and minds will more readily realize God and what He is like. Maybe they will love us and want God for themselves. Let us propagate that kind of society wherever we go.

 

 

 

 

 V5   Servants, be obedient to those who according to the flesh are your masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as to Christ, 

This addresses the attiude of heart the Christian is to have towards managers, bosses and even if we were to be slaves. We should view our mangers with respect and fear. Respect because of the fact that they are over us and responsible for the work that we do. We are to be cooperative and honourable in our thoughts and words and to promote a positive attitude towards them in the eyes of other people. If there are difficiltulties we should take them to the person and get things sorted out.

We need to remember that they also have the power over us to give us work, or not and that should help us to be respectful and honourable.

The way that we deal with people should be sincere and truthful. We should remain straightforward and forthright in the way we conduct ourselves, and be able to accept our situation, even if it is not exactly like what we would like. If we view our leaders, or managers as we would Christ, it is easier for us to do what they ask or require of us. We might not agree, but we have to accept that they are in charge. This is not the same as the marriage relationship…

We do not always understand what Christ has in mind, or what his purposes are in us being somewhere and with certain people, but we trust His way and will. So also with worldly leaders. We might not agree with them, but this refines our characters and puts our trust in Christ who is over all. God is working His purposes out and as His people, we can rely on Him in all circumstances.

We live in times that are very difficult for the Christain to operate. The workplace can be a great challenge. There are so many ways of doing things and attitudes spread about that are not Christ-like. We need great wisdom to know what to speak up about and what to leave. The Christian must be prepeared for mistunderstanding, resentment and harsh judgment, and be able to cope with it in their inner lives. To let it be known that you are a believer in God and following Him, will bring you oposition and pain. Many Christian people stay away from this environment or keep their faith a secret.

Each Christian has to work this principal out in their individual situation. Gods purpose is your blessing and the salvation of those around you. This is quite a challenge. If we press on in the calling of Christ and act in faith, God will bless and people will be given chances to hear God’s word.

It can be amazing how that can happen, even in a seemingly hopeless situation. God works still in people’s lives. If He intends you to be there, He will keep you, and you for your part must strive for holiness and honesty in all things. 

 

 

 

V6    not in the way of service only when eyes are on you, as men pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 

When we are in a work situation, it is important that we are totally reliable and completely honest in our dealings. We are true and diligent when people look at us and when they don’t observe what we are doing or how we are doing it. When we are given a task, we undertake it with energy and carry it out to the very best we can. Even the jobs that no one will ever see must be the same standard as when people are looking at us.

This is important because it builds Christian character and teaches us to do everything diligently and faithfully. All we do is under the gaze of God and He sees our deeds and how we do our tasks. We serve God with all our hearts and do His will, which is perfect. We may not be perfect, but our intentions must be right and pure, so far as we are able. Only holiness pleases the Lord.

We serve God in Christian service, and also our secular work. All we do is a hymn of praise to His glory and not our own. So all we do is service to Him and a song of praise, daily from our hearts.

We fortify ourselves in His Word and in prayer. This is a superb arena to serve God and prove His love and power.

 

 

 

 

V7    with good will doing service as to the Lord, and not to men, 

Again, in all we do as redeemed and rescued Christian people, we do for His glory and sake. No matter how trivial a job might seem to be, it is a sacrifice of praise to our God.

We must ensure our demeanor and mindset is alight with energy and joy. This will mean that our daily walk with God will be alive and vibrant as we meet with Him and commune with Him, just as Jesus did. We need rest, so we must ensure we care for our bodily needs, in case we should embarrass our Lord through sleepiness and laziness.

If our job is too onerous, and requires too much time and long shifts we cannot cope with, and others cannot cope either, we must speak up. Grumbling is no good. If we are known for our good and diligent work, we can speak to our managers and express concerns. This might help other workers also. We would have to judge carefully. If our work has no culture of feedback and listening to the workers, we must entrust the situation to the Lord, and seek wisdom.

Overtime can be a big temptation for some. We want good things for our family and our own life. But the quality time we spend with our family must be paramount. The same applies to “Christian” work.

