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Sunday May 10th 2009
To the Church of Ephesus ? Part Thirteen
1). Eph 5:17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord
is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the
Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for
all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 ? submitting
to one another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to
the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the
church; and He is the Savior of the body.
a). We have seen in our study over the past two weeks that being wise,
walking circumspectly and walking worthy of our calling are inextricably
connected to our being continually filled with the Spirit.
b). It is the work of the Holy Spirit through our receiving with meekness the
implanted word, the word of His grace, that brings about the metamorphosis on the
inside of us. An inward change toward holiness that will in that Day result in an
outward change to glory.
c). It is because of this inward change as the Holy Spirit guides us into all
truth - Joh 16:13 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide
you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He
hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
d). That we are able to appropriate the grace we have been given to humble
ourselves - 1Pe 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that He may exalt you in due time,
e). Humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God speaks of a choice to
faithful obedience in the midst of our struggle with our fleshly desires, motivated
by the absolute certainty of the hope that is set before us.
f). It comes from the stark yet inspiring realization that we must choose the
wisdom of God through the scriptures if our hope is ever to be realized and that we
have so much to lose if we don?t.
g). And this goes hand in hand with the acceptance that our life may have to
be stood on its head as we choose to walk this narrow path.
h). And that we will have a price to pay not only in the death of our flesh,
but also through the rejection and castigation of the world as our choices fly in the
face of all that is ?politically correct?.
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i). This is hard, this is difficult, but the victory is ours, if we will only trust
God enough to walk in it - 1Jo 5:4 For whoever is a child of God is overcoming
the world; and our faith is the victory that has overcome the world.
j). And our victory is assured through the death, burial and resurrection of
Christ - Joh 16:33 "I have said all this to you that in me you might have peace. In
the world you will have tribulation, but be courageous; I have overcome the
k). So if Christ is the provider and model of our victory, how did He
overcome the world? - Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ
Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with
God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and
coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He
humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the
l). Our victory then, in this present age is through sacrifice, humility,
obedience and submission as we choose to subject ourselves to the Word of God.
Doing nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit but in lowliness of mind.
m). Lu 14:8 "When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit
down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; 9 "and
he who invited you and him come and say to you, 'Give place to this man,' and then
you begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 "But when you are invited, go
and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may
say to you, 'Friend, go up higher.' Then you will have glory in the presence of
those who sit at the table with you. 11 "For whoever exalts himself will be
humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
2). It is always the Word of God that we subject ourselves to and yet our subjection
to the Word is always expressed through our relationship with others ? hence,
?wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord?.
a). The wife is to submit herself, as to the Lord, through obedience to the
command of scripture ? and then in that place of submission to put herself under
the authority of her husband as her God appointed head.
b). The wife?s submission comes through her choice to humble herself under
the mighty hand of God, and this humility before God is then demonstrated in her
relationship to her husband.
c). In the same way, the husband submits himself to his Head, which is
Christ, and then his submission to Christ is expressed through his relationship with
his wife - Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church
and gave Himself for her,
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d). Both the husband and the wife work together in harmony in this, but
neither is reliant on the obedience of the other in order to fulfill their part, as their
obedience is to the word not to their spouse per se. And yet, as head, it is the
husband?s responsibility to take the lead by providing a head that his wife can
e). And if either one is choosing to walk in disobedience they make the
faithfulness of the other incredibly difficult. But, the husband as head bears a
greater responsibility in this as the nature of his headship has a direct impact on his
wife?s preparation for the Judgment Seat.
f). And so through a faithfully obedient marriage relationship we have a
major facet of the picture of our relationship to Christ. Those who are husbands
and wives must practice the commands of scripture if they are to be part of the
Bride in that coming Day.
