The Benediction of Ephesians


We have been in Ephesians for sometime now. I began this series on July 2 and now we are wrapping it up. When I began this series it was hot outside and now it is almost winter. We have preached this series through the seasons. I hope it was not too long for you. John MacArthur preached some 62 or 63 messages on Ephesians. This is expository preaching, which used to be very common.

We come to the last few verses.

Do you pray for Christian leaders? Do you pray for others? Do you pray specific prayers?

Do you love Jesus? How would you describe your love for Jesus? Is it “incorruptible”?

Do you have grace? Do you extend grace? Do you have love with faith from God, the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ?

We see all these ideas listed in the passage today.

In his best-selling book The Reason for God, Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan, shares the story of a woman in his congregation who was learning how the grace extended to us through Christ’s work on the cross can actually be more challenging than religion. He writes:

Some years ago I met with a woman who began coming to church at Redeemer and had never before heard a distinction drawn between the gospel and religion [i.e. the distinction between grace and what is often a works-based righteousness]. She had always heard that God accepts us only if we are good enough. She said that the new message was scary. I asked why it was scary and she replied: If I was saved by my good works then there would be a limit to what God could ask of me or put me through. I would be like a taxpayer with “rights”—I would have done my duty and now I would deserve a certain quality of life. But if I am a sinner saved by grace—then there’s nothing he cannot ask of me.”

She understood the dynamic of grace and gratitude. If when you have lost all fear of punishment you also lose all incentive to live a good, unselfish life, then the only incentive you ever had to live a decent life was fear. This woman could see immediately that the wonderful-beyond-belief teaching of salvation by sheer grace had an edge to it. She knew that if she was a sinner saved by grace, she was (if anything) more subject to the sovereign Lordship of God. She knew that if Jesus really had done all this for her, she would not be her own. She would joyfully, gratefully belong to Jesus, who provided all this for her at infinite cost to himself.[1]

My theme and application:

Paul’s closing words: peace, love, faith, grace, love God with an incorruptible love.

Let’s read the passage:

Ephesians 5:21-23:

But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts.

23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.

  1. Let’s start by talking about verse 21 and Tychicus
    1. Who is this man? MacArthur notes: A convert from Asia Minor (modern Turkey) who was with the apostle during his first imprisonment in Rome, from where this epistle was written (see 3:1). He accompanied Paul in taking an offering to the church in Jerusalem (Acts 20:4–6) and was sent by him on several missions (2 Tim. 4:12; Titus 3:12).
    2. Bible Knowledge Commentary: Apparently Tychicus was the bearer of this epistle. Paul considered him a dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord. In Colossians 4:7 Paul called him by these same titles and added that he was a “fellow servant” (syndoulos, “fellow slave”). Tychicus is also mentioned in Acts 20:4; 2 Timothy 4:12; and Titus 3:12. Tychicus was to inform the Ephesians of Paul’s welfare—how he was and what he was doing—in order to encourage them (cf. Eph. 3:13).
    3. I want to point out a different application on this verse.
    4. This verse follows Paul’s words on prayer. In the previous few verses, verses 19-20 Paul says: and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
    5. So, Paul talked about praying and now he talks about Tychicus communicating what is going on with him.
    6. Tychicus is communicating how they should pray.
    7. Tychicus is going to share with them what is going on in Paul’s ministry so that they can pray accordingly.
    8. You know we should pray as detailed as we can.
    9. Do you receive the church prayer chain? Let me know if you would like those?
    10. Every week we print out a weekly prayer list, do you pick up a copy? Let me know if you would like one.
    11. Do you pray for spiritual needs?
    12. Pray Spiritual prayers. Look at that verse 19 again: and prayon my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.
    13. Paul was in prison, but he did not ask them to pray for his release he asked them to pray for the proclamation of the Gospel. Paul could have asked them to pray for his rest, his sores from the poor sleeping condition, his health, but he wanted prayers in proclaiming the Gospel.
  2. Now let’s get into the benediction:
    1. One source gives a NOTE ON 6:23–24 This beautiful benediction sums up the major themes of this very personal letter, reminding readers of the peace (v. 15; 1:2; 2:14–15, 17; 4:3), love (1:15; 4:2, 15–16; 5:25, 28, 33), and faith (6:16; 1:15; 2:8; 3:12, 17; 4:5, 13) from God and Jesus Christ.”
    2. Look at all those verses that reference these nouns.
    3. Peace: (v. 15; 1:2; 2:14–15, 17; 4:3): Do you have the peace of Christ. Do you offer others peace? Col. 3:15: Letthe peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
    4. Love with faith:
      1. Love is listed many times in Ephesians: 1:15; 4:2, 15–16; 5:25, 28, 33
      2. Faith is also listed many times in Ephesians: 6:16; 1:15; 2:8; 3:12, 17; 4:5, 13
    5. This love and faith is From God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. It is all about Jesus.
    6. Grace (verse 24): Grace is listed in Ephesians quite a bit too, no less than 12 times in this letter (Eph. 1:2, 6, 7; 2:5, 7, 8; 3:2, 7, 8; 4:7, 29; 6:24).
    7. The Ephesian letter begins with the grace and peace of salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ and ends in the immortality of love.
    8. Paul ends the epistle as he opened it.

