James the Just – Introduction – James 1:1-4 – Week 1

James the Just

Introduction to James

Week 1

Rob Covell

Introduction – The Epistle of James belongs to a group of Apostolic Epistles that scholars call the “General/Universal” Epistles because they are not addressed to any one Apostolic church, like 1&2 Corinthians, Philippians, etc. The Universal Epistles are addressed to whole Body of Christ. These epistles would be 1&2 Peter, 1,2&3 John, Jude and James. This helps us understand the purpose of James’ epistle; which was to be used as a wide reaching regional exhortation to the Church in Judea, Samaria to Antioch following the persecution of the Jerusalem Church in Acts 7 and Acts 8 following the stoning of Stephen.

There are 3 men named James Scriptures:

1- James son of Zebedee, brother of John (the Sons of Thunder); see Matthew 4:21, Matthew 10:2, Mark 3:17, Luke 5:10, Acts 1:13 and Acts 12:2. This James was put to death by the sword and martyred for the faith in Acts 12 by Herod.

2- James son of Alphaeus – Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, and Luke 6:15. There is nothing written about this James outside of the Scriptures, and we do not know anything about this man’s life or his ministry other than he was an original disciple and apostle of Christ.

3- James, the half-brother of Jesus – Matthew 13:55 – “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?”, Mark 6:3, Acts 12:17, Acts 15:13 (Jerusalem Council), Acts 21:18 (Paul’s vow), 1 Corinthians 15:7 (resurrection account), Galatians 1:19 (The Lord’s brother), Galatians 2:9 and Galatians 2:12. This is the James that wrote the Epistle of James.

James, the half-brother of Jesus became the leader of the Jerusalem Church after Peter and John had left due to persecution, eventually James rose to the position of being a preeminent Apostle that Paul and Peter both submitted to at the Acts 15 council that decided the issue of how Gentile Christians were to live morally and if they needed to receive the Law/Circumcision before being considered accepted by God.

We can be sure that this is the James that wrote this Epistle because we have the Early Church fathers, Origen, Eusebius, Hegesippus, and Clement all confirm he is the writer. We also have the extra-Biblical of Josephus who mentions James two times in his historical accounts.

Josephus – “Festus (See Acts 24:27) was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned:”

Josephus – “And this seems to me to have been the reason why God, out of his hatred of these men’s wickedness, rejected our city; and as for the temple, he no longer esteemed it sufficiently pure for him to inhabit therein, but brought the Romans upon us, and threw a fire upon the city to purge it; and brought upon us, our wives, and children, slavery, as desirous to make us wiser by our calamities…To this degree did the violence of the seditious prevail over all right and justice… This… became the occasion of the … miseries that befell our nation… Ananus… assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, … whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned:”

According to Early Church accounts, James was martyred in this way in approximately AD62:

1- James was accused of being a Law breaker by Ananus the High Priest, the Scribes and the Pharisees.

2- James was taken to the summit of the Temple during the Passover and told by the Pharisees to renounce Jesus as the Messiah, in the presence of the people.

3- James answered, “”Christ himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven” – Eusebius

4- After James’ declaration, he was pushed from the summit of the Temple (approx. 100 feet). He did not die after the fall, but was greatly injured. As James prayed for the forgiveness of the people who pushed him, members of the Pharisees began to stone him, and James was finally put to death by being hit on the head with a fuller’s club (laundry stick) that someone threw at him.

James was described by the Early Church fathers as being a man of prayer, a Nazirite, and he was described as having knees like camels because of the long hours James spent in prayer.

James wrote his Epistle very early on in Church History in approximately AD45-AD50, even before Paul wrote the Galatians in AD49. It may be the earliest Epistle written after the gospels of Matthew and Mark. The Epistle of James teaches us that works are the fruit of faith. Faith that saves begins in the heart and is made evident to others by our lifestyle choices. The Lord can see our hearts and knows if we have put genuine faith in His death on a cross for our sins. But the people around us cannot look into our hearts, but they can see the evidence of faith by what type of lives we lead. This is beauty of the Epistle of James; it teaches us to cling to our faith, manifest the fruit of faith and apply Christ-like character to every area of our lives. James could be classified as Christianity 101. In fact, we will see similar themes in James as in the Sermon on the Mount and Proverbs.

