Bible Discussion — Ephesians 5-6
This week, Bweinh.com discusses the last two chapters of Ephesians, in our final Bible discussion!
Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
11 | 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16-17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
Esther: 1-2 | 3-5 | 6-8 | 9-10
Acts: 1 | 2 | 3-4 | 5 | 6-7 | 8 | 9-10 | 11-12 | 13-14
15-16 | 17-18 | 19-20 | 21-22 | 23-24 | 25-26 | 27-28
Jonah: 1-2 | 3-4
Ephesians: 1-2 | 3-4
Paul closes with a primer on living a Godly life, quickly hitting the major areas of most people\’s experience.
Jesus railed so hard against the empty legalism of the Pharisees, because He was not offering a new system of rules but rather a relationship with the Creator through Himself.
These two chapters contain two sets of ‘rules’ — both are intended to show an example of the loving relationship that we can and should have with our God. But both sets are often misused: to further unloving and sometimes hateful agendas; to pursue a Pharasaical religion of accomplishment; and even to follow a lazy religion, because it is easier to attempt to follow rules with the safety net of forgiveness, than to develop an authentic relationship.
It is my privilege to participate in this final Bible discussion in this forum. God has been glorified in these discussions.
The final two chapters of Ephesians offer a great resource for Christian living — they speak to men, women, and children and their various roles within families and the community. The teaching on “slaves and masters” is also very relevant if you simply replace those words with “employees and employers.”
These chapters are a reminder of how Christians should act and think. Above all, we must stand against the wiles of the devil, those compromises the world would have us make to “fit in.”
As the Church took root in places like Ephesus, I’m sure many of the early Fathers must have desired — at times — for a return to the laws of the old covenant. Immorality of all kinds must have seemed so incongruous with the recent teachings of Christ, yet perhaps ran relatively rampant. Paul had to remind the early believers of their greater moral heritage without stealing any of Liberty’s thunder.
SOMETHING YOU’D NEVER NOTICED BEFORE:
Chapter five was a great follow-up to our church’s sermon on Sunday, which was on light. We need to set our hearts to walk as children of light, and this chapter admonishes us to walk in love, light and wisdom. I believe that when we walk in the light, we’ll be in position to pick the rest of that up as we go.
Paul tells us in 5:1 to imitate God. I guess I’d always read that, for one reason or another, as imitating Jesus. One could make a convincing argument, though, that Paul meant it interchangeably — but if we were given the charge to imitate God without knowing the narrative of Jesus, the results would be dramatically different.
Whenever you find a list of rules for righteous living in the New Testament, you invariably find a verse pointing to the heart of the law.
When we die to ourselves, we are a “sweet-smelling aroma” to God.
Paul urges the Ephesians to specifically pray for him — of all people — for boldness in preaching the Gospel. He didn’t take anything for granted, even after years of faithful witness under persecution.
In verses 31 and 32 of chapter 5, was Paul saying a husband and wife becoming one was a mystery to all of us, or just to him as a bachelor?
BEST BAND NAME FROM THE PASSAGE:
Job: Leads to Debauchery
Josh: Talk of Fools
Pastor Dave: Shod Your Feet
Connie: Girded With Truth
David: Ambassador In Bonds (better than Alice in Chains)
Capt. Steve: Divine Imitations
STORY IT REMINDS YOU OF:
I spent a season of my life in basic military training, feeling very much like the island. My father, however, wrote me nearly every day with encouragement and instruction that was similar to Paul’s. The experience drew me closer to my father, Paul, the Ephesians, my fellow recruits, and, of course, God. The food wasn’t so bad either.
A pastor once came out of a rather difficult marriage counseling session and said to me, “Well, at least they saved two other marriages.”
Ephesians 6:1 (“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right”) was memorized by Mrs. Wright\’s kindergarten class one year at our Christian school. But one boy recited it: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for Mrs. Wright.”
I was leading a Bible study at a drug rehab program with Josh. Before we started, an older Russian man asked us about the verse that commands slaves to obey their masters. In an extremely thick Russian accent he said: “Sounds good for masters, for slaves not so good.”
After some argument with my father as a teenager, I was told to write out and reflect on Ephesians 6:1-3. But after doing the research, I included verse 4 (“Fathers, do not exasperate your children”) in my exegesis. Ho ho! I really showed him!
It reminds me of every wedding I\’ve ever been to (submit to your husbands, die for your wives), and vacation Bible school (“Does everyone here have their sword?”).
When David fought Goliath (I Samuel 17), he refused Saul\’s armor because it didn\’t fit him. Not only does God\’s armor fit us, but we should never enter the spiritual battlefield without His armor to protect us. While David could not win his battle with armor, we cannot win ours without it.
WHERE IS JESUS IN THIS PASSAGE:
Loving His bride, the church.
The living Example for children, parents, husbands, wives, servants, and masters.
In 5:25—33. Jesus should be seen by the wife in the way her husband treats her, how he is willing to “die” so she might succeed in the Kingdom.
In 6:24, He is receiving our love in sincerity.
