Ephesians 5:22 – 6:9, The life of the new self and his home and work.
length: 66:42 - taught on Jan, 26 2022
Wednesday January 26,2022
We are summarizing the final three chapters of Ephesians. We have seen that in this letter Paul teaches us the way of life of the new humanity in Christ, both individually and as member of the body of Christ. Paul uses exhortations, commands, and warnings.
“Nowhere does the apostle say so much of ‘the will of God’ in regard to the dispensation of grace as He does in this epistle.” [G.G. Findlay, The Epistle to the Ephesians]
He points out that the lies of false teachers, the flesh, and the devil are the key areas that can assault the growth of the believer. He emphasizes that we have to learn Christ and to do so we have to gain knowledge of Scripture and also be pure in heart - the old man has to be laid aside and the new man put on and renewed day by day through learning and walking with God.
Five times in this passage Paul mentions walking.
EPH 4:1 walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called
EPH 4:17 you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk
EPH 5:2 walk in love, just as Christ also loved you
EPH 5:8 walk as children of light
EPH 5:15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise,
Each mention of walking is followed by characteristics. Let’s see the characteristics of our walk.
walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, 3 being diligent [making every effort] to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
EPH 4:17-19 - the unbelieving pagan.
walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn [proving] what is pleasing to the Lord.
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
This section is a bio of the maturing believer and a description of his church. It is also a description of the schemes of the enemy that wants to destroy both.
We are to have all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love. The enemy and the flesh tempt us to pride and arrogance, self-preservation and nervous desire.
We are to be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. The enemy and the flesh tempt us by magnifying our differences, our failures, our competitive pride.
We are to grow up in all things into Christ. The enemy and the flesh tempt us to focus only on the things we like and find easier to do and excuse or ignore our areas that demand growth.
We are to equip one another for the work of service, fully supplying the other member that we are connected to. The enemy and the flesh tempt us to focus on the flaws and failures of others trying to convince us that they are not worthy of our service while ignoring our own flaws and sins.
Paul emphasizes our speech. We are to lay aside all falsehood and only speak truth. We are to say nothing unwholesome but only that which edifies and gives grace. The enemy and the flesh tempt us to focus on our freedom to say what we please and to defend that freedom even when it hurts others. We are not free in the sense that we can do what we please. We are slaves of the Lord Jesus.
We are to work so that we can give graciously. The enemy and the flesh tempt us to think that the fruit of our labor is our own.
We are not to be combative in any way, but kind and tender-hearted to one another. The enemy tempts us to stand up for ourselves and to take pride in never letting ourselves be wronged or disrespected.
We are not even to speak of immorality, impurity, or greed. The enemy and the flesh tempt us to fit in with the world, to be funny, hip, or cool.
We are children of light and are to walk in the light which consists of all goodness, righteousness, and truth. The enemy tempts our flesh with the things of darkness, which is the way of the pagan - no longer walk like a pagan, for you didn’t learn Christ in this way.
We are to be wise and not foolish. Life is to be taken seriously rather than peppered with drunkenness. The enemy and the flesh tempt us to think that laziness for today is okay and that we can put off learning and diligence until tomorrow. God reveals in this letter that the Christian life is not an optional system that His people may adopt when and so far that it suits them. It is the will of our Lord.
We are not to be drunk with alcohol but filled with the Spirit. The enemy and the flesh tempt us to imagine that everyone else is getting drunk and doing just fine - what’s the harm? The early Christians frequently convened a common meal in which the Lord’s Supper was celebrated with a little wine. These former pagans were used to wine, and not so much daily drunkards (some probably were) but who sought wine to loosen their tongues and inspired gaiety. But that same “inspiration” could lead from wit to unwholesome speech, or songs that were the opposite of spiritual, and soon enough, as what happened in Corinth, the Lord’s Supper reverted back to familiar pagan celebrations that honored Dionysus rather than Christ.
We are also tempted by thinking that the filling of the Holy Spirit is a mystical, unknown, unfelt phenomenon and nothing to really be concerned about. We are to be filled up with the Holy Spirit and we will be when we set our minds to live this new and living way. The functions of the Holy Spirit within, which consists of power, learning, guiding, and performing good works are clearly revealed in the Scripture, and any believer who has set their minds to live this way will clearly experience them. He will know by faith that it was the Holy Spirit who was at work within him. It is the fruit of the Spirit that is joy and love that makes melody in the heart. Since it is true joy given by God, we must seek it in Him until it sits in our hearts continually.
always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father
We are to be imitators of God in love. The enemy and the flesh tempt us with professing clear evidence that this is impossible. Look at your past and even your present. It is impossible, they say. Are we going to believe dead things or the eternal living God?
Divine thought of self, divine thought of others, divine thanksgiving, and stubborn faith that is resolute in the one way of life marks the maturity of the saint and the church.
Now Paul moves from the church to the home. When we finish our summary and turn to topical study, we will include the doctrine of marriage.
Being subject to one another was the last thought in his message to the truth. It is not demeaning but the master principle of the Christian life.
and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
Following directly after the singing joyfully with psalms and hymns to one another and to God, Paul learned from Corinth that disorder will come as one wants to sing over another, to be heard in the excitement of it all as with the tongue speakers. There must be order by giving deference to one another in the fear of Christ.
Moving to the home, there is also a divine order.
In order to connect home and church, Paul doesn’t repeat the verb “be subject” in vs. 22. “Be subject to one another … the wives to your own husbands.”
Wives, be subject [hupotasso: rank under - not here but in vs. 24] to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
Paul doesn’t use the verb in vs. 22 (be subject, rank under) but he does use it in vv. 21 and 24. Leaving it out of vs. 22 gives her subjection the same quality as the subjection of all in the body to one another. It is no different. The word means to rank under, so if a wife is in doubt of this God given position and tries the line, “What does the Greek say?” it says just that.
The new humanity in marriage: wives are subject to their husbands in everything.
God tells the wife to voluntarily do this. God says that there is no male or female in Christ. Voluntary submission can only subsist among equals. She is not forced and she is not commanded to obey as the children are, as if she is less than the husband. She is told to submit and to do so voluntarily as we are all told to be in submission to one another in the fear of Christ. She is to choose, but like us all, her Lord has made it a duty rather than a casual option. Jesus told us that the rulers of the world lord it over their subjects, but not so with you. The greatest of you is your servant. Therefore, in a way that the world couldn’t understand, the calling on the wife raises her to honor. The elevation of the woman to equal status with the man begins in Christianity, and with our freedom and strong position, we sympathetically and voluntarily we serve one another.
The wife is not to honor her husband as Christ.
The wife is to be subject to her husband as the church is to Christ, therefore she is subject to Christ foremost.
And Paul reminds, Christ Himself is the only Savior of the body, so as to ensure that the husband never eclipses Christ in the woman’s heart.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body.
The new humanity husband: loves his wife as Christ does the church and therefore sacrifices his time and energy in her service for her betterment.