Series EPHESIANS with Pastor Mark Finley |
Lesson 11: Practicing Supreme Loyalty to Christ |
Memory Text: Ephesians 6:9 – 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. |
11.1 Advice to Children
Paul encourages children in Ephesians 6:1–3 to obey and honor their parents in Christ by quoting the fifth commandment from the Ten Commandments. This commandment suggests that honoring parents contributes to promoting health and well-being and is part of God’s plan for human welfare.
11.2 Advice to Parents
Paul’s advice in Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21 highlights that parents should neither provoke nor exasperate their children. This stands in contrast to the rights parents held in those times, where they could wield significant power over their children, provoking them to anger and frustration. Paul urges Christian parents to exercise their authority with love and in the spirit of the Lord, fostering a healthy and respectful relationship.
11.3 Slavery in Paul’s Day
Paul’s advice to slaves and slaveholders reflects the reality of slavery in the ancient Greco-Roman world. Paul did not actively campaign against slavery but addressed Christian slaves and slaveholders to promote Christian conduct and a new social vision based on brotherhood and equality, in contrast to the existing hierarchy. Paul emphasized the idea that the social revolution should take place within the community and in Christian life, founded on the assumption of being children of God and the equality of all believers.
11.4 Slaves of Christ
Paul encourages Christian slaves to serve their earthly masters obediently and sincerely, highlighting Christ as the true Master. He points to the substitution by urging slaves to serve not their masters but Christ in their work. Through this sincere service ultimately granted to Christ, Paul promises a reward and recognition upon Christ’s return.
11.5 Masters Who Are Slaves
In Ephesians 6:9, Paul addresses the slaveholders, urging them to act with kindness and justice towards their slaves and to avoid unnecessary threats. This advice, given in the presence of the slaves, implied a fundamental change in customary practices, setting a clear contrast between the earthly “masters” and the “Lord” Christ.
Paul urges slaveholders to act justly and benevolently towards their slaves by emphasizing equality before Christ, reminding them that both they and their slaves serve the same Lord in heaven. This call for social and ethical change was a significant departure from prevailing practices and a call to prioritize divine justice over societal norms.
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