Ray Ortlund Jr writes:

We were married to Mr. Law. He was a good man, in his way, but he did not understand our weakness. He came home every evening and asked, “So, how was your day? Did you do what I told you to? Did you make the kids behave? Did you waste any time? Did you complete everything I put on your To Do list?” So many demands and expectations. And hard as we tried, we couldn’t be perfect. We could never satisfy him. We forgot things that were important to him. We let the children misbehave. We failed in other ways. It was a miserable marriage, because Mr. Law always pointed out our failings. And the worst of it was, he was always right! But his remedy was always the same: Do better tomorrow. We didn’t, because we couldn’t.

Then Mr. Law died. And we remarried, this time to Mr. Grace. Our new husband, Jesus, comes home every evening and the house is a mess, the children are being naughty, dinner is burning on the stove, and we have even had other men in the house during the day. Still, he sweeps us into his arms and says, “I love you, I chose you, I died for you, I will never leave you nor forsake you.” And our hearts melt. We don’t understand such love. We expect him to despise us and reject us and humiliate us, but he treats us so well. We are so glad to belong to him now and forever, and we long to be “fully pleasing to him” (Col. 1:10)!

Being married to Mr. Law never changed us. But being married to Mr. Grace is changing us deep within, and it shows.[2]

Christianity is all about Jesus.


  • Final application: Love Jesus with an “incorruptible love.”
    1. Love our Lord Jesus Christ with an incorruptible love Verse 24. This could also be translated “Undying love.” What does that mean: NET Bible note: The term “undying” which modifies it captures the sense of the kind of love the author is referring to here. He is saying that God’s grace will be with those whose love for Jesus never ceases.
    2. Another source points out some more applications with this: “Incorruptible” or “undying” love has the idea that believers’ love for the Lord Jesus Christ is to be pure, not corrupted with wrong motives or secret disloyalties.
    3. Does your love for Jesus cease?
    4. Do we really love Jesus?
    5. 2 Cor. 13:5 tells us to examine ourselves and make sure we are in the faith. How often do we do this?
    6. Is our faith in Jesus pure?
    7. 2 Tim. 3:7 talks about people who are always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth.
    8. Do we love Jesus or just things that we think Jesus represents?
    9. Do we love the Word of God, or do we just like to study?
    10. I say the following with great respect and caution.
      1. To some Jesus represents morality. The values are good, but do we love Jesus with “incorruptible love.” We don’t love Jesus we just love His values.
      2. To some Jesus represents the Judea-Christian values: we don’t love Jesus we just love the values.
  • To some Jesus represents our family history. We have always been going to church and so we go. We don’t love Jesus, we just wish to stay true to our family history.
  1. To many in the United States Jesus represents our American founding and history and so there are many in this fine country who really do not love Jesus from day-to-day and week-to-week, but they do when we talk about American values.
  2. There are some that love Jesus around Christmas time or Resurrection Sunday. There are some that love Jesus on Mother’s Day. In which case, He really is not loved. Either He is Lord of all, or not lord at all. In this case Jesus is not loved with an “undying” and “incorruptible” love.
  3. To many Jesus is loved until He messes with their life. For example, you love Jesus until you have a boyfriend and you want to move in together and be sexually active, but not get married. In which case, you compromise the Bible and say it is okay. In that case you love your boyfriend and hate Jesus.
  • Do we love Jesus?
  • Do we organize our affairs around Him?
  1. One source sheds light on the Ephesian church: what happened with the Ephesian Christians? Unfortunately, some Ephesian believers later did lose the fervency of their love for Christ (Rev. 2:4). Paul’s benediction, though unusual (cf. the chart “Paul’s Concluding Benedictions in His Epistles,” at Rom. 16:17–20), was certainly fitting.

The Real Jesus Christ

The greatness of God is most clearly displayed in his Son. And the glory of the gospel is only made evident in his Son. That’s why Jesus’ question to his disciples [in Matthew 16] is so important: “Who do you say that I am?”

The question is doubly crucial in our day, because [no one is as popular in the U.S. as Jesus]—and not every Jesus is the real Jesus. …

There’s the Republican Jesus—who is against tax increases and activist judges, for family values and owning firearms.

