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Study Notes on Ephesians 6

Ephesians 6

From the marriage relationship to other relationships and then closing remarks of the letter.

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

The primary duty for children. Someone under the rule of their parents.

Some parents will take this too far and want to control their children long after they've gotten married and left the house, but the bible says, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

The Amish also take this too far as a means to control their children and keep them in their cult. Note that the verse is addressed to children, not to parents.

2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;

There is a promise of blessing associated with honoring your parents (see next verse).

"It is a most inconsistent thing for a child to profess to be a Christian, to have his name on the roll of some church, to be in fellowship with an assembly of saints, even taking part in the Lord’s supper, and yet be characterized by willfulness and disobedience in the home."

- H. A. Ironside

Colossians 3:20-22, Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;

Proverbs 23:22, Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. As a generally true statement, not necessarily that every single obedient child outlives every single disobedient child. There are other actions that can end life early.

Deuteronomy 5:16, Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Specifically directed at fathers, we need to be careful with discipline, and help our children grow up with biblical instruction.

See Deuteronomy 21:18-21 for the drastic shift from the Law to Grace here.

"Parents are called to correct; not to punish, their children. Those who punish them do it from a principle of revenge; those who correct them do it from a principle of affectionate concern." - Adam Clarke

"This idea would have been revolutionary in its day; in the first-century Roman Empire, fathers could do pretty much what they liked in their families. They could even sentence family members to death . . ." - Dr. Constable

5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

Christ is our ultimate Master, our bosses would be our masters according to the flesh. We are to obey them with great care that we do it well. Christians should be the hardest and most dependable workers.

We should labor and obey honestly, doing our best at all times, and not just when we are being watched and not just doing the minimum.

Titus 2:9-10, Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.

7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

These verses don't say, obey IF he's a good boss or good master, but to obey as to the Lord. A similar command to what is given to wives. We don't work hard and sincerely because of the quality of our master after the flesh but because of the quality of our Master in Heaven.

8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

Regardless of the state you are in, even in total slavery, you can still please the Lord by being obedient to Him however you are able. He will reward you. Don't think you need to be in some worldly position to please the Lord. Over and over throughout the Bible we see that God cares about the heart of man.

"Note here, How the basest drudgery of servants, when performed in obedience to God, and with an eye at his glory, is called here a good work, and shall not fail of a good reward."

- William Burkitt

1 Corinthians 7:21-22, Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.

9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

Now instructions for masters which echo instructions for servants. If you are a master, do it with the right heart, with the same sincerity and good will. To forbear threatening means to give it up or to be mild. Don't be harsh on your servant considering you both serve the same God and He doesn't think more or less of you simply because of your position at work.

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Paul now begins with closing remarks of encouragement, and the famous passage on the armor of God.

Be strong in yourself? No, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of HIS might. Lean on Him and trust Him.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Many times in Scripture our Christian life is compared with warfare (see 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 2:3-4; Philemon 2; 1 Thessalonians 5:8 etc.). The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual. The spiritual armor we need to put on daily is to protect us and to reach others. We need to guard our steps and take heed lest we fall.

Wiles of the devil refers to the schemes and plans of the devil to corrupt mankind. He is always working to lead people astray (see 1 Peter 5:8).

2 Corinthians 4:4, In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

We don't physically fight people, although the devil certainly uses people. But the end of the verse makes this quite clear that our fight is against spiritual wickedness in high places.

These powers and wickedness are tools of the devil to cause us to stumble. Certainly we are surrounded by demons that we cannot see, exerting their influence however they can. From this verse it seems they are particularly interested in corrupting areas of authority.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

What is the evil day for which we need armor? Any day when we encounter temptation. Because the Christian life is a war and a struggle, we need to be properly prepared with the Armor of God.

Ephesians 5:16, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

Loins would be an area of strength, an area you always have clothing. This keeps your pants up and is kind of a centerpiece of armor. If you don't have truth, everything else you might have falls apart.

A breastplate covers your heart and your torso, perhaps a reference to putting on piety. Living right to defend against accusations.

Also see Isaiah 11:5 & Isaiah 59:17.

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Perhaps a reference to Isaiah 52:7 (also see Nahum 1:15; Romans 10:15). Be prepared to give the gospel.

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Above all other pieces of armor, take up the shield of faith. We live by faith, and by it can defend against attacks of the devil.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Be protected and secure in your salvation, and wield the sword, the word of God. A great example of this is in Luke 4:1-13. The sword is the only offensive weapon in this list.

Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Put on this armor and live in prayer. Supplication is petition, to tell God our needs and ask for His help. Persevere in prayer, and pray for one another.

Colossians 4:12, Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

Paul also requests prayer for himself that he would be bold in proclaiming the gospel. Even though he was in prison in Rome, he has a single-mindedness about reaching the lost for Christ.

20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

He is an ambassador for Christ, and it is for this reason that he is in bonds. He isn't discouraged in the slightest, and isn't even asking for freedom. What a great example.

2 Corinthians 5:20, Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:

Tychicus is mentioned in a very positive light in several other places: Colossians 4:7-9; Acts 20:4; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12.

22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.

Paul was interested in their comfort, caring more for others than himself.

23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

Grace be with them that truly love the Lord.

1 Corinthians 16:22, If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.


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