Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today we’re finishing Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians. In this, Paul wraps up his teaching about proper relations between masters, servants, husbands, wives, and children. He then shows us the true battlefield of the soul, which applies every bit as much to life in the United States (and the rest of the Western world) as it did to Ephesus.
Reading: Ephesians 6
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
Continuing from the last chapter, where Paul was describing proper relations between husbands and wives, Paul directs us to one of the Ten Commandments. It is right and good for children to honor and obey their parents, so that they might enjoy long and successful life on this earth.
The question often arises: what if your parents are bad people (or at least bad parents)? More than a few of us grew up with parents who were divorced – how can they teach us love? Many grew up with parents who were abusive or absentee – how can they teach us discipline and goodness?
In these cases, we all turn to a “parental figure” of one sort or another. Some of us turn to successful people on the internet, or a wise coach or teacher.
Still, we have to embrace the truth – we are the fruit of our parents. We are learning that, outside of genetics, decisions parents made in life affect how children grow up. Honor them by acknowledging how they influenced you (whether by action or inaction), embracing the lessons that influence provides, and use those lessons to become successful and happy.
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
While it is important for fathers to discipline their children and teach them order and self-sacrifice, it is important that fathers not be wrathful. Do not strike your children in anger, or punish them in your own rage, but teach them to honor self-control and reason.
5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
They say that character is who you are when no one’s looking.
When you are servant to a master (whether through employment, contract, or other form of bondage), serve wholeheartedly in the same manner as our Lord Jesus Christ. Work hard, knowing that the Lord is watching and rewards those who do good in secret (as Jesus mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount).
9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
Just as servants have the example of the greatest servant in Christ, so too do masters have the example of the greatest master in the Father. He is no respecter of persons (no racial, sexual, econimic, etc. biases), but he gives in accordance with His will to all who serve Him. He is not cruel, nor does he deliver extreme punishment for lesser infractions, but he does enforce discipline.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
As David wrote, the Lord is our Strength, Rock, and Foundation. He is the source of all our help and protection.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Men cannot resist the clever devil, who knows the ways of men and stirs up their hearts toward evils. Only with God can we become more than slaves to sin.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
As the American election seasons come and go, we often forget that evil comes in many masks. The spiritual forces of darkness, which are manifest in the works of the increasingly evil people of the West, corrupt what they touch.
The Christian struggle is not against kings, lords, presidents, judges, teachers, administrators, or even Social Justice Warriors (as the ideological zealots of social totalitarianism are called). We fight against the ideas that drive these evil people – collectivism, terrorism, racism (for these people hate Whites and Asians above all), sexism (for many of these ideological movements hate men for being men and women for being women), and anti-Christian doctrines.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Rocky Balboa once said, “It ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
True strength is the power to stand against the forces of darkness, who seek our destruction and/or subjugation. When the battle is over and their strength is exhausted, the power of God gives us the strength to remain standing.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
Truth is our foundation, which preserves us against all manner of falsehoods. If there is one mark of the modern darkness, it is blatant falsehood.
Righteousness preserves us, because the forces of wickedness seek any purchase. They will fabricate crimes against us (as they did Christ), by claiming sexual harassment or projecting their hatreds unto us. When we are righteous, these claims cannot stick to us.
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
In football, the first one off the line usually wins. The same is true in battle; the swiftest and surest of fighters swoop down on their enemies, dodge all their blows, and emerge unscathed. So too, we must study the Word and apply it in life, so that when we are attacked we may deftly avoid all falsehoods, foolishness, and wickedness.
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Without faith, it is impossible to please God. The evil one will come spitting his lies, saying, “We have found His body,” or, “We have disproved the Scriptures.” With faith, these assaults cannot last, and the fire is quickly extinguished if resisted.
As evidence, consider all the assaults on the Genesis account of creation. As the accusers before Christ could not keep their stories straight, so too do these assaults change with the winds.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
No matter how well defended, a strong blow to an unprotected skull is fatal. Salvation preserves us from the worst that can ever come against us, because we are reborn and preserved in Christ.
How can we respond to all these assaults? The Holy Spirit (which provides all these defenses to us) is also our weapon. The Spirit teaches us what to say in times of trouble, and a single rebuke from the Spirit may slay even the mightiest of evil.
I point to Vox Day (prolific writer and Christian) as an example of this weapon. He stands fast against the many fools and liars arrayed against him, and with simple rhetoric he sends them home crying.
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Even when not actively engaged in the struggle against these dark forces, we are not to be idle. We must pray for the preservation of our brethren, rush to their aid, and prepare ourselves against the next onslaught which will surely come.
Even in the worst of situations – if they have taken your honor and your livelihood from you – it is imperative that we continue to struggle. For Paul was in chains, captive to Caesar, and yet he preached boldly.
21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:
22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.
It’s always better to hear news in person – whether good or bad. Tychicus was apparently a good man and a faithful friend of Paul, whose example might be emulated.
23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
Always, always, end in blessings for the brethren.
Let us Pray
Blessed be the Lord my God, who teaches my hands to make war.
We thank you that you are our protector and deliverer. We are your humble servants and soldiers, fitted for battle by your mighty hand. Command us, so that we may resist the spiritual authorities of darkness in this world, holding back the tide of human wickedness until the trumpets sound on the last day.
Grant us strength to resist all evil, standing boldly in the Faith that you have given to us. For we know that you are greater than all that is in the world, and we are assured that the truth is stronger than a multitude of sweet-sounding lies.
We ask that you preserve and strengthen us, in the name of your son, the Lord Jesus Christ, for whom we are ambassadors.
Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.