Ephesians 5:1-24

Verse 1, Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

I. Follower is imitator, someone who acts like.

A. This is where we get the term "Christian".

1. Today the term "Christian" has come to mean any person who claims to be saved.

2. Originally, it meant those believers who were acting like Christ.

3. It was a name of derision given to the followers of Christ by their enemies.

B. We are to act like Christ because we are His children, not in order to become His children.

1. We become children of God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

2. Not by any works of the flesh.

II. Dear means beloved, favorite, one who is worthy of God's love.

III. Children means those that are the offspring of God.

A. It has the idea of a personal relationship of a father and child, instead of just being a child with unknown parentage.

1. Because we know we are the children of God, we act like His children.

2. Those that don't know whose children they are, without knowledge of family ties have an emptiness about them because of that lack of knowledge.

B. There are those people who don't know whether they are saved or not.

1. They could continue to have that emptiness about them.

2. The doctrine of eternal security of the believer is a very blessed assurance.

3. Once God has saved a lost sinner, He keeps that sinner to Himself for all eternity.

4. This is what is meant by "eternal security".

5. I remember one preacher defining "eternal security" as being saved until you sin!

6. His definition left salvation and its security in the hands of sinful men instead of a loving God.

Verse 2, And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

I. Walking in love is absolutely necessary.

A. It is also important to note that walking in love is totally impossible unless the doctrines of God are followed correctly.

1. Some would have us believe that walking in love is all there is to serving God.

2. John 4:24 - We worship God in spirit and truth.

B. I Cor. 13 - If we have all gifts, but don't have love, we are nothing.

Verse 3, But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

I. The meaning of these words.

A. Fornication is illicit sexual intercourse.

1. I Cor. 6:8-11, Paul instructs the Corinthian church members to keep themselves from this wickedness.

2. They had been living like the heathens around them, which was extremely wrong.

3. They were supposed to live Godly lives.

B. Uncleanness is the physical or moral impurity of living a luxurious, extravagant lifestyle.

1. Paul doesn't mean that those Christians of "well to do means" are supposed to take a vow of poverty, or give their money away.

2. He means they are not to use their wealth only for their personal advantage.

3. They are not to think of themselves above others simply because they have more money than others.

C. Covetousness is greedily desiring to have more and more and more, even to the point of desiring what somebody else has.

D. Let it not be once named among you.

1. If there are one or two Christians, these wicked sins should not have a part of them.

2. If there are 10,000 times 10,000, none of these wicked sins should have a part of them.

Verse 4, Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

I. Word meanings.

A. Filthiness is obscenity.

B. Foolish talking is one word which means foolish talking.

C. Jesting is being silly with humor to the point of nonsense.

1. This doesn't mean Christians aren't allowed to tell jokes, or laugh with one another. It means not to try to be humorous when it isn't a time to be humorous.

2. It means to be serious when it is time to be serious and to be jolly when it is time to be jolly.

Verse 5, For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

I. Word meanings.

A. A whoremonger is a man who prostitutes his body to another's lust for hire.

B. An unclean person is a person who is unclean in thought and life.

C. A covetous man is one who is eager to have more, even to the point of desiring what somebody else has.

D. An idolater is a worshipper of false gods. Those who take part in idol worship of false gods by attending the worship services.

E. Inheritance is to receive from another, not because of any work that is done, but because of the relationship between the two.

F. Kingdom of God and of Christ speaks of the present reign of God in the hearts and life of believers, and the future reign of God upon this earth and the future reign of God in eternity.

Verse 6, Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

I. Vain words are empty words.

A. It is amazing to me that verse 6 immediately follows verse 5.

1. There are those people who want to commit all the atrocious acts of verse 5 and still claim to be "Christian".

2. Those kind of people are not Christian, and will receive the wrath of God upon themselves.

B. They have no meaning or promise of fulfillment because they are not the words of God.

1. For example, there are those that preach a gospel which is not true, but is another gospel, Galatians 1:6.

2. There are those that say there is no need to obey the moral laws of God because we are living in the age of grace.

a. The age of grace has always been, because Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

b. Let me ask you, what is wrong with the ten commandments?

c. Matt. 5:17-20 - Jesus said he didn't come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. He declares there is more to the law than a system of do's and don'ts.

d. Matt. 23:23 - Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for keeping the letter of the law, but forgetting the more important matters of judgment, mercy and faith. Jesus didn't say it was wrong to tithe, but it is wrong to forget judgment, mercy, and faith.