In the things we do in our family, our job or direct Christian service, we are not just serving people, but doing the will of God at all times. May we serve Him fully and with a heart of love, empowered by the Spirit.

 

 

 

 

V8    knowing that whatever good thing each one does, he will receive the same good again from the Lord, whether he is bound or free. 

Our final reward from God is not in this life. When that great day of reckoning comes, we will all answer for what we did for Him and how we did it. Nothing is hidden, so we must make sure our motivations and attitudes are right in the sight of God. Other people may see them or not, what matters is what God thinks and how He will view what we have put our time into, while here in this life.

Some believe that they can gain rewards for good works in this life, but that is not so. None of us has anything to give to God. We are sinful and all we do is tainted by wrong attitudes. The death of Christ bought for us righteousness, and it is give to us by Him. We cannot earn righteousness. It is a gift from God, like our forgiveness of sins. The good we have or practice, is because of God, and so we do our work humbly recognizing this.

It doesn’t matter how important we think we are, we are all at the same standing before a holy God. We are sinners and deserve no good thing, except through God’s mercy. This world might regard you as a celebrity or a person who doesn’t even have a name, but God sees us all on the same level, and judges us with the same righteous, holy, perfect criteria.

We can serve Him with confidence and vigour, knowing that we will receive His praise and our reward in heaven.

“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the expanse; and those who turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.”   Daniel 12:2-3

 

 

 

 

V9   You masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with him. 

 So we have here a very poignant and cogent instruction from God. If we are masters or managers or bosses, we must treat everyone who we are responsible for, with the same regard. We are not to lord it over people, because we are on the same level in real terms. There are no excuses about deserving or worthiness, or greater abilities. Respect is the touchstone, because God is over us all. How we treat each other will register with Him, and He will judge us under the same repressive rules that we use on others.

“Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you.”  Matthew 7:1-2

There is to be no repression, suppression, or domination over others. This world does not operate under this mindset, and it makes it very difficult for a Christian to operate in a godly way, within human organizations. Often it is impossible for a believer in the ways of God, to run or preside over secular institutions or business. The ways of God are not the ways of this world, and so Christians must serve God in a humble and often un-recognised way.

There should be no harshness. This is the style for secular work places and also seen in the religious organizations. We set up our organization according to the tradition of past patterns in church organization, and seem unable to ask if it is suitable from the teaching of scripture or for our day and age. We run it like a campaign, and decisions are made by a select and limited few. We focus on the physical and the spiritual elements are second.

In God’s view, the spiritual is all. We are to be a spiritual house.

“Putting away therefore all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisies, envies, and all evil speaking, as newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious:

coming to him, a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God, precious. You also, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Because it is contained in Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, chosen, and precious: He who believes in him will not be disappointed.”    1 Peter 2:1-6

This scripture speaks of the church of Christ through the ages. We are a spiritual, holy priesthood, who are living for God and to God.

There should be no threat of any kind, but only harmony and mutual regard for each other. We favour no one over another. We are even-handed and promote and help every child of God to grow and develop their skills so that they can serve the Lord better. Many organizations fail in this. Our human propensities come out in all we do, and to be different is to have little to offer the group. We don’t need to be unsettled because of this. It is the lot of those who followed God in ancient times. God’s measure of success is quite different from our human ideas. We favour people who fit in with us and can serve our ends.

We have “spiritual” leaders who gather people around them who will further their idea of the “Cause of Christ.” People acting like company executives, and following godless ideas about people and policies.

Jesus was not like this. He treated His disciples with equal regard, and taught them all. They all had ability to exercise the gifts given to them, and they all did amazing works of kindness and grace.

 

 “Most certainly I tell you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and he will do greater works than these, because I am going to my Father. Whatever you will ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you will ask anything in my name, I will do it.”    John 14:12-14

This particular verse is not promoting or soft-pedaling slavery as we perceive it. It is showing the relationships we are to have with each other, no matter what our social standing in this world might be.

