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In this Chapter the Epistle is closed: and a blessed Close is made: Paul bids the Church to entrench themselves, in the holy Armory of God. And he seals up all, with an Apostolic Benediction.
(1) ¶ Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. (2) Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) (3) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. (4) And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (5) Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; (6) Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; (7) With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: (8) Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. (9) And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
The Apostle, according to his usual method in the close of his Epistles, makes a distinct, and separate address, to the several members of the Church, on relative duties; and as an affectionate Apostle, and Father, speaks personally to every class. I need not offer a single observation on either, by way of comment: the whole is abundantly plain. What he saith to children, in relation to the first commandment with promise, it is scarcely necessary to say, is in allusion to the first of the second table of the law; and therefore as such, it stands, as is here said, with a promise, and which is the first. As if the Lord would begin, with the earliest dawnings of life, to intimate the graciousness of his promises, running from first to last, through all the departments of the time-state of the Church.
(10) ¶ Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (15) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (18) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (19) ¶ And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, (20) For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Under the figure of an holy warfare the Apostle views the Church of Christ, and recommends to the people a suited Armory in Christ, for the combat. The Reader will recollect, that the Apostle never loseth sight, that he is writing to the Church of regenerated persons: and with this conviction upon his mind, he thus shows, how the holy warrior should be clad. I beg the Reader, from these verses to ob serve, how blessedly he recommends the saint of God, to begin with the Lord, that he may end in the Lord. Finally, (saith he,) my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. He that begins in the Lord's strength, will be sure to find strength all the way in his warfare. And, there never was an instance of a child of God being finally defeated, that did so. The armies in heaven overcame by the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 12:11 And the Church upon earth is said to be more than Conquerors, through Him that loveth them. Romans 8:37 .
As the Apostle recommends the Lord's people, to go forth in the Lord's strength so he bids them follow up all, in prayer, when clothed, in the divine armory. Praying always, he saith, with all prayer, and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance. Pause, Reader! and behold in imagination, the holy warrior in the Lord's cause, when girded with the divine weapons, here enumerated, always on his knees before the Lord; and conceive, what a lovely sight! And then ask, what fiery darts of Satan, what conflicts of flesh and blood, what persecution from the world, shall bring him down, whom God lifts up? What weapon, formed against God's redeemed ones, shall resist the sword of the Spirit, and the word of God? Prayer, is a blessed weapon. For it calls in God to our aid. All the holy heroes of the Church gone before, have found it a sure defence. Jacob wrestled in prayer, and prevailed. And one of the Prophets, a thousand years after, recorded the blessed account of it. Compare Genesis 32:24 . with Hosea 12:3-5 . David also tells us, in his experience, that this was his chief weapon. In the day (said he) when I cried, thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul. Psalms 138:3 . Nay, what was Christ's strength, in his human nature, but the same? Sweetly we read, for our comfort, and encouragement, that in the days of his flesh, he offered up prayers, and supplications, with strong cryings, and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard, in that he feared. Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience, by the things which he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the Author of eternal salvation, unto all them that obey him. Hebrews 5:7-9 . Reader! do not overlook these things. Prayer sweetly crowns the whole preparation, in the day of battle, when we go forth in the Lord's strength, in the Lord's cause. Prayer calls Jesus to our help, and Jesus becomes our strength.
I do not think it necessary, to notice the whole, and every weapon, which the Apostle here enumerates, as to be taken from the Lord's armory. All are blessed, and all essentially necessary. But they are too plain to need any Comment. I would just glance at one of them, because Paul commands, that above all, this should be taken; namely, faith. Above all (saith he) taking the shield of faith, where with ye shall, be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And it is very plain, that Satan flees from nothing so hastily, as when he is opposed by strong, and lively actings of faith, in the blood of the Lamb. When a poor buffeted child of God, against all Satan's accusations, and all the alarms of conscience, which the enemy takes care to bring before him, pleads guilty to all, but takes confidence, at the same time, in the Person, blood; and righteousness of Jesus Christ; the devil can fight no longer. And this is what the Apostle meant, when he said: Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. James 4:7-8 . But how shall a self - condemned sinner resist the devil but in Christ's strength; or draw nigh to God, but in Christ's Person, blood, and righteousness? Christ is the alone way, and truth, and life; for none can come to the Father, but by him. John 14:6 .
Reader ! do not dismiss the subject hastily. If the Lord the Spirit hath regenerated you, you can be no stranger to this holy warfare. You see then, where your strength lies. Not in tears, not in a brokenness of heart, not in repentance; yea, not in anything of your own, but in Christ. Oh ! for grace, with one of old to say, I will go forth in the strength of the Lord God, and make mention of his righteousness, even of his only. Psalms 71:16 .
(21) But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: (22) Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.
Reader ! do observe the humbleness of this great Apostle, in seeking the remembrance of the people's prayers. Yes! Paul, though so eminently blessed of his Almighty Master, and engaged as he was, in his Lord's service, and keeping up, us as no doubt he did, constant communion at the throne; yet earnestly begged of every child of God, to be mentioned by them, whenever they went to the heavenly Court. Think then, if Paul was so earnest, that new sup plies of strength, and grace, should be fetched for him, by the prayers of the people; how needful it must be now, in these awful times, in which we live, that the faithful, should bear the Lord's poor, and weak servants, on their hearts before the throne, daily, and hourly, for strength and grace from the Lord, to qualify them for the arduous work, in the ministry. Brethren, pray for us !
(23) Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (24) Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. Written from Rome unto the Ephesians by Tychicus.
How sweetly Paul begins, and ends his Epistles. So, methinks, should every child of God, when writing to a brother in Christ! It is blessed, it is gracious, when, from Christ's love in the heart, we send forth love to all Christ's little ones. It is a prayer founded in the love of God. And, what begins in prayer, awakened by divine grace, will be sure to be followed, in divine mercy.
HERE let us pause over the close of this Epistle, and, as we look back, and review the wonderful contents of it, may both the Writer and Reader of this Poor Man's Commentary, bow down before the throne of a Covenant, God in Christ, for so rich a portion of divine revelation of Jehovah's love to the Church ! Oh! God the Spirit grant to us, if it be thy blessed will, a spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the apprehension of those divine truths, and that they may be the engrafted word for the salvation of the soul.
Blessed Lord Jesus! we praise thy holy name, for thine unceasing mercies over thy Church, that amidst all the ravages of time, and all the revolutions of men and things; thy Church remaineth, and ever must remain, as long as the moon endureth, from one generation to another. And, although Ephesus is no more; the Church which was in Ephesus, and all the faithful in Christ Jesus, are the same, founded in Thee, the glorious Head of thy body; the same yester day, and today, and forever.
Faithful Paul ! our love to thee is great, in that the Lord counted thee faithful, putting thee into the ministry. Thou wert indeed, as thou hast here said, an Ambassador, though in bonds. Blessed for the Church was it, that the Lord sent thee as his Ambassador. And what art thou now, since like an Ambassador returned to his Master's royal Court, thou hast given in thy report to the King, and hast entered into the joy of thy Lord! Almighty Head of thy Church and people! bless all thy redeemed here below, who like Paul, love thy appearing in the regenerating of sinners, and comforting of saints, and who are looking forward for thy appearing, when thou shalt come to be glorified in thy saints, and admired in all them that believe! In that great day of God! thou wilt give to everyone of thine, the crown of righteousness, which fadeth not away. Then will the whole Church shout for joy, and everlasting praises will be heard, from all the ransomed of Zion, to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, through endless ages. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ephesians 6". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany