INTRODUCTION: Paul relates the church to being a soldier.
I. Scripture Reading
Ephesians 6, New English Translation (NET Bible)
1. Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment accompanied by a promise, namely, 3 “that it may go well with you and that you will live a long time on the earth.”
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but raise them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
5 Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart as to Christ, 6 not like those who do their work only when someone is watching—as people-pleasers—but as slaves of Christ doing the will of God from the heart. 7 Obey with enthusiasm, as though serving the Lord and not people, 8 because you know that each person, whether slave or free, if he does something good, this will be rewarded by the Lord.
9 Masters, treat your slaves the same way, giving up the use of threats, because you know that both you and they have the same master in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
Exhortations for Spiritual Warfare
10 Finally, be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm therefore, by fastening the belt of truth around your waist, by putting on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 by fitting your feet with the preparation that comes from the good news of peace, 16 and in all of this, by taking up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With every prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and to this end be alert, with all perseverance and requests for all the saints. 19 Pray for me also, that I may be given the message when I begin to speak—that I may confidently make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may be able to speak boldly as I ought to speak.
21 Tychicus, my dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will make everything known to you, so that you too may know about my circumstances, how I am doing. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts.
23 Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all of those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.
II. Outline. Ref: The Outline Bible, Dr. Harold L. Wilmington
A. In the first nine verses of this chapter, Paul relates to the family as being in boot training.
1. He lists examples of children and parents in boot training.
a. As soldiers, children are to honor and obey their parents (vs 1-3).
b. As commanders, parents are to discipline and instruct their children (vs 4).
2. He lists examples of servants and masters.
a. Servants are to serve their masters as they would serve Christ (vs 5-8).
b. Masters are to treat their servants as they would treat Christ (vs 9).
My note: It has been estimated that there were some 60,000,000 slaves in the Roman Empire, and that as many as one third of the population of large cities, such as Rome, Corinth, and Ephesus were slaves. (Preaching The Word, Ephesians, The Mystery Of The Body Of Christ, R. Kent Hughes, page 205.) The Apostle Paul was evangelizing a fallen world due to the fall of Adam and Eve. Consider Luke 19:10. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Slavery was one of many sinful conditions that were present when the Apostle was preaching “salvation by grace through faith, (Eph 2:8).
B. In verses ten through tweny-four, Paul discusses front-line fighting.
1. He issues a four-fold encouragement.
a. Be strong. Find strength in God’s mighty power (vs 10).
b. Be prepared. Put on the full armor of God (vs 11a).
c. Stand firm (vs 13).
d. Pray always (vs 18-20).
(1) For yourself (vs 11b-12).
(2) For others (vs 11b).
(3) For Paul, himself (vs 19-20).
2. Paul discusses the enemy, who is Satan.
a. His craftiness (vs 11b).
b. His cohorts, who are the wicked demons of Satan’s kingdom (vs 12).
3. Paul discusses spiritual warfare equipment.
a. The belt of truth (vs 14a).
b. The body armor of God’s righteousness (vs 14b).
c. The sandals of the Good News (vs 15).
d. The shield of faith (vs 16).
e. The helmet of salvation (vs 17a).
f. The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (vs 17b).
4. Paul discusses the envoy, who is Tychicus. (vs 21-22).
a. He was a faithful helper in the Lord’s work.
b. He was sent to encourage and inform the Ephesians about Paul’s welfare.
My note: (1). Tychicus was chosen by Paul to deliver this letter to those in Ephesus. “Now I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus” (2 Timothy 4:12).
My note: (2) Tychicus. The primary carrier of the letters to the Colossians, Philemon, and the Ephesians (Eph. 6:21, 22). First mentioned as part of Paul’s entourage in Acts 20:4, Tychicus was from the Roman province of Asia (in modern Turkey), and appears to have been one of Paul’s more trusted emissaries toward the end of his ministry (2 Tim. 4:12; Titus 3:12). “Tychicus, a dear brother, faithful minister, and fellow slave in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me” (Colossians 4:7).
My note: (3) Notes1and 2 were taken from the Reformation Study Bible, by Dr. R. C.Sproul, as posted on BibleGateway.com
My note: (4) Tychicus may be considered to be insignificant in the spread of the Gospel. But, we should consider that it was Tychicus who delivered the prison epistles to their intended recipients, who were the spiritual body of Christ, who comprised the true church of Christ.
My note: (5). We should not be too quick to leave the story of Tychicus. Consider the writing in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. The comment is only one of many positive things that are written about Tychicus, who was a faithful companion and assistant to the Apostle Paul. Consider the comment about Philemon. Consider the absolute significance of this saint of God, who has been considered to be much less than significant in the history of the spreading of the Gospel.
Paul had entrusted Tychicus with a very important mission. He was to deliver the Epistle to the Ephesians, that is, “the circular letter” (see LAODICEANS, EPISTLE TO THE) to the churches in proconsular Asia, to which it was sent, giving a copy of it to the church in Laodicea. He was then to proceed to Colosse, with the Epistle to the church there. In Colosse Tychicus would plead the cause of Onesimus, who accompanied him from Rome. “Under his shelter Onesimus would be safer than if he encountered Philemon alone” (Lightfoot, Commentary on Colossians, 314). In Laodicea and Colosse Tychicus would not only deliver the Epistles from Paul, but he would also, as the apostle had written to the churches in those places, Communicate to them all information about his “state,” that is, how things were going with him in regard to his appeal to the emperor, and his hope of being soon set at liberty. Tychicus would make known to them all things.
My note: (6) Tradition has it that Tychicus suffered a martyr’s death.
My note: (7). Tychicus remained insignificant to me until a very special pastor friend related the story of Tychicus to me. I will always be very thankful to that pastor.
5. The benediction. (vs 23-24).
a. Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (vs 23).
b. Grace be with all of those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love (vs 24).
III. Selected Commentary. Ref: Reformation Study Bible, DR. R. C. Sproul
A. Verse 2.
the first commandment with a promise. The law of God has lost its power to condemn those who are in Christ (Col. 2:13, 14), and the observance of the ceremonial law is inappropriate following their fulfillment in Christ (2:15; Col. 2:16, 17). However the “weightier matters of the law” (Matt. 23:23) are revelations of God’s character, and establish permanent ethical principles. One of these is that children must honor their parents.
B. Verse 4.
Fathers. Conversely, to parents Paul stresses the responsibility of those in authority.
bring them up. The Greek suggests the idea of nurturing and helping to flourish (cf. 5:29). Parents are entrusted with the minds, feelings, and bodies of tender bearers of the divine image. Accordingly, children do not exist for parents, but parents for children—to help them come into their own personhood before God.
discipline. The shaping of the will through training.
instruction. The shaping of the mind through teaching.
C. Verses 5-8.
Slaves follow the example of Christ through obedient submission (Phil. 2:1–11). All believers are called to share Christ’s humiliation and sufferings in this age, in order to be exalted and glorified with Him in the next (Rom. 8:17). Paul is not interested in making anyone’s share of suffering greater than it has to be (1 Cor. 7:21). He also does not pretend there is an easy route around it. As slaves serve the exalted Christ, and not merely an earthly master, they do so in the new reality inaugurated by Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). Paul would insist that being owned by Christ makes all other definitions of our personhood irrelevant: “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men” (1 Cor. 7:23). By rendering ungrudging service to their true heavenly owner, slaves can work not for their value in the marketplace, but for their value to the One who poured out His own life for them.
D. Verse 9.
do the same. If masters can expect their Christian slaves to serve them willingly, slaves can expect from Christian masters to be treated the way Christ treats His own.
E. Verse 10.
be strong . . . the strength of his might. Paul uses similar terms in 1:19 to describe the power that raised Jesus from the dead. We are not encouraged to face the evil hosts of darkness in our own strength, but in the strength that raised Jesus and believers with Him (2:4–6; 3:16–19).
F. Verse 11.
Put on the whole armor of God. The new set of clothes (4:22–24 note) now becomes a warrior’s battle gear.
stand. Repeated three times in vv. 11, 13, 14 (the related term “withstand” in v. 13 has the same meaning). The “walking” image of chs. 4 and 5 (4:1 note) gives way to the picture of a soldier standing firm in battle.