Perhaps we suffer in our lives in this world. We have comfort in knowing that our Master in heaven cares for us. No matter how low we are treated or how low we feel, He loves us still and always will.

“Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you don’t believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, these testify about me. But you don’t believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I told you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”   John 10:25-30

If we walk faithfully and uprightly as leaders or as workers, we will be kept and our lives will flourish. 

 

 

 

 

V10    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

 A glorious, crowning instruction! Be strong… We can do it, because it is in His mighty power that we do so, and not our own. The Holy Spirit lives in every Christian, not more in some than others. We can quench His gracious work by seeking our own way and wanting the things of this life. We can lay off reading and studying the Word. We can shorten prayer and become lethargic about our spiritual exercises. If we do, we will become weak and therefore ineffective. The Spirit will be quietened and even silenced. We will fail, fall and never attempt anything significant for God. We will influence others, and the church will become apathetic and concerned only about light bulbs and carpets.

Stand up! Be strong! Seek the strength of the eternal Lord of heaven. He will give you power in your inner being, if you seek Him. Read the Word until you start to love it. Think of it at every opportunity. Rehearse it, learn it by heart share it with others. Pray. If you get tired after five minutes, keep going. Make a personal list of people to pray for. Watch their lives. Take an interest in them, talk to them, text them…

Seek the filling of the Holy Spirit of God. Don’t settle for half measures. Come before Him with tears, heart-felt desires. If you don’t have them, pray for them. Examine your life. Is my life a place where the Holy Spirit could be? What do I need to get rid of? What do I need to spend more time doing?

This is not “works” this is spiritual life. We cannot grow as Christians unless we eat, drink and breathe the Word, the power of prayer and the sacrificial life for others. Do not be fobbed off with “freedom” as if you can do whatever you like.

We need to examine and search the life of our Saviour Jesus. His life is nothing like the life of the average Christian in the Western world. We need to really think about the claims of JESUS, and examine whether we are of the faith or not….

If you have no power to overcome, and no desire to draw close to your God, you need to sort it out quickly…

If you are following closely behind your Lord, you should be gaining in strength and vigour daily and continually seeking more… this is freedom and power…

Don’t hang around people who never talk to you about God. Don’t be friends with people who claim the Spirit of God, but can’t and don’t do anything meaningful for God. Get some Christians who pray. Find people who love the Lord so much they talk about Him to you. Have friends that will share the works of God in their lives and who you can tell your faith to. This is what builds our faith and confidence and fellowship. Sitting in church with someone is not fellowship.!

Many Christians are finding encouragement and strength out in the wide world. To be living in godless times is great for building faith and the ability to live for God. In difficult places, we see our faith grow, as God gives us the power to walk worthy of Him.

 

 

 

 

V11    Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Here is the way to throw off slovenly mindsets and failure. Put of the armour that God has provided for you. This armour is all you need and will give you the victory in every dimension. You will overcome the weakness of the fleshly desires that pull you away from spiritual life. Your mind will become strong and resilient as you learn to brandish the sword of Scripture in every part and aspect of your life. You will gain a disciplined heart that will not forsake its duties, which become more precious and sweet to the taste each day.

It is right with you… the truth of the Word of God. You can read it and think about it, at an opportunity. It is a treasure beyond price. All other books are subjugated by it. To have the Scripture alone, is to have Christ. It is to have everything.

But somehow it seems unpalatable. Get a hold over your human desires and as you read the Word, it will strengthen you and show you how the truth works in your daily life. Learn to apply it to your reality. It is sufficient for every time, place, and person. Do not be deflected from this. Do not turn to sermons, no matter how great they are, or how exalted the person speaking might be. You are building a relationship with God, and so it must be personal – you and Him.!

It you decide to take a short cut and just listen to stuff online, you will lack strength and your knowledge of the Scripture and GOD, will be secondhand. You will not be able to handle the actual book, and you will not know the Saviour who is revealed there, as your personal Lord and friend.

