For the corresponding sermon to this scripture passage, listen here: http://crossview.info/sermons/2014_05_18.mp3
Today’s Scripture Focus: Ephesians 6:10-20
While the first three chapters of Ephesians deal with the spiritual, the last three chapters are mostly practical. Remember, the second and third generation Christians were facing a harsh reality. Many of them had become followers of Jesus in anticipation that He was returning within their lifetime. For reasons they did not understand, He had not yet returned. The original apostles, including Paul, had been imprisoned, exiled, or martyred. Yet, the Church needed to move forward with the mission of proclaiming Christ. As they adjusted their understanding of what it meant to live in God’s Kingdom here and now, how should they live daily life?
The foundation has been laid in Ephesians 1-3 for how Christians are to do life together. It’s all about God’s love. Christians are to be united in one body. Disagreements and quarrels are the enemy’s tools to destroy them. They must set those aside in order to serve one another in love. With Christ’s return delayed and Paul absent, It would be tempting for Christians to return to their former ways of life—drunkenness, sexual impurity, gossip, etc. The author wants them to understand that if they focus on loving God and one another, they won’t have time for such foolishness. Only through love will the Church survive Paul’s death.
Specific instructions are then given on how living a life of love plays out. Love is not just the basis of relationships between Christians in the Church; it actually works in our household, too! Husbands and wives are to respect and love each other. Parents and children are to love and respect each other. Even slaves and masters are to love and respect each other. The Ephesians 5 and 6 instructions have been misused through the centuries to justify many kinds of abuse. This is tragic, as their intentions were to do just the opposite—to keep men from dominating women, parents from abusing children, and heads of household from mistreating servants.
In closing, Paul wants his spiritual children to remember who their real enemy is. They aren’t to fight each other, or even take up swords to defend themselves against human powers that oppress them. Instead, they are to remember their enemy is the devil, who wants to divide and destroy the Church. The only way to fight the devil is to stand firm in the strength of the Lord. Through accessing the tools and gifts made available by God through the Holy Spirit, they will be protected from the devil’s evil plots, head to toe! All of the pieces of spiritual armor are accessed and held together through the most important tool—prayer.
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
Today’s scripture includes what is known as the “full armor of God”. What are all the pieces listed? What do you think each one represents? Which do you think is most neglected “weapon” in the Church today?
Is there anything in today’s scripture that especially speaks to you?
What questions would you like to ask about today’s scripture?