November 16th – Les Kovacs Ephesians 5 - 6
Observe: These chapters are a continuation of Paul’s thoughts from Chapter 4, in which he discussed sins we, as Christians, should avoid. We are to live as dearly loved children of God, imitating the life of Jesus. Paul encourages us to be Christ-like in our lives, to live as children of the light, not as those who live in darkness, with their impure ways. Those who pursue those impure ways have no inheritance in God’s kingdom. We may have once dwelt in the darkness, but because of Christ, we now live in the light. We must be careful to do only what is pleasing to God, and to praise Him for all He has done for us.
After discussing a lifestyle that contrary to walking in love as an imitation of Jesus, Paul then gives a description of what walking in love looks like. The greatest example of walking I love was to give up your life for another, which is what Christ did for us. The next greatest example is to give up our will to one another, in a lifestyle of mutual submission. In marriage, both husband and wife are to submit to each other, with their main motivation being a submission to the Lord.
Beyond the example of marriage, Paul then speaks to the family relationships, saying that children must submit to their parents, in the Lord. He points out that this is the first commandment that contains a promise, “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Parents also should not provoke their children, but raise them with a knowledge and understanding of God.
Paul then addresses the relationship of master and slave, calling each to deal with one another with respect out of submission to the Lord, because they both have a Master in Heaven who will deal with them according to how they each deal with the other.
Finally, Paul says to stay strong in the Lord and His mighty power by putting on the full armour of God. That is what will protect you from all the attacks of the enemy, in all its worldly forms. The armour of God is the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Interpret: In these chapters, we see Paul return to themes that he has touched upon before, namely walking in love in imitation of Jesus, and submission to one another in love as an act of submission to God. Paul contrasts the old ways of living in the spiritual darkness of the world, with the new ways of living in the light of the love of Christ. We are to demonstrate our love for one another by submitting to each other out of obedience to God. Regardless of our relationship with the other person, whether as a spouse, a family member or someone in a work relationship, we are to put the other person’s interests ahead of our own. Being imitators of Christ means imitating His submission to God. Jesus put our spiritual well-being ahead of His own life.
Paul knows how difficult that depth of submission is for us. The only way for us to persevere in our love for one another is to immerse ourselves in Christ, to put on the armour of God. When Paul says “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power”, we understand that all the pieces of this armor come from God. The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit are all gifts from God to His people to strengthen and encourage us, to allow us to stand firm in our faith and
Application: Paul’s teaching on the submission of wives to their husbands and the husband’s devotion to his wife to the point of sacrificing his life for her has been so horribly misunderstood, misrepresented, and misused that most people in western society shrink from discussing these passages as if their ears would explode upon just hearing the words. But they miss the point Paul is making. As imitators of Christ, we are to submit to each other in love, out of obedience to God. We are to respect the dignity and welfare of every human being, especially those whom we love the most. We must hear their voices. We must share their burdens. We must offer them our help. We must serve each other as if we serving God directly, because we are. In Matthew 25:34-40, Jesus is telling His disciples about the sheep and the goats, and when asked by the sheep when they had ever served Him in all those deplorable circumstances, the King (Jesus) replied, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
None of this is possible without putting on the armour of God every single day.
Questions: Husbands and wives, parents and children, employers and employees, do you love each other enough, within your context, to put the other person ahead of yourself?
Prayer: Father God, you are the source of all goodness and love. Help us to put on the armour of God, without which we are vulnerable to the dark influences of this world, and without which we know we cannot serve you in love and Obedience. Help us to submit to each other and serve them just as we submit our will to yours and serve only you. In the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Big Daddy Weave - Audience of One - YouTube
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.