If the devil can get you hooked or sidetracked away from the Word, you will be easy prey. There are too many who look to professional ministers to do the hard work and then feed them on Sunday, and that is it for them. They just take what is dished out from the front, and have no, or very little ownership of it, and it is not valued, except for salving the conscience, and lulling the soul to sleep. The person who speaks publicly must be stirring up the people of God to follow God with a whole heart, and not encouraging people to think highly of themselves. The minister must not be seen, and all regard directed to Christ. We fade away, and He increases. Self is put down. “None of self, and all of Thee..”

Those people who put on the armour of God, are up for the fight and are seeking ways to serve and witness and get the victory over themselves. They want to become like Jesus. They are not put off with the wounds of the battle or the pains as they wrench away all that holds them back.

They practice and use the armour so that they are proficient in using it, and therefore can stand up against the evil machinations of the enemy of the soul. Satan is smart and has many ways to deflect our devotion to our Saviour God. We must stand against it.

There are books that seem like the Bible, and even sound like the Bible, but they are not. There is no other book worth quoting, or other words to be worthy of remembering. It is actually the Word of God, the person of Christ and is eternally secured in heaven.

 

 

 

V12   “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” 

We may have to wrestle with the injustice of rulers and managers and bosses, but it is nothing to the monumental struggle the Christian faces with the powers of darkness. There are layers of dark power that we are usually unaware of. They have rule and authority over the things that happen in the world, as God permits some of them. None of them are outside His supreme dominion and none exercise control without God’s express will.

They bolster up the Kings and Queens and Presidents and Tyrants of this present worldly age. The secular powers of human beings do not recognize or acknowledge them, and foolish human philosophy believes it has control and can actually change the world. The dark power of this world is Satan and his entourage of devils, demons and all sorts of malevolent beings. They have abilities to maneuver and cajole proud humans into carrying out their will. How foolish we are. Even though we see the strident and obvious effects of evil and how it overcomes human life, we still think we can handle it, and beat it.

These dark spiritual forces are in our world, and the heavenly realms around us. It is tempting to believe that if we just leave the planet, we will escape the forces of this monstrous kingdom of ill. These powers follow us to the moon, Mars, and wherever else we might go.

The power of evil is everywhere in our whole system of time and space. It is also, in our own godless hearts. We forget that also, conveniently…!

The powers of the darkness can easily tap into fallen, sinful hearts and manipulate them at will. Humans are no match for these dark, spiritual beings, and we are often duped because of our darkened minds and hard hearts towards the holy God. There is a war going on for hearts and minds of the creature, Human. Satan will fight and deceive until the bitter end, but God will finally overcome. Until then, the fight is on. We lay down our weapons in folly, if we think it is quiet or over…

This war is serious. It is a war for your eternal soul. Unless God wakens you, you will never see it. This is human kinds greatest tragedy. We don’t see it. We march headlong into eternity and lose the war, often without even firing a shot…

 

 

 

 

V13    “Therefore put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

The Apostle Paul using the Word of God, implores us to waken up, see the dangers and put on the armour. We don’t have to perish. We don’t have to go through our lives blind to the truth about ourselves and God, or dead to His love and full and free salvation that He offers to us. When the evil day of temptation, accusation, suffering and death comes to those who believe, as it surely will, we will not be destroyed at all.

Put all the armour on, not just one bit. The enemy knows just where to strike and he is ruthless and cruel. Don’t let him get a chink in your defenses.! Get yourself ready for the day when the big offensive will come. You need to practice using all aspects of the armour so that you can be effective and the fiery darts, which will definitely come, will be extinguished.

When the enemy comes you will stand your ground. Defeat is not an outcome. You don’t have to lie down under the onslaught, but you can stand true and sure. Stand your ground. Don’t waver or wonder or wish… just stand, and when you have used every piece of armour against the prince of darkness, you will still stand. This is the promise of God to everyone who loves Him enough to accept His protection and learn to fight with Him and for Him.

 

 

 

 

 V14   Stand therefore, having the utility belt of truth buckled around your waist, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 

So we find ourselves standing. It is not apologetic or cowardly standing, but standing in the certainly of truth. The truth binds up all that we are and keeps everything in the right place. The priorities of life are in the correct order and the mind is familiar with all the aspects of God’s Word so that it can be used at the right time. It is deliberately buckled around the waist and is valued and can be used for good purposes.

The belt of truth girds up the mind, so that it is ready of action and is stable and secure in the one who gave it. The mind is a key battleground in this fight, and it must be kept secure by continual rehearsal of the truth and a steady understanding of it. When the challenge comes, the warrior is ready to address the falsehood and stand secure in the truth.

Another key battleground is the moral strength of the believer. Living in a world full of immorality and unclean living and ideals, it is crucial that the chest and heart is kept safe from the impact of this kind of attack against it. It will surely come and repeatedly, since we are weak in that regard and fall easily. We make straight paths for our feet and build up our resistance against this type of attack.

The Christian in armour does not blame other people, or typecast kinds of people, as we see it. The Christian has righteous attitudes and just ways of thinking. This happens with the constant learning from the Word of truth and obeying it. The sinfulness does not just come from outside of us, but is deep in our own hearts.

We need to address ourselves and buckle up the breastplate of our spiritual strength to protect ourselves from our own deep moral weaknesses and failings.

Society has issues that we disagree with. We do not fight with hate or emotional rhetoric, but with the truth of God supporting our minds and our lives lived in the righteous way. This will be a powerful witness to those who disagree. People will see the power in us that comes from God, and maybe even be attracted to Him.

We need to watch what we look at, listen to and imbibe. The idea of abstinence from anything seems to have fallen by the wayside in our modern world views, and we make traps for ourselves in the name of “freedom” and “Christian liberty.”

Our flesh is superbly weak and we are so foolish we think we can handle it. The breastplate slips or gets discarded in the search for fulfillment in this life and we fall prey to error, worldliness and downright evil.

If I keep the breast protection and heart defenses in place, through my spiritual walk and life with God, I will enjoy great peace and the joy of close communion with my Saviour Jesus. The precious Holy Spirit will fill my life and my desires will be for God and all His ways. The slights and loses will be as nothing compared to the joy of knowing my Lord and contemplating the future with Him.

Beware those who preach “peace” The Christian has peace with God though Christ, but our lives are spent in mortal conflict with our flesh, this corrupt world and the forces of evil that abound. Do not be deceived. You will fight to the end.

 

 

 

 

V15     and having fitted your feet with the preparation of the Good News of peace, 

 The feet of the Christian are always ready to go and share the good news of “Peace with God, through Christ.” The gospel itself makes us ready to share and obey the Lord in going wherever he commands us to go. As we have been rescued from death and the constant situation of war with God, so we should desire to tell others how they too can be set free. As we have received love from Christ, so we want to reach out to others in love.

The gospel witness is not slow to move or speak. It takes every opportunity to minister the Word of God and appeal to the heart of unbelievers, of their need for repentance and faith. It is not a complacent message, but full of earnestness and grace for the salvation of outsiders, that they might be brought into the kingdom. It is not embarrassed about the Lord Jesus, or reticent to speak His name. God gives the courage to those who believe, gives them an outward looking spirit and a clear tongue.

If you are a Christian then your feet are fitted with this message of peace. You will serve and speak and act for the sake of Christ and lost people who do not know or who stubbornly refuse to come to repentance. It’s like having winged feet, or winged shoes, that go to the point of need when direction is given. When the Spirit of God exercises your thoughts and desires after a person, or group of persons, the Christian will go.

The message must be clear. There is no salvation without repentance and faith. We cannot cling on to our own pet likes and lifestyle… All must be repented of and our whole self handed over to God. Every sin must be turned from, no matter how it grieves us. We cannot pick and choose. It we do not repent, there is no salvation and only certain judgment to face.

“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which will devour the adversaries. A man who disregards Moses’ law dies without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will he be judged worthy of, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance belongs to me,” says the Lord, “I will repay.” Again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”   Hebrews 10:26-31

To face this judgment and eternal punishment, is most dreadful. We don’t think of it or even believe it, because it seems so extreme. We fail to understand the nature and severity of our sinful state before a holy God. We think he is “loose and placid” as we are. We make a terrible mistake.

