Chuck Smith Bible Commentary
Now parent-child relationships,
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right ( Ephesians 6:1 ).
That "in the Lord" I think is important. If your parents are not godly and if your parents are demanding you to do things or requiring you to do things that are improper from a spiritual base, then I do not believe that obedience is required. But obey your parents in the Lord.
There is the higher conscience to God, where we must obey God rather than man. If what is being required of me would violate my conscience towards God, then that has to be the guiding standard of my life. Even in wives submitting to their husbands, again, there is the guiding standard of your conscience towards God. If your husband is requiring something that would affect your conscience before God, then I do not believe that you have to submit. Your husband isn"t really loving you as Christ loved the church or he wouldn"t require you to do that. So in all of these issues there is that higher authority of God in our lives and our conscience towards Him.
So children obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right.
Honor thy father and thy mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) ( Ephesians 6:2 )
Now, a lot of commandments. This is the first commandment that had a promise attached to it. "Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the earth."
That it might be well with you and your days long upon the earth. Now, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath ( Ephesians 6:3-4 ):
I think one of the cruelest things that I have observed fathers doing sometimes is teasing their children to the point of distraction, getting a kick of the frenzied little child. Holding out a piece of candy or a cookie, and then as they are reaching out, pull it back. Then hold it out and pulling it back, and creating frustration until the child can"t handle itself. Provoke not your children to wrath, that is a cruel thing to do. It is cruel to derive humor or whatever from this kind of teasing of a child. It isn"t right. It is mentally abusing the child, but some people get sort of a kick out of seeing a little child just scream in a frenzy by frustration, can"t do anything about it. Provoke not your children to wrath.
I think that we can provoke our children to wrath by demanding unreasonable achievements from them. "After all, it is my child. They have got to be a genius. They are so smart; they are talking before anybody else. They are walking. My child just has to be super smart and special," and so we sometimes are trying to push them beyond their capacities. Thus, that creates frustration. We need to be careful that we don"t push them to the point of frustration.
Provoke not your children to wrath,
but bring them up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord ( Ephesians 6:4 ).
Teach them about God, teach them the things of God and the ways of God.
Servants, [employees] be obedient to your bosses according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, and singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart ( Ephesians 6:5-6 );
We are told in the scriptures that whatsoever you do, in word or deed, do all to the glory of Christ, or do what you do as unto Christ. No matter what kind of a job I am doing, I am a witness for Jesus Christ, and therefore, I want to do it good for His sake, so that people will think well of Christianity because the job that I am doing is super special. I am giving an extra effort. I am not complaining. I am going an extra mile. I am doing more than what is required of me. That my life might be a good witness for Jesus Christ.
We have many young people that have gone from Calvary Chapel on these kibbutz programs over in Israel, and they have left a good witness because of the way that they work without complaining, their good attitudes. Why? Because they go over and they are working as unto the Lord. They have taken the right attitude with them. Doing their work as unto the Lord, and it leaves a powerful witness as these in the kibbutz observe their work. Some of the first groups that went over, those in the kibbutzim were determined to really break them. They gave them the dirtiest jobs around the kibbutz. Just pressed them all kinds of stuff, and yet, these kids would do it smiling and rejoicing and with good attitudes. And what they did was break down the kibbutznicks. They said, "Wow, can"t believe the way these people respond and react." Why? Because I am doing it as unto the Lord.
There are a lot of times when we are required to do things that are galling to us. Sometimes the boss may ask you to do something that you say, "Hey, come on. I am above that." Sweep the floor. "Are you kidding?" I used to work for Alpha Beta markets. In my work for them I was called on to do just about everything. I was going around to the various stores, substituting for managers and all kinds of work. Anything that would come up they would call me to hotshot for them. Sometimes I would go into the store and it would be filthy and so the janitor wouldn"t be there. I would go ahead and clean the restrooms and sweep the floors. I thought, "If they want to pay me what they are paying me, I don"t care what I do. I will sweep the floors or whatever." I developed a reputation of a guy that will just go for it. Because I was doing it as unto the Lord and I figured they are paying for my time, and so I will do what they ask of me when I am here, without complaining or murmuring. That is exactly what we are told to do here. Do what you do as unto the Lord, not to please men but to please the Lord, as a good witness for Him.
