The Full Armor of God

So often this passage is a rally cry to go out there and kick some fanny for Jesus. Yet, it’s actually a strategy primarily for defense against the devil’s schemes. Oh, it’s a battle out there alright! But it’s not against one other; it’s a spiritual battle in which the devil is trying his best to move you off center and get you on slippery ground so he can take you out. Paul, the writer, in this section is reminding the early church to stand firm on the good news of Jesus. To remember whose we are and that God almighty will protect us from our head to our feet. After Paul gives an explanation of the armor of God he reminds the church to be a people of prayer.  To pray about every situation, for everyone including himself – that he would speak fearlessly about God’s love. But, so often prayer is the last thing we think of doing and Paul reminds us that it needs to be a part of our daily holy habits to withstand the evil schemes of Satan.

Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-20

 

No Longer Slaves

To the church in Ephesus, Paul gives practical instruction on how to live as followers of Jesus in their everyday relationships. In the last section of the household code, Paul addresses how the relationship between slaves and masters should be transformed in light of following Jesus. He reminds both slave and master that they are working onto their Heavenly Master–and thus, slaves can work wholeheartedly as “slaves to Christ.” Masters are to treat their slaves with respect and dignity, as their earthly status does not elevate them in God’s eyes. This message was radical to the 1st century world.

So, how does this apply to our 21st century culture? How does this change the way we work? How bosses treat their employees? Could our everyday jobs really be opportunities to serve God? Listen to Paul’s words in this message as he reframes vocation–and the freedom Jesus offers to our culture’s enslavement to work.

Scripture: Ephesians 6:5-9

Rethinking Parenting

The role of the Church isn’t to be the primary spiritual influencer in the life of your child – that’s the parents responsibility. Parenting can get confusing these days. It’s natural to want to get the best things for your kids, provide them inspiring vacations, and to help them participate in events that will allow them to grow and test their skills. Yet Paul, in Ephesians 6:4, reminds us what’s most important, “Parents do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Our top priority is to be a disciple maker of our children and of those that the Lord brings into our sphere of influence. Ephesians 3:32 reminds us how we fullfil that calling, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Scripture: Ephesian 6:1-4; 3:32

Making Sense of Marriage

In our Western culture, reading the words “submission,” “wife” and “headship” in the same sentence may make you cringe — and even be suspicious of what the Bible really has to say about marriage.

While no doubt there has been a ton of misunderstanding and abuse of this passage, Paul shocks his listeners in prefacing the command for wives to submit to their husbands with the suprising command to submit to one another- amidst a hierarchal culture of patriarchy. Paul goes even further in telling husbands to love their wives, which had never been said up to that point in history!

In all of this, though, Paul says that gender roles in marriage are ultimately to point to Jesus and his loving sacrifice for the Church. Whether you are single, dating or married, we can all learn to “play the Jesus role” in our relationships with sacrificial submission and leadership.

Scripture: Ephesians 5:21-33

Live Life by Intentional Living

These five short verses give basic principles to live by as we allow the message of Jesus not to just penetrate our minds, but also our hearts. Most things in life just don’t randomly fall into our laps. Instead, we need to be intentional, with the help of the Holy Spirit and others, to bring our faith into our actions. We can “Live Life by Intentional Living” as we:

  • Live a wise life
  • Lean into opportunities to seize the day for Jesus
  • Understand God’s will through community and solitude
  • Participate in true authentic worship
  • Develop a heart of gratefulness

Click here for the referenced article Seven Benefits of Living a Life of Gratitude

Scripture: Ephesians 5:15-20

Live as Light

Paul gets practical in this portion of the letter to the Ephesians: here’s how to lean in to living as Jesus followers. Written amdist a highly sexualized and immoral culture, he urges followers of Jesus to flee from sexual immorality, impurity, and greed altogether so that their lives may reflect the light of the one who saved them.

Because Jesus has rescued us, He has taken us out of darkness and into light. We are now called to live as children of light in the Lord, and shine light into darkness. What does that mean for you? Watch the message and find out.

Scripture: Ephesians 5:3-14

Walk in the Way of Love

We have probably all noticed, when for some reason, our heart has grown hard. Maybe it happened when you were laid off, your ex cheated on you, the stock market dropped, your loved one died, etc. This section of Ephesians warns us of that unresolved anger – such as bitterness, rage, brawling, slander and any kind of malice- is often an indicator and cause of a hardened heart. Connection to authentic community is a key element to your healing process, yet the very thing you need – community – is often what most angry people pull away from. This message is a challenge to guard your heart from hardening and to walk in the way of love.

Scripture: Ephesians 4:17-5:2

An Urgent Call

Having spent the first half of this letter to the Ephesians establishing their new identity in Jesus, Paul now urges the Ephesians to live their lives in a manner that reflects this new identity. And to our surprise, Paul doesn’t start with sexual ethics, greed or any other hot-button issue. Instead, his immediate focus is on unity.

Paul exhorts the Ephesians (and us today) to keep the unity amongst us created by the Gospel. Unity does not mean uniformity, nor that disagreement won’t arise. Instead, following the example and fulfillment of Jesus, Paul instructs us to keep the unity by being humble, gentle, patient and bearing with one another in love.

When we urgently maintain unity, not only does the Church become who we already are together in Jesus, but we show the world that we are Jesus’ disciples by our love, and ultimately offer a foretaste of when Jesus will unite heaven and earth once and for all.

Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-6

Power and Love

Right in the middle of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul prays for them to have a deeper experience of God’s power, presence and love so that they can experience transformation and live out the practical exhortations coming up in the 2nd half of his letter (chapters 4-6).

However, many American Christians have bought into the lie that mere information equals transformation. We have settled for learning about God’s power and love rather than experiencing it.

For followers of Jesus—those who practice the way of Jesus – true power and love are found through prayer. Instead of receiving just more and more information, this prayer from Paul calls us to spend time with God so that we may know Him in a way that surpasses knowledge; so that we may actually begin to experience God’s power, presence and love.

Scripture: Ephesians 3:14-21

Our Place in God’s Plan

God is displaying His glory through the church. That means that our lives have a meaning and purpose: to display His new creation power at work!

Scripture: Ephesians 3:1-13; Psalm 19:1