“But the righteous will live by faith. If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”

But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the saving of the soul.”   Hebrews 10:38-39

Let us not be fools in our view of God… the only peace is His peace…

 

 

 

 

V16    above all, taking up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. 

This is a most precious truth for the Christian. When the enemy of our souls decides to trouble us, there is reprieve. When he throws in doubts and fears of all kinds, and tries to loosen our hold on Christ, he will not succeed. We have the glorious shield of Faith. Faith will conquer all negativity, all hurtful temptations and thoughts. We must learn to see the firey darts coming, and then put up our shield of faith to block them from entering into our beings, or hurting our souls in any way.

This takes practice. We need to learn the scriptures well and God will bring them to our minds at the right time. Others can be discouraging at times and think we are being foolish, but God is teaching you the skills your need for the life-long struggle of the Christians life.

When the enemy attacks, raise the shield of faith in God’s Word, and the darts will not get through. You will become proficient at this. The enemy will try something else. He will attach you at night, when you are most vulnerable. He is heartless and cruel and nothing is below him in meanness. You may find yourself in the dark being crushed and tormented by doubts and fears, and your physical body may be in a state of panic. Do not fear. You might feel alone, but you are not. God sometimes withdraws feeling from us, so that we will fight in faith, not leaning on how we feel, and our faith becomes stronger.

Be ready for it. Learn the Word of God by heart. Learn to sing hymns and songs without the prompt of the written words. Then, if you have one that fits the situation, it can help to remind your faith that God is there and you are able to conquer this in His strength that He gives you. You have the power of the Spirit to help you, and you will not fail.

Learning hymns. Hymns are not scripture, but many, especially the older ones, have deep truths embedded in their structure. For some people, the rhyme structure is also a good help to remember the words. It is a great support to learn the Psalms, for instance. To be able to sing hymns and Psalms to yourself in the dark valley, is a glorious blessing.

The firey darts do not last, in fact they are extinguished really easily. Once they hit the shield of faith, they are out.! Another will come, we rebuff it in faith and remembrance of the Word of God. It won’t last long. Once the enemy sees you have that shield in place and know how to use it, he will get tired.

He will find another way to test you… and so it goes on. As the enemy attacks and tries to hurt, so our faith never yields and becomes stronger. The attacks can be virulent, but the Christian in armour, never fails. The attacks are actually strengthening faith and making us bolder.

As the enemy attacks, so he is doing God’s work!

Even such things as sickness and other troubles, they do the long-term work of God in our lives.

Perhaps we can learn to embrace these seeming negatives. God does not send us trouble we cannot bear.

 

  

 

V17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 The mind is a monumental battle-ground. The helmet of Salvation will protect the mind from the malevolent intentions of outside forces. Every force that is outside Christ, or contradicts His word, is evil. We must be very careful what we allow inside our minds. The media is full of error, evil and envy. It propagates ideas that are false and will lead us away from God, and yet we tolerate it. We are happy to watch and listen to immoral words and deeds and then think we can draw close to God? We need to keep our minds and lives clean and clear, so that the Word of God can settle there and become second nature to us.

The sword must be always ready. If we spend time in the Word, we will get strength and motivation to live and love Christ in an increasing way. No complacency here. No second hand experiences, only a close walk with God and a growing in grace.

The time we spend in worldly pursuits will dull the edge of the sword, and the fight to be holy, will be more difficult. We need the protection of the truths of the gospel, and the ability to fight doubt, fear, error, temptation and sloth, every moment of our lives. We are in a fight to the death. God’s people cannot die, but we can be rendered inhert.

The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God can wield that blade and cause great damage to the enemy. No one can use the Word without the Spirit. Every Christian has the Spirit of God and so can learn to wield it in the fight for holiness and souls.

These two pieces of armour remind us of the two great interests of the Christians. They are the path to righteousness and the desire to lead others to righteousness.

Every Christians is a sword bearer. There is no such thing as a Christian with no interest in the Word.

We fight the enemy until that great day, when our Lord will return and Satan is put to flight forever. Until that day, keep the helmet in place and the sword sharp.

 

 

 

 

 V18    with all prayer and requests, praying at all times in the Spirit, and being watchful to this end in all perseverance and requests for all the saints: 

 Oh the power we have at our disposal.! Pray in the Spirit at all times… whatever we are doing, it requires prayer. If we do direct work of Christ, we need His love and power to apply the wisdom and truth He as taught us. We need to be much in prayer.

If we have secular work, it is done to the glory of God and we need the Holy Spirit is give us strength to subdue evil and overcome in the name of Christ. We need patience and fortitude to bear with people who do not know Him. We need courage to speak up when the time comes to do so.

Praying all kind of prayers. Every topic is a prayer topic. God listens to His people and waits for them to acknowledge their need and pray. We don’t pray when we think we can do it on our own. Pray keeps us humble because it reminds us that we are powerless without our gracious God and our motivations fail when we depend on ourselves.

There are many ideas to help us to pray and to focus on what we are praying about. We can go into the inner quiet place and petition God with the many things and people in our lives. We can walk around, especially a place where we minister to God, and pray for the people we know there. We can look at our emails, texts or apps and pray for the people and organizations who serve the Lord and support them in prayer. We can watch the news and pray for the tragedy and failure we see there. We can pray for the people on the list of colleagues at our work… and so on…

With the fact that prayer is powerful and God answers prayer, we need to be full awake and on guard against prayerlessness. We need to keep praying for God’s people and never give up. As God’s people pray for each other, so we are built up in strength and in true fellowship as we serve the Lord together.

Prayer is the air that the Christians breathes. We die quickly without it.

 

 

 

 

V19   on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Good News, 

The Apostle Paul feels the need for prayer. He feels his weakness acutely. He asks the other Christians to pray for him when he speaks, so that the right words will be spoken to the other person. He wants to be sure the words he speaks are right and true, as he speaks the words of life, through the gospel.

He asks for a holy boldness that will cause him to explain the mystery of the love of Christ and the unfathomable riches of the truth of salvation. If he feels fearful at other times, he wants to be fearless when the time comes to speak the message of grace. Paul has already faced some strong opposition and powerful enemies, and he has proved the power of prayer in those times. He knows that the answer to gain strength for future opposition, is also prayer.

For Paul, the key task in his whole life, is the presentation of the gospel. He knows this is the message of power that can change lives and turn people to the living God. So we too. How much we need insight, love, knowledge, courage, and the Spirit of God who gives us these things. Prayer is the way to have these things and to change our own cold hearts to live as God requires.

 

 

 

 

V20   for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. 

This powerful gospel of God is the reason Paul is in chains. He calls himself an ambassador in chains. Maybe he sees himself as the first to be in chains for the sake of the gospel, and he knows there will be more people who will suffer this humiliation. And yet it is also a kind of glory to him. We have to wonder with Paul, why the gospel causes such offence to people in secular society and why there is such an extreme reaction to it, and therefore himself as the messenger.

Paul was no slouch in terms of education and qualifications for religion and leadership, and yet even though he saw the dangers, he walked right into them. To be a representative of Christ meant more to him than anything else.

Paul prays for more boldness. The boldness to preach to the people who troubled him and caused him such pains, he asks for more courage. He refuses to be apologetic and try to temper his message and where he speaks it. He asks for a fearlessness that comes from God, and asks for the Christians to pray for it for him. He wants to declare the message, the way God would want His message of salvation to be preached to everyone.

Paul never lets himself off the hook. He is not thinking of strategies to get himself heard, or where to witness so that he will not get too much opposition. His own human motivations are put to flight as he seeks God’s will and purposes for spreading the message. He is a dear and loving ambassador for Jesus Christ, and lays his whole life on the line for the sake of His work.

 

 

 

 V21     But that you also may know my affairs, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will make known to you all things.

