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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.

CONCLUSION

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.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 12:32 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, April 15 2019

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION

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.

Verse 4

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. 
provoke not--irritate not, by vexatious commands, unreasonable blame, and uncertain temper, "lest they be discouraged." See Colossians 3:21
nurture--Greek, "discipline," namely, training by chastening in act where needed (
Job 5:17 , Hebrews 12:7 ). 
admonition--training by words; whether of encouragement, or reproof, according as is required
of the Lord--such as the Lord approves, and by His Spirit dictates.

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.”

Bondservants--literally, "slaves." 
Masters according to the flesh--in contrast to your true and heavenly Master
Fear and Trembling--not slavish terror, but an anxious eagerness to do your duty, and a fear of displeasing, as great as is produced in the ordinary slave by "threatening"

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. 
your Master also - "their Master and yours." This more forcibly brings out the equality of slaves and masters in the sight of God. Every authority here is under a higher one above." As you treat your servants, so will God treat you. 

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." 
In the power of his might--Christ's might is the Father's might.  Ephesians 1:19 says: “and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength.

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.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood: The wrestling in which we are engaged is not against flesh and blood. "Wrestling" implies that it is a hand-to-hand and foot-to-foot struggle for the mastery: to wrestle successfully with Satan, we must wrestle with GOD in irresistible prayer like Jacob (Genesis 32:24-29Hosea 12:4).

CONCLUSION:

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!

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 01:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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). 
We also saw that when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we come under His control, guidance and influence which wine can also induce in the negative. He will influence us to speak, sing, make melody in our hearts and always giving thanks (Eph.5:18-20).

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)
“submitting to one another in the fear of God” NKJ
“Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ “AMP

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. 
The word submitting here literally means, "to be under in rank." It is a military word. It speaks of the way that an army is organized among levels of rank. You have Generals and Colonels and Majors and Captains and Sergeants and Privates. There are levels of rank, and you are obligated to respect those in higher rank.
On the other hand, submitting one to another does not mean there is no idea of "rank" in the body of Christ. We can see how someone might take that impression. "It says we should be submitting to one another. So, I should be submitting to you and you should be submitting to me. No one has any more obligation to submit than anyone else."  This will contradict Heb.13:17, which says Obey your [spiritual] leaders and submit to them [recognizing their authority over you] AMP. If Paul meant that there was no "rank" or "order of authority" among believers, then this command in Hebrews 13:17 is meaningless (1 Cor.5:1-5). The military implication of submitting to one another is to become a team player the moment you join the Army and same with the Army of the Lord.

2.    DUTIES OF WIVES (Eph.5:22-24)
 “Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church, Himself the Saviour of [His] body. 24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands."

•     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.
Submission does not mean inferiority. As well, submission does not mean silence. Submission means "sub-mission." There is a mission for the Christian marriage, and that mission is obeying and glorifying God. The wife says, "I'm going to put myself under that mission. That mission is more important than my individual desires. I'm not putting myself below my husband like a slave, I'm putting myself below the mission God has for our marriage, for my life." 

•    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
Paul states here the reason for a wife's submission. It is because the husband is the head of the wife. In its full sense head has the idea of headship and authority. It means to have the appropriate responsibility to lead, and the matching accountability. It is right and appropriate to submit to someone who is our head.     
1 Cor.11 & 1 Tim.3 emphasis the fact that the man was created first and not the woman. So, there is a natural priority for man to take leadership position. 1 Cor.11:7-10 “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.”

•    just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands
Paul presents here a third reason for a Christian wife's submission to her husband. She should submit because the relationship of the husband and wife is a model of the union between Jesus and the Church.

3.    DUTIES OF HUSBANDS (VERSE 25-32)
 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, 27 That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless]. 28 Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, 30 Because we are members (parts) of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is very great, but I speak concerning [the relation of] Christ and the church.”

•    Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her: 
The ancient Greeks had four different words we translate love. Eros(desire), storge(family, blood), and philia(friendship) each speak about love that is felt. These describe "instinctive" love, love that comes spontaneously from the heart. Agape describes a different kind of love. It is a love more of decision than of the spontaneous heart. It is as much a matter of the mind than the heart, because it chooses to love the undeserving. It is a deliberate, sacrificial, giving and absorbing love. The word has little to do with emotion; it has much to do with self-denial for the sake of another. This is the standard of Christ love for the Church and is God’s standard for husbands. Agape gives and does not demand or expect repayment.

•    So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies
A man must love his wife as his body, as a part of himself. As Eve was a part of Adam, taken out of his side, so the wife is to the man, because she is a part of him.

•    He who loves his wife loves himself
when you love your wife, you benefit yourself. Perhaps it is better to put it in the negative: when you neglect your wife, you neglect yourself, and it will come back to hurt you.
* For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh: 
Just as the first man and the first woman were one - she was taken from him, and then brought back to him - so it could be said of every married man today that he is joined to his wife. God did the joining. Husbands can resent it, they can resist it, they can ignore it, but it doesn't change the fact.

CONCLUSION: VS 33
However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband (that she notices him, regards him, honours him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly). 
The supreme thing always is to consider our Lord Jesus Christ. If a husband and wife are together considering Him, you need have no worry about their relationship to each other.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 12:33 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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