Ephesians 6:1-12

Eph 6:1 (KJV)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
Now the Bible shifts from the relationship between the father and mother to that of the relationship between the children and the parents. This admonition comes to the children because they probably took part in the worship service and were to obey their parents in discipline. Notice it also says “in the Lord.” This was probably an admonition to both parents and children that they were to be obedient in the Lord and were not to partake in any sinful things. Sometimes parents sent children around to steal things from vendors when they are not looking, or the children may do sinful things on their own. Paul is reminding them that the child is to obey their parents but not to obey them if they want them to partake in a sinful act.
Children should obey their parents because they are not yet old enough to make any proper decisions on their own yet. If they were allowed to make their own decisions, they would make the wrong ones and it would have serious consequences. (Prov 30:17 KJV) The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it. Children who are disobedient to parents were subject to stoning under the Old Testament law. Parents must instill in their children that they are also responsible to God for their actions. They must also be told that just because no human sees their actions, they are seen by God. (Eccl 12:14 KJV) For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Eph 6:2 (KJV)
Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
Honour - Respect or value
Now the Bible enhances the admonition that children need to be obedient to their parents. Paul brings up the fifth commandment which carries with it a promise. (Exo 20:12 KJV) Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. If the children obeyed their parents, their life would be long upon the land which is a gift from God. However, their disobedience would cause them a short time in the land. The nation of Israel lost out on the promise of the land because they were not obedient to God the Father. (Isa 64:8-9 KJV) But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. {9} Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people. Not only are young children to respect and value their parents, but adults are also required to obey our Heavenly Father.
There is a spiritual aspect to this verse. There are children that love and are obedient to their parents and yet die at an early age. To live long in the land is also looking at the fact that we are looking to live eternally. (Psa 91:16 KJV) With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation. Long life is also a figure of salvation or eternal life. Obedience to the things of God shows that something has taken place in the life of that person. An unbeliever doesn’t care about the things of the Lord, only those who are saved will concern themselves with the things that God has to say. A person who is saved, will live long in the land or rather they will live forever in the land of Canaan promised to Abraham through the eternal covenant that God made with him and to his seed. (Gen 17:8 KJV) And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. This is not speaking of a physical land, because the world is going to end and a new world is going to be created and then we will live long in the land, i.e. eternally.
Eph 6:3 (KJV)
That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
We have already looked at the second part of this verse in verse 2 but the first part speaks of being well by obedience. (Deu 5:16 KJV) Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Paul probably took this verse from Deuteronomy. While there is no more promise of living in the physical land, the principle of the Deuteronomy verse has been transferred. Obedience to parents is proper no matter when children are born. If children obeyed their parents, then their life would be filled with growing knowledge and it would go smoother in this world.
Eph 6:4 (KJV)
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Notice the warning is to the fathers since they can be a bit more severe than the mothers can. The father is not to provoke or to make their children angry beyond what is needed. (Col 3:21 KJV) Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Now the Ephesians verse does not only mean a provoking unto a physical wrath but the father, being the spiritual head of the house, is to bring the children up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord. Rather than constantly berating or over-burdening them, the father is to teach them about the things of the Lord and salvation. The father is not to provoke a child unto the wrath of God, which is eternal damnation, but they are to teach them about the Lord and His ways. When a child understands this, he or she is not provoked unto wrath but is provoked unto understanding. If they are God’s elect, then they will eventually become saved. (Heb 10:24 KJV) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: The provoking that God has in view for the family is to provoke or bring about the atmosphere of a godly home. If a father is unsaved, then he will bring nothing in but worldly ways. Instead of provoking unbelievers further into the wrath of God, we need to provoke them into salvation and if they are the Elect, they will come, but if not all we have lost is time. (1 Cor 3:15 KJV) If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Eph 6:5 (KJV)
Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
Servants - Slaves
Singleness - Sincerity or in purity
Now Paul focuses on the relationship of those who were slaves to their masters. He is specifically speaking to the slaves who became Christians. It has been estimated that there were 60 million slaves in the greater Roman Empire, which made up 1/3 of the entire population. Now these slaves were not just sitting around and getting whipped and tortured all day long. The majority of the slaves were well-educated people and had responsibilities in both home and business. Many of them raised the children of their masters’ homes along with teaching them. They even had the right to discipline the children without retribution from the master of the house. We see in the story of Joseph the positions that qualified slaves could hold.
Now Paul is counseling the Christian slaves to be obedient to those masters according to the flesh. This means that Christian slaves were owned by masters who were not Christians. Therefore, Paul did not want these slaves to disrespect or try to cheat their masters by not giving the required work. They were to render their services faithfully. In addition, by Paul using the term “according to the flesh” he was basically telling them that their masters had the right to ask of them anything except to render any type of spiritual fornication. The Christian slaves were to be obedient unto Christ in matters of worship and spiritual service.
They were also to go into their daily tasks with “fear and trembling.” This phrase denotes a person treading very cautiously in their profession. There was to be a dedicated fear in performing their tasks. They were to do the best job that they possibly could. We can transfer that principle into the job market today. Whenever we do a job for someone, whether out of our own business or working for someone, it must be done in the mindset of extreme care. Basically, the verse is stating that because of who we represent, we should always be willing to go the extra mile in our jobs. This does not mean we place our jobs or business above the spiritual things of the Lord, but when we are paid to do a job, we better give the customer what they paid for, a better job than the world would do.
Paul also tells us that we are to do the work with singleness of purpose. That means we are to place ourselves in the customers shoes and ask ourselves if we would be happy to pay for the job we are doing. When it speaks of purity, it means that we are to have pure motives when tackling a job. That means we are not to cut corners but to give the customer or our boss a job well done.
Eph 6:6 (KJV)
Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
Eyeservice - Working only while being watched
Menpleasers - A conciliatory attitude
The Christian slaves were to serve their masters in the same manner behind the scenes as they did when they were being watched. They were to do their work heartily unto the Lord and not just to please their masters. (1 Cor 10:31 KJV) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Their outward work ethic had to be taken from their hearts which had become transformed through the Gospel of Grace. How many times do we see people on the job, who do as little as possible when the boss is not looking? Then to top it off, they get promoted over the ones who are really doing the work, even when the boss is not looking. It can be frustrating, but these situations are all in the Lord’s hands. God’s will for the Christian is to be obedient, both in secret and in public. We need to look at ourselves, as the slaves or servants of Christ, although we are still Saints of Heaven. (Gal 4:1-2 KJV) Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; {2} But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. As the child, who is to become master of the house is still in training, until the appointed time of the father to take over, so are we. There will be an appointed time in our life when we too, will no longer be slaves but will take our position in Heaven as rulers under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Rev 22:5 KJV) And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
Eph 6:7 (KJV)
With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
The Christian slave was to work for his master in not just doing the job to get it done, but with zeal and good will toward his master. When we are doing our work heartily unto the Lord, we will please those who are in the human positions of authority. (Col 3:17 KJV) And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. We must look beyond our earthly calling and see the eternal picture behind it. We must also realize that God has allowed that person to be in authority over us. Therefore, we must never work from a heart of resentment or jealousy. We may never hold any position higher on earth than we do now, but in Heaven we will reign with Christ forever. (2 Cor 4:18 KJV) While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Eph 6:8 (KJV)
Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
There are two ways that we can understand this verse and they both carry the same principle. The first way that we can understand this verse is that those unbelievers who have trashed Christians on the job or those that were simply lazy and did not hold up their end of the responsibility, will be judged on Judgment Day and will receive according to their works. (Eccl 12:14 KJV) For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Rev 20:12-13 KJV) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. {13} And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. Unbelievers will be judged not only for what they did on their jobs but will be judged for all their sins. Sometimes the Lord will bring actions into judgment on earth and may demote someone or they may be fired for their actions. Even if Christ brings an earthly judgment, they will still have to face those actions in the final judgment.
The next way we could look at this is that those believers who have held up their responsibilities on the job, will be rewarded. That reward is eternal life. (Luke 18:30 KJV) Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. They may be rewarded on earth with a promotion, a better salary, or even a better job, but the real reward will come when this world will end and the believers will be in glory. This is why the Christians on earth should not concern themselves with positions. When there are wrongs, God will right them, but it will be in His timing and His way.
Eph 6:9 (KJV)
And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
Forbearing - Giving Up
Now the Apostle Paul switches his focus from the servants to the masters. We can also apply this to those in management positions in business. Paul is saying that since he has been counseling the servants to be honest and to give their master’s a good day’s work, that the masters, in turn, should have the same honest mindset toward their servants. Masters and managers should not use threaten their people to coerce them into working. Sometimes managers threaten people with firing unless they perform beyond what they should be doing. The masters could easily threaten a slave with a whipping if they didn’t perform to unreasonable standards. Paul is saying that these threats must not be done by Christians. The world is into coercion and threatening people by those in authority.
Paul is warning that those in positions of power are also accountable to God for their actions. They are being warned that God is not a respecter of persons, that is, they will not get away with misusing their authority. The Christian with authority need not be a doormat for his employees to walk over but he must remain strong without being vindictive or vicious toward them in attitude or action. God can easily remove a person in authority.
