CITIZENS part 10 – The New Relationships (Eph 5:22-6:9) – James Lusk
Paul wrote the letter of Ephesians as a general letter to a large region of churches during his first Roman imprisonment. The letter to the Ephesians and the letter to the church in Colosse were most likely written around the same time and delivered at roughly the same time. The letter to the Ephesians is a passionate and beautiful letter, riddled with hymns and exhortations, rich in theology and eschatology setting it apart from all other Pauline Epistles. The letter emphasizes the nature of the church and the relationship of Christ as the head of the church. Chapter 4 stands as a transition chapter, moving from building a theological foundation in the first 3 chapters to practically living out that theology in the chapters that follow. Paul has taken the church on a journey through his letter. First, reinforcing that those who follow the Lord are new, then calling the Church to live as a new society, by grace upholding standards of purity and holiness. In the following text, Paul calls the Church to live out the reality of their standing and society in their interpersonal relationships.
Text: Eph. 4:17-32
21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For he husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and ishimself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of waterwith the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. 6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. 5 Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
Paul breaks down how we are to function in our relationships very practically speaking specifically about the marriage, parent, and work relationships. In each sphere as believers we are to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. This however is not to be done of our own efforts but from an outpouring of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Suggested Discussion Questions
- Why do you think so many people struggle to submit to those they are called to submit too?
- In what ways have you seen these scriptures abused? What is the solution, what is their correct use