The Walk of the Believer: The Christian Code of Conduct
Ephesians Lesson #107
May 30, 2021
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.
“Our Father, we are so thankful that we have Your Word. Scripture declares it is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. It illuminates our path, it illuminates the direction in which we are going, provides us that guidance, the way in which we should think, the way in which we should evaluate the issues of life, and the way in which we should order our priorities, that we may fulfill our mission as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, members of His body, and in this Church Age fulfill that mission, proclaiming the message of the gospel.
“Father, we thank You that we have Your Word, and now as we study it, open our eyes to its truth that we may come to a greater understanding of who You are, who we are, what You provided for us, and how we are to live. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
Open your Bibles with me to Ephesians 4. We will have a flyover—a summary of what’s coming up in the next section. Remember we divided Ephesians into three sections.
The first section is the first three chapters from Ephesians 1–3; the focus is on the wealth that Christ has provided for us, the wealth that we have in Christ: all of the resources, all of the assets, all of the privileges that are ours in Christ.
Many refer to this as the doctrinal section of the epistle, meaning that it is the instructional section. Although all of it is instructional, this is talking about something a little more abstract.
In Ephesians 4, Paul begins to talk about application: about how we should live in light of what we have and who we are in Christ. This is referred to as the practical section. The next two sections, the walk of the believer.
I have entitled this “The Christian Code of Conduct.” We will look at a number of things as we go through this, but this describes how the believer is expected to think and to live in light of our new identity in Christ, our new position in Christ, and all that has been provided for us in Christ.
As he began Ephesians 4, Paul transitions to talking about the implications of those assets on how we are to live individually and also on the corporate life of the believer in the body of Christ.
We understand that this is not something we implement by our own strength, by our own power or by our own ability, but we are to be strengthened by God the Holy Spirit.
Paul prayed at the end of Ephesians 3 that we would be strengthened according to His riches in glory and strengthened by might through His Spirit in the inner man. Now he is talking about the ways in which we should be strengthened and the lifestyle of the believer.
As we’ve covered the last two lessons, doing our survey reminder of everything we covered in the first three chapters, Ephesians 4:1 begins with “therefore.” Every time you see “therefore,” you need to ask, “What is that there for?” I see several of you are able to lip-synch that as I say that. That’s good. Now you’ve learned it. That’s the point of repetition.
We know that this is a conclusion. Although, when you read the commentaries various people try to make it a conclusion from either the last two verses of Ephesians 3 or the last six or seven verses of Ephesians 3.
But in fact, it is a conclusion from all that we have learned in the first three chapters. It is not to be restricted to just a single thing because he is developing the implications of everything. There are a tremendous number of connections between the first three chapters and what we are challenged to do in the last three chapters.
Two things in terms of an overview: first of all, we find in this section a number of commands, of imperative mood verbs. That means a verb that is focused on challenging us to a certain standard, to live a certain way, and we see this throughout, a simple thing to do, just analyze how many imperative verbs there are.
This is typical of Paul in some of his epistles. In the first part of the epistle, he tells us all that God through Christ has done for us, and then in the last part he tells us what the implications are.
This tells us that the way in which the average church and the average believer thinks about application today is not in sync with the Word of God. Because the trend in most churches today is topical messages that focus on “5 Ways to Do This,” “6 Ways to Have a Happy Marriage,” 7 Ways to Raise Your Kids,” or “9 Ways to Destroy Your Spiritual Life.”
All that is guaranteed to do is to keep you an infant believer, because that touches on whatever the pastor seems to think is significant at that particular time. It always struck me that the homiletics professors of seminaries have a great deal of arrogance.
I say that because I was astounded in one of my introductory homiletics classes—the study of preaching, and the professor commented that what he would do—and he had this sanctimonious voice—on Saturday night he would literally walk through the congregation, through the auditorium. He knew where everybody sat, and he would pray for each family and what their needs were.
