Ephesians 5:21-6:24 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Out of Reverence for Christ
Comments for Study 5

Ephesians 5:21-6:24
Memory Verse: 5:2


I. Be Imitators of God (5:21-6:9)

>1. What should be our mindset toward other believers in Jesus? (21)

* Ephesians 5:21 'Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."

* "Submit to one another" -Submitting goes completely against the ways of the world. No exception is given; pastors, missionaries, leaders, directors, elders, deacons, layman, male, female, adult, and youth. Submit means to yield or surrender will and commit to the judgement of another.

* The following paragraphs builds on this one thought.

* The grammar indicates that this mutual submission is associated with the filling of the Spirit. (18) The command to "be filled" (18) is followed by a series of participles in the Greek. (NIV Study Bible)

* "out of reverence for Christ" -The fear of God is common in the Bible. As a youth I went to church every Sunday and heard how the Lord Jesus is a God of love over and over again. So when I came upon the verses that speak of the fear of the Lord and reverence for him I had a hard time understanding how anyone could fear a loving God. My lack of understanding came from a lack of understanding judgement and permanent separation from God, everything that is good. "The fear of God is a reverence toward him that makes one afraid of displeasing God." (Wycliffe Bible Commentary)

* Submitting to another does not mean we become a doormat. Submitting in Christ is giving up our rights for the same of another just as Jesus gave up his rights when he left heaven and became flesh and blood. Submitting one's rights whether in a congregation or in a family is not problem when all members are full of the Spirit.

* "The biggest test of the gospel's transforming power is in environment of the home." (A Self-Study Guide, Irving L. Jensen)

* Your first test is what was your thoughts fixed on when you read this section? Was it on your rights or your responsibilities?

* Submission does not imply inferiority.

* Romans 12:3 "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."

>2. Why might it be hard for wives to submit to husbands? (22)

* Ephesians 5:22 "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord."

* We are all sinners; even the redeemed. We all make mistakes; even the wisest. For a wife to give up her rights to such a person means trust, not in her husband, but their God. God work's in a family that trusts in Jesus through the husband. For example God gave direction for baby Jesus' family to Joseph, not Mary.

* Submitting is a choice based on faith in God.

* Obey is never used in Scripture in regard to wives. Peter gives a reason for this. He wrote, "Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives... submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear." (1 Peter 3:1-2, 5b-8)

* Order in the home is meant, not to puff up a browbeating husband.

* The question sometimes is asked, "What should a wife do if the husband is unsaved or a backslider?" There are several examples; for example Tamar and Esther. No one, wife or husband is to do anything against the ways of the Lord if another tells them to. For example, the apostles did not submit to their Jewish religious leaders when they were ordered to stop preaching Jesus' name. The same would be true if the husband is a drunk and beats his wife; leave him, pray for him, and do all to avoid divorce. "As is fitting to the Lord" is added and is very important here.

>What does the husband and wife team compare to? (23-24)

* Ephesians 5:23-24 "For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything."

* "as christ is the head of the church" -Paul uses the illustration of the church's submission to Jesus. All believers in Jesus give us their rights and will to Jesus' will. We follow his lead. The best following of course is with a joyful and trusting heart.

* "in everything" -This is pretty clear, though in some things it may be hard. I believe that a wife who submits her will to her believing husband will receive a reward in heaven.

>3. Who are husbands to follow in loving their wives? (25)

* Ephesians 5:25 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her"

* "love your wives" -Practical acts of love toward a husband's wife can be just as hard for most men as submitting to a husband's will is for most wives. Love here is not just a feeling; it is actions that come from love. A feeling that has no actions is as dead as faith without action.

* Colossians 3:19 adds "do not be harsh with them". Harsh here is both physically and verbally. New and young husbands (and some older one's too) do not realize how much hurt and joy their words can bring to their wives. I shutter to think of all the wrongs words I've said to my wive and all the words I should have said to her. Controlling the tongue takes love and wisdom; the word of the Holy Spirit. A kind word and a compliment goes a long way in making a wife beautiful. Won't you have much joy if Jesus were to say to you when you enter heaven with a big grin, "Well done my faithful and beautiful much loved one!" even though you burnt the dinner.

>What did he do for us? (26-27)

* Ephesians 5:26-27 "to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.'

* "to make her holy" -Holy mean pure, without sin. Jesus had to go through suffering and death so that we could be pure, without sin. This is the extent that a husband is to give up his life for his wife. In a way being a husband is a test to see if we understand and accept what Jesus did for us to the extent of practicing it in our marraige.

* "by the washing with water through the word" -The Bible is described as water. Water baptism is not meant here. Studying Jesus' word (old and new testaments) will wash a receptive heart.

* Ezekiel 36:25-27 "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws."

* "radiant church" -Jesus is described by John in Revelation as radiant. Jesus when he was transformed on the mount is described, "His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light." (Matt. 17:2) 1 John 3:2-3 states, "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure."

>How are husbands to view their wives? (28; Matt. 19:4-6)

* Ephesians 5:28 "In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself."

* "as their own bodies" -As Adam was put to sleep and the Lord took a rib from him to make his wife, so the statement "as their own bodies" is true.

* "love" -A husband love for his wife is stated several times in this passage.

>What practically does this mean for husbands? (29-31)

* Ephesians 5:29-31 "After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church-- for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."

* "feeds and cares for it" -The husband is to provide for his wife. Working is not easy, in fact in most cases there is something else a man often would rather be doing. A man who father's through a women is responsible to provide for his wife and children's needs.

* "just as Christ does the church" -Jesus is the source of all; spiritual and physical. Though a man has a job and income from that, in the end Jesus gave the man the ability to have that job. Deuteronomy 8:18 states, "But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today."

* "For this reason...one flesh" -The quote is from Genesis 2:24.

* A loving husband surprises his wives with affection. Not all woman are the same. Some treasure a hug and a loving touch. Others are encouraged with gifts of kind words. Some like help with around the house and with the children. Others like little gifts and surprises. Some like love notes and frequent personal conversation. Some just like walks in the park and a night on the town with their husband. Each husband should seek to learn what makes his wife happy and lets her know that she is loved. Often this will take trial and error for many women do not want to tell their husbands because a loving husband will find out. Men don't think this way and will find it strange to know that women feel and think this way. That is why husbands are told to love as Christ's loves.

>4. What is the profound mystery Paul reveals and how does it apply to marriages? (32-33)

* Ephesians 5:32-33 "This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."

* "profound mystery" -Paul used the term "mystery" five other times in this letter. The mystery is that some from among the Gentiles and Jews were joined together as the bride of Christ, made to be like him.

* "I am talking about Christ and the church" -We are joined with Jesus. How this is done is a profound mystery. What a great thing has he done to us, that he should make us a part of him. No matter how he feel, think, do, and whatever; those who love him are a part of him. He has purified us when we accepted his love. We are purified now.

* Being that we are joined with Christ, both husband and wife who are believers in Jesus should live and love their spouse with this fact in the forefront of their minds, hearts, and actions every moment.

>5. How do godly children live? (6:1-3)

* Ephesians 6:1-3 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise-- "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."

* "obey" -Wives are to submit to their husbands. Only children are to obey their parents in the Lord. The same word is used for children and slaves.

* "your parents" -In modern culture many parents have turned raising their children over to others; schools, nannies, neighbors, and family members. Parents are to raise children. Children are to obey parents.

* "in the Lord" -The qualifier is "in the Lord". When a parents are believers in Jesus, this is imperative. However, an ungodly parent may order a child to sin. We should never follow sin. So many children are abused in the evil generation. To often the news reports a missing child or one killed by a parent, or a parent left the child in the care of an untrustworthy person.

* Colossians 3:20 adds "in everything" so there is no exception.

* Colossians 3:20 also adds "for this pleases the Lord."

* Exodus 20:12 states, "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you."

* The direction for children does not end when the child leaves the house. It last until the parent is dead. The modern act of forgetting and not taking care of our elderly parents is detestable to the Lord. Strangers cannot take care of parents as children and strangers cannot take care of children as parents.

* Children of God are to obey our Father for the very same reason. If a child of God disobeys the Father, should they expect to be forgiven and suffer no consequences of their sins in this world? Sins will be forgiven the consequences will still happen. Don't be a child of God who sows wild oats during the week and then go to a worship service on Sunday praying for crop failure.

>What does it mean to exasperate? (4a)

* Ephesians 6:4a "Fathers, do not exasperate your children"

* "exasperate" -Exasperate means to make very angry or impatient; to annoy greatly. A father should compliment and encourage a child more than correct. A father should lead by example as well as word. We love to say, "Do what I say, not what I do." Yet this is so wrong.

* Colossians 3:21 states "do not embitter your children." Embitter means to arouse bitter feelings, exasperate, and provoke to anger.

* A father that constantly criticizes or ignores a child will embitter them. A father should encourage and compliment his children, all of them though not all the time. If a father pays more attention to one over the others, or ignores only one of several it will also embitter a child. A father should be imbalanced in his words; in favor of compliments over rebukes and this done evenly with all children. A father that makes an effort to have a personal relationship with his children does well. A father that always instructs and never apologetics will embitter a child. A father that compares one child to another will embitter the children. A father should discipline and correct evenly and fairly and in a way so that the children understand the rules. The rules should be agreed upon as well as the punishment and these should not be broken, and yet a father can do this to teach the meaning of mercy and grace.

* Frustrations and anger should not be the motivation for discipline.

* Parents should realize that the struggle for their children's independence is not the same as rebellion. All children must mature to the point of starting their own home. When a couple is married the strings of leadership by parents is broken, while the cords of love are strengthened.

>What are fathers to do instead? (4b)

* Ephesians 6:4b "bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."

* "training" -Has the meaning of discipline. Discipline does not mean abuse. Discipline goes against the inborn sinful nature but can be taught and maintained in constructive and instructive means.

* "instruction" -Has the meaning of teaching. Teaching does not mean lecturing. A child can learn in every day life situations.

* "training and instruction of the Lord" -Many modern men live under the misconception that their children's education is their wife's responsibility. Here we see that father's are just as responsible, and perhaps more. Teaching does not mean that the father is to have many long chats with their children telling them the way it suppose to be and how they lived as a child. Rather we should seek for little opportunities to teach practically. For example set clear rules (for both parents and children) with punishment and rewards that the parents and child agrees to. Then when the rules are broken the parent can use the opportunity to "surprisingly" teach the meaning of grace by cutting short the punishment one time.

* The experts in education say that there are have four basic learning styles. Everyone favors on of the four, though they may have a mixture of two. They are:
    1) Imaginative Learner: able to make use of their life experiences as a foundation for gaining new knowledge. They ask, "Why do I need to know this?"
    2) Analytic Learner: very rational and sequential in their thinking, wanting to know what the experts think. They ask, "What do I need to know?"
    3) Common Sense Learner: experiment to see if what they have learned really functions. They ask, "How does this work?"
    4) Dynamic Learner: comes up with creative, unique applications for what they have learned. They ask, "What can this become?"

* The experts in education also say that there are three basic ways to learn. Everyone favors one of the three, though they may have a mixture of the three. They are:
    1) Tactile (Kineshetic): meaning by actually doing with the hands.
    2) Sight (Visual): meaning seeing, reading, watching someone, etc.
    3) Hearing (Auditory): meaning listening to someone recite similar to the most common traditional classroom.

* The above is taken from Learning Styles by Marlene D. LeFever, Published by Church Ministry Resources.

* Proverbs 13:24 "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him."

* Proverbs 19:18 "Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.'

* Proverbs 22:15 "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.'

* Proverbs 23:13-14 "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death."

* Proverbs 29:15, 17 "The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother... Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul."

* The rod should never be used when the parent is angry. Sometimes parents need time-outs too.

* A wise parent finds the right way to be a God fearing parent to each child.

>Where do you spend your quality time?

* A person who says, "I spend my quality time with God," doesn't quit have it right. We should always be lead by the Spirit in all that we do, say, and think. So now the answer of the question should be as follows in descending quantity: my spouse, my children, my local congregation, my job, my extended family and friends, and last in general society including strangers.

>6. How might verses 5-8 apply to you?

* Ephesians 6:5-8 "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free."

* Slavery was a part of Greek and Roman society. Today a different kind of brutal slavery is rising. Ignoring that for this verse, the teaching here can apply to workers at a business.

* A Christian worker should work as though he is doing so for the Lord. We should always remember that we will stand before the mercy seat (aka Bema seat) to give an account of our actions even though we are forgiven our sins.

>Who are modern day masters? (9)

* Ephesians 6:9 "And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him."

* A Christian manager or owner should work as though he is doing so for the Lord. We should always remember that we will stand before the mercy seat (aka Bema seat) to give an account of our actions even though we are forgiven our sins.

>What is the basis of the all these practical lessons? (Matt. 22:37-40)

* Matthew 22:37-40 "Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

* Love. Jesus said all the commandments rests on two- love God, the first; and love your neighbor, the second.

II. Strength in Spiritual Conflict (6:10-20)

>7. Why should we put on the full armor of God? (10-12)

* Ephesians 6:10-12 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

* "be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power" -The beginning of the letter states that we have all the spiritual blessings in the heavenly realms and that we are in a spiritual battle. So now we are to be strong as we engage in the spiritual battle so that we may win. How do we do that? These verses speak of how to do that.

* "the devil's schemes" -The devil wants to and tries to stop us from doing the Lord's will.

* "Put on the full armor of God" -God gives us his armor that we may engage in the spiritual battle. Any soldier that doesn't put on his armor will either be killed or badly wounded. A soldier is to make advancements for his kingdom. We to are fighting to advance the kingdom of God.