There’s Democrat Jesus—who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart, for reducing our carbon footprint and printing money.

There’s Therapist Jesus—who helps us cope with life’s problems, heals our past, tells us how valuable we are and not to be so hard on ourselves.

There’s Starbucks Jesus—who drinks fair trade coffee, loves spiritual conversations, drives a hybrid, and goes to film festivals.

There’s Open-minded Jesus—who loves everyone all the time no matter what (except for people who are not as open-minded as you).

There’s Touchdown Jesus—who helps athletes fun faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.

There’s Martyr Jesus—a good man who died a cruel death so we can feel sorry for him.

There’s Gentle Jesus—who was meek and mild, with high cheek bones, flowing hair, and walks around barefoot, wearing a sash (while looking very German).

There’s Hippie Jesus—who teaches everyone to give peace a chance, imagines a world without religion, and helps us remember that “all you need is love.”

There’s Yuppie Jesus—who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat.

There’s Spirituality Jesus—who hates religion, churches, pastors, priests, and doctrine, and would rather have people out in nature, finding “the god within” while listening to ambiguously spiritual music.

There’s Platitude Jesus—good for Christmas specials, greeting cards, and bad sermons, inspiring people to believe in themselves.

There’s Revolutionary Jesus—who teaches us to rebel against the status quo, stick it to the man, and blame things on “the system.”

There’s Guru Jesus—a wise, inspirational teacher who believes in you and helps you find your center.

There’s Boyfriend Jesus—who wraps his arms around us as we sing about his intoxicating love in our secret place.

There’s Good Example Jesus—who shows you how to help people, change the planet, and become a better you.

And then there’s Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another wonder-worker. He was the one they had been waiting for: the Son of David and Abraham’s chosen seed; the one to deliver us from captivity; the goal of the Mosaic law; Yahweh in the flesh; the one to establish God’s reign and rule; the one to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, freedom to the prisoners and proclaim Good News to the poor; the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.

This Jesus was the Creator come to earth and the beginning of a New Creation. He embodied the covenant, fulfilled the commandments, and reversed the curse. This Jesus is the Christ that God spoke of to the Serpent; the Christ prefigured to Noah in the flood; the Christ promised to Abraham; the Christ prophesied through Balaam before the Moabites; the Christ guaranteed to Moses before he died; the Christ promised to David when he was king; the Christ revealed to Isaiah as a Suffering Servant; the Christ predicted through the Prophets and prepared for through John the Baptist.

This Christ is not a reflection of the current mood or the projection of our own desires. He is our Lord and God. He is the Father’s Son, Savior of the world, and substitute for our sins—more loving, more holy, and more wonderfully terrifying than we ever thought possible.[3]

As you leave have an incorruptible love for Jesus!

It is my hope and prayer that you now, know this book more in depth or in a different wy than you did before. The value of preaching through books of the Bible is that we can really learn a book of the Bible. This is called Expository preaching. This means that we teach the Bible text, by text, during the sermons. John MacArthur is a wonderful Bible teacher and he has taught all through the New Testament at his church. He did this over a long period of time, some forty or more years. Now, we are at a point in the church calendar where we begin to think about Christmas and celebrate Jesus’ birth. Ephesians fits with Jesus’ birth as we think about how much Ephesians speaks about us being “in Christ.” We are “in Christ,” we are held in God’s love.

Go, love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.

Eph. 5:23: Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.

Do you know Jesus? Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)






[1] Timothy Keller, The Reason for God (Riverhead Books, 2008), pp. 189-19

[2] Ray Ortlund, “Who are you married to?”The Gospel Coalition blog—Ray Ortlund (2-15-15)

[3] Kevin DeYoung, “Who Do You Say That I Am?” from his DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed blog (posted 6-10-09)


Phenomenal article from Francis Chan

This is written by Francis Chan and I read it through Desiring God. Phenomenal article! Blessings, Steve

Eph. 6:5-9 Christians must be the best employees and employers

Christians Must Be the Best Employers and Employees, Paul Addresses Servants and Masters. (Ephesians 6:5-9)

Sunday, November 12, 2017

 Have you ALWAYS had good bosses? Have you served as a boss? Have people always enjoyed working for you? What are some qualities we like in a boss? What are some qualities we like in an employee?

Sometimes Christians are known as the worst employees, and for that we need to repent. We should be the best. We should have the utmost integrity. We should have the best ethics. I once heard Chuck Swindoll talking about work and he referenced an employer who told him, “I will never hire another Christian again.”

 Chuck Swindoll shares about his own life:

I remember stealing six softballs when I was working as a stock boy in a five-and-dime store in my early years in high school. And I remember trying to find a place to hide them when I got home. I don’t know what in the world I planned to do with six softballs. To this day it just baffles me, the logic of it. But I stuck them in the back of my drawer and my mother found them. My father presented himself to me and told me that we were going to make a trip back to the store where I was going to talk to the owner and I was going to confess.