3. A person ought not try to keep the law in order to be saved, but because they are saved.

II. Men who follow this sort of thing cause the wrath of God upon the world.

Verse 7, Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

Verse 8, For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

Verse 9, (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Verse 10, Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

Verse 11, And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Verse 12, For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

Verse 13, But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

Verse 14, Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

Verse 15, See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

I. Circumspectly means carefully, accurately, perfectly.

A. This doesn't mean we will finally reach perfection, but we will try.

II. Not as fools, but as wise.

A. The fools walk does not consider God, or the fact of His coming judgment.

B. They only think of the pleasures of the moment.

Verse 16, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

I. Redeeming the time.

A. Not necessarily because the end of the world is very near, but because the end of our life is nearer than we like to think.

1. James 4:14 - Our life is like a vapor that appears for a little time, then is gone.

B. A lot of people fully intend to serve the Lord - but they intend to do it tomorrow.

1. Tomorrow never comes.

2. It's always today.

3. People don't feel old.

4. The person looking back at me from the mirror can't really be me.

5. That aged face with gray hair, or no hair at all, can't be me, but an impostor.

6. I don't feel that old.

II. Because the days are evil.

A. Eph. 6:13 - Withstand with the whole armor of God.

B. Gal. 1:4 - Salvation is to deliver us from this present evil world.

1. Salvation gives us an eternal home in heaven.

2. As saved people, we don't have to live in the slime pits of sin, misery, and destruction.

C. When are the evil days?

1. They were when Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia some 2,000 years ago.

2. They are in the days shortly before the Lord returns.

3. Luke 17:26-30 - like it was in the days of Noah, and in the days of Lot, when the judgment of God came upon that wicked generation.

Verse 17, Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

I. Define wisdom and knowledge.

A. Proverbs 1:7 - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

B. Proverbs 9:10 - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

II. Understanding what the will of God is.

A. To you remember the 70's when a lot of younger people were "trying to find themselves"?

1. They were actually looking for the purpose of life.

2. They would travel the highways of this country in this effort.

3. They saw a failure of religion and the redeeming qualities of hard work in their parents life.

4. Some of those people were simply too lazy to work.

5. When they were young, their parents handed them everything.

6. When they got older, they were forced to work, but never really understood what life was all about.

7. They will never understand the purpose of life until they accept the fact of life or death after life.

8. Life without God has no meaning.

B. Nobody can know the "hidden" will of God for their individual lives until they do those little things they know God wants them to do.

1. The hidden will of God is revealed inside the revealed will of God.

2. In other words, when you do what you know God wants you to do, you will find other things that reveal God's "hidden" will to you.

C. Some examples of God's will.

1. I Thess. 4:3 - This is the will of God that ye abstain from fornication.

a. Verse 2 talks about obeying the commandments God gave us. This is apparently referring to the ten commandments, and the laws of God which are very good to live by.

b. Verse 4 talks about holy living.

c. There are a lot of people that want to serve God without obeying his commandments. This is as impossible to do as it is impossible to be a good citizen of the United States, and never obey any of the laws of the country.

2. I Thess. 5:18 - This is the will of God, that we give thanks for everything.

a. Verse 16-22 gives us a whole list of instruction.

b. They range from rejoicing to abstaining from all appearances of evil.

Verse 18, And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

I. "And"

A. This verse is in addition to knowing what the will of God is.

1. First, you must understand what the will of God is for your life.

2. Next, you will refrain from anything that destroys the right use of the mind.

3. This might be the use of alcohol, drugs, or worry that takes our minds away from the Word of God.

4. When we have the right use of our minds, we will be able to be filled with the Spirit.

B. Be not drunk with wine.

1. Wine deadens the mind and heart so circumstances are not clearly distinguishable.

a. Proverbs 31:4,5 - It is not for kings to drink strong drink, lest their judgment be perverted.

b. This is only one reason why our nation is in the trouble it is in: our leaders drink strong drink.

