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Thursday, April 18 2019
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
INTRODUCTION: Last week we considered Paul’s further instructions the home, office and battle ground. We concluded that it was not coincidental that Paul first addressed having the right relationships at home and at work (covering every aspect of our lives) before introducing us to the spiritual battles we are engaged in. we cannot be victorious in battle with the enemy when our households are not in order. In the coming weeks we will be considering every item of the Christian’s armour. Today we will be starting with the first Paul listed – “The Belt of Truth” in Ephesians 6:14a
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth fastened around your waist, . . ..”
For a believer to stand firm, he or she requires that the belt of truth is fastened around their waists.
The Belt of Truth:
First, Paul mentions the "belt of truth." In that time, a belt was tied around the waist rather than buckled. It was therefore "fastened" as Paul notes. These were not thin, pretty strips of cloth, either. A soldier's belt was thick and sturdy, somewhat like what modern people would call a "weightlifter's belt." The rest of a soldier's armour connected to this belt. For the Christian, truth is to be securely connected to us, for our success. Truth, as Paul defined it, included the accurate information regarding God and the good news of Jesus (Ephesians 1:13; 4:15, 21, 25). From a logical standpoint, this is also a sensible statement. Truth "binds together" everything else we believe. Without unifying truth, we just have disjointed, disconnected pieces.
To have belt of truth buckled around our waists shows, that it should be near and close to the saints, and never departed from; and that it is a means of keeping them close to God and Christ, and of strengthening them against the assaults and attacks of Satan; and is of great use in the Christians' spiritual conflict with their enemies.
The belt of truth is a vital part of the armour, and so considerable because without it the armour isn’t complete. It is not an offensive weapon (as a matter of fact, not a weapon at all) but it has been listed first because it keeps all the other parts of the armour in place and gives agility to the wearer. It is for protection.
The reason why truth is a piece of the armour and why is it so important in warfare is because we live in a darkened, deceptive world. The devil is constantly deceiving the whole world. Now believers have been made light in the midst of that darkness. If we are going to stand firm and wear the garment, part of that garment has a thread and it is armoured. That armoured thread is that we be totally committed to truth, who God is, what God has said and what God has done.
When believers allow truth to be their guide, they are spiritually protected from Satan’s attacks. It does not prevent these attacks; it keeps the believer from being harmed by them!
The Loins (Waist): The word Paul used was osphus – it refers to the five lower vertebra of the lower back. Paul's analogy is beautiful! Your lower back is what helps you to stand. If you have trouble in your lower back, you are going to start bending and falling.
Truth is mentioned 6 other times in Ephesians and from these citations we can learn a lot.
1. Ephesians 1:13 “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”
Truth is the gospel. Truth is what saved us. Truth has to be believed to be effective in our lives. So, when we have our loins (waists) girded about with the belt of truth, part of it refers to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, by which we were saved and are now daily sanctified.
2. Ephesians 4:15 “but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ”
Truth is what the members of the body are to speak (unafraid and unashamed) to each other. In speaking truth, we grow in Christlikeness. Speaking truth is vital for spiritual maturity. When we meet to "fellowship" or when engaged in other discussions, we should not waste our time and lives engaging with talking about the things of the world, (many of which are deception and lies), instead, let’s engage in talking about truth as revealed by God. We must redeem the time for the days are evil!
3. Ephesians 4:21 “if indeed (as is the case) you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus”
Truth is a Person, Jesus, the very essence of Truth, the One Who Alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. John wrote "And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him Who is true, and we are in Him Who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life." 1John 5:20)
4. Ephesians 4:24 “and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
Truth is the source of righteousness and holiness and is now the potential of each believer who is a new man in Christ. Here in Ephesians 6:14, this truth is the knowledge of sound doctrinal truth, but it is also the practice that is in keeping with that truth. When we practice the truth, we know [i.e., obey and walk in the Spirit, filled with the Spirit] we are actively putting on this piece of the armour - girding our loins with the belt of truth and this serves as our defence against the deception and lies of the Evil One. Simply knowing the truth is not girding yourself with it. One must also practice the truth for it to be an effective defence!
5. Ephesians 4:25 “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbour, for we are members of one another.”
What we speak to one another should conform to reality. This truth should be made manifest by the way we speak. This will build up rather than tear down. A life so lived filled with the Spirit will be a sure defence against Satan and will prevent him from gaining a toehold in our life.
6. Ephesians 5:9 “for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth”
We are now light in the Lord and as we walk in a manner worthy of that new identification and do it in the power of the Spirit, the Spirit bears fruit - goodness, righteousness and truth, that truth which others see in our practice or conduct being in agreement with the truth that is in us - the indwelling Spirit of truth, Christ in us = Jesus Who is the Truth, the Word of Truth, God's Word. And this gives God the glory as others see our good works.
We must faithfully hold the truth of God’s word, but it is also necessary for the truth to hold us. We must apply it to our daily lives and test everything by comparing it to the plumb line of God's Word of truth. Since Satan is a liar, we must oppose him with God’s truth. In Paul's day the people wore belts or girdles to bind up their flowing garments and hold everything together. It is God’s truth that must hold everything together in our lives. As Christians, we must love truth and live truth. It is therefore not surprising to see John write to his spiritual children...
“I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” (3John 1:4)
Unless we are motivated and directed by truth, we will be defeated by the enemy. If we permit any deception to enter our lives, we have weakened our position and cannot fight the battle victoriously.
