Though a few circumstances have changed concerning my personal life since I begun our study of Ephesians I am glad to be able to wrap it up with chapter six.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1-4)
In modern culture we tend to lack respect for our parents due to secular pressure on independence.
But honoring our parents is a command that has nothing to do with our parents, it has everything to do with us because it is for our own good more than theirs. Those who honor their parents will tend to be more prosperous and happy in life. This may not be well accepted but it is what the Bible teaches.
Growing up my Dad and I seemed to always clash. My Dad being an authoritative type while I have always been a creative and imaginative type. Talk about clash. It’s like OCD meets ADD.
Although I have not always agreed with my Dad on many things, I try a great deal to honor him with my life and words. This command is not about him as much as it is about me. How am I to honor God as my heavenly Father if I can’t even honor my earthly one? And one thing he did right was teach me about the love of God for sinners. And I hope to always commend him for this.
Fathers do not provoke your children to wrath. Fathers who belittle their children and constantly point out their flaws while never seeming to commend them for their good traits and accomplishments and provoking their children to anger. Do your children look forward to see you when you come home or do they dread the hour? Fathers who provoke their children’s wrath seem to make too many withdrawals and too little or no deposits in their lives. This is outright sinful and is not only devastating for the parents but for the child.
Parents let’s commend our children when they do right and correct them towards righteousness when they do wrong. There is no need for strife, competition, and putting our own selfish needs before other’s needs. This always ends in division and possibly a hatred for the gospel.
Bondservants, 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 bondservants 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 bondservant or is free. 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. (v5-9)
So we don’t just serve our masters to serve them but to serve God. The reason for authority is so that we better understand our relationship with God. This is understood when both those in and under authority do not abuse their authority. But whether one or both do, the command stands regardless.
Do not serve half-heartedly just to get rewards or to gain recognition for your pride. Serve your earthly authority as though you are serving the Lord Himself.
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. 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. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (v10-20)
Take up the armor of God and always be on guard against your enemy who is seeking to kill and destroy. This does not involve getting hyped up and angry at the devil at all. It means being missionally prepared to fight him in expectation that he will come for you.
Some people think that barking commands at the devil and praying prayers over your home will keep him out while they live in gluttony. And though chasing demonic forces away from your home and praying prayers over your home are good and right when used rightly, these things are not what Paul is talking about in Ephesians 6. He is saying that your enemy is abroad and to be prepared so take up the Word of God that is like a sword, the faith in Christ that is like a shield, the truth and knowledge that the Lord has given you which is like a belt, the readiness to go where the gospel commands which are like shoes that cannot be outrun, and the righteousness of Christ which is given to you by His own life, death, and resurrection which is like a breastplate.
I think it is clear that these are the steps we must take as Christians to not only fight for our lives but the lives of our family. When all is said and done I want myself, Averie, Bethany, Samuel, and Paul to stand before the Lord as obedient in Christ Jesus. Therefore, I will strive to love, provide, and fight for them because I know that one day we will all stand before a Holy God. In and ofourselves we are sinful and damnable before a Holy God, but Christ is righteous and rewarded before our Holy God, and those of us who are in Him are not made Holy. God bless, Joel