2. Proverbs 31:6,7 - Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine to those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.

a. That sounds like people that need wine and strong drink are those that are ready to die!

b. People that are hopelessly despondent need wine to forget his troubles for a while.

II. Be filled with the spirit.

A. There is a difference between having possession of the Spirit of God, and being filled with the spirit of God.

1. When a person is saved, they have possession of the Spirit of God, but that doesn't mean they are filled with the Spirit of God.

2. When a saved person is filled with the Spirit of God, they have the power of God upon them.

3. II Peter 1:5-9 - A saved person who doesn't add to his faith the things mentioned here, will finally come to the place they forget they were purged from their own sins.

a. This doesn't mean they become lost.

b. It doesn't mean that God forgets He saved them.

c. It means they get so far away from God they forget they were ever saved.

B. There is a difference between possession and manifestation.

1. Rom. 8:9 - If you don't have the spirit of God, you are none of His.

2. You are LOST!!

3. II Peter 1:10 - Make your calling and election sure for if you do those things, you shall never fail.

4. Phil. 2:12 - Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

5. It is your eternity that is at stake.

C. What does it mean to be filled with the spirit? (Paul explains in the following verses.)

1. Verse 19 - You must have God on the inside which causes you to rejoice in the Lord.

a. This rejoicing doesn't come about because things are going the way you want them to go.

b. You rejoice because God has saved you, and blessed you with things you consider both "good" and "bad".

2. Verse 20 - You must have the presence of the Holy Spirit inside which causes you to thank God for everything, even those things that we think are bad for us.

3. Verse 21 - There will be a willing submitting to others.

D. 5:22-6:9 is an enlargement of verse 21. (Comments on Eph. 5:22-6:9 are given later.)

1. This thought is almost foreign to this day and age when every person wants their own "space".

2. Every person wants to do their own thing.

3. Most people don't have any respect for the rights of the other person.

4. It is considered "weak" to submit to anybody for any reason.

5. Satan has published a lot of books that tell about how to be more aggressive, how to get your own way, how to get people to do what you want them to do.

6. Religion has turned from worshipping God, into philosophy.

7. 6:10-18 - Put on the whole armor of God with constant praying.

Verse 19, Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

I. Speaking to yourselves.

A. This doesn't mean that you are "crazy".

1. It has been said that a person who talks to himself isn't "crazy", it's when he begins to answer himself.

2. There is a sense when a person would talk to themselves about their troubles, or their great joy.

3. This passage is talking about having so much joy, because you know the present will of God, there is an involuntary, unintentional, automatic, impromptu, singing and rejoicing in the goodness of God.

4. The person hasn't determined to sing, then be happy, but is singing because he is already happy.

B. This is within yourself, and is not for anybody else.

1. You will do this because you are happy with God and yourself.

2. This rejoicing does not depend upon any outward circumstances.

3. This kind of rejoicing is what a person does when they are full of trouble in their lives, yet continue to have the peace that passes all understanding.

C. There are those that stay on an emotional roller coaster.

1. They will be "up" one minute, and "down" the next.

2. Their emotional state depends on their outward circumstances.

3. This is not what God expects of us.

D. There are circumstances that affect our emotions.

1. We don't let these circumstances take us away from our position with God.

2. We can continue being happy in unfavorable circumstances because our position with God hasn't changed.

II. The different kinds of songs.

A. Psalms: These are the psalms of David, preserved in the Book of Psalms.

B. Hymns: These are "ballads" that tell a story of God's greatness.

C. Spiritual songs: These are songs that tell what God has done for men. It seems most of these were short poems set to music.

Verse 20, Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

I. This is sometimes difficult, but this is still a command of God.

A. Philippians 4:4-7 - We must rejoice in God in everything, offering prayers to God, thanking Him for our affairs, so He can give us the peace of God.

