Chapter six began already back in chapter five, which called Christians to demonstrate our reverence for Christ by living in submission to one another (v21). The chapter went on to describe the submission married couples live in (wives to their husbands, and husbands to Christ). Chapter six continues this call for submission.
v1-9 - Christian submission extends to all aspects of life:
Children must continue to demonstrate the submission modeled in the fifth commandment to honor your father & mother (v2).
Fathers hear an echo of Proverbs 22:6 to bring their children up to fear the Lord.
So far the call for submission has been limited to family relationships, but starting in v5, Paul busts the door open in a big way: your Christian life of submission is not just limited to what happens under your own roof, but extends to all of life's activities. (Paul addresses slaves and masters, but the slavery of Roman society was very similar to the employee-employer relationships we have today, so this very much applies to your work setting as well).
Employees: work as if you were working for Christ Himself, because of the tremendous promise that's made to you here. You've got much more than just a paycheck coming your way:
The Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do (v8)
Employers: realize that you are just as much in submission to the Lord as your employees are, so do your work well, and treat your employees accordingly.
v10-20 - This is the famous passage regarding the Armor of God. The overarching command here comes in the opening line:
be strong in the Lord and mighty in His power (v10)
Before telling you how to do this, Paul tells you why you need to do this.
The devil is scheming against you, and you need to stand against them.
Whether you realize it or not, you're in the midst of a tremendous struggle.
This struggle is much more than the day to day problems that we all face.
Understand that you're in the midst of a massive Spiritual battle, and you can't stand up unprotected.
You're not to don this armor just in case you get caught up in the day of evil, but rather so that you're ready when the day of evil comes your way.
Notice how many times you're called to stand in this passage!
Here are the characteristics you must exhibit to stand firm:
A readiness to share the gospel truth
Confidence in your salvation
All of the preceding characteristics are described as defensive weapons. You've been given only one offensive weapon: The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (v17). This means you have to know you're Bible well and rely on it alone to carry you forward. Just like learning to use a sword well takes lots and lots of practice, so it is with learning to use God's Word well. Keep practicing, as you are right now!
This passage ends with a characteristic that often gets left out of the Armor of God analogy, but one that is the critical glue that holds all of the other components together: prayer.
Prayer is not just set aside for certain times or things,
Rather you're commanded to pray on all occasions and for all things, and especially for God's people.
v21-22 - We're reminded once again that the book of Ephesians is actually a letter, sent as an update and encouragement from Paul.
v23-24 - This letter ends with a beautiful blessing from God. These blessings are often referred to as a benediction, which is in Latin means 'good words.'
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
This passage calls you to suit up in armor, but rest assured you're not going into battle alone. Isaiah 59:15-21 reminds us that the Lord has also armored up and has goes ahead of you to win the war.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: As he begins speaking about our spiritual armor, how does Paul complete the following sentence? “Be strong in the Lord …” (See verse 10.)
One of the primary reasons for you to put on this Spiritual armor is to "stand your ground" against the devil. What are some aspects of modern life in which you need to take a stand?
Question 1 taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The God of angel armies who gives you His armor to stand against the devil's schemes (v11)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God to strengthen you to do His will from your heart (v6)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: