Paul next addresses marriage. Paul said it best, In marriage, we must submit to one another. God calls husbands to love their wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. To grasp the enormity of that, one needs to remember that Jesus was God. He did not have to do anything or achieve anything to become God. But, because of His love for us, Jesus emptied Himself of all of His Godly vestiges, became human. While in Human form He suffered greatly and died a humiliating and brutal death simply to redeem us. Phil 2:5-8. As Husbands, we have to become like Jesus. We must be willing to completely empty ourselves of all self-interest and be willing to sacrifice ourselves for our wives. That is no small task.
Wives must submit to their husband’s leadership. Like the president of a company, wives must follow the leading of the CEO. The president runs the day to day operations, and all that are employed follow the president’s direction (including the CEO). But if there is a decision to be made and the CEO makes it–the president honors the decision humbly and graciously. Wives are to be the same. Few would argue that wives are masters of day to day survival. They make their husband and kids a family and turn their houses into HOMES. They have to master all aspects of survival and social grace with little or no support from those they serve. Wives are critical to the look and life of their families, and, if they are willing to submit to the leadership of a servant-leader husband, they will build an amazing legacy, no matter what circumstance befalls them. Husbands and wives that are willing to submit to each others leadership and live sacrificial lives –will have the kind of marriage that most can only dream about.
God Bless You
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body.31 “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Bob Dylan produced an album in the late 1970s that was a tribute to his recent conversion to Christianity. The album was called “Slow Train Coming” one song that became very popular at the time was called “You Gotta Serve Somebody!” As a young teenager, that song stuck with me. The reality is that we do have to serve somebody. That is what Paul was reminding the Ephesians in this chapter. Paul laid it out. Live as children of the light. Live as though all things we do and say will be held up to the light for all to see. Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit. Live as wise people, not like those who are unwise. Paul could not have been more direct.
In our times, each day we still get to choose how we live. We control our choices, our attitudes, and our lifestyles. We can live secret lives, do shameful acts and think like this is all there is. But, as Bob Dylan so aptly said, “It may be the devil, or it may be the Lord, but, you gotta serve somebody!” Paul encourages us to serve God, Live as if we are living in the light, walking in public. He encourages us to be filled with His spirit–not the world’s cheap substitutes! We need to live our lives in a manner that is worthy of the Gospel. If we will, we will taste the fruit of freedom and will have love, Joy Peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. A life led by God’s Holy Spirit will bring freedom and purpose. One that has meaning and leaves a legacy! No matter, what we choose, however, in the end, You Gotta Serve Somebody!
God Bless You
Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul next attacks the elephant in the room; “How do people act when they are saved?” Since they are freed from the Law, How does one behave? The answer is quite simple, Walk in a way that honors God and is consistent with the calling of Christ. Christians are not to be the brash, vulgar deceitful lot; instead, they are to walk with humility, patience, and kindness. People should never fear that they will be evil, proud deceitful or mean. Their purpose for living is to draw men to Christ–not, cause men to run and hide in fear.
That message is as true today as it was when Paul penned this letter. We, as the Lord’s chosen need to stand out for whose and who we are. We are the ones that folks love to deal with. We are the ones that folks can trust. We are the selfless and joyful ones–not the crabby, narcissists. We need to conduct ourselves in a manner that makes people glad they were with us, did business with us, and have been in contact with us. We live each day to honor God with our lives.
While the principle sounds simple, it is one difficult task. It is not to be taken lightly, nor, is it going to be easy. The world of trial and temptation will constantly pull us away if we let it. Help us, Lord, to walk humbly with you, and allow you to lead us as we live lives that resemble you!
God Bless you
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a] 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord.
It was never God’s intention to create a clone nation. He knew that, as in one’s personal body, the Church required individual giftings and cooperation to be effective. God gifted some of His chosen to be the apostles, the prophets, the teachers, the givers, and the encouragers. No gift was intended to be any more important than the others. They were intended to round out the church and make it effective in its operation and in its mission. All were saved with a purpose; and, that purpose was to be in relationship with God and to introduce God to others.
In order to do that effectively, one must quit living like the world. One need not be self-absorbed, wicked or indecisive. Instead, we live a new life–one led by the Spirit of God to become like Him. We become selfless, purposeful and free from the need to please others or satisfy our momentary whims. Instead, we live humbly, purposefully and focused upon the freedom of living like Christ. In that life, we are not indecisive, nor are we controlled by impulse–instead, we are focused on the eternal, and on living a life worthy of God’s call. Such life brings meaning and purpose. It also brings joy and peace. We work together to be the people the Lord has called us to be!
God Bless You
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Instructions for Christian Living
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Paul realized how amazing the gift of Salvation was. He laid it out simply to the Ephesians. One God, one faith and one baptism. As a people, We become one with Christ. The Lord has saved us and through His sacrifice and upon His ascension, we became one again with God! What an amazing gift!
So, Paul called the Ephesians to live a life worthy of that gift. How? By remaining humble and gentle. By being patient and bearing with each other. By remaining unified by faith and not divided by petty differences. Finally, we remain worthy by simply remembering that it is all by God’s grace that we even have eternal life. It is not our behavior or station in life, it is Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection that has provided the amazing life we enjoy. It is that same resurrection that provides our eternal salvation. We should keep that in mind when tempted to be haughty or judgemental of others. All we deserve is death. But His grace was sufficient to give us life.
That realization should provide us joy, hope, and a humble spirit to carry us through until we see Him face to face!
God Bless You
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us, grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it[a] says:
“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”[b]
9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)
Paul wanted to remind the people in Ephesus that the secret to living by faith is to focus on the author of that faith and not on these present circumstances. Paul encouraged the Ephesians to approach God freely and with confidence. They did not have to perform any rituals or have a secret code. God remains present and ready to hear prayers and prepare, protect and provide for His own in any and all circumstances.
Next, Paul reminded these people that this was not about him (Paul). He prayed for the well being of the Ephesians. Paul was in prison, in Rome and facing martyrdom–but he prayed for these people. He prayed for their well being, but more importantly, he prayed that the Ephesians would grasp the volume, the depth, and the vastness of God’s love for them. This God that could do exceedingly, abundantly and immeasurably more than men can imagine stood ready to minister to His chosen.
That same God stands arms held open wide for us today. He is still God, He is still great, and he can still do immeasurably more than we can imagine. If we could grasp the volume, the depth and the vastness of God’s love for us; then, we would come before the Lord with confidence and lay our lives, our concerns, and our sin on the altar for the Lord to take. We would walk by faith and trust God to do as He has promised, never forgetting that He alone is God! If we will grasp that truth; we will be able to walk in peace and confidence, knowing that God has got this.
God Bless You
12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
A Prayer for the Ephesians
14 For this reason, I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.
Paul wanted the people to understand that salvation to all was God’s original and primary plan. The Lord intended Israel to be a nation of priests. Their purpose was to provide the ministry of salvation to all. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, that ministry was now possible. Ironically God used Paul, the “ultimate Jew” to carry the message and minister to the Gentile world.
In our lives, we continue to live as one’s that are saved because of Christ and Paul. We are saved even though we are not from the lineage of Israel. Because of God’s original plan. The great mystery of God’s love and plan for men was revealed to the rest of the world and us through folks like Paul, Silas, Barnabus, Timothy and John. That mystery and ministry have continued through now and we fill the roles of these apostles and men of faith. While God never intended that to be a mystery, evidently it was. Thanks, Lord for following your plan. Thanks also for commissioning those that have come before and commissioning us to make disciples all over the world!
God Bless you.
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.
When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,