Friday, July 14, 2023

Ephesians | Session 28 | 6:1-10

In our study today from Ephesians 6:1-10 we see Paul still addressing the issue of submission, but now focuses on the relationships between children and parents, fathers and children, servants and masters, and masters and God.

Chapter 6

Verse 1: Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Okay, wives need to be submissive to the leadership of their husbands, husbands need to love their wives unconditionally, and now children need to obey their parents. Why? - Because it is right. 

The phrase in the Lord is interpreted differently. 1. Some say that it means as long as their commandments are with those of the Lord (Albert Barnes). 2. Others will say that the phrase simply means that it is necessary on the part of the child as an act of obedience toward the Lord (David Guzik). The next verse will seem to confirm the latter. 

Verses 2-3: Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. Now Paul refers back to Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16 where the commandments were given.  

Interestingly, Christians usually divide the Ten Commandments as the first four are toward God and the last six are toward man while the Jews divide the first five are toward God and the last five are toward man. 

Verse 4: And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Now he turns his attention back to fathers regarding their children in relationship to their roles as leaders in their homes. His warning is about harsh leadership. This type of leadership can lead to anger which can cause bitterness and rebellion in their children. Provoke means to exasperate or frustrate. 

Fathers should be cultivating a loving relationship by example that can be emulated (Colossians 3:21), because they are the earthly reflection of their Heavenly Father. Broken homes have made this concept increasingly misunderstood. 

Verse 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; Now he turns his attention to servants. The word is better translated as slaves. Despite what the liberals say, Paul was not condoning slavery, but merely speaking to it as an established institution. It was a fact of life and his encouragement to them was for them to be obedient as with the children earlier, but adds with fear and trembling. Why? - Because masters had the ability to exact retribution.

Instead, they were encouraged to obey with singleness of heart as unto the Lord. Barnes said, "Fidelity in whatever situation we find ourselves is acceptable service to the Lord." He also pointed out that it is easier to serve God than man. 

Verse 6: Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; They are encouraged to serve faithfully at all times, not just when the master if watching. Fidelity dictates obedience at all times. It was to be their testimony. Those who failed to do so were only menpleasers while God wants God pleasers. 

Albert Barnes said of this, "we render acceptable service to God when we perform the services which are demanded of us in the situation in life we find ourselves, however humble that may be." 

Verse 7: With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: The understanding here is that God is in charge and no matter where we are in life, we must trust that, and be faithful in it. Anything else, is not fully trusting Him. 

Verse 8: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. Here is the promise for those who take heed to Paul's counsel. Of course, none of us are guaranteed reward in this life, but we are in the next (2 Corinthians 5:10). 

Verse 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. Here is the warning to masters, that while they are watching their servants, God is watching them. Colossians 4:1 says practically the same thing, Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven

Neither is there respect of persons with him means that God does not show favor regarding position or rank. The foot of the cross is absolutely level with no VIP seating (Romans 2:11). 

Verse 10: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Final thoughts. They all need to be strong in the power of his might. I believe his point is that it would be difficult for wives, husbands, children, slaves, and masters to do without the Lord's help. Reminds me of Zechariah 4:6 which says, Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts

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