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Ephesians 6

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Verses 1-4

Children and Parents

Ephesians 6:1. After he highlighted the relationship between husband and wife, Paul now draws attention to the relationship between parents and children. Also in this relationship we can realize a heavenly truth. In order to really enjoy the Christian blessings, we are to behave ourselves in this relationship as Paul indicates here.

Also now the apostle addresses those first who have a submissive position, the children. That they are addressed directly indicates how important they are. They are not just supplementary. No, they may contribute so that the new man becomes visible here, namely when they are obedient.

We live in a world that is permeated by a spirit of rebellion and selfishness. That spirit doesn’t stop at the front door of the Christian families. After all, “disobeying the parents” is a sign of “the last days” (2 Timothy 3:1-Exodus :). The number of juveniles that have gotten off the track is increasing. Why? A reason is that the number of ‘normal’ families is decreasing. Another reason is that parents do not consider that the relationship ‘child-parents’ is created by God.

Parents do make mistakes, but children are to obey their parents. An upbringing without maintaining authority is against the will of God. By teaching their children to be obedient, parents are doing a great favor to them. Children, who have not learnt to obey, also have difficulties to repent and to convert.

The fact that parents are not perfect, doesn’t give the child the right to disobey. Therefore another motive is added “in the Lord”. A child doesn’t obey because his parents do not make mistakes or does only obey when he understands what is asked, but he obeys because it is an order from the Lord.

There is not a single reason for a child to disobey, whether it is converted or not. This order goes for every child. Believing children should also obey unbelieving parents. This conduct, this behavior is right for God.

Ephesians 6:2. By quoting the fifth commandment of the law, the apostle emphasizes the significance of obedience. He doesn’t quote this commandment because we would still be under the law. Precisely this letter hasn’t any connection with the law, which determines regulations concerning life on earth. This letter puts us specifically in heaven and from there our life is directed. But that doesn’t lead us to act against the law. Through this commandment Paul shows that some particular principles of the law are also valid under grace.

In the commandment obeying is not mentioned, but it is about honoring. ‘Honoring’ is giving the place to someone he deserves and that also includes obeying. Honoring goes further than obeying. When children have reached a certain age and live independently or are married, to obey is out of order. But honoring remains as a commandment.

This is a special commandment, because to this fifth command no penalty is connected, but a promise. This makes clear that God attaches a great value to honoring father and mother.

Ephesians 6:3. How God values obedience to this commandment, appears from the contents of the promise. From that promise it also becomes apparent that the commandment has not been quoted because we would still be under the law. The promise is not for us, actually. God is promising this to an earthly people, through which He is in connection with by the law. We have a totally different position. In contrast with Israel who would get blessings on the earth by obedience, we are blessed with all blessings in the heavenly places. The blessing of the Lord has nothing to do with earthly success. A poor, sick believer is not necessarily unfaithful and a rich healthy believer not necessarily faithful.

Ephesians 6:4. After the commandment for the children and the blessing connected to it, follows a word addressed to “fathers”. Their task is to bring them up. That doesn’t mean that mothers have nothing to do with that. In practice it is often them who have everything to do with it, far more that the fathers (cf. 1 Timothy 5:10). The fathers, however, carry the main responsibilities for the education. They determine (when they are wise, in agreement and good cooperation with their wives) the standards for the upbringing. Yet, here it is not that much about the determination of the standards, but more about dealing with them in practice.

The weakness of the father is being exposed, as the warning “do not provoke your children to anger”, surely doesn’t come out of nowhere. A father can actually be very ardent at maintaining the authority that is given to him by God. When a child doesn’t do something right in answer to what he asks, or it doesn’t meet his desires otherwise, the father can be unreasonable or adopt an immature attitude. That can be by words and by deeds. He can humiliate the child with words, giving the child the feeling he is useless, doesn’t ever do anything right and that he will fail in life. If a child is mistreated that way he can be provoked to anger. He can revolt or, as said in Colossians 3, “will … lose heart” (Colossians 3:21).

In order to be a good father, that is a father who is like the heavenly Father, a father should walk and act in accordance with the teachings of this letter. When he doesn’t do that, the children will revolt. When this causes a wedge in the relationship between father and children, restoration is only possible when there is a change in the hearts of the fathers (Malachi 4:6).

