The Way - Day 141 (Ephesians 5)

Daily Reading:
Ephesians 5
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
Read through Ephesians 5:1-20 and each person make a list of the ways Paul tells us to live our lives. Read through the list. Are there things on this list that you are not doing? Are you struggling with a specific sin? Take your list home and hang it somewhere that you will see it and read it constantly. Pray this week for strength from God to help you live according to his word. Discuss as a group what this might tangibly look like in our lives today.
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 51:16-17
OPTION 2: Proverbs 18:24
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:12-13
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Ephesians 5 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Ephesians 5:1-7
Paul makes a strong statement to begin chapter 5: "be imitators of God as dear children." It is interesting that he calls believers to imitate God and furthermore refers to them as children. Kids are a reflection of their parents, whether good or bad. Children pick up words, actions, reactions, and habits from what they observe in the lives of their parents. In the same manner, Paul commands that any Christ follower imitate what they see in God. Because God is our heavenly Father, we should reflect His character. Paul mentions the supreme characteristic a believer can imitate...walking in love. Jesus Christ set the example of love by giving "Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." In the gospels Jesus said that the two great commandments are loving God and loving others. I believe that when we love God, love for others will closely follow. It is impossible to love others without loving God. Walking in love is a must for a genuine follower of Christ, but there are many things which must not characterize the lifestyle of a Christian. In verse 3 Paul lists sins such as fornication (any sexual sin) and covetousness declaring that these things should "not be names among you, as is fitting for saints." Verse 4 continues a list of sins which should not be a part of a Christian's life. A stern warning is given in verse 5 when Paul states that "no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God." Again, Christians can commit these sins, but their life should never be characterized by them. A person whose lifestyle is continually wicked and sinful cannot claim kinship with Christ. Sin brings God's judgment on the sinner; therefore, a person who is characterized by sin must never be convinced that he has any part in God's family unless he repents (5:6). In verse 8 Paul warns his readers to not partake with those whose lifestyle is not imitating the character of God. The advice is clear - walk in love and stay far from sin!

Ephesians 5:8-14
Paul brings up their past as he had already done in Ephesians 2. The reason he reminds them of the past is so that they can look back from where they came and rejoice in the difference Christ has made in their life. In verse 8 Paul tells his readers that they "were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord." Although their past was full of sin and regret, Jesus Christ had brought forgiveness and redemption enabling them to have fellowship with God. Because of forgiveness, believers are now commanded to walk in light (truth) and Paul even mentions the fruit of the Spirit in this context. Walking in light always results in bearing fruit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, etc.). As Paul has been teaching throughout the book of Ephesians, the distinction does not descend from skin color or heritage, but by the way a person conducts their life. A follower of Christ walks in the light and an unbeliever walks in sin. Ephesians 4:11 points out that Christians should "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them." Paul goes on to say that "it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret." Sin should not be a part of a Christian's life because it identifies them with the works of Satan and the world; in fact, sin should not be a topic of discussion amongst believers because it can influence a person's mind. So, what is the judge of sin and righteousness? God's word is truth and is the standard by which we compare our life. The word of God is perfect and the pure revelation of the character of God so we should carefully heed and obey it. Paul makes a plea to any who still do not believe by quoting Isaiah 60:1: "awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light." One of the main purposes of living the Christian life is to continually become a follower of the light and forsake the works of darkness. Through God's power and strength, we can walk in the light.

Ephesians 5:15-21
Walking in the light (truth) is not an easy thing, so Paul gives them further insight on how a Christlike lifestyle can be accomplished. First, Paul commands them to "walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise...." What does it mean to "walk circumspectly"? This phrase carries the idea of carefully and wisely making moral choices with your lifestyle. Paul also asks his readers to "redeem the time because the days are evil" which ultimately means to use the time given to them for the purposes of God instead of selfishly wasting time on insignificant things. When Paul says that the "days are evil" he is warning people that they do not have time to waste because Satan and the world are working hard to destroy lives. Third, Paul wants believers to "understand what the will of the Lord is." God's will (purposes for our life) is not some mystical game of hide and seek, but everything He expects from us is revealed in His word. Understanding God's will takes self-discipline and much time spent in the Bible. Lastly, Paul commands his readers to "be filled with the Spirit...." Understanding the filling of the Spirit must be read in context with the first part of verse 18: "do not be drunk with wine...." Drunkenness is when alcohol has complete control over your actions and Paul is making a comparison here by saying that we should not be under control of wine, but under the control of the Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit is an issue of control and we must daily give control of our life over to God for His use. How do we know if we are filled with the Spirit? Paul gives three ways the Spirit evidences Himself: singing (5:19), thankfulness (5:20), and submission (5:21). Each day we should be filled with the Spirit and give Him complete control over all our attitudes and actions.

Ephesians 5:22-33
This passage does not have a lack of conversation; in fact, these verses are some of the most popular when someone discusses a marriage relationship. We have to get the picture so far in the book of Ephesians so we can better understand what Paul is saying. Remember, Paul has spent a great portion of this letter correcting people's thinking on the subject of what makes a follower of Christ different from everyone else. Most people relied on their heritage (Jewish) for that close connection with God; however, Paul made them aware that the gospel has been given to both the Jew and Gentile making no distinction between them. Paul goes on to write that the thing which makes them different is their lifestyle. Believers in Jesus Christ do not live a life of sin and wickedness but they strive for holiness and purity. In Ephesians 5:15-21, Paul just stated that being controlled (filled) with the Holy Spirit leads to certain behaviors and one of the behaviors he mentions is submission. Those verses naturally lead into the issue of a marriage relationship. The first direction is aimed at the wife where Paul says "submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord." Submission carries the idea of giving place to another, in other words, willingly allow your husband to lead and guide your family. When a wife does this, she is in essence submitting to the Lord. I think it is equally important to view the next piece of advice in conjunction with the wife's submission: "husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her...." These commands go hand in hand. The husband should love his wife so much that he is willing to sacrifice anything for her. After all, Paul compares the duties of the husband with what Christ did for the church. I believe when the husband is properly loving his wife, the wife has no problem submitting to her husband because she knows he is doing what is best. Yes, God has ordained the man as the head of the home, but not to be a domineering authority. If a man loves God, then he will love his family and follow the principles of God in directing his family. I love how Paul ends this section: "let each one of you in particular so love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."
Dear God, help me follow these principles in my relationship!