I’ve discovered through my 40 years that I don’t have a clue what you’re going through. Some of you I know a little bit more than others, but generally I don’t know any more than you know that much about me. The inner struggles that we have in our spiritual life are mostly between us and the Lord, and we just don’t know those things.
The same professor would say, “So I try to pick application points in my message that fit what these families are going through.” I thought, “Well, you don’t know what they’re going through. How can you really do that?”
I’m always astounded as I teach through the Word verse by verse that I will be teaching on some subject and then a week or two later or maybe even after church that day, somebody will comment, “Boy, I needed to hear that! The Holy Spirit really needed to teach me that in relation to something I’m going through.” I had no idea at all.
I’ll tell you a little secret among pastors, who will often comment, “Well, it’s amazing! Last week I just didn’t quite feel like I’d finished my study of this particular passage that I was teaching that morning. I just wasn’t that confident when I was teaching; I just had an off day.
And five people came up to me afterward and talked to me about how God blessed them with that message, how great it was, and picked out specific points to illustrate that it was significant to them, and I had no idea.” I’ve learned that whatever I do, God uses it in ways I have no idea about.
It is very important as we get into these passages to understand that application comes in all kinds of different ways, and it’s not this simplified, childish, infantile approach that many churches have when they think about application. Paul often starts off with more of what we would call “doctrinal, theological teaching topics,” and then in the last part he will talk about what we should do in light of that.
For example, in Romans the imperative mood is used 62 times, but 13 of those are in the first 11 chapters. 49 times he uses the imperative in Romans 12–16. But in Romans 16 where he says, “Greet so-and-so, tell so-and-so hello, kiss them on the cheek …” would reduce that from 49 to 35. But with 35 imperatives for the Christian life compared to 11 in the first 11 chapters, you see how that breaks down.
There’s only one imperative in the first three chapters, Ephesians 2:11, “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcised by those who are called the Circumcision …” that command is to remember; not exactly an applicational point for us.
But in the second part, the last three chapters, there are 40 imperatives. 40 compared to one. The imperatives are “do this,” “do that,” “do this,” “do that.” We understand there are a lot of commands there. But that’s almost a superficial way of looking at it because there are other ways to express a command when you get into Greek.
For example, in Ephesians 4:1, “I beseech you to” do something.” “To do” is an infinity; “I beseech” is “I strongly urge” you to do something. That has an imperatival force, even though it isn’t an imperative mood verb to begin with.
Supporting that is that the remaining uses of the verb “to walk” in Ephesians are all in the imperative mood with imperatival participles. So when we look at the last half of this epistle, there are more than 40 commands for the Christian life. That’s a lot!
I have heard recently, which is somewhat disturbing, that there are those within so-called doctrinal churches teaching, “Well, if you emphasize all these commands, that’s not being grace oriented.” That’s heresy. That’s antinomianism. Grace means that God is the One who provides everything for us, but that doesn’t come without certain behavioral protocols for those who are in the family of God.
Just like you and I grew up in a family where there were certain guidelines, certain expectations of how we would live because we were a part of that particular family. The imperatives simply describe what God expects of a child of God, how He expects them to live.
Secondly, just as a general overview is the use of the command “to walk” The basic divisions of these chapters are going to revolve around these commands “to walk:”
- Ephesians 4:1, “… walk worthy of the Lord with which you were called.”
- Ephesians 4:17, a negative, “… no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk ...”
- Ephesians 5:2, “… walk in love …”
- Ephesians 5:8, “… walk as children of light.”
- Ephesians 5:15, “… walk … as wise.”
This concept of walking is one of Paul’s favorite metaphors for describing the Christian life, the Christian code of conduct. Some translations say “conduct yourselves this way.” Others will say “live your life this way …” that’s the idea.
One of the things that should come to our mind is that in many other passages are commands such as “walk in the light,” “walk by the Spirit,” “walk in truth” are all describing the same thing that Paul is describing here as he’s summarizing the standards for living the Christian life.
I have divided this up according to this structure, the commands “to walk,” and there are 12 paragraphs in Ephesians 4:1–6:9. We’re just going to basically, no pun intended, walk our way through these sections of Ephesians, so we get an overview, sort of a map, of where Paul is headed with this, and we can think through it.
Ephesians 4:1–6, introduction to the section where he is focusing on the basic command “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” Ephesians 4:3. Then he talks about that which we all have in unity, “There is one body, one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of our calling.” It doesn’t matter if it’s Jew or Gentile.
The background of Ephesians 2 is that prior to the Day of Pentecost, there were the Gentiles who were the uncircumcised, the Jews who were circumcised under the Abrahamic Covenant, and now they are together. The Mosaic covenant has been abolished by the work of Christ on the cross, so that there’s no more barrier between Jew and Gentile. They are now united in peace and reconciled together to God.
Ephesians 4:4, “There’s one body, one Spirit …” you should be thinking there is one body for Jew and Gentile, there’s one Spirit for Jew and Gentile, there’s one hope of your calling for Jew and Gentile: one Lord, one faith … the point is that there’s no more distinction.
I pointed out last time the only legitimate ethnic distinction that has been made in history was the one God made in Genesis 12:1–3 when God called out Abraham to give a distinct mission to him and his descendants in the Abrahamic Covenant. The guidelines for how they should live were given to the nation in the Mosaic Covenant starting in Exodus 20. This was the standard that distinguished between Jew and Gentile.
When Christ abolished that, we now have unity in Christ, so there is no basis for not only that one legitimate ethnic distinction, but that means that all other man-made ethnic distinctions—usually termed racism which is overused, abused, and misused today.
But any time that we as believers are making an issue for whatever reason that relates to a person’s skin color, to their subculture, to their ethnicity, anything where there are divisions based on those things has no place whatsoever in the body of Christ.
Neither are we to make distinctions between male and female nor between slave and free, because all of us are one in the body of Christ. We have different roles for those who are men and those who are women, as God has outlined in the Scripture. But that does not mean there is an inherent distinction or one is superior and the other inferior.
Paul begins with this emphasis on unity; the command is “to walk worthy of the calling with which you are called.” As we look at it, we will have to analyze a number of different words.
For example, what does he mean exactly by “walk worthy?” That really has the idea of setting an extremely high standard. We are to walk in a manner that reflects our gratitude and our appreciation for all that God has given us and who we are, a new identity in Christ.
What exactly is “the calling?” I will study that, but the idea of “the calling,” has an English usage and a Greek usage as well. In Scripture the old King James translated it as a “vocation.”
That’s a term that really got muddled up in church history. “Vocation” was used in the Roman Catholic Church from the early Middle Ages to describe those who are being called into the monastery to be a monk, a priest, a nun; that was a vocation. Nobody else had a vocation.
Martin Luther came along and said, “No, that’s wrong; everybody has a calling. Everybody has a vocation, a mission in the body of Christ. The emphasis is that this is our vocation. Every believer has been called, and as such, there is a protocol, a standard for that calling. It’s something like a profession.
There aren’t that many professions. There are more now than there were when I was in university. When I entered the teaching profession, I had a professor who made a big deal about that, and at that time I think there were only about 22 or 23 professions. There are strict guidelines for what makes a profession a profession and not just a career. But a profession has to do with certain standards that have to be met to be part of it.
One profession is, of course, the medical profession, the dental profession, and they have a code of conduct. When you go to a doctor, a dentist, you expect certain behavior from them.
There is a code of ethics, a standard of how they are going to conduct themselves, and anything less than that is a violation of their professional standards, their professional ethics. And they can be brought up on charges, various disciplinary procedures because of that.
A calling is a person’s profession. For us as believers, that is in a sense the profession that we have as Christians, and there is a code of conduct that goes along with that. We are to live consistently with that.