What then is the right way? He must “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”. Discipline implies a certain chastisement, which must be in accordance with the degree of the transgression. He who uses the ‘rod’, is following the instruction of the Scripture, so from God Himself (Proverbs 13:24; Proverbs 23:13Proverbs 29:15).

The Bible is the book of pedagogy par excellence. It is foolish to think that the only way to let a child obey is by speaking to him, so using only words. It is important to emphasize that corporal punishment is an educational means commanded by God. That goes against the prevailing views of education, as more and more views are being adjusted in the direction of the mind of present-day people. Just think of the same-sex marriage, abortion and euthanasia, but also the introduction of making a crime of corporal punishment to children. As man has gone out of control and detached themselves from everything that has to do with God and with His Word in our days we don’t need to be surprised. Fathers, go back to the Word!

Beside discipline there should also be ‘instruction’. Discipline implies more an action to correct the child, instruction happens especially verbally. These two need to be maintained in the upbringing. Eli, the father of Hophni and Phinehas, is a prime and tragic example of a father who indeed instruct, but did not discipline (1 Samuel 2:22-Jeremiah :). Most important is that discipline and instruction happen in the realm of the love of the Lord. They must be practiced in the way God does that with His children. He does everything in love and to be a blessing.

It is clear that ‘provoking’ is not in the realm of love. Obedience outside the realm of love is also to be seen when the wind and the sea were obeying the Lord. That is an enforced obedience that can also be seen by demons.

Here discipline and instruction take place in the realm of love. Children in a Christian family are to be brought up according to the standards of God’s Word. They are sanctified in their parents (1 Corinthians 7:14). In such families they have a special place ever since they were born. They are there where the Holy Spirit is working through the parents and where they hear the Word of God every day. The education they receive also ought to be in the discipline and instruction “of the Lord” and not according to their own understanding or led by their moods.

Now read Ephesians 6:1-4 again.

Reflection: Why is it right to honor your parents?

Verses 5-9

Slaves and Masters

Now Paul writes about a third circle in which the new man should be visible. After he has highlighted our conduct in the church (first circle, Ephesians 4:25-5:21) and in the marriage and family (second circle, Ephesians 5:22-6:4), our behavior in society is now the next thing to pay attention to. Instead of three circles you could also speak about three communities: the faith community, the family community and the work community.

Ephesians 6:5. Again Paul starts with the subordinates and here he also has the most to say to them. You can imagine that of all three addressed groups, it must be most difficult for the bondservants to show the ‘new man’. At the same time it must be most challenging for them too. Their position offers the most opportunities to let the heavenly light shine. After all, light shines the brightest where the circumstances are the darkest.

It is obvious that their circumstances, especially in the conditions of those days, were the most difficult. A bondservant was a serf, without having anything of his own, without any right to food, leisure time or entertainment. Even his own body was not his own. That means that we cannot apply all to our situation, regarding the relationship between employer and employee. Yet we can learn a lot of what is said here to the slaves and masters, as much of that is certainly applicable to nowadays situations.

Slaves have of all people, the most unique opportunity to show what the value is of Christianity in practice. Slaves show the new man in their difficult circumstances and not in the meetings. They can show in their circumstances that the doctrine is not a theory. Through them the doctrine is being illustrated in practice. In Titus 2 it is said that the faithful slaves “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every aspect” (Titus 2:10). How wonderful that is!

It is true that Christendom is not a program for world improvement, in order to banish all consequences of sin. Slavery is not being dissolved; it is, and remains, a consequence of sin. If a slave gets the opportunity to become free, he may use it (1 Corinthians 7:21). However, when he has to remain a slave, then he shall find instructions in the Scripture how to practice that.

Here also the starting point is obedience; that is expected from slaves. Obedience that is steered in the right direction is raised to a higher purpose in the Scripture. In this way the Christian slave is being motivated in his obedience. The first thing he may be aware of is that he is a servant of “a master according to the flesh”. His authority remains limited to his life on earth and to ‘only’ the body of the slave. Beyond that master ‘according to the flesh’ he may look upon his Master in heaven.

He will serve with “fear and trembling” because he doesn’t want to do anything inappropriate in fulfilling his duties. But if he only focuses on fulfilling his duties, he would be forcing himself. Therefore it is added that it will happen “in sincerity of your heart”, which is with sincere intentions and with integrity, not with deviousness. Sincerity of heart belongs to a ‘sincere eye’ (Matthew 6:22), that is an eye that is only focused on Christ in glory. The slave who obeys “as to Christ” surrounds his service with heavenly brightness.

