2549.) Ephesians 6:5-24

One of the main colonnaded streets in Ephesus, looking down to the library. Excavations were started here over a hundred years ago, and are still ongoing.

About Ephesus:  One of the main colonnaded streets in Ephesus, looking down to the library. Excavations were started here over a hundred years ago, and are still ongoing.  If you ever have the chance to go to Ephesus, don’t miss it!

Ephesians 6:5-24   (NRSV)

Slaves and Masters

5Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ; 6not only while being watched, and in order to please them, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. 7Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women, 8knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord, whether we are slaves or free.

Reflections:

Many of us have at least one “master,” one authority over us, to whom we report regarding our earthly responsibilities. That person may be a supervisor at work, or a teacher at school, or a parent at home. In verse 7, what the NRSV renders as “Render service with enthusiasm,” other translations put as “serve wholeheartedly,” and “gladly serve your masters.”

Think of one thing you can do — differently from, better than — what you are doing now, to fulfill this instruction. Can you put it into effect within the next few days? Remember, you are doing it not for that person in authority, but “as to the Lord” (verse 7).

God bless you “as you obey Christ” (verse 5).

9And, masters, do the same to them. Stop threatening them, for you know that both of you have the same Master in heaven, and with him there is no partiality.

The Whole Armor of God

Following Jesus draws us into a spiritual battle. But God has not left us defenseless against the devil’s wiles. He has provided spiritual armor that will equip us for spiritual battle.

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist,

EQUIP ME, LORD — May Your truth rule in my heart and be in my mind and on my lips today. Let me remember that You, Jesus, are the way, the truth, and the life.

and put on the breastplate of righteousness.

EQUIP ME, LORD — Apart from You there is no righteousness, but through Jesus I have been “born again” and made righteous in Your sight. May I live as a righteous person so that others may see my good works and give glory to You.

15As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.

EQUIP ME, LORD — May I reflect the Gospel in my words and actions, that through me, with my every encounter, others may be drawn one step closer to You.

16With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

EQUIP ME, LORD — May I take You at Your word concerning promises about the present and future—promises of everlasting love, abundant life, and so much more.

17Take the helmet of salvation,

EQUIP ME, LORD — Remind me that nothing can separate me from Your love and that I’ve  been saved by grace. In Your grace, help me to say “no” to all ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live a self-controlled, upright, and godly life. May every thought I have be taken captive to You and Your goodness.

and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

6. the-sword-of-the-spirit

EQUIP ME, LORD — May Your Holy Spirit reign in my life and bring to my mind just the right Bible verses to be in my heart and on my lips. May I be “filled with the Spirit” and ready with Scripture as You were, Jesus, when the devil tempted You.

18Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.

from Daily Readings from Luther’s Writings, edited by Barbara Owen:

You have needs enough:  You are lacking in faith, in love, in patience, in gentleness, in chastity; my wife, my children are sick. Then pray undauntedly and with sure confidence, because God has commanded you to pray. He did not command it in order to deceive you and make a fool of you. He wants you to pray and to be confident that you will be heard; he wants you to open your bosom that he may give to you. But you must present your need to God, in order that you may learn to know yourself, where you are lacking, and to receive more and more the longer you hold open your sack.

Therefore, children right from the cradle on should begin to pray for the princes, for their brethren and companions. For here you hear the command and the promise:  “Ask, and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). You have been commanded to pray and promised that what you pray for will be given, as in Psalm 50:15, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me”; and Psalm 91:15, “When he calls to me, I will answer him.” So, go on that and say:  Now I know that my prayer is not to be despised; for if I despise it, I despise the command and the promise of God. But God does not despise prayer, but rather has commanded it and promised that he will hear it.

19Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

_________________________

Music:

verse 13 — “and having done everything, to stand . . .”

HERE  is “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus.” This is such an encouraging, invigorating hymn!

Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!
Ye soldiers of the Cross;
Lift high his royal banner,
It must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory
His army he shall lead,
Till every foe is vanquished
And Christ is Lord indeed.

Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!
The trumpet call obey,
Forth to the mighty conflict
In this his glorious day.
Ye who are men now serve him
Against unnumbered foes:
Let courage rise with danger,
And strength to strength oppose.

Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!
Stand in his strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you
Ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the Gospel armor,
Each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls or danger
Be never wanting there!

Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!
The strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle,
The next the victor’s song.
To him who overcometh
A crown of life shall be;
He with the King of Glory
Shall reign eternally.

_________________________

Personal Matters and Benediction

21So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus will tell you everything. He is a dear brother and a faithful minister in the Lord. 22I am sending him to you for this very purpose, to let you know how we are, and to encourage your hearts.

23Peace be to the whole community, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24Grace be with all who have an undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 6 Paul - Signature

_________________________

Isn’t this a wonderful letter to you

— in your very circumstances now? Haven’t you been reminded of the greatness of God and his everlasting love to you? Hasn’t your heart been awakened to seek to be more and more the valiant follower he calls you to be? I truly believe that if we were to read the book of Ephesians every month, our hearts, our homes, our churches, our communities, our world — would be far different, far better places, because of the Holy Spirit of the resurrected Jesus working God’s purposes though us!

Your thoughts?  I would love to hear them!

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
street in Ephesus.  https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2010/08/18/120-ephesians-61-24/
Zechariah 4:6.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/550213279445644588/
belt.   https://lucsnovelties.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/armour2.jpeg
breastplate.   https://lucsnovelties.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/caaog2breastplate1.jpg
gospel shoes.   https://lucsnovelties.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/gospelshoes1.png
shield.   https://lucsnovelties.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/51uolyon4cl-_sy300_.jpg
helmet.   https://lucsnovelties.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/helmetofsalvation.jpg
Sword of the Spirit, by Jeff Haynie.  https://www.imagekind.com/Sword-of-the-Spirit_art?IMID=7655ff7f-6a97-45a0-956e-b60108f4c338
Pray without ceasing.    http://www.fbcog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Pray-without-ceasing-4×6-1024×683.png
Paul signature.  http://www.rowforhope.com/html/images/Paul%20-%20Signature.GIF

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