That is characterized, Ephesians 4:2, with words that really bother a lot of people, translated “lowliness and gentleness.” Both have to do with humility, and most people really have a problem understanding the biblical concept of humility.
Because as arrogant, self-absorbed sinners, we don’t like it. In fact, the first word used that’s translated as lowliness is a word that wasn’t used outside of the Bible, before the Bible.
Greeks hated these words. Anybody who was like this was just horrible and they were somebody to be taken advantage of. See, that’s the problem. We think of humility as somebody who’s just going to let others walk over us and take advantage of us.
But these words are used to describe the Lord Jesus Christ and Moses, neither of whom was taken advantage of, neither of whom was walked over by the people, although they tried to. They were both in control, and operated under the authority of God, but not in a way that violated the other aspects of the code of conduct.
We have to look at that because that characterizes how we are to put up with one another in love. The English word “bearing with one another” is not a concept we readily grasp.
But I think most of us understand what it means when we have to put up with one another in love. Because sometimes we’re not the most lovable, we are not in our best form, and we are going to put up with each other in love because we’re members of the body of Christ.
The next participle, Ephesians 4:3, “endeavoring,” means working to keep and maintain the unity of the Spirit that is brought about by the Spirit in the bond of peace … a lot we will discuss.
The next section is very important.
Ephesians 4:1–6 talks about what we all have in common.
Ephesians 4:7–16, which we read earlier, focuses upon what we have in distinction from each other and about the spiritual gifts to each one of us.
Ephesians 4:7, “… grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift …” Immediately He quotes from the passage Psalm 68:18. This will take some important study because we have to understand the significance of Psalm 68:18. One important thing is that when it says, “When He ascended on high,” it’s talking about Yahweh, God the Father. Paul is applying this to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is an important passage on the deity of Christ, and it’s an important passage that relates to the Trinity as well, not to mention the significance of ascension and the giving of gifts.
We will have to study the ascension and the giving of gifts, which in this passage is focusing on four. Some think there are five, but due to the Greek grammar, there are four:
- Apostles and
- Prophets, temporary gifts in the first century before the Canon of Scripture was completed
- Pastors and Teachers in the Greek grammar construct. While they are not identical, it would be a false use of a grammatical rule. They are overlapping, and the two terms are describing the same person.
You can see that a little bit by the English word “some” in front of apostles, prophets, and evangelists, but only one “some” in front of pastors and teachers. As I have taught in the past, pastor emphasizes the leadership aspect and teaching emphasizes how he leads: through his teaching. Just as a shepherd shepherds the flock, one of the primary ways, is by taking them to good pasture to feed them.
The pastor is to fulfill his mission by teaching, and the purpose of that is given in Ephesians 4:12, “to equip the saints for the work of ministry …” We have a tradition in the history of Christianity that the pastor is called the minister because he does the ministry, but that’s not biblical.
The pastor’s role is to teach the congregation and to equip them to carry out the work of the ministry, and that involves the edification of the body of Christ. We’re back to the focus on the corporate body of Christ until we all come to the unity of the faith. This is the same word that’s used in Ephesians 4:3, “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Here we have the unity of THE faith, relating not to the act of believing, but to what is believed. There is a set body of truth that is our faith, and that is not ever to be compromised. We do not have peace at the expense of our doctrine.
We do not just wrap our arms around each other and sing “Kumbaya” and just glory in the experience of “aren’t we all happy together.” It is a unity that is based on not compromising the faith that, as Jude puts it, has been handed to us once for all, given to the saints.
The purpose of this is that we should no longer be babies, a Greek word emphasizing little untrained children who are tossed like waves by the wind, carried about by every wind of doctrine. That produces a lack of unity.
We are to carry this out by speaking the truth, another synonym for the body of faith—the doctrine—that we believe. By learning and applying it, we are able to grow up and mature in Christ.
The next division: that we are to put on the new man. I have phrased this in a positive way, but the way Paul puts it is a negative. He says you’re not to walk like the Gentiles anymore.
In other words, we all know how non-Christians live and what characterizes their life. And we are not to let that influence our conduct in how we live; we are to be different. We have to be careful there because there are some people who go into various modes of legalism at that point.
I could tell a very long story at this point. I’ll cut it down quite a bit. The first church that I ever went to candidate for pastor was a Cajun church in South Louisiana in Opelousas, the heart of Cajun country. I went there and met with the deacons, and they apparently had several questions they wanted to ask.
Interestingly—I don’t know if you remember a song, “Amos Moses.” Jerry Reed sang it. It was about this Cajun whose “left arm was gone clean up to the elbow” because a gator got him.
Well, he was one of the deacons and he didn’t speak English really well. He could understand it, but he couldn’t speak it, so his son would translate into Cajun French all this dialogue that was that was going on.
Their first question was, “What’s your philosophy of ministry?” I covered that, and we talked about it for 5 or 10 minutes. The second question was, “Would I preach against smoking, drinking, and dancing?” I explained why that was not biblical, and I said, “Why do you think I should do that?”
They said, “Well, nearly everybody here is a Roman Catholic, and they just do whatever they want to do and live just like the world. We want to distinguish ourselves from them, so we aren’t going to do anything that they do.” Now that’s legalism.
We discussed that for about 1½ hours, then decided that we would wrap up our discussion. I spoke the next Sunday morning and Sunday night, and came home. Truly, I actually got out of my car at that little rest area just this side of the Sabine River, got down on my hands and knees and kissed the soil of Texas. I was so glad to be home!
That’s taking it to a legalistic conclusion, but we are not to live like the rest of the Gentiles walk, like they conduct their lives in the emptiness of their mind.
This section, Ephesians 4:17–32 is again one of the most significant sections in the Scripture on the spiritual life and the topic of sanctification. We would connect this to, for example, John 15, our Lord’s discourse on abiding in Him; Galatians 5:16 down to the end of the chapter, walking by the Spirit; and much that is in the Epistle of 1 John. These are the bedrock passages along with Romans 6–8 on the spiritual life.
It is in some ways difficult because of the Greek grammar, but it is quite important to understand. He talks about the fact that we have put on the new man, which is everything that we are in terms of our identity in Christ.
And that we are to put off the old man, which isn’t the sin nature. Many people taught that, that the old man was the old sin nature, but the old man is our identity and all that we were before we were saved.
The whole idea is imagery. It is taking off a set clothes and putting on another set of clothes. And that we are ultimately to be, Ephesians 4:23, “renewed in the spirit of your mind …” meaning thinking.
The spiritual life doesn’t begin with following a set of external behavioral standards that you do this and you don’t do this, “don’t smoke, drink or chew or go with those that do.” It is changing the way you think. We have to get our thoughts in line with a biblical worldview: a Theocentric, Christocentric worldview as expressed in the 66 books of the Bible.
It starts with our thinking; as Paul says in Romans 12, we are to have our thinking renewed. We are not to be pressed into the mold of the world, but have our thinking renewed. He is expanding those ideas in this passage.
The next section, Ephesians 4:25–32, which has about 11 or 12 commands in it. It is really walking in a way that does not grieve the Holy Spirit; it is an intense passage.
“Put away lying. Speak truth with your neighbor. Be angry, and don’t sin—two different commands—don’t give place to the devil. Don’t steal any longer. Work with your hands. Let no corrupt word come out of your mouth. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Put aside all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking, and put away all of this with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
That is a summary of key standards for the spiritual life, and we will walk our way through them.
Unfortunately, I’ve always said, the chapter division is in a bad spot because I think Ephesians 5:1 really goes with Ephesians 4:32, “Therefore, be imitators of God.” We were just told that we are to forgive one another, “even as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God.” We are to forgive one another.
We have to deal with the topics that are so hard for contemporary American Christians to deal with, and that is humility and lowliness and gentleness, all of that word group. Then it ends with forgiving one another.
The word here isn’t APHIEMI, which indicates the act of forgiveness, but it’s CHARIZOMAI, which emphasizes the motivation of the forgiveness. Both words are used in banking to refer to the eradication of a debt. That takes us to Colossians 2, that the certificate of debt was nailed to the Cross, so that that is eradicated. Christ paid the penalty.
The next section, Ephesians 5:2–8, “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and gave Himself for us.” The pattern throughout is we’re to live on the basis of the example of Christ. God forgave us as Christ died for our sins, and now this is a pattern for walking in love.
Again that involves putting aside certain activities, mental attitudes, and that none of these—fornication, uncleanness and covetousness, which Paul identifies as idolatry over in Colossians— shouldn’t even be named among us. In other words, it shouldn’t characterize anybody’s life that is in the body of Christ.
Ephesians 5:5, “For this you know that no fornicator, unclean person, covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
There we’re going to have to deal with this whole issue of what does that mean? Unfortunately, there are too many people who think inheriting the kingdom is equivalent to getting into heaven when you die, and it is not.
That is very important to understand, because if it does, if we look at all the passages that talk about it, 1 Corinthians 6, Galatians 5, “if you practice these things, if you commit the sins, then you won’t have an inheritance in the kingdom,” then that would mean that salvation was by works.
And because you have a lot of sins listed there, such as homosexuality, pedophilia, and different things like that, a lot of these legalistic Christian groups make that a condition of salvation, and they say some of the most egregious, horrible things and go to war against all of the homosexuals and lesbians.
The Bible is very clear that those are sins, but they can’t keep you from being saved. No sin can keep us from being saved because Christ paid the penalty for every single sin. So we don’t isolate any particular sin as being more egregious or hindering our salvation than any other sin.
But all sins will indeed have some consequences either here or at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Our sins are paid for, but if we are involved in certain sins, then we are certainly not growing in the Lord or carrying out our ministry, so it’s going to limit that which is produced that is rewardable, which we will get into.
The next section, Ephesians 5:8b–14, “Walk as children of light …” Paul starts Ephesians 5:8, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord—that’s our position—walk as children of light—that’s our practice.”
Many Christians are in the position of being a child of light, but they’re not practicing it, so they’re living as if they are walking in darkness, walking in sin. The Scriptures make it clear that the sins are all paid for, and when we do sin and there are a number of these sins that many of us will engage in to one degree or another throughout most of our lives because we are sinners, and we have that corrupt sin nature.
We’re going to lie, and we’re going to gossip and slander and all of these other things, but when we confess those sins, we are instantly forgiven of those sins and cleansed of all unrighteousness.
That’s not a license to sin, but that is the freedom to be able to continue to grow spiritually without the sins dragging us down and putting an emphasis on us needing to somehow impress God with our remorse, so that we can all continue in the spiritual life.
“Walk in wisdom,” Ephesians 5:15–21. Going back to at least the beginning of Ephesians 5, there are commands to either do this or do that. It’s a binary option and the bottom line is that you’re either doing this or you are doing that. You’re either walking in the light or walking in darkness. You’re either walking in wisdom or you’re walking like a fool.
Ephesians 5:18, “And do not be drunk with wine, which is in excess, but be filled by means of the Holy Spirit,” it’s either one or the other. It characterizes a certain lifestyle. I’ve pointed out many times, “being drunk with wine” isn’t talking about just drinking wine and getting drunk in isolation.
The background of Ephesus was the worship of the god of wine, Dionysius. The way in which you became unified with the spirit of Dionysius was you went up into the hills in the groves and got drunk on wine.
Maenads, who were the priestesses, would dance and whirl until they got in some kind of ecstatic drunken state, and then the spirit of Dionysius would speak through them. Wine in the worship of Dionysius was a means to being unified with God.
In contrast we are to be filled by means of the Spirit. We don’t get more of the Spirit; He fills us with something. Colossians 3:16, we are to “let the Word of Christ richly dwell within us …” because the consequences of those two things are the same.
This is identified and emphasized in Ephesians 5:19–21, “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.”
Those are the same results that follow, “letting the word of Christ richly dwell within you,” in Colossians 3.
Being filled by the Spirit: filled with what? The Word of God. As you see in many places in Scripture, that combination of the Spirit of God plus the Word of God is the key to spiritual growth.
Its result is a change in home life. The introduction, Ephesians 5:22–33 is the consequences for wives and for husband. A keyword, used 10 times in Ephesians, is “love,” a word that is first used in relation to God. But is also used in relation to believer to believer. Wives are not commanded to love their husbands, husbands are three times commanded to love their wife in this section.
That’s an important thing for the men to note, is that husbands are to love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, Ephesians 5:25. Ephesians 5:28, “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”
There is the emphasis for the husband’s responsibility, and then it goes on talking about the walk of the believer in terms of the family. Ephesians 6:1–4 talks about how children are to conduct their lives, to “obey their parents in the Lord, for this is right.” “Fathers, do not to provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
Notice it didn’t say “and you wives.” It didn’t say “and you mothers.” Guys, that’s your job. Because you have to work outside of the home, you have to do other things, you can delegate some of that.
But I’m telling you, the fathers who are spending time praying with their children, reading Scripture to their children, talking to them about the Lord, are the fathers who are going to build a much stronger relationship and have a much better impact than the fathers who are delegating all of that to the mother.
The mother, obviously, is with them more, she is going to have a great impact, but fathers in our culture need to reverse course in this particular area and spend a lot more time in that area.
Ephesians 6:5–9, deals with the relationship of slaves to their masters and their relationship to the Lord. Bond servants or slaves are to be obedient to their masters “with fear and trembling in sincerity of heart.”
We can apply that to employee/employer relationships and to many other relationships as well. Peter tells us even when the master is harsh, even when he is unjust in his actions … A lot to say about these various authority relationships and how believers are to continue to operate in humility and in gentleness. This describes the Christian life.
By then, we will not have far to go to cover the last short section, Ephesians 6:10–20, dealing with the warfare of the believer. This is a tough section because Paul steps on everybody’s toes. God steps on everybody’s toes in His Word.
I’m not picking on anybody because the Holy Spirit does a pretty good job of that for me. He is the One who is rebuking and correcting every one of us.
Going through this section, we will learn and be challenged a lot in our own spiritual life and walk. But we have to understand that there is a code of conduct for those who are in this—what did Paul say? A new man, a new body, a new building, a new temple that is being built today for the indwelling of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We are to walk worthy of this new identity as members of the body of Christ, having been given the qualifications to go to heaven. We could never earn it or deserve it, but because Christ died for our sins, when we believe on Him, we receive His righteousness, and that is the basis for our eternal salvation.
“Father, we are thankful that we have You to come to always in prayer, that You hear us. You know of our prayers even before we pray them, but You desire us to bring these petitions before You.
“Father, we pray that as we study through these next chapters in Ephesians that we will be willing, ready to listen, to understand what is expected of us. That You would give me clarity and guidance as I handle Your Word and teach Your Word and study Your Word to present it accurately.
“That this would be a challenge to each of us to push on to the high calling that we have in Christ, to press on to spiritual maturity, to recognize that we have a message and a mission as Paul had. We have the same message and mission, and we are to carry this out to fulfill as ambassadors for Christ in this generation.
“We pray for any who are listening today who have never trusted in Christ as Savior. We pray that You would help them to understand, that God the Holy Spirit would make it very clear, it’s not up to them, it’s not based on their behavior, it is not based on what they do or what they haven’t done.
“It’s not negated by what they’ve done or what they haven’t done. It’s all based on what Christ did on the Cross and just accepting that free gift of salvation, believing in Him and Him alone and having eternal life. We pray that You would make this clear to the unbelievers who listen, and we pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”