            I will never forget his instruction on the way. I mean, I was sitting there just dying thinking about it. It was just like passing razor blades to think about standing before my employer. Well, I stood there and told him what I had done. My dad was waiting in the car. He didn’t go with me. And I heard my boss say, “You’re fired.”

            I stumbled back out to the car and sat down. I was as slow as I could remember ever being. On the way, I remember my dad beginning to rebuild my emotions. I had done wrong, and I had learned an incredible lesson. He didn’t overdo it, but he drilled into me that when you steal, you get fired. And if you don’t get fired at the moment, you lose something that can’t be bought with any price, and that’s your self-respect. I remember, too, we got on the subject of what in the world I was gonna do with those six softballs.

            But there was something about the ornament of grace that came around my neck from my father who before we went in the house took the time to put his arms around me and to understand. This teenage kid was most concerned about my father’s not telling my friends. And as far as I know, he took that story to his grave and never told on me. [1]

My theme today:

Christians must be the best employers and employees, Paul addresses servants and masters.

  1. First, let’s talk about servants.
    1. In Ephesians 6:5-8 Paul address servants: Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men,knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.
    2. You may find it interesting that Paul does not tell them to release all of their slaves.
    3. There are reasons for this. I will just name a few.
    4. The Christian group was very small at this time and they could not have the impact of bringing down all of slavery.
    5. Second, it was fairly easy to make the transition from slavery to freedom, and there was a growing tendency for Romans to free their slaves, and even establish them in a trade or profession.
    6. Third, by this time, the legal status of slaves was beginning to be eased, and it showed signs of further improvement.[2]
    7. Also, don’t apply all that you know of the African slave trade that we dealt with to this slave trade.
    8. The first century Greco-Roman slave trade was terrible, but not the same. These slaves were very educated. In fact, many times slaves were more educated than their masters. People would hire slaves in order to read to them. People would hire slaves to teach their children.
    9. The owner of slaves did have a lot of authority over them and their were abuses, but people would sell themselves into slavery in order to be provided for. There is debate but some have compared it to indentured servitude.
    10. One source shares: Some students of Roman history have estimated that about one-third of the population in the Roman Empire at the time were slaves, approximately 60 million individuals. Many of these people were Christians. Most ancient Greeks and Romans regarded slaves as little more than living tools. “Aristotle lays it down that there can never be friendship between master and slave, for master and slave have nothing in common; ‘for a slave is a living tool, just as a tool is an inanimate slave.’ A slave was nothing better, and had no more rights, than a tool. Varro, writing on agriculture, divided agricultural instruments into three classes—the articulate, the inarticulate and the mute. The articulate comprises the slaves; the inarticulate the cattle; and the mute the vehicles. The slave is no better than a beast who happens to be able to talk. Cato gives advice to a man taking over a farm. He must go over it and throw out everything that is past its work; and old slaves too must be thrown out on the scrap heap to starve. When a slave is ill it is sheer extravagance to issue him with normal rations. The old and sick slave is only a broken and inefficient tool.”
    11. Yet for various reasons, Paul addresses slaves and not the system.
    12. Slaves are to be respectful. They are to obey with “fear and trembling” or great respect and reverence.
    13. Slaves are to obey, not only when they are being watched but all the time.
    14. Slaves are serving the Lord ultimately.
    15. Paul addressed this in other places:

Col 3:22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.