Ephesians 6:6. There are more dangers. A slave is surrounded by fellow slaves who do not regard God or any commandment. They do their best as long as their master is watching. When he isn’t looking, they don’t work properly. Or they do their best just to charm their master for their own benefit. A Christian slave must not take part in that. He must bear in mind that he is a slave of Christ after all.

Christ is not a severe Master. How difficult the position may be, how heavy the work and how demanding the ‘master according to the flesh’ may be, the slave may look beyond all that, to heaven. He can consider that as God’s will for his life, and God’s will is always the best. That is sometimes hard to believe for us, but it is very true. By dealing with the armor of God later in this chapter, we shall come across parts with which you can arm yourself against doubting the goodness of God.

Ephesians 6:7. When the slave has reached the point that he has accepted his position as God’s will for his life, then there will be peace in his soul. His inner desire will be to fulfill the demands of his master as best as he possibly can. He will notice that with that attitude towards his ‘master according to the flesh’ he has more pleasure in his soul and he will do his work with more joy. He actually serves the Lord in heaven and not a man.

Ephesians 6:8. In all of this he may know that the Lord is righteous. He does not forget what is done for Him. Although the earthly employer hasn’t seen what the employee has done, although he values the achievements of the employee wrong, even if the earthly employer deducts some of the salary of the employee falsely, the Lord shall reward accordingly “whatever good thing each one does”. That protects the employee from seeking his right through a labor union or a judge.

This attitude someone can only have when he lives by faith, with confidence on the Lord, that every job that has been done for Him, is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). This principle actually goes for everyone, “whether slave or free”. What is really important is with which motive have we done or do we do something? And the Lord knows how to judge that perfectly (1 Corinthians 4:5). He will surely make no mistake when He will do the pay-off.

Ephesians 6:9. Finally a word to the “masters”. They have authority over the slaves; that is the position they have. Yet there are certain rules that apply equally to them and the slaves. An admonition that was addressed to the slaves and which also applies to the masters is: “Do the same things to them.” That means that they should not show partiality to any of their subordinates and that they should do the will of God from the heart by sincerity of heart.

Like the slaves the masters are also servants of Christ. When they realize that, they better understand the conditions in which their slaves live. In the working relationship they are above their slaves, but in relation to their Lord, they stand equal to their slaves. When the master is a good servant of Christ he shall also be a good master to his slaves.

In every possible way and in all circumstances we have an excellent and perfect model in the Father and the Son. By looking upon Them we learn how to represent on earth the spiritual, eternal and heavenly order in all our relations. Are you a father? Fathers can find a model in the Father. Are you a child? Children can find a model in the Son. Are you an employee? An employee can find a model in the true Servant and learn how heavenly standards can be put to practice. Are you an employer? An employer can find a model in the heavenly Master and learn how to be a master in accordance with heavenly standards. He is not a Master from Whom comes a threat that He will punish every bad move of his servants.

In Ruth 2 we have a beautiful example. There you see with Boaz a good relationship between a master and his servants. That appears from his greeting: “Boaz … said to the reapers: “May the LORD be with you.” And they said to him, “May the LORD bless you”” (Ruth 2:4) and also from what is said further. You do not see a boss there who approaches his workers with threats and whom the workers fear. Both master and servants consider the Lord in their greeting.

Boaz also shows that with him there is “no partiality”. He took pity on Ruth, the Moabitess, who belonged to a cursed nation (Deuteronomy 23:3). By this he illustrates strikingly how the “Master in heaven” deals with such situations.

The addition ‘in heaven’ shows in a special way the majesty of that Master. How great the appearance of an earthly master can be, it pales completely compared to that!

Now read Ephesians 6:5-9 again.

Reflection: How can a slave let the heavenly light shine in his often pitiful circumstances?

Verses 10-13

Struggle In the Heavenly Places

Ephesians 6:10. The word “finally” indicates that we will get something more. A closing word follows and even more than that, for even a new item is now addressed that actually connects properly to the foregoing. In the previous chapters you have read about the marvelous truths of the heavenly blessings and about Christ and the church. You also saw that these truths should affect our lives in different areas.

The item that has not been dealt with yet is that there is also an enemy that continually tries to prevent you from enjoying the blessings. He also wants to prevent the effects of those blessings showing in your life. That causes a struggle. In view of this struggle Paul draws attention to three points. The first point is the source of power, the second is the character of the enemy against whom you are struggling and the third is the armor that is handed to you, so that you are able to resist the enemy when he attacks you.

The enemy is powerful and also cunning. You yourself have no power to stand firm against his wiles, for this is especially the issue of this section. But in the Lord you have an awesome source of power at your disposal. He is mightier than any enemy. On top of that, it is His battle. He wants to triumph through you.

Therefore the first call is: “Be strong in the Lord.” Seek your power in Him, Who is the almighty and eternal God. Also be aware that He is your Lord, the One Who has authority over you. In Him everything is present to overcome. “In the strength of His might” indicates that He has the power to master every opposition against Him. “His might” means that He is able to practice His power in the right way.

Ephesians 6:11. In this verse you read how you can enter the battle. Therefore God hands you an armor. We shall soon see which parts this armor consists of. Here it is already said that you should put on the “full armor”. You cannot afford to miss one part. The point is that you shall stand firm against the continual wiles of the devil.

A beautiful example of somebody who stands firm against the attacks of the enemy, you read in 2 Samuel 23 (2 Samuel 23:11-2 Kings :). It is about Shammah, one of David’s heroes. Because of his firmness he could save a piece of land and its fruits for God’s people. That is also the case with our ‘land’, that is the heavenly places and the fruits of that land, that are the spiritual blessings.

The call to stand firm means that you shall not compromise any of the blessings you have received in Christ. The devil has a whole armory of tricks and feints to deceive you. By that I mean that he tries to keep you busy with things that are not meant for you. A very successful trick is that he gives Christians the idea that it is a good thing to get involved with the politics of this world. He who enters that area quickly loses the view of the heavenly blessings and the joy of them.

But he knows more strategies, like discouragement, disappointment, confusion, moral failures and doctrinal error. All of his wiles suit him as the father of lies (John 8:44). He will always twist the truth. The best proof of that you already come across in Genesis 3 (Genesis 3:1). There you read about the first words the devil spoke in the Bible. He pretends to quote what God said, but he does that in his own way. The outcome is the fall of man. This is how he always operates; you have been warned (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:11; 2 Corinthians 11:14)!

Very fortunately we have an armor that is indeed of God, that is the armor God gives us. That of man does no good at all against the wiles of the devil. God has not put on the armor, but we have. God does not need a shield of faith and neither the other parts, but we do need them.

Ephesians 6:12. The armor doesn’t consist of a sword and a shield literally. The struggle is not against men, “not against flesh and blood”, but that doesn’t mean that the devil doesn’t use men. He certainly does use them, both unbelievers and believers. An example of the latter is illustrated in Matthew 16 (Matthew 16:23). The battle is spiritual and is going on in heavenly places; it is against powers that rule over the darkness wherein the world is absorbed.

Darkness is not only the absence of light, but also the presence of evil. Every place that has influences of sin or gives room to sin is a place where the devil and his demons are in action. So powers are hidden behind the darkness. The darkness is still being extended more and more by people who sin. They are activated to sin by invisible powers of wickedness, called demons. Demons move as powers on a much higher level than ours.

Ephesians 6:13. Therefore we are pointed again to “the full armor”. After all, the continuous intention of the devil is to rob the believer from the joy of the blessings he has received and which he has learnt to know in this letter. Therefore the battle will really fire off at the end of the letter only. Now you have enjoyed everything God has given to you and since you have a desire to enjoy it even more, and adapt your life to it, you should be aware that you are the target of the devil.

He will not bother the children of God who are indifferent about their blessings. Those children of God are very occupied with their earthly and sometimes even worldly matters, as if their salvation depends on that. But for you “the evil day” has come, the day the enemy tends to target you especially. The whole empire of darkness has been stirred and mobilized to pull down your intention.

Practically, there may be days that everything seems to go wrong and that all could not be a coincidence. In turn, this will cause you to come under pressure. But if you have put on the armor, you will stand firm against the pressure to give up. In this way you are able ‘to withstand’. This expression you also come across in James 4 and 1 Peter 5 (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9). It is about not giving into – and not to run away from – the threat from the enemy who wants to wipe out every thought about heavenly matters. However, God wants a testimony on earth exactly of that.

In other places in Scripture you read about ‘flee’ (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22). There you see that you must flee from situations that are connected with the sinful desires of your heart.

