Manna for Today

 

Bosses and employees (Eph. 6:5-9)

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 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. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.

9 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.  (Eph. 6:5-9)

Learn it:

            In this section of describing submission within the household he moves into the slave and master relationship.  Slavery in the Roman empire was very different compared to the slavery that was seen in the United States.  In Rome, slaves would serve in their house and it would have been easy for them to eventually have freedom and move into a trades job.  That such hope was not seen in the U. S.  In this passage Paul is telling slaves to serve their masters in the same way they would serve Christ.  Obedience to their masters reflected how they felt towards Christ.  They want Christ to receive the glory and it was not dependent on how their masters treated them.  This would have been difficult because not all masters treated their slaves well.  Paul wanted slaves to be looking toward heaven and the reward they are going to receive in heaven.  That is what they should be focusing on not their present circumstances. 

            He then gives the masters a brief command.  He tells them to treat their sales well and not threaten them.  They should not be mistreating them or beating them.  They shouldn’t threaten them because even though they are their earthly master there is a greater person over both.  God is Lord over both slave and master.  Just like God shows no favoritism, we should show no favoritism. 

Live it:  

            This passage applies best at how we are two live our lives in the jobs and careers we are pursuing.  In our jobs we all of bosses.  Some are going to treat you better than others.  Whoever your boss is it should not affect our attitude in how we work there.  We should work just as hard for a bad boss as we would a good boss.  We do that because above all people is Jesus Christ and he is who we are truly working for.  We work in our jobs to bring Christ glory, not to find favor with our boss.  Even if we are never recognized for the work we have done it shouldn’t phase us because we will find a better reward in heaven.  How is your attitude at work?  Does it seem like every day is a Monday and you can’t wait till Friday afternoon?  Pray each morning before work that God would orient your heart so that you are working out of a sincere heart to give glory to God. 


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Parents and Children (Eph. 6:1-4)

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  (Eph. 6:1-4)

Learn it:

            Paul moves forward in his discussion of submission and applies it to the relationship between parents and children.  He starts off by writing to the children first.  He tells them to obey and honor their parents.  We should all be willing to heed the experience our parents have gone through and he is also assuming that the parents are followers of Christ.  That they are teaching their children about who Christ is and how better to trust and follow him.  That is what children should be learning from their parents.  If the children are learning this then they will have a long life on earth, and an even longer life in eternity. 

            Next, he addresses the fathers specifically since they are the heads of the family.  In the Greco-Roman culture, fathers had absolute control over the family.  They could tell their family to do whatever he commanded.  Here Paul is speaking against that culture norm telling fathers not to put unrealistic expectations on their children.  They shouldn’t exasperate them or do things that will make them unnecessarily angry.  They should instead be teaching them how to be better followers of Christ. 

Live it:

            Everyone is a child.  Just because we grow up doesn’t mean we have lost that identity.  We may no longer obey every command of our parent, but we should be honoring them with our lives.  We want to do things that would make them proud and even at times seek their advice on things.  I know I still do that in my life.  I treasure so much what my parents say because they have been through a lot more and have great wisdom to share.  How are you honoring your parents with your life? 

            Then there are some that are parents.  God has blessed you with the responsibility of raising a child.  I have not been blessed with that yet, but I am learning here about what is expected of me if I am to become a father.  My wife and I are the primary people responsible for raising up our children in Christ.  It’s not anyone else’s responsibility but our own.  We can utilize the church to help aid us but at the end of the day, I must make sure I am pointing everything back to Christ.
             I also see that I have to be leading in such a way that it doesn’t become an unrealistic burden to my child.  That’s something I’m sure I’ll fail at but something I have to be aware of.  If you are a parent pray that God will continue to give you the strength and knowledge to teach your children well.  If you don’t’ have kids, you can be a great influence in your church and love on the kids there.  Pray to see if there is a way for you to serve and be involved in your church and community.