3). Then continuing with the theme of obedience to God expressed through
relationship Chapter 6 of Ephesians continues as follows - Eph 6:1 ? Children,
obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother,"
which is the first commandment with promise: 3 "that it may be well with you and
you may live long on the earth."
a). Obey = Greek ? ?hupakouo? = to hear under (as a subordinate), i.e. to
listen attentively; by implication, to heed or conform to a command or authority:--
hearken, be obedient to, obey.
b). Here again we are dealing with submission, children to parents, but we
can see from our word ?obey? here that we are dealing with obedience within a
subordinate relationship. The wife is never seen as subordinate to her husband, but
children clearly are. They are, according to our scripture, to obey, to hear under,
because their parents are automatically placed over them in the sense of being their
c). According to God?s perspective this is the right thing for children to do ?
Col 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the
d). Not only is it right, but there is also God?s promise attached to it for
those children who will obey.
e). And we should note that for all of us with parents living, we are to honor
them ? irrespective of what they do. Again this is an issue between us and the
Lord, not us and our parents. No matter how difficult the situation may be a way
must be found for honor to be given.
f). There is also a terminal point with regards to obedience to parents that
would be marked by the children leaving their home and becoming geographically
and financially independent.
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g). There is no terminal point for giving honor however.
4). Our scripture then continues by presenting the other side of the coin, just as we
saw with wives and then husbands, this time with fathers, who are themselves
children of God, being called to obedience with regards to the way they are to raise
their children - Eph 6:4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath,
but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
a). And here we see that fathers are not to do one thing, ?provoke your
children to wrath?, but rather to do another, ?bring them up in the training and
admonition of the Lord.? And these two are placed side by side so as to provide the
necessary contrast. Fathers will either bring up their children in the training and
admonition of the Lord, and if not they will provoke them to wrath.
b). Provoke = Greek ? ?parorgizo? = to anger alongside, i.e. enrage:--anger,
provoke to wrath.
c). In the same way that God does not provoke us now, to wrath in that
coming Day, fathers are not to provoke their children, through their actions, to
d). There is a possibility here that we may never have considered and that is
that our actions as fathers could have a direct impact on what happens to our
children at the Judgment Seat. Again this does not take away the individual
responsibility of our children to make their own choices, but what they see in us
might influence the choices they make. All the while our children are in our home
under our authority we have opportunity to build into their lives with a view to the
Judgment Seat in the same way that we can build into the life of our wife.
e). So fathers ? and please note who bears the responsibility for this ? are to
bring up [to raise up to maturity] their children in the training and admonition of
f). The pattern that God sets for raising His children ? unconditional love,
compassion, mercy, grace, forgiveness, sympathy and discipline, is to be our
model - Heb 12:5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to
sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged
when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And
scourges every son whom He receives." 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with
you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if
you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are
illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who
corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in
subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days
chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be
partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present,
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but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to
those who have been trained by it.
g). Just as God brings the necessary discipline to us because His love wants
us to be successful at the Judgment Seat, so we need to train our children in the
wisdom of God with a view to the same end.
h). And again the challenge here for parents is acting in a way that is
scripturally correct and not ?politically correct? ? and to work with their children to
help them understand why we don?t live like the world lives.
i). The good news of course is that we are given the grace to do this. But this
by no means takes away the challenge.
j). What we may conclude then is that obedience and the giving of honor on
the part of our children is directly impacted by the role of their father.
k). No doubt fathers will give an account for this in that Day.
l). And just as with the marriage relationship, children and parents provides
us with another facet of our relationship with God. For we are all His children and
subordinate to our Heavenly Father. We can see then how parents with children
who are faithfully obedient to the commands of scripture provide a valuable
picture for us all of how we are to relate to God - Mt 18:1 ? At that time the
disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said,
"Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children,
you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
5). Our scripture now moves away from relationship within the family to the
relationship of master and bondservant - Eph 6:5 Bondservants, be obedient to
those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in
sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as
bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing
service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone
does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
a). Now within our setting here in the West there is no master/bondservant
relationship as we find in our scripture and so we would normally take this over
into an employer/employee relationship. And this is a perfectly reasonable thing to
do. However, once we do this it does give rise to some intriguing challenges.
b). Once again with the master/bondservant relationship we have another
facet to the picture of our relationship with Christ. We have already seen the
marriage relationship and the picture that gives to us, and we have seen the
father/son relationship and the picture that gives to us, and now we have the
master/bondservant relationship. As a bondservant of Christ the bondservant in the
natural expresses his submission to Christ through his relationship with his master.