DEEP THEOLOGICAL MEANING:
The imagery of darkness and light is so important because darkness is not more powerful than light — it is merely the absence of light. Where the light shines, there can be no darkness.
And darkness cannot keep a light from being seen. In fact, where it is darkest, a single light shines quite distinctly.
Christ loves us. We should love Him.
Too often Christians beat themselves up. The devil entices us to sin and condemns us when we do, yet we don’t understand this battle in the spirit realm. We wrestle against principalities and powers, wickedness that can\’t be seen, yet all too often, Christians ignore this influence on our lives.
This oversight causes Christians to view themselves as defeated and evil, to believe that Christianity works only for others, not for them. Stop beating yourself up and turn the battle toward the enemy of your soul. Put on the armor of God, take every thought captive, and take the world for Christ!
The armor of God is one of the most enduring object lessons of all time. I expect it will stay that way, since I don\’t think kids will ever get tired of dressing up and having sword fights.
“Awake those who sleep” — the preceding verses refer to the saved, so he is talking to Christians lulled to sleep by compromise. WAKE UP!
Because of the evidence mentioned earlier in this study, some believe that this letter was not written to the Ephesians directly, but that the title and greeting were written later.
If so, then this could in fact be the “lost epistle to the Laodiceans” mentioned in Colossians 4:16. I love a good mystery.
The alternative to coarse jesting and obscenity is thanksgiving, the proper response to being delivered out of the darkness into the light of Christ.
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.”
This sounds to me like a New Testament “caveat emptor” — buyer beware. Claiming to have been led astray by another didn\’t exonerate Adam, and it won\’t work for us.
If anyone refers to that stupid line from “My Big Dumb Greek Wedding,” about the wife being the neck, I’m gonna puke.
As Paul sat down to write his “armor of God” section in chapter 6, I wonder how long he labored over which armor item to assign to which aspect of faith — and whether verse 15 was written when he hit the wall. I mean, what do you assign to the foot?
VERSE TO REMEMBER:
David; Pastor Dave:
6:13-14 — “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness.”
6:19-20 — “[Pray] for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
5:15-16 — “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
6:7 — “…with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.”
6:10 — “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”
6:12 — “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Tom, Capt. Steve:
5:1-2 — “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
PORTION YOU’D MOST LIKE EXPLAINED IN HEAVEN:
God knew the struggles different nations would go through with the issue of slavery. I wonder why there isn’t some sort of Scripture that more strongly addresses the notion of all men being created equally. Or if I just haven’t found it yet.
Which parts are descriptive and which are prescriptive?
6:12 — “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.”
It’s not in this passage, but what’s with the duckbilled platypus? Was it just God’s leftovers?
GENERAL RESPONSE TO THE PASSAGE:
I can’t imagine not having Ephesians in my arsenal. I go to it so often in ministry or for personal encouragement.
Where’s that scripture about not letting the sun go down on anger? Ephesians! The armor of God? Ephesians! Honoring your parents? Ephesians! Husbands loving their wives like Christ loved the Church? Yep, it’s in there. A short book, but a gem.
I used to literally despise chapter 5 and I would only refer to it sarcastically. If I wanted my wife to do what I wanted, I would holler “Ephesians 5, Woman!” (not a good idea, even when you’re joking). But I have recently found it to be a beautiful chapter that can read like a beautiful love story, if we will only let it.
Having “done all to stand” is not just putting on the armor; it’s applying all the truth of Scripture, from the promises to the things that we must do (e.g., taking every thought captive).
Too often Christians would rather “take a pill,” stand in a prayer line, or read the latest fad book hoping it will solve all their problems. Prayer and miracles work, but there’s still a place for engaging in the battle, believing the truth of the Word of God, and doing ALL to stand.
These chapters can be twisted and misinterpreted these days to make Christianity look like a misogynist, child abusing sect of slaveowners. But in reality the message Paul delivered here was not only significant historically in its recognition of the unique value of those generally considered “lesser” (women, children, slaves), but it also gave specific instructions to the “superiors” not to abuse their positions or take advantage. It remains valid, not only in reference to its own time, but also normatively.
LESSON TO TAKE AWAY:
Live love in all things, and be prepared at all times.
Don\’t compromise. Live above the world as children of light.
Our love for Christ must be active. We should strive to give our best to Him, just as He did for us in His death. Love is dynamic.
Don’t ever bring up 5:24 with a woman you’re trying to woo. Take my word on this, brethren. Yea, even if you think it wise in your own eyes, refrain. A battle better fought by a romantic layperson, trust me.
“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” (5:1)
I think of when I was a child, and how much I loved and admired my parents (as I still do, of course). I wanted to walk like them, to talk like them, to act like them. This is how I want my relationship with the Lord to be defined.
We were once darkness (not just IN darkness), but now we are LIGHT. As Henry Blackaby wrote in his daily devotional for February 21, “If the world is becoming darker, the problem is not with the darkness. The problem is with the light. When God\’s light is allowed to shine unhindered through your life, the darkness around you will be dispelled.”
We need to live as children of Light, for Light shines in the darkness.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart.
Steve, Maj. Jones, Capt. Steve:
“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.”