** Note ** There is a break in audio at the 29 minute mark, as the Pastor’s microphone batteries died. ** Note ** This morning, Brother Danny wraps up his exposition of Paul’s letter to the Ephesian believers with a look at Paul’s closing statements. After all that Paul has taught in this letter, it is obviousl that he desires not only this church, but all of the churches to reach out and care for one another, to help bear each other’s burdens, and to show love to our fellow believers as we labor for the kingdom of God. May we all follow this admonition.
This morning, as Brother Danny continues leading us through Paul’s letter to the Ephesian Christians, we look at this passage often referred to as “The Armor of God.” As Danny looks at each of the Elements of this armor, he reminds us that we are not expected to fight spiritual battles in our own strength. Rather, we are to trust in the all sufficient strength of our Father. Additionally, we are to use the armor that God has provided us in order to withstand the assault that will come as we walk in obedience to Christ. And finally, we are not to neglect the importance of praying for those who walk beside us in the battle as well. When all is said and don, the Christian is commanded to STAND!
As Brother Danny concludes Paul’s discussion about Christian relationships, we cover an especially pertinent passage in chapter 6, verses 5-9. In this passage Christian bondservants (slaves, workers) are admionished to remember that their true master is Christ. Likewise, Christian masters (owners, employers) are also admonished to remember that the Lord is master of their lives as well, and Christians are calld to be different than the world in the way they treat others.
As we continue through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Paul continues his look at the Christian life and how it correlates to our relationships, today with the emphasis on the parent-child relationship. Even though the original readers of Paul’s letter would have been very familiar with the concept parental authority, Paul reminds these Christian children that is it right to obey their parents “in the Lord.” He also advises parents to not lay expectations and standards upon their children that would drive them to anger and wrath, and could potentially drive them away from serving Jesus.
Following Paul’s thought that Christian relationships ought to be built on a foundation of mutual submission and love, Brother Danny shares with the church from Ephesians chapter 5, verses 25-33. In this passage Paul explains to his readers that, in the marriage relationship, husbands are commanded to sacrificially choose to demonstrate love towards their wives in an active way. There is no room for tyranny or selfishness when you model your love after the love of Christ for the church.
After completing his instruction on putting off and putting on, Paul shifts to another theme, that of mutual submission among believers. He begins with his thesis - “submit to one another in love” - and continues by looking at the implications for several human relationships. The first up is husband and wife, and Paul starts by expressing how that looks from the wife’s perspective. Many in the faith have taken these verses to mean things that they do not mean; Bro. Danny explains how submission is a must in the lives of all believers, and how biblical submission is neither about inferiority nor force.
Paul wraps up his discussion of putting off and putting on by looking at the wisdom of God. We must pay attention to things that happen around us; we must discern the will of God; we must yield ourselves to the right control (His); and we must allow our hearts to be filled with the wonder of God, to the point where we cannot help but sing His praises.
Paul continues his theme of the transformation that Christ should have in the life of the believer. In today’s section, he emphasizes the importance of avoiding the paths of darkness, and walking instead in the light of who they now are.
Paul continues his theme of putting off and putting on by listing some of the sinful activities the Ephesian church was doing, and what they should do instead. The unloving actions were causing the world to question their faith, but by reorienting themselves to God’s purpose, they could begin living for Him. Paul calls us all to imitate God by walking in love.
Paul reminds the church at Ephesus that they are not who they once were; they are new creations in Christ. He reminded them that their prior way of living was contrary to what God wanted them to do, and that they had been given a new identity. They needed (and we need) to realize that this transformation must be intentional; we are not helpless to resist the draw of our old selves, but we must resist if we are to be who God wants us to be.