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And the master in the natural expresses his submission to his Master through his
relationship to his bondservant. It is fascinating to see the way God has put this
c). So in order to deal with some practicalities let?s bring in a few more
scriptures - Tit 2:9 Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be
well pleasing in all things, not answering back, 10 not pilfering, but showing all
good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
d). Here in Titus we see that bondservants are to be obedient to their own
masters. They are to be well pleasing in all things. There is not to be criticizing and
complaining or stealing. But rather than ?answering back? or ?pilfering? they are to
show good fidelity.
e). Fidelity = Greek ? ?pistis? = persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction
(of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially
reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by
extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:--assurance, belief, believe,
f). And here in the word ?fidelity? we have the key ? the bondservant,
because of the truth of God, has complete reliance on Christ for salvation. And this
is what governs the bondservant?s actions within this relationship as he looks to his
future hope not to his present circumstances.
i). To bring this over into the employer/employee relationship would
be fairly simple as the way the bondservant is to conduct himself is exactly the
same as the employee. In the workplace the employee?s first allegiance is to God,
and his faithful obedience as a bondservant of Christ will be evident in his conduct
towards his employer. His aim will be to please in every aspect of his work, which
will be done without complaining or criticizing, taking not so much as a paper clip
g). 1Ti 6:1 ? Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their
own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may
not be blasphemed. 2 And those[bondservants] who have believing masters, let
them[the bondservants] not despise them[the masters] because they[the masters]
are brethren, but rather serve them because those who are benefited are believers
and beloved. Teach and exhort these things.
h). Here in Timothy we have the bondservant exhorted to count their own
master ?worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be
blasphemed?. And this is then taken a stage further with instructions concerning
how a believing bondservant is to relate to a believing master.
i). Despise = Greek ? ?kataphroneo? = to think against, i.e. disesteem:--
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j). In other words the believing bondservant is not to expect preferential
treatment from his believing master, nor is he ever to think against, or disesteem
him because the master does not meet his expectations as a believer.
i). As believers and potential joint heirs of the Kingdom both the
believing employee and employer are entirely equal, but with regards to their role
in the workplace they are not.
ii). The employee must respect the difference in role and not allow
their equality before the Lord to cloud the issue. The employer must be seen as
worthy of all honor, simply because of his position, and that honor must be given
unconditionally in faithfulness to the command of scripture.
iii). If this is not done, according to our scripture then the name of
God and His doctrine will have been blasphemed.
iv). Blasphemed in the face of those who may be non believers,
blasphemed in the face of any other believing employees within the same
v). And then all this is brought over into the body as a whole because
of what every joint supplies.
vi). As we have a number of you in this very situation, you need to
take heed of what the scripture says ? there will be an account given for this.
vii). The scripture clearly says that the believing employee is to serve
the believing employer because the one who benefits from this is a believer and is
also beloved of God.
viii). Ro 14:4 Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own
master he stands or falls.
k). Col 3:22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the
flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.
23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing
that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the
Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and
there is no partiality.
l). As we move into Colossians we see the admonition to obedience in all
things in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And again God needs to be feared in this
because ?he who does wrong?, the bondservant who doesn?t do this, ?will be repaid
for what he has done?. And again, the first level of submission here is ?as to the
Lord and not to men?, because the bondservant, through his relationship to his
master, ?serves the Lord Christ?. And the end result of being faithful in this is made
abundantly clear ? ?from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance? ?
once again it is the Kingdom perspective that brings all this into focus.