Monday, April 15 2019
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
In the last study, we considered the instructions Paul gave to households with emphasis on wives and husbands. He used the analogy of the mystery of the connection between Christ and the church. We learnt that the wife’s submission to the husband should model the union between Jesus and the Church. We also learnt that the standard of Christ love for the Church is God’s standard for husbands towards their wives. In today’s study we will continue with Paul’s instructions as it relates to children and the home, our secular jobs and ultimately the battle ground.
Verses 1-4: CHILDREN AND PARENTS – THE FOUNDATIONAL RELATIONSHIP
Verse 1: “Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. (Because God has placed them in authority over you).” Emphasis mine
Obey--stronger than the expression as to wives, "submitting," or "being subject". Obedience is unreasoning and implicit; submission is the willing subjection of an inferior in point of order to one who has a right to command.
In the Lord--Both parents and children being Christians "in the Lord," expresses the element in which the obedience is to take place, and the motive to obedience.
This is right--Even by natural law we should render obedience to them from whom we have derived life.
Verses 2 & 3
Honour your father and mother. This is the first of God’s Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. And this is the promise: that if you honour your father and mother, yours will be a long life, full of blessing.
Honour your father and mother: To honour someone is to have high respect; great esteem for them. With this command we see the authority of revealed law (By Revelation) added to that of natural law (The Law od God).
Commandment with a promise. The "promise" is not made the main motive to obedience, but an incidental one. The main motive is, because it is God's will Deuteronomy 5:16 says: "Honour your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” Emphasis mine
Long Life in the land of Promise
By quoting Exodus 20:12, Paul adapts the old testament to Gospel times, thereby taking away the local and limited reference peculiar to the Jews in Canaan. The godly are equally blessed in every land, as the Jews were in the land, which God gave them.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath (Don’t keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful): but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (With the loving discipline the Lord himself approves, with suggestions and godly advice) Emphasis mine
Fathers (including mothers); the fathers are specified as being the fountains of domestic authority. Fathers are more prone to passion in relation to how their children turn out in the future than mothers, whose fault is rather over-indulgence.
Verses 5-9: BONDSERVANTS AND MASTERS (WORKPLACE RELATIONSHIPS)
“Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.”
singleness (sincerity) - without double-mindedness, or "eye service", which seeks to please outwardly, without the sincere desire to make the master's interest at all times the first consideration. Seeking to please their masters only so long as these have their eyes on them. The story of Gehazi in 2 Kings 5:1-18 tells us he was a very different man in his master's presence from what he was in his absence
The same things: Show the same regard to God's will, and to your servants' well-being, in your relation to them, as they ought to have in their relation to you. Love regulates the duties both of servants and masters, as one and the same light. Christianity makes all men brothers:
Threatening--Greek, "the threatening" which masters commonly use. "Masters" in the Greek, is not so strong a term as "despots": it implies authority, but not absolute domination.
Verses 10-13: READINESS FOR BATTLE
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Be strong--Greek, "be strengthened."
The whole armour of God: the armour of light (Romans 13:12); on the right hand and left (2 Corinthians 6:7). The panoply offensive and defensive. An image readily suggested by the Roman armoury, Paul being now in Rome. In Romans 13:14 Paul admonished us to "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ"; it is in putting on Him, and the new man in Him, we put on "the whole armour of God."
No opening at the head, the feet, the heart, the belly, the eye, the ear, or the tongue, is to be given to Satan. Believers have once for all overcome him; but on the ground of this fundamental victory gained over him, they are ever again to fight against and overcome him, even as they who once die with Christ have continually to mortify their members upon earth.
It is not coincidental that Paul first addressed having the right relationships at home and at work (covering every aspect of our lives) before introducing us to the spiritual battles we are engaged in. we cannot be victorious in battle with the enemy when our households are not in order. We need to be able to say like Jesus that the enemy has found nothing of his in us. That is when we can effectively engage in the battle. It is also very important that have our armour always on, to be ready against the evil day which may come at any moment, the war being perpetual. For a soldier of Christ, there are no off days!
Tuesday, April 02 2019
Contributor: Alex Alajiki
INTRODUCTION: Last week, in our study, we were admonished to walk carefully as wise people by redeeming (buying back or seizing the moment) the time because the days are evil (Eph.5:15-16).
Today, Paul, by the Holy Spirit, is focusing on Christian households. This is a continuation of the effects of a Spirit filled life.
1. THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE IS MARKED BY MUTUAL SUBMISSION (Eph.6:21)
When we are filled with the Spirit, it will show by our mutual submission (respect) to each other; and the submission will be done in the fear of God, not the fear of man.
2. DUTIES OF WIVES (Eph.5:22-24)
• Submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord (v. 22). Paul addressed wives and their responsibility in the Christian marriage first. This isn't because they are the bigger problem or because they need special attention. The reason is that the apostle was particularly concerned about this question of submission. That was the principle that he introduced in Ephesians 5:21. This aspect of submission has a particular application to wives in a Christian marriage.
• to your own husband – This defines the sphere of submission and this does not make a woman inferior to men in the general society.
• as to the Lord. When Sarah called Abraham lord (1Pet.3:6), That doesn't mean "Lord" in the sense of God, but "lord" in the sense of "master." That is a lot of respect. But still, it doesn't go as far as to say "You submit completely to God, so you must submit to your husband the same way. God is infallible, but man is not. We don’t blindly submit to sin. As to the Lord does not define the extent of a wife's submission. It does not define the limit of a wife's submission. It defines the motive of a wife's submission. This has nothing to do with whether or not the husband is "right" on a particular issue.
• For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church
• just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands
3. DUTIES OF HUSBANDS (VERSE 25-32)
• Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her:
• So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies
• He who loves his wife loves himself
CONCLUSION: VS 33