 Paul cannot be with the Ephesians just now. He is sending Tychicus to relate the information and prayer requests to the church in Ephesus. Tychicus carried the letter of the Apostle Paul to a number of places, Ephesus being one of them. Tychicus was a believer from Asia, and therefore a Gentile. Paul calls him his brother, companion and fellow minister in the Lord.

Paul has had close dealings with the church in Ephesus, and he feels a big responsibility towards them. He wants to build their faith and not pull it down. Tychicus will take the letter and fill in any details the Christians might ask about the situation. Paul trusted Tychicus and was secure in his sending of this brother to communicate with the Ephesians.

As we see from the whole letter, Paul does not let the Christians at Ephesus contemplate a softer lifestyle than his own. Paul knows this way is the way to life and peace.

Perhaps Paul was kept in chains, so that he would have to rely on the love and faith of other believers. God is doing His work in His way, and Paul is His servant. Those who trust God will be tested and their faith must hold. In all circumstances the Apostle gave thanks to God. So also must we acquiesce to His loving will, whatever that might be for us.

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God..”   Ephesians 1:1

So we go back to the first line of the letter to the Ephesians. Paul’s life is not his own, but is directed and purposed by the living God. This is the state of every believer in Christ.

 

 

 

V22 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you

The reason Paul sends Tychicus is because he is trustworthy and has been with Paul through many hardships. Paul knows Tychicus will interpret events and the words of the letter in a spiritual way. Paul wants the Christians in Ephesus to know exactly what is happening to him, so that they can pray intelligently for Paul and the spread of the Gospel of new life in Christ.

Paul wants to be sure that the Ephesians are encouraged and not looking at the events in Paul’s life in a secular way. God has purposed all things in the Apostles life, and all thing work together for good of those who love God, and also for the spread of His kingdom. It is easy to misinterpret words on paper or screen, so that is why Paul sends a person with the letter. It is also why God sends the Holy Spirit so that His people will be taught by God Himself, and not at the whim of human interpreters.

It is easy to be discouraged. There seems so little of God in our world today. The walls are building up against God, and those who love Him. But we are not to fear, because in all things, God is working out His purposes for His glory and our good. Whatever happens, the person of faith will keep going.

 

 

 

V23    Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Though Paul is in chains, he sends words and sentiments of peace. In all circumstances, Paul has learned to be content. He knows God and trusts in the sovereign power and will of God to order his life and everything that happens to him. He can send peace, because he knows it himself. Paul is in chains, but is at peace, so the brothers and sisters, in Ephesus can be at peace too.

Paul sends love. Not sentimental love, but the strong and protecting love of the Holy Spirit. Again, Paul knows this in his life. He knows what love is, as he has laid down his life for the Gentile believers and those who would be saved.

Paul’s faith keeps her hold. His total trust in his Heavenly father allows him to rest in the peace of God in all circumstances. It is amazing that Paul can have such hope and trust, when he is so often in such dire straights. Not only does he keep his hold, but he can encourage others to also keep hold of the Father in heaven and Christ. Paul is an experimental Christian, who knows His God and His purposes very well.

His life is a total challenge to every Christian who reads his words. His walk was close with God, so we find Paul’s words are written in the power of the Spirit and are the very Words of God.

 

 

 

V24   Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love. Amen

Another translation uses the word, “Undying” instead of incorruptible. It is a beautiful thought and a lively reality that our love is undying and not able to be corrupted.

Paul offers one last prayer to the father. He asks that Gods; people, whoever they are, will experience the grace of God. God’s people are identified as those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. What a wonderful phrase this is… Paul doesn’t list doctrine, church constitutions, theological positions, or qualifications. He asks for grace to be given to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with a love that never fails, or ends, or is quenched, or relinquishes its hold on Him.

We are saved through faith, not of ourselves, but of God. Yet we should have a real and undying hold on Christ that no power or temptation will ever pull us away from.

To those who have read this devotional commentary, this is also my prayer. That we love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love…. Amen Lord, let it be so…