 


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Marriage reflects Christs love for the Church (Eph. 5:22-33)

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.  (Eph. 5:22-33)

Learn it:

            Paul now turns his attention to the household and what submission looks like in a marriage.  He commands that wives should submit to their husbands just like they would to the Lord.  Submission is often a word that today brings a lot of tension.  From a biblical perspective, it is all about a divine order and it does not carry the same meaning of extortion or tyranny that is often associated with it.  It should be clear that women are not supposed to be submissive to all men.  It is just wives to husbands and it is completely voluntary.  They should not be submissive if their husband is leading them into sin. 

            Paul then tells the men how they are to love their wives.  They are NOT told to rule over them with total authority.  They are told multiple times to love their wives like Christ loves the church.  Husbands should seek their wife’s well-being, spiritual and physical.  They should also be willing to lay down their lives.  It is a great responsibility, but it should be one of mutual trust and respect. 

            Men are also commanded to treat their wives as their own body.  Paul is emphasizing the oneness that happens when a man and woman are married.  They become one flesh.  The marriage is a beautiful example of the relationship between Christ and the church.  They become one body.  Christ loves the church has made them pure and holy.  He laid down his life so that their sins may be forgiven.  Such a wonderful example and sets a high bar for marriage relationships. 

Live it:

            This is not most peoples favorite passage to study because we do not like to be told that someone has authority over us.  When God created humans, he did it with a plan and order in everything.  As husbands are the heads of the house they should do everything hand in hand with their wife.  Seeking out her well being would naturally lead him to have a deeply intimate relationship with her.  If a husband is doing this, then hopefully it would be easy and natural for his wife to want to follow him.  Because he is communicating with her and they are moving forward together.

            Marriages should be an example to the world of Christ’s love for his church.  If you are married hopefully people will see something unique and loving in your relationship with your spouse.  If you are single you might wonder what purpose this passage is for you?  It shows you the deep love Christ has for you and how you are united with him.  He laid down his life for you and he is the one who has made you perfect.  Something we can all stand in awe of and worship him for.


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Wake up and focus on God (Eph. 5:15-21)

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  (Ephesians 5:15-21)

Learn it:

          In today’s passage, Paul is giving us a summary and more info on how the Christian walk should look like day to day.  There are three main ways we do this first, we should be wise.  Our lives are short, and we must make the most of every opportunity.  We cannot live our lives on autopilot.  We need to keep out eyes open every day and see how the Holy Spirit might be opening doors for us. 

          Second, we should not be foolish but focused on the will of God.  We tend to personalize this and try to figure out how God is leading us in our lives, which is a good thing to do.  In Paul’s letters, the divine will of God is about how God how he wants to bring every man and woman into a right relationship with him.  For us being focused on God’s will means we are focused on leading other people into a relationship with God. 

          Thirdly, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit.  If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the things in verses 19-21 will be evident in our life.  We will be singing songs to other believers in corporate worship and we will be singing songs of praise to God.  We will also be constantly thanking God for all the blessings we have in our lives.  Then this will lead to us displaying submission in our lives.  In the next section, Paul will go on to lay out what this submission looks like in our lives. 

Live it:  

               This is a large list of things we should strive to be focused on every day of our lives.  Praise God, that we have the Holy Spirit within us to help us do these things.  Therefore, having a good habit of spending time with God every morning is so important.  Getting our minds and hearts focused on God’s plan helps us be more aware of divine opportunities throughout our day.  These divine opportunities are conversations or ways we can serve that we might miss if we are on autopilot.  They are ways that we can reach others with the gospel.  Or moments where we can praise God by singing songs to him or thanking him for something amazing he has done in our lives.  Are you coasting through life right now and need to be woken up spiritually?  What opportunities do you have to do to talk with someone about God?  There could be an unbeliever that needs to know the gospel or perhaps there is a believer that needs to be reminded of the goodness of God.  We have to be on the lookout for how we can be encouraging the people in our lives.  What can you do today? 

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Pastor’s Corner