* "not against flesh and blood" -Humans are not our enemies, not even those who are fighting on the enemies side. Rather, they are what we are fighting to win freedom for. We treat them with love as we engage in the spiritual battle. Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matt. 5:43-45)

* "against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" -The people of the world (not of the kingdom of God) are ruled by the devil and his angels. The last two chapters of the book of Daniel makes it very clear that most of the human worldly rulers are influenced by the devil through greed, jealousy, envy, hate, lust, fear, and a low self esteem. Daniel 10:12-13 records a heavenly emissary saying to Daniel, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia." He continues in Daniel 10:20-21, "Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince."

* Paul started the letter speaking of all the spiritual gifts in that Jesus has given us in the heavenly realms. Now we learn of our enemy is in the heavenly realms too.

>Do we know when the day of evil may come on us? (13)

* Ephesians 6:13 "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."

* "when the day of evil comes" -Not "if" the day of evil comes.

* "you may be able to stand your ground" -Without God we are not able to stand. Even then God says we are to put on spiritual armor.

* "after you have done everything" -This is in obeying God.

* Immorality, materialism, and heathenism are weapons of the enemy today. They are not only other religions, but in those who claim to be followers of Jesus.

>How then is the armor of God practical in today's living? (14-18)

* Ephesians 6:14-18 "Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."

* "belt of truth" -We are to worship in spirit and truth. We are to be truthful about ourselves; that is, have a sober judgement of who we are. We are to speak the truth. We are to be honest.

* "breastplate of righteousness" -We are do live in the ways of the Lord. We are to do right. We are to resist wrong.

* "feet fitted with the readiness" -We are to be ready to spread the gospel, the good news of the kingdom of God. We are to be ready to help a brother in need. We are to do right here, there, and everywhere we go.

* "the shield of faith" -We are to believe in the promises of God; Jesus death for our sins and resurrection from the dead in the body he died in.

* "helmet of salvation" -The gift of salvation, as in all the other armor is a gift that we are to remember. The devil wants us to believe in our minds that we are not worth being saved, that we are to evil, and beyond hope. By faith we are saved not by works. We are saved, a promise of God.

* "the sword of the Spirit... word of God" -The word of God should be used in conversation, in messages, in studies, at home, at work, at school, at anytime it is good to do so. In order to do this we must know the word of God; study, memorize and meditate on.

* Any man can put on a uniform, but not every uniform can be on just any man. A man needs to be ready to wear the uniform before he is qualified to wear it. Likewise, any young man or woman can walk the halls of a university, but a university will let let very young man or woman be a member of it.

>8. How is verse 19-20 a good prayer topic for preachers and teachers?

* Ephesians 6:19-20 "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

* "words may be given me" -A preacher or teacher may know a lot. Yet if the Spirit isn't inspiring and planting words in the mouth or on the paper in will not penetrate to the soul.

* "fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel"

* "I am an ambassador" -We are all ambassador since all believers in Jesus are in the kingdom of God and the bride of Jesus, the king.

* "I may declare it fearlessly, as I should" -A preacher or teacher may be afraid to speak the truth either because of the enemy, threats of violence, or because they don't want to offend the elders and prominent people in society.

III. Final Greetings (21-24)

>9. Who is Tychicus? (Acts 20:4; Col. 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:12; Tit. 3:12)

* Ephesians 6:21 "Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing."

* Acts 20:4-5 "He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas."

* Colossians 4:7-8 "Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts."

* 2 Timothy 4:12 "I sent Tychicus to Ephesus."

* Titus 3:12 "As soon as I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to winter there."

* "Tychicus" -He seems to many times have been a courier and close companion to Paul. Tychicus was from Asia Minor and went with Paul on his third mission trip through Macedonia and Greece. (20:4)

* "He is a dear brother" -Paul saw all believers as brothers in Jesus. Tychicus was loved by Paul.

* "a faithful servant" -In Colossians Paul used the word "minister." It is also translated as deacon and servant.

* "servant in the Lord" -Paul considered him a servant to the Lord.

* "will tell you everything" -Communications are important among churches and believers.

* "that you may know about our circumstances" -The circumstances that Paul mentioned most likely dealt with how and why he was now in chains in Rome. This is covered in the last few chapters of Acts.

* As mentioned above Paul was in chains awaiting trial for accusations made by the Jewish religious leaders in Jerusalem when they almost killed him and he was arrested.

>What appears to be his responsibility, his gift?

* Ephesians 6:22 "I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you."

* " that you may know how we are" -The circumstances that Paul mentioned most likely dealt with how and why he was now in chains in Rome. This is covered in the last few chapters of Acts.

* "encourage you" -He had the gift of encouragement.

>10. What does Paul hope and bestow for all believers? (23-24)

* Ephesians 6:23-24 "Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love."

* "peace" -with God and with your brothers in Jesus.

* "love" -for God and for our neighbors

* "faith" -in God and his promises.

* "grace" -God's assistance even though we don't deserve it.

* "an undying love" -Never ending love.


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