Have you withstood them when it was necessary, then you have conquered. But watch out! It is not enough to counter the enemy. After the victory we should withstand. The attack itself is not the most dangerous, but the rest afterwards. When it seems that the battle has been fought, then precisely at that moment the greatest attack often happens. An example of that you see in the history of Elijah. After his spiritual success on Mount Carmel in 1 Kings 18 (1 Kings 18:36-1 Corinthians :) he flees in fear in the next chapter because of the threats of queen Jezebel (1 Kings 19:1-Leviticus :).

In closing this part, I still want to point out that the battle that is being described here, is not a striving against the sin that dwells in us. To such a striving we are not called anywhere in the Bible. Regarding the indwelling power of sin, it is said in Romans 6: “Consider yourselves to be dead to sin” (Romans 6:11). Why then continue striving? But, you might say, don’t we read in Hebrews 12 about striving against sin (Hebrews 12:4)? Yes, sure. But the point there is not the sin that dwells in you, but the sin that surrounds you and wants to intrude.

Now read Ephesians 6:10-13 again.

Reflection: What is the reason that this letter ends with speaking about struggling?

Verses 14-17

The Armor

Ephesians 6:14. We shall take a closer look at the whole armor now. We shall see what to put on (Ephesians 6:11) and what to take up (Ephesians 6:13) and whether you indeed have done that. When some parts aren’t set right, you can still put them right.

The first part, “truth”, serves as a protection of the loins. In the Bible the loins picture the strength to walk. In Exodus 12 the people are told that they should eat the Passover with their “loins girded” (Exodus 12:11), that means: ready to leave Egypt and go to the promised land. ‘The loins girded with truth’ means your walk is in accordance with the truth. That is a fact when you apply God’s Word really to yourself. In that way you will see the reality of everything you encounter.

As “the truth in Jesus” (Ephesians 4:22) was seen in His walk, in that way it should be the power for your walk. The truth must become a part of your being, in everything you say or do. Your whole thinking, speaking and acting must be directed by the truth, by what is true, as how God sees everything. In keeping everything as how God has revealed them in His Word lies the strength for your walk in a world where satan is still lord and master.

When your feelings for the world are girded with the truth, it will save you from loving something of the world. The truth makes clear to you that the world lies under the sway of the wicked one and that all that is in the world, is not of the Father (1 John 5:19; 1 John 2:15-Esther :).

To be girded with the truth doesn’t mean that you have to know the whole Bible by heart. The real important thing is that you will measure everything you come into contact with, in the light of the truth. When something appears to be in accordance with the truth, it is good, but when it is against the truth, it is condemnable.

This part of the armor is also important in pastoral sense. We all have to deal with people. That can be family members, friends, colleagues, neighbors, acquaintances, a brother or sister. All of our relationships and all activities must be looked at in the light of the truth. Then only the real character of that person or activity will become clear and in that way we can take the right position. When we don’t do that, you and I have a great risk that our life will be regulated by other people or by things that happen to us.

When you judge people and incidents in the light of the truth, you can give them the right place and by doing that they cannot manipulate you anymore. Only in this way you are armed with the right view and therefore you can defeat the attacks. In this way you have the strength (‘loins’) to live for God and show Him in the world. That is not something intuitional, but something you should seize with your mind. Peter says: “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind” (1 Peter 1:13 NKJV).

The second part, “righteousness”, serves as a protection of your breast. Righteousness indicates that you give everyone his or her due. It is about dealing and acting righteously according to God’s will. The “breastplate” protects the heart. Out of the heart “spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Are the rights of God being recognized in everything that comes out of our hearts, so that we act like God wants us to? Paul disciplined himself always to have “a blameless conscience [both] before God and before men” (Acts 24:16). With him ‘the breastplate of righteousness’ was set right. When our conscience is not clean, we are subjected to the wiles of the devil and we are powerless in the struggle against him.

Ephesians 6:15. The third part has to do with your feet: “Having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” This is not about being prepared to proclaim the gospel; neither that you live in the security of peace with God (Romans 5:1). Peace here is the peace between Jew and Gentile in one new man (Ephesians 2:14; Ephesians 2:17). This peace is heavenly; it is the peace of God (Philippians 4:7).

It should be visible in our walk that we live from peace. Then we bring to God everything that is in our heart. Consequently we rest in every circumstance God leads us. The Lord Jesus is our model in this (Matthew 11:25-Amos :). The peace of God is being characterized by the rest of God on His throne, unaffected by all the rush on earth.

