We have all probably read this scripture a thousand times, right? Good, because I’m not going to be breaking down this passage....
-- How well do you know or understand any teachings that are foundations to the Christian faith, such as repentance, Communion, the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ?
-- What do you know about the Trinity-Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?
-- What’s the difference between water baptism and Spirit baptism?
-- Going back to Ephesians 1, what does mean by us being chosen (v4), adopted/ predestined (v5), accepted (v6), redeemed (v7)? What does it mean to be sealed with the Spirit? (v13-14)].
If you took a few moments to question yourself on what you understand about these various things, you’ve likely determined that you don’t really know some these things as well as you could. And I’m not saying this to make anyone feel bad or even feel good if they do understand these particular areas. Again it’s just to emphasize the importance of understanding what we believe because just like back in Paul’s day, there are people still opposing our faith, and with all of the information & study tools at our disposal these days, many believers are not well equipped & couldn’t confidently defend or explain what we believe. Sadly, going into many churches, they’re only interested in giving you candy-coated messages about making a name for yourself, how you’re gonna shine on your haters, and getting material things and money & spewing off a bunch of clichés that aren’t even biblical. Does this mean we have to all be scholars or remember everything? No - that’s why the Lord gave us pastors, teachers & such to help us understand this word and how to apply it to our everyday lives, but we also have a level of responsibility to know God’s word for ourselves. By regularly reading the bible, attending a bible-believing/teaching church or bible study we should be able to obtain a basic understanding of our faith that will help us discern truth from error. We should be able to apply these truths in our lives, and even refer to them when helping others come to the knowledge of the truth. When we understand some of the basic principles of our faith, it keeps people from bringing in false, candy-coated teachings, mixing & watering down the Word. If we don’t know the difference, we could be led away from the truth, or worse-completely away from the faith.
Chapter 4 – Now the first 3 chapters we see the work of God through Jesus Christ but chapter 4 is where get a little sticky to us as believers because Paul begins to address our Christian walk and how it should be worthy of our high calling, humble, meek, patient, in love, doing our best to keep the unity in the body of Christ, just as the Father, Son & Holy Spirit are unified. Then Paul goes into Jesus’s descent into hell at his death on the cross. This is a profound revelation because I think many have the assumption that Jesus died, took a 3 day nap and rose up from the grave. No, Jesus went into hell & set free those captives that had died in the Lord from His death all the way back to Genesis. Jesus preached in hell during those 3 days, and that’s explained in some of the following scriptures: 1 Peter 3:17-19, 2 Peter 2:4, and Jude 6-7. Jesus’s resurrection with the freed captives is a fulfillment of Psalm 68:18, and Matthew 27:52-53 is the only passages within the 4 gospels that gives the account of how when Jesus rose up from the grave, the dead saints’ graves also opened and they arose & were seen by the people. Then Paul goes on to tell us why we have the 5 fold ministries: apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelist, and pastors. They are for the equiping & perfecting of the saints until we all come in the unity of the faith, to make sure we are not misled by false teachings and cunning people that lie in wait to deceive those of us who have found the truth of the Gospel. Finally, he wraps up the chapter by going back to our conduct, and gives an illustration using clothing to explain our conduct and states the former fleshly things we are to “put/take off” now that we are saved [Things like lying, corrupt communication, bitterness, anger] and how we are to “put on” new conduct which after God is created in right living and holiness. [Things like love, kindness, forgiveness, tenderheartedness].
Chapter 6 – Before it gets to the spiritual warfare section, Paul finishes dealing with our home and also job duties. He continues by first addressing the duties of children, telling them to obey and honor their parents because it was the 1st commandment with a promise from Exodus 20:12, but he lets fathers know not to provoke their children to wrath. I recently heard a pastor say the Father is like God in his judgment & punishment. You know when they disobeyed God in the OT, He would just wipe the folks out, but a Mother is like Christ, giving a measure of grace but also being willing to allow a degree of chastisement where necessary to get us back on track. Mothers are typically the nurturers. Fathers are typically known for being stern, harsh and tougher on their children, so he lets them know to nourish their children with wholesome discipline and instruction that will bend them towards God and Christian living. Then regarding our jobs he tells employees or servants to look at their work as being unto the Lord and not to ABC Company. Obey your boss/master, don’t roll your eyes [eye service], and don’t be a suck up [men pleasers] because every good thing we do whether our boss treats us properly or not, is noticed and rewarded by the Lord. As a matter of fact, Paul tells the masters or bosses to treat their employees with the same manner in return. Don’t threaten or mistreat employees, remembering we all serve the Master, Jesus Christ and he is no respecter of persons just because of their position.
So now let’s go back and read Ephesians 6:10-18 again because Paul is saying “Having laid before you your high calling and some great doctrines of the gospel, having finally showed you how you should act and treat one another, FINALLY I can show you the enemies that are getting ready to oppose you and how to overcome them. FINALLY you will understand why you need to get dressed because you’re getting ready to go into spiritual battle”.
Paul understood that these truths he shared in chapters 1-6 were about to bring much demonic warfare our way. From false doctrine & understanding the faith, to personal conduct, and life at home among family & friends, and even on our jobs, the church of Ephesus was getting ready to see why the Christian life is not an easy life and we often need to be reminded the same. We can all testify to experiencing conflict in at least some if not most of these areas. The devil & his rebels don’t want us to be a witness for Jesus Christ. Yes, he is a defeated foe, but until his last breath Satan is still out to deceive, damage and discourage believers in these various areas because when we know and live in the light of truth, and walk in the same power and authority as Jesus did, we are able to successfully dismantle his kingdom of darkness. We can withstand the wiles [methods, plans and schemes] and fiery darts [lust, passions and temptations of various kinds] from the wicked.
I am wrapping up this teaching but now knowing all this, go through Ephesians 6:10-18 in your own time and study out the various pieces of armor and hopefully you should begin to see how the topics Paul shares correlates to the various areas of the body that would be affected without that particular piece of armor’s protection.
Stay blessed until next time -- Nikki!