Eph 6:10 (KJV)
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Strong - Be strengthened or empowered
Power - Strength or authority
Might - Strength, forcefulness or ability brought into action.
Now Paul begins a section which should be instilled into every believer. First, we are to be strengthened in the Lord. Notice we cannot be strengthened in our own self or in our doctrines but the believer’s strength is to come from the Lord. Our empowerment comes only from the Lord and it is He who is the only one who can strengthen the believer to accomplish whatever He wills in their life. (John 15:5 KJV) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Secondly, the Christian is to bask in the strength or authority that we have from the Lord. This strength will enable us to go through times of persecution, and it does not matter what position we hold in this world, whether slave or master, we will encounter it and we will then be able to pull from the endless resources that only God can give a Christian. We are to be strong in the might or strength of the Lord. The infinite ability of God is used for His children.
Eph 6:11 (KJV)
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
I am sure when the Apostle Paul was chained to a Roman soldier, that God gave him the analogy which should be used by every Christian to have a victorious Christian life.
Put on - To dress
Whole Armor - Full or complete armor
Stand - Stand Firm or establish
Wiles - Methods or schemes
The Christian is to place all spiritual weapons in their arsenal on alert status. As the physical soldier is always on alert that an attack from the enemy will come, it is also a warning that all Christians need to be on alert. We are to be clothed in the full armor of God, this means both defense (apologetic) and offense (evangelistic) weapons are to be employed. A soldier knew how to attack as well as defend. When he was engaged in battle, he was able to give a good fight, but if his enemy was stronger, he may die in battle.
In this verse we are told to dress ourselves in the full spiritual armor so that we are able to stand firm against any of the methods of Satan. When a Christian is clothed in spiritual armor, they will stand fast against the attacks of Satan. Those attacks will come through the false teachings and doctrines that Satan will engineer to be used by his people to see if they can find a gap in the armor of the Christian. If we are fully clothed, they we will never have to worry about there being any crevice where Satan can get through. One thing that a Christian can count on, our enemy is never stronger than the Christian, and that is because we are anchored in Christ. We become defeated when we allow the false teachings to penetrate our spiritual defenses. Would a wise soldier remove his helmet in battle? I think not and neither should the Christian let any part of their guard down either.
Eph 6:12 (KJV)
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high
Wrestle - Struggling for victory
Principalities - Rule, domain, or beginning
Powers - Authorities
Rulers - World Rulers in the spiritual realm
The Apostle Paul now gets to the heart of the matter and why it is so important for a Christian to remain vigilant in the Scriptures. The Bible is teaching us that our war is not against flesh and blood or other people, even though there are people who want to do us harm, sometimes physically. Paul is likening our fight to the ancient wrestling games. In ancient times, wrestling matches were normally to the death. This is how serious the spiritual struggle is. Our struggle is not only concerning physical death, but the struggling is against spiritual death. We are invading the kingdom of Satan with the Gospel and that engenders a spiritual battle.
We do not fight against unsaved mortals who do not want anything to do with the Gospel, but our battle is against the principalities of Hell or the rulers. We can safely say that our struggle is against the entire domain of Satan, because when he loses one to the kingdom of God, he does what he can to hinder that Christians, even trying to derail that Christian life. Notice that we are at war with the leaders of the dark world. All the authority of evil will come against us. Notice the word which means “world rulers.” This is not speaking of physical rulers like Hitler or Stalin, rather it is speaking of the dark rulers of this world that direct the war against the Kingdom of God and Christ. (2 Cor 4:4 KJV) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
This is why Satan is called the Anti-Christ because he attempts to attack and gain victory over the Saints. Remember when the Lord looked at Peter and said, “Get thee behind me Satan.” The Lord Jesus was looking beyond the human and was seeing that the real enemy of Christ is Satan and his demons.
There is going to come a time right before the end of the world when Satan is going to have some type of victory over the Saints. (Dan 7:21-22 KJV) I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; {22} Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. (Rev 11:7 KJV) And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. We don’t know what type of victory this is. It may be the complete silencing of the true Gospel right before the end. It may be that when the last one becomes saved that God planned to save, then no one else will become saved and that may be the victory that Satan has in that he may be deceived into thinking he has silenced the gospel, when in essence God has completed his program. The thousand years may be representative of the time of salvation and when the thousand years is over, then there will be small window when Satan will be loosed and when the last one is saved, then sin will abound and then as the Daniel verse says, the Lord will return and then the Saints will have victory and will inherit the eternal Kingdom. (Rev 11:11-12 KJV) And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. {12} And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. If the true Gospel is silenced, then of course, that will be a great day of celebration because the unbelievers will think they have won, when in essence it will have been God working out His plan for the end. (Rev 11:10 KJV) And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.