When the devil cannot deceive us on the first two parts, he will try to take away our peace. Just as with Job he will use all kinds of (less than comfortable) circumstances to succeed. In heaven there is nothing that can make us restless and take away our peace. The testimony of heavenly reality will be seen on earth especially in the peace we radiate amidst all the rush.

Ephesians 6:16. After three military garments, now three means of protection are handed to us. First: the “shield of faith”. So faith is presented as a shield. That is a wonderful picture. Imagine a long shield behind which the body is hidden, so you are unreachable for all fiery darts. When your faith, that means your confidence, is really focused on God, when you believe that He has control of everything and that nothing surprises Him, the attempts of the wicked one to discourage you will be in vain. Through faith you see the glorified Christ, to Whom God will soon subject all powers.

The devil whispers in your ear: ‘If God loves you, then would ….’ The devil feeds the thoughts of unbelief and suspicion. Those are “the flaming arrows” he fires off, which causes a fire in your soul that spreads fast. A dart that hits the mark causes a hole, but a fiery dart causes much more misery than a hole. The devil wants you to doubt God’s love and goodness for you. In such case you should take the shield of faith, so that all the fiery darts are resisted and quenched. Job also quenched a fiery dart that was fired on him by the devil through his wife (Job 2:9-2 Samuel :). Bear in mind that all things are controlled by the Father and the Son. God loves you and He makes all things work together for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

Ephesians 6:17. To protect your head, the seat of the thoughts, God equips you with “the helmet of salvation”. You know that you are “saved by grace” (Ephesians 2:5). That salvation is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8) and therefore depends not on men. For that reason salvation is a fixed fact, so you can resist the enemy with your head held high.

The sixth means is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. The sword is the Word of God that is used in the power of the Spirit. The Lord shows how to use it at the temptation in the desert (Matthew 4:1-1 Kings :). Again and again He defeats the devil with a quote from the Word of God, which He starts with “it is written”.

You handle the sword when you quote statements of God’s Word in specific situations. For an effective use of the sword of the Spirit, you should practice with it. That doesn’t only mean that you learn to know God’s Word better, but that you also know how and when to use it. Of the sixty heroes that surrounded Solomon’s carriage, it is said: “All of them are wielders of the sword, expert in war” (Song of Solomon 3:7-Ruth :).

Evil powers can only be resisted with the Word of God. With the ‘weapon of discussion’ you will not succeed, even if you have a ready tongue.

Now read Ephesians 6:14-17 again.

Reflection: Examine how the parts of the armor work in your life.

Verses 18-24

Prayer and Love

Ephesians 6:18. There! The soldier is splendidly dressed and protected on the battlefield, ready to resist the attack. But what do you see then? He is kneeling down, without even watching out for the enemy. But that attitude makes him yet more vulnerable, doesn’t it? Nothing could be further from the truth. To fall down on your knees and start praying is the final piece of the armor.

You may have set everything right, but if you omit the prayer, you will surely lose the battle. Through praying you don’t check in to the enemy, but to God Who has all power in heaven and on earth. By prayer you rise above the battleground and enter God’s holy place to see there the might of the Lord Jesus Who fights for you. He is the Commander; it is also His fight. He oversees the whole battleground and gives His orders.

It is striking that there is no symbol for prayer. Which symbol would be satisfying to reflect a prayer life? After all, it is important that you are continuously, “always”, in connection with God in your life. A good comparison is that prayer presents, as it were, the breathing of the soul. Without prayer your spiritual life suffocates.

The Holy Spirit Who you have received (Ephesians 1:13), wants to work this in you. He is the only One Who is able to. He knows exactly the feelings of the Lord Jesus and He also wants to work them in your heart. He leads you in your prayer and supplication. Then you do not rush a prayer out of habit, but you urgently pray for what is needed.

While praying, the risk is that your thoughts are wandering off or that you fall asleep. Therefore prayer goes together with being watchful and with perseverance (Mark 13:33; Acts 2:42). Through prayer the soldier is continually in connection with the Commander. Without that connection everything goes wrong. You will then act in self will and that will surely cause damage to the unity within the army. That would jeopardize the safety of others.

Acting in this way shows that you don’t consider “all the saints” you are connected with. It is important to always consider ‘all saints’ (Ephesians 1:15; Ephesians 3:18) for no saint is free from needs. We can pray for groups of believers, but let us also specifically name every saint in our prayers.