1. If we continue, thinking about what God wants us to think about, the God of peace will dwell with us, Phil 4:8-9.

B. I Thess. 5:18 - In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God concerning you.

C. Romans 8:28 - Believe that if you are the called of God, that all things work for your good and God's glory.

Verse 21, Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

I. Notice the progression of revealing our being filled with the Spirit of God. (All of this point must be understood from the viewpoint of the local church. God gets His glory through the church {Eph. 3:21}. The book of Ephesians is written to the local church at Ephesus, not to the "Universal Church", or the saved of all the ages. Those saved people who refuse to understand this vital truth, will also not understand what the Bible means by being "filled with the Spirit.")

A. First, verse 17 - Every individual church member must understand the will of God.

B. Second, verse 18 - This causes the saved church member to be filled with the Spirit of God.

C. Third, verse 19 - There is an inward singing to oneself about the glories of God.

D. Fourth, verse 20 - There is both an inward and outward giving of thanks for every situation, whether we consider it good or bad.

E. Fifth, verse 21 - There is an outward submitting to those in authority over us, because there is already an inward submitting to God's authority over us.

II. The word "submit" means:

A. The definition of the word.

1. Put under, be subject unto, submit (one's) self unto, be in subjection unto

2. A Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader". In non- military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".

B. It is very imperative right here to note that everybody is under the authority of somebody else.

1. It is impossible for a person not to be under the authority of somebody else.

2. Even our elected president is supposed to be under the authority of the people who put him into office.

3. The only one that has total, complete authority is God.

III. Mark 10:35-45.

A. The story of Christ disciples who wanted to sit on either side of Christ during His eternal reign.

1. This wasn't given to those except they were chosen by the Father.

2. Jesus said in this world, there is a "chain of command", and there ought to be, but in God's kingdom, it isn't this way.

B. In the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, there is not supposed to be a hierarchy of command.

1. I Peter 5:3 - Pastors are not to be lord (master) over God's heritage.

a. This leads to situations like Jim Jones, and David Crausis in Waco, TX.

b. Pastors are to lead the people with the Word of God, letting the Holy Spirit deal with people as it is pleasing to God.

c. Every person is accountable to God, not to another person.

2. I Peter 5:5 - The younger pastors are to be in subjection to the older pastors.

a. All of the pastors, both younger and older, are to be in subjection one to another.

b. This principle would prevent any person from exercising power or control over anybody.

c. Any authority over another comes from the Holy Spirit, not from the personality of an individual.

C. I do believe there is a scriptural submitting to authority, as God has ordained that authority.

1. Romans 12 - God has ordained the authority of government, therefore we ought to submit to that authority.

2. Hebrews 13:17 - God has placed pastors in authority over believers, therefore people ought to respect that God given authority.

3. Hebrews 13:24 - The letter of Hebrews was written to the people, not to the rulers of the people. The people were to salute (show respect to) the person having God's authority over them.

IV. Eph. 5:32.

A. This whole discussion of submission is in relationship to the local church.

1. If this point of forgotten, the whole message can be perverted.

2. Always study the individual Bible verses in relationship to the whole.

B. Paul uses the relationships found in a marriage to explain the relationship of the church to the Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Paul uses the marriage relationship, which everybody understands, to explain a truth they may not understand.

2. It is sad today, that many do not understand the marriage relationship.

3. This makes it impossible to understand the church relationship.

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

I. What submission is not.

A. The wife being less than the husband.

1. Genesis 2:21 - Woman was made from one of the ribs of Adam.

a. She wasn't made from his feet, so Adam is not supposed to walk on her.

b. She wasn't made from his head, so She is not to "lord" it over Adam.

c. She was made from his side so she could walk equal to Adam.

2. A woman is to be a "help meet" to her husband.

a. The word "help meet" means a "help suitable."

b. This indicates very strongly that a man needs a woman helper.

c. A man can't be what he ought to be without a woman to help him.

d. I Peter 3:7 says that the man is to give honor to the wife, as unto the weaker vessel. If the wife is the weaker vessel, the husband is the weak vessel.

3. Some picture the woman as "walking at least three steps" behind her husband, with her head humbly lowered to her chest, hands neatly folded in front of her, head and face covered, wearing black clothing.

a. Her eyes and ears are worshipfully awaiting her husband's least command, so she can snap to attention, as the ever faithful adherent to his every wish.

b. She lavishes love on her husband, while he does whatever pleases him.

c. She cooks his meals, washes his clothes, raises his children, slaving from morning to night just to make life easier for him.

d. She has no will or desires of her own. She doesn't even have a life of her own, because she is married to her master.