i). And again here this will translate exactly into the
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ii). It is of course the sincerity of heart in the fear of God that needs
iii). And within the workplace, whatever the employee is asked to do
must be done whole heartedly, to the best of their ability, without shortcuts;
knowing that faithfulness in this leads to the reward of the inheritance as the
service is really being given to Christ.
m). 1Pe 2:18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only
to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. 19 For this is commendable, if
because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For
what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But
when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before
God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us
an example, that you should follow His steps:
n). Then when we come to Peter, with all we have already looked at in view,
we are presented with a significant challenge.
o). The bondservant is to be submissive, ?not only to the good and gentle,
but also to the harsh?.
p). Harsh = Greek ? ?skolios? = warped, i.e. winding; figuratively, perverse:-
-crooked, froward, untoward.
q). According to our scripture - 19 For this is commendable, if because of
conscience toward God[being faithfully obedient to God?s commands to the
bondservant] one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what credit is it if,
when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good
and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.
r). There is no recourse to a trades union, a law suit or a mediator here, only
patient endurance. And this is how it should be in the work place. Our western idea
of if we don?t like the way we are treated we just move on would fly in the face of
scripture and take from us a valuable opportunity, because these harsh
circumstances that come at the hand of our employer are to be endured for a very
specific reason - 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for
us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
6). It is one of those remarkable scriptural paradoxes, that in the harsh treatment is
a greater opportunity for faithful obedience and fruit production than in the good
and the gentle.
a). And in the bondservant?s correct response to this same harsh situation in
the natural is the picture of the Christ like bondservant patiently enduring the trials
of life in the service of his Master in the realm of the spirit. This is the example
that should be set and witnessed within the body as a whole.
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b). Pr 27:18 ? Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit; So he who waits
on his master will be honored.
7). Our scripture then shows us the reverse side of this coin - Eph 6:9 And you,
masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own
Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
a). And here we have it ? the believing master/the believing employer is
himself a bondservant of his own Master in heaven. The implication is that the way
the master on the earth treats his bondservant, just as with husbands and fathers,
will translate into the way he will be treated by his Master in heaven. And this is
likely reference to the Judgment Seat once again.
b). Doing the same things to them, their bondservants, in context, has to do
with acting in good will and doing good and this is set against ?threatening?, which
literally means to be a menace.
c). If the master/employer is good and gentle in his treatment of those in his
employ, then he will receive the same from the Lord. The investment in faithful
obedience here not only benefits the bondservant/employee but also the master at
the Judgment Seat.
d). If on the other hand he chooses to be a menace, he needs to remember
that God judges without partiality and scripture will become very real ?
Heb 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
8). And so then we can see from the end of Ephesians Chapter 5 through the
beginning of Chapter 6 that three examples of submission are presented, each of
which focuses on a different facet of our complete relationship to Christ.
a). The church is to relate to the Lord as a prospective wife and through our
marriages we are to model this relationship. And whether we are a husband or a
wife our faithful obedience to Christ with regards to our assigned role and
responsibility moves us towards the fulfillment of the picture it presents.
b). We then saw the relationship between children and parents with
particular emphasis on the relationship between father and child. And this
relationship presents the picture of us as children of God. And again, whether we
are a father or a child our faithful obedience to Christ in this relationship moves us
closer to being adopted as a first born son in that Day.
c). And lastly we saw the relationship between the master and the
bondservant and how this pictures for us our relationship with Christ as our Master
and us as His bondservants. And whether we would be slave or free,
master/bondservant, our faithful obedience to Christ in respect to our role moves us
closer to hearing the words - Mt 25:21 "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and
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faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over
many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
d). And we will realize of course that every single one of us find ourselves in
one or more of these pictures and it is our submission to Christ in whatever
capacity He places us that is to be a part of what every joint supplies to the body.
In each of us then it should be possible to see the model and the picture that we are
to represent. Each of us has a role to play and each of us is significant in what we
bring to each other. Whoever thought that we would have such an impact on each
other?s race of faith.
e). Let?s make sure that we grasp the opportunity that is given to us.
f). 2Ti 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who
does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.