Ephesians 6:19. With the words “and [pray] on my behalf” Paul makes clear how much he appreciates the prayers for him personally and for his ministry. He doesn’t put himself above that, as if he wouldn’t need prayers. We see in this a clear indication to pray for each believer personally and for his or her ministry for the Lord. In this way Paul makes the believers become co-workers in passing on blessings which he presented to them in this letter. Because of their prayer support he can also make known to others “the mystery of the gospel”. He was convinced of the power of prayer.

Ephesians 6:20. He doesn’t ask whether they want to pray for his release from imprisonment. To him the most important thing was the proclamation of what God had entrusted to him and which was the cause of his imprisonment (Ephesians 3:1; Ephesians 4:1). Therefore he asks them to pray that he might speak in such a way that is fully in accordance with the mystery of the gospel.

It was important to him that his message would be well understood by the hearers. A preacher should always consider the level of his hearers. Not that the content of the message has to be adjusted to them, but the way that message should be brought. Every situation is different. Therefore dependence on the Lord and supplication of believers are necessary to see what ought to be spoken in any situation.

Ephesians 6:21. The final words of Paul follow from this verse. We can say that love is the key issue of the final verses. In Ephesians 6:21-Song of Solomon : he speaks about love for one another; in Ephesians 6:23-Jeremiah : it is about the love of and for God and the Lord Jesus.

Paul was interested in all the believers, but he was also convinced that all the believers were interested in him. The idea that his situation was also of concern to others, is a great proof of love which filled his heart. He wants them to know how he is doing. Therefore he sends Tychicus to them. It is very likely that Tychicus has taken the letter, which Paul is now finalizing, with him. It is possible that Tychicus also had the letter for the church in Colossae (Colossians 4:7) with him.

Paul calls him “the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord”. That is a nice testimony. He functions as a link between Paul in prison and the believers elsewhere. Such people are scarce unfortunately. I hope that you want to be like Tychicus, that you want to be a ‘transmitter’ of the truth that you have learnt from Paul about the Lord Jesus. Your fellow believers shall appreciate you as a ‘beloved brother’. But you are not to tell them what they like to hear, as ‘a faithful servant in the Lord’ doesn’t do that. ‘A faithful servant in the Lord’ speaks of both pleasant and unpleasant truths; he reports “everything” that is entrusted to him.

Ephesians 6:22. Tychicus didn’t transmit cool statistic data. He was somebody who was fully involved with Paul and the other believers. In him also the feelings of Paul became visible for the believers. The Ephesians loved Paul, so they were also sad about his circumstances. Therefore they needed some consolation. Tychicus knew how Paul felt, how he was doing. He was the right man for this mission. Paul sent him because Tychicus was able to give solace to the hearts of the Ephesians. To be able to do this you have to be in sympathy with them.

Although the Ephesians probably didn’t know Tychicus, they wouldn’t need time to get acquainted first. The love of Tychicus for Paul and the love of the Ephesians for the same Paul would have been felt mutually. As soon as you or I talk with somebody, we also notice that that person loves the Lord Jesus when he loves the truths that are made known to us through the ministry of Paul. Thereby I especially think about the truths that are in connection with the heavenly blessings of the Christian and the unity between Christ and His church, which are wonderfully highlighted here.

Ephesians 6:23. His desire is that the “brethren” (the sisters are included) will experience the “peace … from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” and also “love with faith”. In this time of so many divisions and confusion, pain and rejection, we heartily join in this desire. Let us pray that that desire may be fulfilled.

Love goes together with the confidence of faith here that He is above all circumstances and will fulfill His counsel and that there is nothing out of His control. The awareness of His love for us will strengthen our confidence in Him. In His love He will keep us.

Ephesians 6:24. To his previous wishes “grace” is now added. Grace is the basis of all life. If we stand in grace, then the awareness of the love from God the Father and the Lord Jesus for us will increase. And can our reaction be otherwise than a burning, unquenchable mutual love for the Lord Jesus Christ? We shall love Him more and more, together “with all” who also do.

What a joy such a reaction must be for Him, Who “loved the church and gave Himself for her”!

Now read Ephesians 6:18-24 again.

Reflection: How can other believers notice that you are interested in them?

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Ephesians 6". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/ephesians-6.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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