With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man does, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be a slave or a free man ( Ephesians 6:7-8 ).
I am ultimately looking to the Lord for my rewards for my life and for my work.
And so, you masters [if you are in the position of an employer], do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him ( Ephesians 6:9 ).
In the early church when slavery was such a popular thing, it was quite interesting because many of those in the early church were slaves. Many of those in the early church were masters who had many slaves. The interesting thing was, is that here is a fellow that all week long is taking orders from his master and he goes to church and he is the elder in the church and his master is just one of the people in the church, and the whole order was reversed when they got to church. With God there is no respect of persons, we are all one before Him.
Finally, brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore ( Ephesians 6:10-14 ),
So we now come to the final section of the book, the warfare of the believer. The first three chapters Paul dealt with the wealth of the believer. The next two and a half chapters Paul dealt with the walk of the believer. Now he deals with the warfare. Or, in the first three chapters he dealt with the position, seated with Christ. In the next two and a half chapters he dealt again with the walk, and now he deals with standing.
Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Know that you don"t have the strength in yourself; it is the Lord who gives me strength. Apart from Him I can do nothing, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God. So Paul sees the Roman soldier dressing himself for war, and we as Christians are in a warfare. It is a spiritual warfare, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and powers, which are spirit entities; they are captains and lieutenants of the demon ranks. They are called principalities, powers, authorities, dominions, and they have various rankings of evil spirits. That is where the real warfare lies, in the realm of the spirit, fighting these spiritual battles. And thus, the weapons of our warfare are spiritual weapons. It is a spiritual battle. It cannot be fought with physical weapons. We must arm ourselves with spiritual weapons. We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against these principalities and powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against the spiritual wickedness in the high places. So you have to take the whole armor of God that you might be able to stand in that evil day and having done all, just stand.
Therefore, as we arm ourself, the first bit of armament that we put on is the
truth ( Ephesians 6:14 ),
Because the enemy is always coming with his lies. Jesus said that the devil is the father of all lies. And he tries to lie to you about God, about the nature of God, about the character of God, about the attitude of God towards you. He tries to lie to you about God"s attitude towards sin. "Oh, it really doesn"t matter. You can get by with it. God will judge you. God will forgive," and so forth, and he presses the point of causing you to use the grace of God as a cloak for lasciviousness, deceiving yourself. The truth-it"s important that I be armed with the truth.
the breastplate of righteousness ( Ephesians 6:14 );
That commitment in my heart to do that which is right before God. I have got to have that as just a commitment of my life. I want to do the right thing. Not to observe the situation and then determine which way I will balance. But just have that determination that I am going to live a right kind of life. Righteousness.
Righteousness actually constitutes the right actions towards those around me. And unrighteousness is not doing the right thing toward my neighbor. Godliness is doing the right thing towards God. The right relationship with God. Ungodliness is the wrong relationship with God. There is ungodliness, my relationship with God, and unrighteousness, my relationship with man.
Now he is talking here about righteousness. I have got to have that just as a basic foundation, the breastplate of righteousness. I am going to do as best as God enables me the right thing. I want to live right.
Your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace ( Ephesians 6:15 );
It is God"s desire that we live in peace with each other, and with Him. We live in a world that is filled with strife. We talked about marriage relationships, but how many homes are so filled with strife. The atmosphere is continually tense as we are failing to obey the scriptures in submitting one to another in love. But we are trying to dominate over each other; we are trying to rule over each other, and there is no love involved. We get to arguing over the most ridiculous things and we won"t give in. We won"t yield the point, we will press our point, get the last word in, leave a sour taste. And yet, as the scripture says, "That yielding will pacify great offenses."
How many times in a tense situation where there is just the drawn sword and the clash taking place can the whole issue be diffused by just one person saying, "I think you are right. It is stupid to go on arguing like that. You are probably right." It just diffuses the whole thing. Suddenly the strife is gone. Why do we find that so hard to do? To admit to being wrong, or to admit to the other person possibly being right. Even when we know they are wrong. Help us, Lord.
