Ephesians Chapter Six, Basic Training For The Believer
In our study of Ephesians chapter six, we look at the fact that the church
(believers) are called to be soldiers. This chapter gives us the basic training that we need to
fight the spiritual battles that we face every day.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor
your father and mother' - which is the first commandment with a promise - 'That it may
go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.'
The first lesson that a soldier has to learn is discipline and
obedience. As we see with this passage, this begins in our earliest childhood and it
begins at home. In chapter
five, we saw a different word for obey than we do here. The word there meant
respond while this word speaks of service and actually means to do what you are told to
do. Paul quotes from Deuteronomy chapter five and we are reminded that all of the Ten
Commandments were repeated in the New Testament except one (the Sabbath day). The
promise of this discipline is that we will be ready to face the world. Today, it is not
popular for parents to discipline their children and, in many homes, it is tough to see
who is actually in charge (the child or the parents). When this child hits the real
world, they do not adapt very well because they are used to getting everything that they
want when they want it.
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in
the training and instruction of the Lord.
In any military unit, the soldiers that have been in service longer
are asked to help the new recruits to learn the basics. The same is true in the family
situation as the children from the previous passage grow up to be parents themselves.
Then, they are responsible for training their children in the things of God. This
training is not giving them a list of rules just to be giving them rules but is in fact
showing them what is best for them and that is found in God's Word. The biggest problem
today is that we have had generation after generation that has grown up not being
trained in the Word. If they are not trained, then how can they train up their
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with
sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.
The discipline that we learned as a child prepares us to enter the
workplace as an adult. This verse is telling us that we are to listen to our bosses and
do our jobs as if our bosses were Jesus. A Christian should be the best worker at any
job that there is and that brings glory to God.
Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but
like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.
We are to obey our earthly employer whether he or she is watching
us or not because it is God's will that we glorify Him in everything. This is a reminder
that we are to do the right thing because it is the right thing and not for earthly
Ephesians 6:7 & 8
Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men,
because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether
he is slave or free.
Because we understand that we work for the Lord, whatever we do, we
are to give it our best effort. Just as a worker gets a paycheck, we are going to
receive a reward for the good that we do on the earth. This is also talked about, in Revelation
20, when the dead are judged.
And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten
them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there
is no favoritism with him.
This discipline (basic training) extends to those who have been
blessed by God with the authority over others in the workplace. If you are a supervisor,
owner, foreman, etc. then you are to treat those under you (slaves) as you would if
Jesus came to work for you. After all, He is the Boss (Master) of all. Brothers and
sisters, if you are in a workplace that you hate, then introduce your supervisor to his
Master and then show him/her this passage of scripture. Jesus can change anyone and it
could become the place where everyone would like to work.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
The second lesson that a soldier learns in basic training is
teamwork and trusting the man/woman next to them in the heat of the battle. In our
spiritual boot camp, that teamwork is trusting in Jesus and His power to fight the
battles with us. When we try to do things on our own, we will often fail but, with
Christ, we are victorious! That is what John was talking about when he said that faith
is the victory that allows us to overcome the world (see 1 John 5:4).
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand
against the devil's schemes.
Armor is used to protect the soldier during battle and the same is
true for the Christian. The armor does not do any good unless it is put on the body and
so Paul tells us to put it all on. The word "schemes" is talking about the methods that
the devil will use against man. We can be assured that, whatever the scheme, we will be
protected with the armor that God has provided us.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the
rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the
spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
The third skill that we need to develop as a soldier is the ability
to recognize the enemy. In this verse, Paul tells us who the enemy is and, as we see, it
is not the people around us but the spirit of evil. This is talking about the devil and
his demons. They are at work in this world and many times they work through people that
don't even know it. It seems that, today, more people are wounded in their battles by
the "church" than they are the devil. This is caused by the fact that many Christians
have not developed this ability to recognize the enemy. The devil uses this "friendly
fire" to spread division in hopes of slowing or even stopping the work of God here on
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of
evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to
Paul repeats how important it is to put on the "full armor" so that
we can stand. God has given us everything that we need but we have to choose to put it
on and to use it.
Ephesians 6:14 & 15
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the
readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
Paul begins to show us what our armor is and it starts with "the
belt of truth". A belt is designed to keep your garments in place so that you do not
trip over the ends of them. It is designed to be worn at the waist which is our balance
point. The belt that we have to keep us from tripping and falling is the very Word of
God. The second piece of armor is the breastplate which was designed to shield the heart
and, as we see here, our heart is guarded by the fact that we have a righteousness that
is granted by God and cannot be lost. Our feet are to be ready to carry the Word (gospel
of peace) and to share it with others. When we understand what God has done for us
(through a knowledge of His word), we will be ready to tell others about how they can
have that peace as well.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which
you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
The previous pieces of armor were all put on and then they just did
their thing but the shield is different. The shield must be picked up and carried and it
reminds us that this battle takes some effort on our part. A shield is not only used for
defensive purposes but can also be used to attack when in close. As believers, our
shield is our faith in Jesus for salvation and provision. We know that we are God's
chosen children and we know that He is faithful in caring for His children. Therefore,
we know that "the evil one" can not overcome us.
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is
the word of God.
A helmet covers the head and protects the mind. The helmet of
salvation speaks to the fact that we know that we are children of God and are saved. As
we fight these spiritual battles, one of the favorite tactics of the devil is to try to
get us to doubt our salvation but if we hold to our helmet we will not be affected by
that tactic. We are also called to fight using the sword (word of God). Jesus gave us
the example of this as He used the word of God to correct the devil when He was being
tempted. (see Matthew
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers
and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the
No soldier wants to go into battle alone and that is why Paul
reminds us that, as Christians, we do not have to. Prayer is a direct connection with
the Creator who has the power to do all things and so we can be encouraged. Paul also
reminds us to pray for our fellow soldiers (saints).
Ephesians 6:19 & 20
Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given
me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an
ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
The "mystery of the gospel" refers to the fact that it was revealed
even in the Old Testament that Jesus Christ would come and pay for our sins. It is a
mystery in that we can never understand what it would be like to send our only son to
die for those that hate him. That is exactly what God did and Jesus came willingly. Even
as Paul was imprisoned for preaching the gospel, he asked for prayer to enable him to be
bold. He also asked that the words be from God and not his own understanding.
Ephesians 6:21 & 22
Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will
tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. I am
sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may
We should remember that Paul was in prison still caring for others while he
wrote this. We see from this passage that he was sending a messenger with this letter to encourage
the Ephesians. One of the signs of a mature Christian (one who has completed their basic training
for believers) is that they are able to encourage and build-up others even as they face some tough
Ephesians 6:23 & 24
Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and
the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying
Paul ends this basic training with encouragement to the believers.
It is common for leaders to give a "pep talk" to the troops before they go into battle
and that is sorta what Paul does here. He reminds us that the battle is not between us
as believers and so we can have peace with our brothers. Along with that, God has given
us faith and love to overcome all that we will face. As always, Paul reminds us that it
is a gift (grace) from God. We can face anything when we know that God has already given
us the victory!