Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sermon Notes- Ephesians 6:1-9

Ephesians 5:22, 25, 6:1-9
Good Will
January 11, 2015
Lynchburg, Virginia

         The sort of obedience that the Apostle is talking about in this section requires a Good Will towards God. If you believe that God is, in fact, sovereign and that He keeps the tally of rewards and punishments, then it is possible for you to do all sorts of difficult things with a good will. You can obey God and leave the outcome up to Him.  The measure of man will not matter that much to you.
         This is very important from many different directions. If you have to see the results, now, and be able to make sense of them, now, then you very likely are going to be frustrated both with God and with His people.
Submitting to your husband may not make sense when that submission is not respected or honored by him or anyone else, or he does not return the love you think you need or that you desire.
Loving your wife when she dishonors you is a very difficult task. Dying for her in such a case is nearly impossible.
Obeying your parents may not make sense to you when you cannot understand why they require certain actions or prohibit certain other actions. You may even plead with God against them when it is He that has told you to obey.
Remaining calm and loving towards your children when they try your patience every day and in multiple ways may seem like an extremely high and impossible standard. You may feel like you have the right to wrath. But you don’t.
Obeying and submitting to an unreasonable boss may not make sense at all, unless you really understand who his boss is.
Showing patience with workers and refusing to lord your authority over them with threatening may seem weak, maybe even foolish. If you can make them cower, why not?
None of this makes earthly sense unless you serve with Good Will, doing service as unto the Lord and not to men.
Think about that for a moment and we will push further into the corners of your lives as we make our way through the text. In those situations when you are frustrated with your God given and clear Biblical duties, who are your frustrated with? The one who does not understand you? Your husband? Your wife? Your parents? Your children? Your boss? Your employees?
And if you are frustrated with them, and discouraged, or despairing, or discontent, or dissatisfied or disillusioned, why is that? Is it because you need them to make you feel important or appreciated or fulfilled or wanted?
I understand that we are in community and it meant to operate in fellowship. This is true of marriage, of a family, of a work situation. And to be out of fellowship is to have something less than it can be or should be. But how do you see your role? Who do you really answer to?

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Children, Obey
We have covered wives and husbands fairly thoroughly. Let us move on to children.
6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 
The gist of this is that to obey your parents is to be in the Lord. Another way to understand this is that you must obey your parents as long as that obedience to them does not constitute disobedience to the Lord.

2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)  3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
He quotes the fifth commandment which is the first commandment of the second table of the law. Honour thy father and mother. To do so is to be obedient to God. This requirement of obedience to honor your father and mother is necessary when you are under their direct authority. That is, when you live in their home.
However, it does change when you become independent. A daughter passes to her husband’s authority. A son becomes his own household. But the command to honor parents never ends. Adults with aged parents are still to honor them.
This command comes with promise, a long life. From one standpoint it seems odd. Is this a spiritual blessing? Then, why does it have a physical promise as reward? Part of the answer to that is that physical and spiritual are not mutually exclusive. From that regard, a long life on the earth is spiritual.
But from another aspect, the reward tied to honoring parents makes perfect sense. If a child obey’s his parents, he will not be a drunkard, a drug addict, a fornicator or a thief. In a word, he will not participate in all the behaviors that dramatically shorten one’s life. This promise is no guarantee of long life for everyone. It is a general principle and is generally true. But God has the prerogative to reveal His will on the Earth with the short lives of His faithful, parent honoring, saints.

4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Col. 3:21, lest they be discouraged.
He gives the first rank of priority, children obey your parents. But then he gives an admonition to the fathers, to the parents, as he does to all in authority. Use your authority for good. Do not lord it over those in your charge. Do not put your children in a position where they only obey you because they have to. It is true, they must obey. But do they obey with a right good will? Or, do they obey with clenched teeth as a child and a clinched fist as a teenager? Parents, the children need to have a good will but you also need to teach them and show them how to have a good will.
Nurture- paideia, education, instruction, discipline
Admonition- nouthesia, mild rebuke, warning
This is nothing less than bringing them up in the Lord. A little further down in this passage, the Apostle calls upon those under authority to render service to that authority with a good will as if they were actually serving the Lord Jesus. The fact is, you are serving the Lord Jesus, so do your service as unto Him.
The same is true for this in authority. Use your authority as if you are the Lord Jesus. Instruct in the ways of God. Give clear teaching and mild warnings. Teach by example as well as word. This is to be in instruction and admonition of the Lord.

John Calvin quote- Kind and liberal treatment has rather a tendency to cherish reverence for their parents, and to increase the cheerfulness and activity of their obedience, while a harsh and unkind manner rouses them to obstinacy, and destroys the natural affections.”

5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;  6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
He moves on to servants, slaves. We make the application with employees but of course, it is not the same. We can change our employ. But if slaves were given the admonition to serve their masters with fear and trembling because the service was rendered to Jesus, how much more ought we give this kind of service to our bosses?
Now, it is okay to change jobs. Find out what you are good at, what God has called you to and do that. But don’t complain and grumble or give eye service as if you were serving only an earthly boss.
Some have begun to notice how we are systematically becoming enslaved in our own culture. The nanny state is ever encroaching. We ought to pray that this would not be so and that God would deliver us from such an evil.
However, to the extent that we are enslaved, the Scriptures call us to act like Christians. This slavishness is well within the will of God for our lives. Unlike the ancient slaves, we have a mechanism to throw off this evil from us. But until then, we ought to render honor and service to those in authority over us. Not with eye service but with real honor and obedience.
Masters, according to the flesh. Men can rule over other men but all answer to a greater master. A slave or employee can answer directly to God and the superior will one day have to answer to Him as well.
Keep in mind that whenever a lawful superior authority is resisted, it must be done while appealing to and submitting to a higher authority. It is best if the appeal is made to an earthly authority, judge, elder, pastor, etc. But if there is no earthly authority that can be appealed to, it is good and Biblical to appeal directly to God, Himself.
Do not serve rightly only when the boss is watching. A higher boss is always watching.
Example- Georgia on the couch. Don’t be a dog. We gave up and sometimes your bosses will give up on you. When you get your way this is not a benefit to you. It means the boss thinks your worthless and not worth bothering to discipline anymore.

7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:  8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. 
With benevolence, that is good will, the goodness of your heart, being a slave to Jesus.
That is an odd combination of words. Jesus has set us free so how are we slaves? Well, we belong to Him. We are fully His. From that perspective, you should be willing to do whatever it is He calls you to. Most of that calling is mysterious. It is laid down for us in Scripture.
It involves worship, time, money, talents. You are His and are to render all of yourself to Him. This is one reason why I make such a big deal about church attendance and tithing. My experience is that those who are spotty on church attendance and tithing are spotty in their good will towards Jesus.
If you do your good works as unto Jesus, then will receive the good rewards from Him. If you do them as unto men, then you may or may not receive rewards from men. If you do your duties with eye service towards men then you will likely be a complaining worker, husband, wife, child when those feeble efforts are slighted.
However, if you do them as unto the Lord, then you will be content with His reward program. The Lord vindicates the righteous. Another general principle here. The righteous is not always, in every instance, vindicated here on Earth. Sometimes, you have to wait for the final judgment to sort things out. But generally speaking, if you will be patient, then thing do usually get sorted out here on Earth. The righteous are vindicated and the wicked also receive their reward, they are caught in their own devices.

No Respecter of Persons
9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
         Only inferior people are respecters of persons. It is always the lessor trying to impress the greater. And the greater has no care for the opinion of the lessor. But God is above this. No great man impresses God. In fact, because God can see the thoughts and intentions of the heart, He may value the least as the greatest and the last as the first.
         God renders righteous judgments and rewards. Men have a very difficult time doing this. We cannot see how the small acts of love or sacrifice are as important as the glorious acts of love and sacrifice. We tend to measure based upon what we can see. We certainly are unable to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Bloomberg Arrogance- Would God have to respect his person?
“I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”
This was said related to his work on more gun control, anti-smoking laws and healthy eating edicts.
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         But God sees the inside of everything. He knows not only what people do but why they do it. A good deed done for selfish reasons can be a good in the world and an evil to an evil man.
         Imagine a scurrilous fellow complimenting the beauty of a young lady. The compliment may be real but his intentions are of the baser sort. Is his action righteous? Maybe in the eyes of those who are fooled by such behavior but not by God. He knows the end from the beginning and will the actions accordingly.
         God also turns such evil intentions to good. Remember Joseph and his brothers? They meant their actions for evil but God caused them to produce good. But even though their actions produced a great good, they were still evil and God will judge them according to their works.

         We have to be willing to serve God with a right good will and let Him sort out justice in His time. As for us, let us simply serve God from the heart.

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