Above all, taking the shield of faith ( Ephesians 6:16 ),
That faith and confidence in God is what is being talked about here.
wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked ( Ephesians 6:16 ).
Satan is constantly attacking us. My faith in God, God"s ability, God"s power, God"s working in me. I can stand against these attacks of the enemy.
Take the helmet of salvation ( Ephesians 6:17 ),
Thank God I have been saved through Jesus Christ from that tyranny of a life mastered by the flesh. I have been saved in order that I might walk in fellowship with God through the Spirit.
the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God ( Ephesians 6:17 ):
Not finally, but next, the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.
God"s Word is a tremendous defense against sin. John said, "I write unto you young men, because you are strong, because you have overcome the wicked one, because His Word abides in you." The power of God"s Word within my heart against sin, it is the greatest defense that I can have in this spiritual battle that I am in. God"s Word hidden in my heart.
And then finally,
Praying ( Ephesians 6:18 )
What a powerful spiritual weapon prayer is. In this spiritual warfare, prayer is often the deciding factor in the spiritual battle.
Praying with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, watching with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints; and for pray for me, [Paul says,] that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel ( Ephesians 6:18-19 ),
Interesting that so often in the early church their prayer was for boldness and proclaiming the truth of God. The reason for that being the heavy persecution against those who were proclaiming the gospel. Imprisonment often, oftentimes killed. There are some estimates that range as many as six million people were put to death for their faith in Christ in the first270 years of the church"s existence. Some six million people martyred. That is why, no doubt, they needed boldness, because my witness may cost me my life. You can be intimidated by that kind of pressure into silence. In the early church after one of the first persecutions, when the disciples were beaten and told not to speak any more in the name of Jesus Christ, warned severely not to preach anymore, they came to their own company having been beaten, and they shared with them the experience that they had before the magistrates, and they said, "Let"s pray that God might give us boldness to continue to speak the truth." So they prayed and the place was shaken and the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they went forth boldly proclaiming the truth. Paul is praying, asking for prayers that God will give me boldness in utterance, opening my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.
For which [he said] I am an ambassador in bonds ( Ephesians 6:20 );
For which I have been placed in prison.
and that I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak ( Ephesians 6:20 ).
That I will not be intimidated by this imprisonment, by the persecution, by the beatings, but that I will continue to speak boldly for Jesus Christ as I ought to speak.
I think so many times of our attitudes when someone has given us a dirty look or someone has put us down because we testified of Jesus. "Oh, are you one of those Jesus freaks?" We keep quiet. We have been intimidated by someone"s remark. Imagine what they went through in the early days. Here is Paul in prison because he has been proclaiming the gospel, and he is saying, "Please pray that God will give me boldness to speak as I ought to speak. That I won"t be intimidated by the fact that I"ve been thrown in prison, that my life has been threatened, that Nero is going to take my head." What we need is the grit of those early apostles.
But that you may also know my affairs, and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make known to you all of these personal things about me; whom I have sent to you for the same purpose, that he might let you know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts. Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ ( Ephesians 6:21-23 ).
Peace and love, these glorious gifts of God. And then finally,
Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen ( Ephesians 6:24 ).
Next week we go into the Philippian epistle. It is called the prison epistle, because Paul wrote it from prison. Now, if you had a friend thrown into prison with an indeterminate sentence, what kind of a letter would you expect to get from him? It is interesting that the epistle of the Philippians is the most joyful epistle in the New Testament, in which he is continually urging them to rejoice in the Lord. Paul"s epistle to the Philippians next week. You"ll find it very rich, very blessed, very full.
Now may the Word of God abide in your hearts richly through faith, that you might comprehend the length, the breadth, the depth, the height of God"s love for you. And that you might live in fellowship with God as light in a dark place, so may your life give forth of the beauty and the radiance of Jesus Christ that it might bring hope unto others. May God use you as His instrument this week. In Jesus" name. "
Monday, March 27th, 2017
the Fourth Week of Lent
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