PAUL’S LETTER TO THE EPHESIANS
Scriptural Reference: Ephesians 4:16 thru 6:24.
A. CHAPTER 4:17-32:
1. COMPARISON OF THE SINNER WITH THE SAINT OF GOD:
Again the Apostle Paul brings out a distinct contrast between the unregenerate man and theborn again child of God.
unsaved man lives only to satisfy his own carnal desires; his understanding is darkened. He is separated from the life of God through ignorance and gives himself wholly to satisfy unbridled lust.
The child of God is new man created in righteousness and holiness.
2. SPEAKING THE TRUTH:
“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:25).
The Ephesians are exhorted to put away lying and to always speak the truth. The Bible places great emphasis upon the seriousness of the sin of lying. In Revelation 21:8, it is stated that all liars shall have their part in the lake of fire. We may understand how serious it is to lie when we realize that a man must face and confess the truth before he can be granted repentance. Lying may be forgiven, but forgiveness cannot come as long as a man lies.
3. RIGHTEOUS ANGER:
“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27).
There is such a thing as “righteous indignation.” The righteous man will react with indignation against evil and wickedness. Paul does not condemn this righteous anger, but he does instruct the Ephesians not to sin during this time of indignation. It is possible when angry to give the devil an opportunity or foothold in his life. In other words, the angry man may say or do things which are wrong and which will call for repentance. Paul states that this should not be; before the day is finished, the matter should be completely dealt with and settled.
4. GRIEVING THE HOLY SPIRIT:
“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).
This is one of the sins against the Holy Spirit, which, if continued in a person’s life, will cause the Holy Spirit to withdraw from a person’s life. It is the sin of conforming to the world and being inconsistent in his daily walk. In verse 31, it states that the Holy Spirit may be grieved if bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking is not put away. The Holy Spirit will cause each child of God to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving.
B. CHAPTER FIVE:
1. CHILDREN OF LIGHT:
The word “therefore” shows that Paul is building what he has to say upon the exhortation, which he had just written. Because we are not to grieve the Holy Spirit, we should be followers of God and walk in love.
Then Paul gives us the contrast again between the unregenerate and the born again child of God. He lists several things which, clearly stated, will shut anyone out of the kingdom of God. Those who do those things are called the children of disobedience upon whom cometh the wrath of God. It should be noted that among the list is filthiness, foolish talking and jesting. The Christian will not repeat smutty jokes, nor will he even laugh at them if he hears them while in public.
The Children of Light will bear the fruit of the Spirit, which is listed here as goodness, righteousness and truth. They will have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.
2. REDEEMING THE TIME:
“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).
Because the days are evil, it is necessary for every Christian to buy up every opportunity. In order to do this; he must walk carefully and purposefully before the Lord. There will be no place for careless living. In redeeming the time, there will be no place for drunkenness.
The child of God will be filled with the Spirit, speaking and singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
3. EXHORTATION TO HUSBANDS AND WIVES:
Scriptural Reference: Ephesians 5:22-33.
This is a wonderful passage of Scripture, which gives us some very important instructions for husbands and wives. The husband is the head of the home; as such, the wives are to submit to them (verse 22).
They are to be subject to their husbands (verse 24) and they are to reverence their husbands (verse 33). On the other hand the husbands are to love their wives as they would love themselves. Husbands and wives are one flesh, and the husband is to love his wife even as his own body. Paul states that he that loveth his wife loveth himself (verse 28).
Wives will be happy to submit and obey their husbands if their husbands really love them. In these few words of instructions, Paul has given us the key to happy marriages. If husbands and wives lived according to these instructions, there would be very few broken marriages.
4. CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH:
Scriptural Reference: Ephesians 5:22-33.
In this Scripture, Paul, by using the instruction given to husbands and wives, brings out the relationship between Christ and the Church. Jesus loved the church and gave Himself for her. One day, He shall present her to Himself, a beautiful, glorious bride. The student should note carefully verse 26. The statement here has been greatly misunderstood by many. The writer of these notes likes the way this verse is written in the Living New Testament: “To make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God’s word.” It is recognized that God’s word alone is able to cleanse and have a sanctifying influence in the lives of the hearers (John 15:3, John 17:17). However, in this statement, the Apostle Paul undoubtedly is referring both to water baptism and the power of obedience to the Word of God.
C. CHAPTER SIX:
1. INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE HOME AND FAMILY:
Scriptural Reference: Ephesians 6:1-9.
The relationship existing between parents and children are very important. Children are to obey their parents; on the other hand, parents must not provoke their children. Much can be written here concerning this admonition. Parents must not be angry with their children, scolding and nagging until the children are resentful. Rather they must bring them up with loving discipline.
Instructions are given to servants to obey their masters and to do their very best as unto the Lord. Masters must not threaten their servants but be considerate of them. It is recognized that these instructions are given to the relationship existing between masters and their slaves, but the same principles will apply even today between employers and employees. The Christian employer will be considerate of those that work for him; the Christian employee will do his best to please the employer.
2. THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD:
Scriptural Reference: Ephesians 6:10-20.
The Apostle Paul concludes the Epistle to the Ephesians with an exhortation to be equipped for battle. He stresses the fact that we are in a battle with spiritual wickedness in high places, or we might word it, against the forces of wickedness in the supernatural sphere. In this world, we are surrounded by evil and it is very important that we be properly equipped to fight against the subtleties of the devil.
When Paul wrote these words, undoubtedly, he was looking at the Roman soldier that was guarding him. Naming the various pieces of armor, he applies it to the spiritual sense.
The list is as follows:
a. Belt of truth;
b. Breastplate of righteousness;
c. Shoes of the gospel of peace;
d. Shield of faith;
e. Helmet of salvation;
f. Sword of the Spirit;
The New English Bible has this worded very clearly which we shall quote here: “Therefore, take up God’s armour; then you will be able to stand your ground when things are at their worse, to complete every task and still to stand. Stand firm, I say.
Buckle on the belt of truth; for coat of mail, put on integrity; let the shoes on your feet be the gospel of peace, to give you firm footing; and with all these, take up the great shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take salvation for helmet; for sword, take that which the Spirit gives you – the words come from God. Give yourselves wholly to prayer and entreaty; pray on every occasion in the power of the Spirit.”
The student’s attention is drawn to the breastplate of righteousness, which is called the “coat of mail – integrity.” Truth and integrity has a very important part in this armor of the Christian. Many times in naming this whole armor of God, we conclude at the sword of the Spirit. But the proper conclusion is with prayer. Without prayer and supplication in the Spirit, the other pieces in the armor would be ineffective.
SELF HELP TEST
A. Why is lying such a serious sin?
B. What is meant by the phrase “redeeming the time?”
C. How may the sin of “grieving the Holy Spirit” be committed?
D. Explain the meaning of Ephesians 5:26.
E. What instructions does Paul give concerning the following:
1. Relationships between a husband and a wife.
2. Parents and their children.
3. Employer and employee.
F. Write out a full description of the Christian’s armor.