B. This is the way some of the modern feminists have pictured the husband/wife/family relationship.

1. There is no wonder some women have rebelled against their husbands.

2. I know there are some relationship like this, but that is not what God intended.

II. What submission is.

A. It must be understood that the word "submitting" in verse 21 and verse 22 is exactly the same Greek word.

1. The passage is stating that everyone is under the subjection of another.

2. This is good, because "absolute authority, absolutely corrupts".

B. Any casual study of women in the Bible will show what real submission is.

C. It must be noted that wives have only one job to perform.

1. They must submit themselves to their own husbands, as unto the Lord.

2. Just like the church, who doesn't make their own decisions, but follows the Bible, God's Holy Word.

III. Women in the Bible.

A. Proverbs 31:10-31 - The virtuous woman.

1. The word "virtuous" doesn't mean pure, clean, wholesome, totally good.

2. It means strength, might, ability, wealth, actually having the force and majesty of a great, mighty army.

3. Notice some of the things this woman does.

a. Verse 11 - Her husband trust her above all, he has no need of any other woman.

b. Verse 13-15 - She works long hours to take care of her family.

c. Verse 16-18 - She buy and sells land, perceiving that her merchandise (that which is sold for a profit) is good. (She is not in the real estate business, but she buys and sells land in order to provide for her household.)

d. Verse 22 - She is dressed in purple, the color for royalty.

e. Verse 24 - She is a seller of merchandise. (She is not in the retailing business, but buys and sells in order to provide for her family.)

f. Verse 26 - She speaks, and her speech is welcomed because there is wisdom for all.

g. Verse 28 - Her family believes she is the very best.

4. Not all women are like this.

a. Women that put their careers before their families are not in this category.

b. Women ought to use their talents, skills, and energy for the benefit of their families.

c. The Bible doesn't place as many restraints on women as some people do.

B. Acts 16:14,15 - Lydia.

1. She was a businesswoman.

a. She is a seller of purple.

b. She sold royal cloth, the very best, to the public.

2. She was living in Philippi at the time, but was originally from Thyatira.

a. These two cities were about 300 miles apart.

b. She was a traveling woman.

c. It would take approximately one month to travel this distance.

d. She traveled this distance with her family, which is no small feat.

3. She was a family woman.

a Her household was with her, and was supported by her.

b. There is no mention of her husband.

c. I don't know if he had died, or what happened to him.

4. She not only supported her household, but also supported two missionaries, Paul and Silas.

C. Acts 17:4 - Why were these women who believed, called "chief" women?

1. They were the first, either in time or place, or in any succession of things.

2. They were the first in rank, influence, or honor.

D. Luke 8:1-3 - The women who ministered to Christ of their own substance.

1. They were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susana, and many others.

2. They ministered to Jesus of their "own substance".

3. They owned what they supplied to Jesus.

4. They worked so Jesus could help others.

E. Compare Heb. 11:32 and Judges 4:9.

1. Hebrews 11:32 tells of the great exploits of faith performed by Barak.

2. This scripture says absolutely nothing about Deborah, who really lead the charge against Sisera, Judges 4:9.

3. The point is that only services given to God in the way He wants that service delivered is counted at faithful service.

4. There are a lot of women today who are doing great things, but they aren't doing them God's way, therefore, God doesn't count them as acts of faith.

5. The same principle applies to any individual or church.

IV. Church offices restricted to women.

A. Preacher, or Pastor.

1. I Tim. 3:2 - A pastor is to be the husband of one wife.

2. A woman cannot be a husband.

B. Deacon.

1. I Tim. 3:12 - The deacons are to be the husband of one wife.

2. A woman cannot be a husband.

Verse 23,24, For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. {24} Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

I. The symbolism of wife/husband submission.

A. It is a picture of the relationship of the church to Jesus Christ.

1. The church gets its instruction from the Word of God, which is the Bible.

2. The church doesn't decide what it will do by considering all the options available.

3. The church decides what it will do based on the Word of God.

B. As the church is subject unto Christ, let every wife be subject to their own husbands.