1 Ti 6:1 All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against.

Tt 2:9 Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 

1 I.e. earthly masters, with fear 

  1. Paul addresses masters in verse 9
    1. And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
    2. Paul uses very strong words here. Some translations say, “Stop threatening.”
    3. Just as slaves are to be respectful, so are masters.
    4. There are a few major principles here:
      1. God is all of our masters.
      2. There is no partiality with God.
    5. There is more cross reference: 4:1: Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.
    6. Le 25:43 ‘You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God.
    7. Dt 10:17 “For the Lord your God is •the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.
    8. Ac 10:34 Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,
    9. Col 3:25 For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.
    1. I have been an employer, both as a pastor and as a McDonald’s manager. I have also been an employee.
    2. I served as a McDonald’s Manager for 5 years. I say that I did my 5 years of tribulation period at McDonalds and Jesus has not returned yet so He is coming back post-trib.
    3. I want to talk now about Christians as employers and employees. Christians must be the best employers and employees and I have been both.
    4. But can we apply this passage to employers and employees?
    5. I say, yes. We can apply the principles of the passage to employers and employees.
    6. One scholar said no we cannot apply it, but I like what Theologian Wayne Grudem said. He rejected the other view because he believed it nullifies in principle the moral authority of the entire New Testament. I like what Grudem shared.
    7. As a McDonald’s manager I had some very good employees. We had some very good ones. Then we had some which were not reliable.
    8. We wanted people to be on time and work while they were with us. We wanted people that respected others and did not steal. We caught people stealing a number of times.
    9. I also know that I am not perfect and I am sure that I had days when I did not work as I should. We all mess up and we must repent. What are the patterns of our life? Are the patterns reflected as being a good employer and employee?
    10. I have some applications:
      1. We must respect and obey all those in authority over us as if we are respecting and obeying Christ (Eph. 6:5-6).
      2. We must respect and obey those in authority over us whether they are watching us or not (Eph. 6:5).
      3. We must obey those who are in authority over us with “fear and trembling” (verse 5). This means that we must have utter respect for them. We must obey with reverence. We will respect their authority.
      4. We must understand that obedience, integrity and respect are the will of God (verse 6).
      5. We must serve as we are ultimately serving the Lord (verse 7).
      6. We should rejoice that we are rewarded for good things which we do (verse 8 and Heb. 6:10).
      7. We must treat those under our authority with respect. (verse 9)
      8. We must understand that we are all accountable to God (verse 9).
      9. We must understand that there is no partiality with God and there should be no partiality with us (verse 9; Gal. 3:28).
  • We must understand that we can only live the way God calls us to live as a servant or as a master by being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
  • We must understand that we are all called to submit to each other in the fear of Christ (Eph. 5:21).


We are Christian everywhere we go. We are called to be filled with the Spirit everywhere we go (Eph. 5:18). We wear the Christian jersey at the work place too. Live out Phil. 2:3-4 everywhere you go:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Do you know Jesus? Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)


[1] Page 205pf Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations and Quotes


[2] read these from John Stott, referenced on


Eph. 6:1-4: A Sermon on parents and children

I want to make some introductory comments about our world and our country. Christians are never called to a life of safety. Jesus told us we will be persecuted (Matthew 24:9; 2 Timothy 3:12; Matthew 5:10; John 16:1 and following; John 15:18; Paul wrote many of His letters from a Romans prison, including Philippians which He wrote to a persecuted church, see Phil. 4:4-13) Jim Elliot was a martyred Christian as they were trying to minister to the people of Ecuador in 1956. He and his group were killed by the people they were trying to reach for the Gospel. However, when they were speared To death they had a rifle. They fired a shot in the air. The tribal group they were trying to reach realized they had a gun and could have killed them, but since they did not it opened doors for later ministry. The wives of Jim Elliot, and the group who were martyred, went back and witnessed to the tribe and led them to Christ. Even in the death of the husbands the people came to Christ through their wives. They came to Christ through grace and mercy and love and forgiveness. But it was not easy for the Christian families. I cannot imagine what they went through.

We have enjoyed safety in America for some time. We were a country with Judaeo-Christian values, but we are losing those values. In the United States several things are coming together to cause tragedies. I see several pieces of a puzzle of our great society and these pieces are coming apart. These are not in order from most significant to the least significant. Certainly the most significant is that we are rejecting Christ.:

  1. We are having increasingly violent video games, music, moves, television.
  2. We have the rise of secularism which is leading away from Christianity to a hatred of those that hold Christian views. It went from where most people claimed Christ, to the point where people may not claim Christ but they did accept Christian values as the best values, and now people reject Christ, reject Judeao-Christian values and hate those that hold those values.
  3. We have lost the ability to work, and the need to work, and this leads to the rise of people without purpose and responsibilities.
  4. We have a rise in depression and anxiety. This is linked with the other puzzle pieces. As work and having a purpose in life actually helps fight depression and anxiety.
  5. Our families have fallen apart. People are raised with broken homes and without a father.

That is what I wish to talk about today. The family is critical for our culture’s health.

Think with me, were you ever disobedient to your parents?

Think about it. Think of a humorous time when you disobeyed? What happened? Were your parents correct in the end?

When I was in Jr. High School, (that is what it was called back then, Jr. High) my brother and I went for a long bike ride. My mother told us not to cross a certain road. I followed my older brother and we crossed that road. You know what though? When we got home, my older brother told my mom that we disobeyed. He right out just told her. I was quite surprised. However, later on WE were quite in trouble. My father got home from work and was very upset with us and gave us the punishment which we deserved.

In the passage today we see instructions for children and instructions for parents, mainly fathers. Let’s look at the passage.