James 1:1

a) We can see the type of humility that James walked in. He does not call himself the “chief apostle”, “pillar of the church” or the “brother of Christ”. James refers to himself as servant/bondservant. Servant – Greek – doulos – a slave, bondman, man of servile condition, metaph., one who gives himself up to another’s will
those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men, devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests. When we realize the cost of our redemption, by the suffering of Christ, and love with which Christ pursues us; then we have postured our hearts to receive the grace to become bondservants, who have overcome the right to ourselves and we become Christ’s very own possession.

b) The name James means, “supplanter, or one who overthrows”. Certainly, James turned the spirit of religion in Jerusalem upside down as he revealed the message of Jesus Christ by the way he lived his life and message of Christ that he proclaimed. Josephus seems to indicate that the death of James was the breaking point that released the judgment of God on Jerusalem for breaking covenant with Him by rejecting Jesus the Messiah.

c) “To the twelve tribes” – This statement in verse one indicates that this was a regional circular epistle that written to the Jewish believers in Judea, Samaria, to Antioch. At the time James wrote this letter, Christians were considered a branch of Judaism, and were identified as Nazarenes in the First Century. The Church of Jerusalem that James led was the epicenter of Apostolic authority until AD67, when the Romans sieged Jerusalem and the Church fled to Pella. Many teachers, prophets and apostles were sent out of this apostolic-hub like Barnabas, Agabus, the original Apostles, as well as John Mark and many others in Church History.

James 1:2-3

a) James was writing to Messianic believers who were who being persecuted by the Pharisees, the Scribes and the Sadducees. See Acts 7, Acts 8, Acts 23, and Galatians 1:23. Paul was one of these persecutors of the Church, “1 Timothy 1:13 – Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.” Hebrews 10:34 describes the persecution that Messianic believers endured, “You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.”

b) James wanted to strengthen persecuted believers by looking at trials, challenges and the testing of our faith as opportunities that produce the perseverance of faith. Jesus spoke to this in the Sermon on the Mount. See Matthew 5:10-12 and the Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13:21-23.

James 1:4

a) James teaches us that there is a purpose in suffering for Christ, enduring persecution, and the trials of life. We should be clear, that suffering as the result of our sin is not righteous suffering. We should also be clear that God does not design trials and faith tests to perfect us, (that is the Holy Spirit’s ministry), but that God will redeem them and bring glory out of all things in our lives as we lean on Him. Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

b) Spiritual maturity is the fruit of perseverance of faith.

c) John 10:10 – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that
they may have life, and have it to the full. 1 John 3:8 – The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

d) Terrible things may happen, and tragedies may come in our lives, but the Lord is not the author of any of them. However, the Lord is the redeemer and restorer of all of them.

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Epistle to the Ephesians – Identity, Intimacy and Influence – Ephesians 6:10-19 – Week 16 – Rob Covell

Epistle to the Ephesians Identity, Intimacy, and Influence

Ephesians 6:10-19

Week 16

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will complete our study in the Epistle to the Ephesians. In Ephesians 6:10-19, we will look at some of the most exciting and practical Scripture concerning spiritual warfare and learn how Christians can stand against spiritual attacks and emerge victorious.

In these verses, Paul uses the battle gear of a Roman Solider to paint a word picture that would have released courage and faith in the Church at Ephesus that was experiencing the victory of the gospel, but also enduring a multitude of attacks against the Ephesian Church from religious, to political, and attacks from false teachers. The Roman battle machine in Paul’s time was undefeatable and it enforced kingdom rule and reign and maintained peace throughout the Roman Empire. Paul’s word plays on the Roman soldier’s battle gear compared to spiritual warfare, was designed to empower a sense of strength, hope and courage to the Ephesian Church.

As we explore these verses, my prayer is that we would know the dimensions of the spiritual fight, stand in sobriety of faith and find the same strength, hope and courage that the Apostolic Church possessed.

Colossians 2:15 – And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Ephesians 6:10

a) Paul introduces us to the prerequisite of being strengthened in the Lord before we can put on the full armor of God and engage spiritual warfare. Paul most likely draws from 1 Samuel 30:6 – David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.

b) When we consider being strengthened in the Lord, we need to consider the meaning of 2 Greek words. 1 – Power – kratos – force, strength, power, might: mighty with great power, dominion. When we look at the Greek word “kratos”, we see that this is the power/action of God being present in our lives. 2 – Greek – Might – ischys – ability, force, strength, might. When we look at the definition of this Greek word, we see that it describes the might/ability that resides in God. To be strengthened in the Lord is to trust in His ability, and from that trust, we can move in faith action.

c) Before anyone engages spiritual warfare, they should be mature in the Lord, and rooted and grounded in the might and power of God. No soldier in the ancient world was ever given battle armor without purposeful training, physical fitness, and allegiance to their cause. It is a very dangerous proposition to willfully engage spiritual warfare without possessing the spiritual maturity to accompany the battle.

