Good Advice

Children, obey your parents in the Lord [as His representatives], for this is just and right. Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother—this is the first commandment with a promise—That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth (Ephesians 6:1-3 Amplified Bible).

Ephesians 6:1-9 Amplified Bible
Ephesians 6:2,3 New Century Bible
Ephesians 6:1-9 The Message
Ephesians 6:1-9 In your Bible

Paul gives guidance in practical matters. He literally says a child of God—a believer (man, woman, child, or a master or slave) can and must be a living witness to the power of Christ in his life.* Obedience is a key outward sign of trusting the Lord.

Children

Paul uses a direct command from Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16 (honor your father and mother), the first command with a promise . . . Then everything will be well with you, and you will have a long life on the earth (Ephesians 6:2,3 New Century Version).

Our model here is the Christian family with Jesus as the head. Paul also challenges fathers [and mothers] not to exasperate their children or provoke them to anger. That is not what Christ would do.

Children are to be nurtured with the love and patience of the Lord. The love is there, but the patience is often lacking. In this combination, love strengthens the patience.

Slaves and Masters

The appeal continues with advice to slaves . . .respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye on obeying your real master, Christ (Ephesians 5:6 The Message).

Paul gives similar guidance to masters, . . . no abuse, please and no threats. You and your servants are both under the same Master in heaven. He makes no distinction between you and them (Ephesians 6:9 The Message).

Prayer: Father, I know I owe everything to you, give me strength to me see this guidance for living to honor you.

Question: How do these guidelines impact your understanding of how God wants you to implement your family responsibilities?

* What the Bible is all About, Henrietta C. Mears, Regal Books, Glendale, California, 1974, p. 503.

Relationships – Part 2

That secret truth is very important—I am talking about Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:32 Easy to Read Bible).

Ephesians 5:22-33 Easy To Read Bible
Ephesians 5:22-33 Amplified Bible
Ephesians 5:22-33 In Your Bible

In ancient times, marriages were often arranged and not usually based on love, honor, or respect. While Paul is not attempting to change the custom, he says a believer must reverse his thinking. In marriage a man must be as dedicated to loving his wife as Christ loves the Church.

Husbands and Wives

Paul views the Christian marriage as the most precious relationship in life. This seems different than what he says in I Corinthians 7. After nine years * waiting for the return of Jesus, Paul now focuses on living for Christ.

Paul doesn’t diminish the role of husband or wife, nor suggest they are equals, as some would today. He shows this relationship is to be based on love, not control over one another.

The husband’s love must be sacrificial, purifying, caring, and unbreakable—in the Lord. In a Christian marriage there are three partners; Jesus Christ is the first, the husband second and then wife.

The Mystery of the Church

Through parallelism Paul shows how the believer should walk in submission with Jesus’ love. Believers, we can.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, that He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless]. . . This mystery is very great, but I speak concerning [the relation of] Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:25-27,32 Amplified Bible).

Prayer: Father, thank you for showing the marriage relationship you want. I want this too.

Questions: When you first heard of marriage being parallel to Christ and his bride, how did it affect your own marriage? When did you last hear that the Church is the bride of Christ?

* The Daily Study Bible, Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians, William Barclay, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia1958, p. 203.

A Life Of Praise – Part 1

Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God and Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:19,20 The Message).

Ephesians 5:1-21 Amplified Bible
Ephesians 5:1-21 The Message
Ephesians 5:1-21 In Your Bible

In this chapter Paul strongly emphasizes what the believer should say, be, and do. Our model of course is Jesus. We should keep our eyes on how he shows us to live life.

Warnings About Sin

In the ancient world and today, too many view sexual sin, lust, and greed not as sin at all—just the way of life. As believers we should thank God daily, for helping us through this dangerous path the world wants us to follow.

 Walk in the Spirit

In Ephesians 5:18-20, Paul vividly reveals how to walk in the Spirit . . .18b but ever be filled and stimulated with the Holy Spirit.19 Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices and instruments and making melody with all your heart to the Lord. 20 At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One (Ephesians 5:18b-20 Amplified Bible)

We may wonder what this wording in Ephesians 5:19 means. John Wesley’s Commentary* may help us to understand better:

  • Sing songs of praise to God to express joy.
  • Believers should speak in their assemblies and meetings for mutual edification.
  • Psalms here may mean David’s psalms or other compositions sung with musical instruments.
  • Hymns here may mean other songs from Zacharias, Simeon, and others that were filled with praise.
  • Spiritual songs here may contain a greater variety of doctrinal, prophetic, and historical material.

The early church was a singing and thankful place where believers respected and honored one another.**

It’s no wonder that Paul adds, that the Spirit filled believer can . . .At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One (Ephesians 5:20,21 Amplified Bible).

What heart-warming words for us today. Ponder this. Ask yourself why do we keep so silent? Selah.

Prayer: Father, I want to praise you in all, all, yes all things. Help me.

Questions: Paul’s instructions to walk in the Spirit show us a way to live in a society where sin is rampant. In your daily life, how does music help you avoid temptation and sin? How does a thankful attitude enhance your walk with Jesus?

* The Study Gospel Online, Wesley Commentary for Ephesians 5 ewordtoday.com

** The Daily Study Bible, Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians, William Barclay, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia1958, pp 197, 198.

Don’t Grieve God

Ephesians 4 Part 3

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word is a gift (Ephesians 4:25 The Message).

Ephesians 4:25-32 The Message
Ephesians 4:25-32 In your Bible

Paul explains crucial aspects of speaking a believer needs to implement daily to help build a relationship with his neighbor and with the God. What you the believer says or may not say, can hurt our relationship with the Father and hinder our relationship with anyone else.  Paul says to take on the character of Christ. Christ says, I want these attributes in you so you can be blessed.

Don’t Grieve God

The Message says nicely what other Bible versions state rather harshly. It says, Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself (Ephesians 4:29,30 The Message).

Here you get the feeling of what God wants for you—his Holy Spirit moving and breathing in you. How good is that?

Forgive One Another

Paul states what Jesus said repeatedly. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32). Notice it says thoroughly, not in part! True, deep, sincere forgiveness is easier if the Holy Spirit guides us to act promptly. Yes, Jesus Christ did so for us.

Prayer: Father, I ask you to clean my lips (as your Word says in Isaiah 9:6) and seal them, so my speech acceptable to you.

Questions: What do you do to grieve God? If you haven’t done so already, make a list of those who you feel you should ask forgiveness from. Then ask the Holy Spirit to finish the list.