My theme:

Children obey and honor your parents. Fathers, don’t provoke your children, but bring them up the in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:1-4:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

  1. First, we see Children obey your parents
    1. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.
    2. Obey is the command in verse 1.
    3. “in the Lord” modifies obey, not parents.
    4. So this is meaning children are to obey their parents as unto the Lord.
    5. Children are to obey their parents as unto the Lord and this means that regardless of whether or not the parents are believers children are to obey them.
    6. This is cross referenced in the Scriptures:
    7. Proverbs 6:20 My son, observe the commandment of your father And do not forsake the teaching of your mother..
    8. Proverbs 23:22 Listen to your father who begot you, And do not despise your mother when she is old.
    9. Colossians 3:20 Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.
    10. Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.
    11. Deuteronomy 5:16 ‘Honor your father and •your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you.
    12. In verses 2 and 3 we see Honor.
    13. This is an Old Testament quotation which we have already read.
    14. Honor is different than obey. We are to honor our parents all of our days, but we must obey our parents while we are under their supervision.
    15. So, are you honoring your parents? Are you respecting your parents? There is no time limit on this Old Testament commandment.
    16. Paul adds: that this is the first commandment with a promise
    17. àIt seems that some paraphrase translations get this wrong
    18. àI believe the Message interprets this “so you will live well and have a long life.”
    19. àI believe God was saying that the people will live long and healthy in the land if they obey their parents. In other words, if they cannot obey their parents their society will not be healthy.
    20. àThis is saying that they would have a long life in the promised land if the children honor their parents.
    21. àTo us we will have a good life now and reward in eternity by honoring our parents.
    22. àNo people group can exist when children do not obey.
    23. àThis is true of our current country. Fathers are not involved and look at us. Look at our country.
    24. We cannot exist without honoring parents.
    25. We cannot exist when there is no authority. We have to have authority in the home.
    26. I expect the world to be the world but we as Christians must do better with obeying and honoring. We must know how to respect.
  • Think of the influence a family has. The devil loves to break apart families. As the family goes so goes society. Ray Ortlund Jr shares: When Jani and I married in 1971, we were just two people. But now we have grandchildren, with more on the way. At present trends, our family alone could grow to 52,488 people in ten generations. That’s a city about the size of Flagstaff, Arizona. And it’s all our fault! We bear some responsibility for these thousands along our lineage.
  1. The next instruction is for Fathers
    1. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
    2. MacArthur shares: In the pagan world of Paul’s day, and even in many Jewish households, most fathers ruled their families with rigid and domineering authority. The desires and welfare of wives and children were seldom considered. The apostle makes clear that a Christian father’s authority over his children does not allow for unreasonable demands and strictures that might drive his children to anger, despair, and resentment. discipline and instruction of the Lord. This calls for systematic discipline and instruction, which brings children to respect the commands of the Lord as the foundation of all of life, godliness, and blessing.
    3. This is now addressed to Fathers
    4. àI believe this is the only verse addressing fathers in this passage.
    5. Fathers are not to provoke children to anger
    6. Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
    7. Notice that word “instruction.”
    8. Some personal applications:
    9. àAs a Father I must not be so authoritative that I am trying to incite my children to anger and rebellion.
    10. àI must lovingly discipline my children.
    11. àI must lovingly care for my children.
    12. àThis means I must not have inappropriate, or excessive, boundaries.
    13. àThis means I must not have excessive disciplines.
    14. àThis means that I must not have excessive education or other expectations.
    15. I remember hearing that many Puritan children had been through the whole Bible by age 5. Puritan children were also not allowed to talk or laugh at the dinner table.
    16. àYet, I am supposed to discipline.
    17. àI am supposed to care for and raise my children by the Lord’s ways.
      1. One source I read listed some additional ways in which parents may become guilty of exasperating their children: (1) by over-protection, (2) by favoritism, (3) by discouragement, (4) by failure to make allowance for the fact that the child is growing up, has a right to have ideas of his own, and need not be an exact copy of his father to be a success, (5) by neglect, and (6) by bitter words and outright physical cruelty.
  • Final applications
    1. For children, if you are under your parents’ authority, obey. Of you have not been obeying repent.
    2. If you are an adult, honor your parents, respect them.
    3. If you have not been honoring your parents, repent. Meet with them and apologize and ask for forgiveness. Ask God for forgiveness first.
    4. Lead your children spiritually.



Being a dad is amazing. You know what frustrates me is absent fathers. Meagan’s mother and father had a bad divorce when she was 12. From 12 until when she was 18 he was mainly absent. When I was younger I was sympathetic to Meagan’s hurt over that. But now, I just cannot understand how a man can do that. Before I say anything else let me say that Meagan’s relationship with her father has been off and on restored since she was eighteen and we were married. Her father has apologized. But I look at my two little girls and I think how can a man abandon his children. Parents, we have a heavy responsibility and privilege and honor. You know how exciting it is to come home and hear the excitement in my girls? I hate being away overnight and I miss them. It is wrong to abandon children. Men that do that are not men, they are little boys. But there is another type of abandonment which is more acceptable. Many dads abandon their children spiritually. This is not right. We can get everything right that society says to do, but miss the spiritual. Give your kids food, clothes, housing, education, even college, great; but don’t forget to raise them spiritually. They need Jesus. Without Jesus, our children have nothing. Fathers, parents, what a gift you have been given! Raise them up in the instruction of the Lord. They need to know Jesus.

So, how are you doing with this?

Pray for families this week. Pray for Christian families to follow Jesus. Pray this passage for your family, your children, grandchildren, etc.


Do you know Jesus? Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)



Washington Post article in response to the shooting


Article from Albert Mohler Jr, regarding yesterday’s shooting and evil



Household codes (Eph. 5:22-33)

Submission to one another, Wives and husbands (Ephesians 5:21–33)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes at Bethel Friends Church on Sunday, October 29, 2017


Today we enter the household codes section of Ephesians. This is not an easy passage. Sure, it is easy to interpret. It is not easy to stand up here and preach. So, I am sure either men, or women, or both may be upset with me by the end of the message. This is why there are no rocks under your chairs, but even so, if you are unruly I am still a fast runner and there is a door to my left at the front of the sanctuary. Even so, I will preach exactly what the Bible teaches.

Let me say that this is not a politically correct sermon. BUT this is a Biblically correct sermon. I can make mistakes, I understand that, but before being upset with me please look at the Bible and see what it says.

I was listening to Pastor and author Chip Ingram on Moody Radio and he shared about the Christian family as a witness. He shared how one day he went outside and he was in the front yard playing games with his kids. His neighbor across the street was moving. She came across the street to say goodbye to him. She was going through a messy divorce. She came over and talked with him. She said, “I am done with men. But if I were to consider a man again he would have to be like you.” Chip was not saying this arrogantly, it was only because of the grace of God and his commitment to family. She was not impressed with him except that he was spending time with his kids. Chip concluded by saying, a Christian family is a powerful witness. So, let’s talk about a Christian family. The Christian family begins with husband and wife.

My theme today is: Men, love your wives as Christ loved the church and woman submit to and respect your husbands.

The passages: Ephesians 5:22-33:

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also 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 to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