G. Verse 12.
See 1:21; 2:2; 3:10.
rulers . . . spiritual forces. These terms all refer to powerful spiritual beings that make up the “power of the air” (2:2) ruled by Satan.
darkness. See 5:8–14.
H. Verse 13.
the whole armor of God. Paul combines the weapons of a Roman foot soldier with a number of Old Testament images of God, or the Messiah, as a warrior. Strikingly, what is said of God and the Messiah in the Old Testament is applied to believers.
I. Verse 14.
fastened . . . truth. The Roman soldier’s leather belt supported and protected his lower abdomen, gathered his tunic together, and held his sword. Paul seems to have in mind the confidence that comes from certainty about the truthfulness of God’s Word.
breastplate of righteousness. Believers are protected by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them (Rom. 4:6–11; Phil. 3:9), and they can stand up to the accusations of the devil; devil in Greek means “slanderer” (Rom. 8:31–34). Simultaneously, Paul sees believers taking on the righteous character of Christ (4:25; 5:9), while their growing conformity to His image gives them confidence in resisting temptation.
J. Verse 15.
shoes for your feet. Despite a clear allusion to Is. 52:7, Paul does not have in mind the barefooted messenger who takes the gospel to others. The image here is of the Roman soldier’s sturdy sandals, which gave him stability and protection in battle. Ironically, the peace that comes from the gospel readies one for war against evil (2:14, 15, 17).
K. Verse 16.
shield of faith. The Roman shield was large enough to cover the whole body; it was made of wood, covered with hide, and bound with iron at the top and bottom. When dipped in water before a battle, it could extinguish fire arrows that had been dipped in pitch and set ablaze.
L. Verse 17.
helmet of salvation. For Paul, salvation is a present experience (2:8 and note) as well as a future hope (1 Thess. 5:8). The believer’s final ground of confidence is the faithfulness of God to complete the salvation He has begun (Phil. 1:6).
sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The one offensive weapon in the believer’s arsenal is compared to the Roman sword, short and designed for hand-to-hand combat. See Jesus’ use of Scripture in Matt. 4:1–11; Luke 4:1–13.
M. Verses 18-20.
The battle theme in this passage ends with an urgent call to militant prayer on behalf of all believers and on behalf of Paul’s ministry. See 1:15–23 for Paul’s dependence on prayer.
N. Verses 21-24.
Tychicus. See note Col. 4:7, 8. The absence of personal greetings in this letter may be an indication that it was intended for circulation to more than one church. See Introduction: Date and Occasion.
My Note: The letter was intended for circulation to more than one church location in Ephesus, per Dr. R.C. Sproul’s note on vs 21-24.
IV. Closing Thoughts. Ref: What Does Every Bible Chapter Say? John Hunt.
A. Main Themes.
1. The duties of children and parents (vs 1-4).
2. The duties of servants and masters (vs 5-9).
3. All believers in Christ are to put on spiritual armor against the enemy of their souls (vs 10-18).
4. The Apostle Paul seeks their prayers, and ends with his apostolic blessing (vs 19-24).
B. Main Keys.
1. Verse. Verse 11. Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
2. Phrase. Verse 11. “Put on the full armor of God.”
3. Theme. Fighting the spiritual battle.
4. Thought. Verse 10. The believer in Christ is able to obey, fight, and win because of God’s mighty power.
5. Thing to look out for. Note the power of God’s armor.
6. Cross reference. Verse 17. See Isaiah 59:17.
7. By way of explanation. Verse 12. “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood…”
V. What Is Christology?
A. Explanation and definition. Theology is a very broad term. It refers not only to God, but to all that God has revealed to us in sacred scripture. Included in the discipline of theology is “the study of Christ,” which we call “Christology.”
B. Source. Dr. R.C. Sproul, “Everyone’s A Theologian,” page 4.
VI. Worship And Praise.
Consider the Presence of God in our lives. Consider the worshipful attitude that can be obtained as we listen to the music of worship and praise that is led by Women Of Faith.
Shout To The Lord
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