  1. Notice the passage begins by stating “Be subject.” (vs 22-24)
    1. This is one of several “house-rule” lists in the New Testament (cf. Eph. 5:22—6:9; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 6:1-2; Titus 2:1-10; 1 Pet. 2:18—3:7). The writings of some Apostolic Fathers also contain such lists. Luther referred to these sections as haustafel, and some scholars still use this technical term when referring to these lists.
    2. This part is all about husbands and wives: Constable: In each of the three pairings, the first partner is responsible to be submissive or obedient (5:22; 6:1, 5). However, the second partner is also to show a submissive spirit. All are to relate to one another “as unto the Lord
    3. Let me read verses 22-24: Wives, be subjectto your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
    4. But go back and look at verse 21.
    5. Notice verse 21 says to be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
    6. That is a nice way to start out this passage. Paul is talking about submitting based off of the authority they are to have. As Christians we should submit to police and government authorities (Romans 13), our employers, parents, etc.
    7. So, Paul is getting into this.
    8. The passage is basic. Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
    9. The husband is the head of the wife.
    10. Christ is the head of the church.
    11. The church must submit to Christ.
    12. Wives must submit to their husbands.
    13. Maybe some of you are here thinking this is not necessary. Let me state what is the conditions of marriage in the United States? What is the condition of the family in the United States? What is going on with our culture? I submit to you that the further we get from God’s ways the more things crumble.
    14. John Stott: “Too much so-called ‘holiness teaching’ emphasizes a personal relationship to Jesus Christ without any attempt to indicate its consequences in terms of relationships with the people we live and work with. In contrast to such holiness-in-a-vacuum, which magnifies experiences and minimizes ethics, the apostles spelled out Christian duty in the concrete situations of everyday life and work.”
    15. Also, Paul did change things up. The Greco-Roman treated women poorly.
    16. One writes: “After centuries of Christian teaching, we scarcely appreciate the revolutionary nature of Paul’s views on family life set forth in this passage. Among the Jews of his day, as also among the Romans and the Greeks, women were seen as secondary citizens with few or no rights. The pious male Jew daily said a prayer in which he thanked God for not making him a woman. And he could divorce his wife by simply writing ‘a bill of divorcement’ (which must include the provision that she was then free to marry whomever she wanted). The wife had no such right.”
    17. So, what Paul is saying is first that the wife is to submit to her husband.
    18. If we want to say that wives no longer must respect or submit to their husbands than we could also say that the church no longer must submit to Christ. The Scripture says in verse 24: But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
    19. But men, don’t think you have it easy. Most of this passage is about your duty. Leadership means responsibility.
    20. By the way, wives are not to submit to their husbands when the husband calls them to disobey God, or harm themselves.
    21. Wives, never settle for abuse. You are not called to allow yourself to be abused.
    22. I was listening to Dr. Michael Rydelnik on Moody radio and a woman called in and she was being physically abused by her husband but she did not think she was right to leave him. He affirmed, as I would, if you are being abused you get out of the abused situation, right away. Talk to me about that if it is going on. Talk with a Christian counselor. If your children are being abused, get out of that situation. Those are not situations where you submit. Submit to God first.
  2. Husbands love your wives… vs 25-27
    1. Look at the next section, now this is for the husbands.
    2. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also 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 to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
    3. Constable: Paul summarized the wife’s duty as submission, and the husband’s duty as love. The word he used for “love” (agapate) means much more than sexual passion (eros), or even family affection (philia). It means seeking the highest good for another person (cf. 2:4). Husbands are to love their wives in the same way that Christ loved the church. The extent to which He went for her welfare, was giving Himself up in death to provide salvation for her (cf. v. 2; Phil. 2:5-11). He gave up His rights, yet maintained His responsibilities. The biblical concept of authority emphasizes responsibility, not tyranny
    4. There is an interesting section about Jesus sanctifying the church.
    5. This is interesting about the husbands call to spiritual leadership.
    6. Husbands, what did Jesus do for the church? He died for the church. Jesus took care of our spiritual need.
    7. We must be financial providers, yes, but most of all spiritual leaders.
    8. Across the church, we are failing miserably here.
    9. When was the last time we had a spiritual discussion with our family.
    10. Do you know that studies show that the spouses that pray together stay together.
    11. I have heard so many say that men need respect and women need loved. Woman need cherished and adored. This is a psychological need. Men need respect. Most men need it. Men may get respect at work and not at home and so they just work, work and work. They feel good at work because they are good at it. If a woman feels loved, cherished, adored she is usually happy.
    12. Many men have this voice inside saying, “I am not good enough.” They need respected. But woman need adored.
  • Husbands love your wife like you love yourself (vs 28-32)
    1. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also doesthe church,30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
    2. love your wives as your own body.
    3. Listen, don’t marry a man who does not take care of himself and respect his body.
    4. to love your wife is to love yourself
    5. verse 29: no one hates his own flesh; we take care of our own flesh; Jesus takes care of the church.
    6. Some commentators have translated “as” to “being,” here and in verse 28. This rendering makes understanding the first part of verse 29 easier. “The husband, the head, therefore, is to love the wife as being his body, even as Christ loved the Church as forming His body.”
    7. Jesus provided for the church. We provide for ourselves. Make sure you provide for your family.
    8. Woman need to know that they are secure. They have a desire to know that they are safe and provided for.
    9. What happens often is that a woman feels insecure because her husband has lost his job. The wife does not mean to, but she innocently questions her husband about the job. She wants to know she is secure. But the husband gets defensive. He thinks she is disrespecting him by questioning his ability to provide. She does not mean to disrespect him, but that is the way he perceives her questions. She wants to know that he is providing, he wants to know that he is respected. The fight begins, so be it innocently.
  1. Summary in Verse 33
    1. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to itthat she respects her husband.
    2. That is the summary.


I want to conclude with some applications:

If I am to live this out, this is what my personal goal ought to be. These are in the first person pronoun, “I.”

  1. I must love my wife in a self-sacrificing way.
  2. I must be willing to die for my wife as Christ died for the church (verse 25).
  3. I must love my wife as I would love myself (verse 28).
    1. I would defend my body so I must defend my wife.
    2. I will take care of my body so I must take care of my wife.
    3. I nourish my body and so I must nourish my wife.
    4. I take medications when I am sick; therefore, I must make sure my wife has the right medications.
    5. I buy food for my body; therefore, I must buy the best food for my wife.
    6. I am a steward of my body and so I am a steward of my wife. My body is not mine, but God’s and my wife is really God’s woman.
    7. I purchase things to clothe my body, I must purchase things to clothe my wife.
    8. I would not disrespect my body; therefore, I must not disrespect my wife.
    9. I would not harm my body; therefore, I must not harm my wife.
    10. If my body had feelings I would not hurt them; therefore, I must not hurt my wife’s feelings.
    11. I would not say things mean to my body; therefore, why would I say mean things to my wife.
  4. I am to be glued together with my wife (verse 31), I must act like it.
  5. I will love, cherish and obey my wife.
  6. I must cherish my wife with:
    1. Words
    2. Actions
    3. With tender touch
    4. With gifts
    5. Time spent together.

Luke 9:23

Let’s pray.

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)