Ephesians 6:11

a) The purpose for strengthening ourselves in the Lord is so that we can stand against the devil’s schemes. Notice that spiritual warfare is waged from a defensive position. It is so that we can stand and not fall. The Gospel of the Kingdom is an offensive assault on the dominion of darkness. However, direct satanic assaults against believers are waged from being strengthened in Christ, so that we can stand and not fall.

b) Schemes – Greek – methodeia – cunning arts, deceit, craft, trickery – Spiritual warfare is a multi-dimensional war, waged by deception, on the battlefields of the world system, the flesh and direct demonic assault.

Ephesians 6:12

a) The Apostle Paul describes the realm of supernatural spiritual warfare in verse 12. What we see happen in the natural/physical realm is an indicator of what is happening in the spiritual realm. Our war is not against people, but that which influences people. The Ephesian Church was attacked by worshippers of Artemis, persecuted by Jews for being heretics, persecuted by Romans as political enemies, and attacked by false teachers like Cerinthus. Timothy died at the hands of worshippers of Artemis in AD97.

b) Notice the multiple levels of spiritual entities that wage spiritual warfare against Christians. Let’s look at the Greek words for more clarity. Rulers – archē – Demonic leaders, or heads of demons. Authorities – exousia – Demonic authorities with power to do as they please in a specific metron of authority (jurisdiction). Powers of the dark world – kosmokratōr – lord of the world, prince of this age. Spiritual forces – pneumatikos ponēria – spirits of depravity, iniquity, wickedness, malice, evil purposes and desires.

c) It is important to recognize that spiritual warfare is not only multi-dimensional regarding its battlefield engagements, but we stand against a variety of demonic forces that vary in power and authority. d

) The Christian has spiritual authority over all the demonic realm, through Christ. However, we should always be dependent on Christ, humble, obedient to Him and teachable. The most dangerous spiritual warriors are the most humble and dependent lovers of Christ.

Ephesians 6:13

a) Therefore – Paul is reminding the Ephesian Church that in the breadth and scope of demonic assaults against Christians, the full armor of God is that which enables us to stand against these types of spiritual attacks. When we consider the variety of spiritual attacks, the most difficult ones to stand against are temptations that are directed at the flesh. The injustice in the world that is present from the corruption that is exploited by the demonic realm is easier to stand against when compared to personal demonic attacks that prey on the weakness of the flesh. Notice that Paul writes, “stand YOUR ground”.

b) Notice that Paul repeats the exhortation to “stand”. Christians can stand in the following ways: faith, unity, strength, freedom, and as mature believers.

Ephesians 6:14

a) Paul plays on the invincibility of the Roman soldier and uses their armor as the metaphor for spiritual preparation that will be invincible in the face of demonic attacks.

b) Belt of truth – The Roman soldier’s abdomen was protected by the belt that gathered the uniform, secured his equipment and allowed for freedom of movement in battle. Truth is always the foundation of faith and truth is powerful in building us up in righteousness. Believing truth about God, is powerful for standing against the lies of the enemy.

c) Breastplate of righteousness – The Roman soldier’s breastplate protected their heart against mortal wounds. Greek – dikaiosynē – in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God, integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting. Holiness and purity being present in our lives as the fruit of faith, protects us from deep and painful wounds from the enemy. Positionally, Christ has made us righteous. However, our personal holiness flows from us being aligned with the heart of Jesus, that empowers us to make choices that honor Him.

Ephesians 6:15

a) Feet fitted – One of military advantages of the Roman Army was the design of their battle footwear. Josephus describes them as “shoes, thickly studded with nails”. This allowed the Roman soldier to be immovable when pressed by a frontal assault on a battle line. It also allowed the Roman soldier to trample enemies and inflict massive damage to bodies.

b) The gospel of peace makes us able to stand. Knowing who we are in Christ, the benefit of cross and message of grace and salvation by faith is personal peace and peace to the world. Our faith stands on the cross of Christ and trusts in His sacrifice for eternal salvation and acceptance of God towards us. Our faith is empowered by the resurrection of Christ who releases the power of the Spirit in us.

c) Paul most likely had Isaiah 52:7 in mind – “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Ephesians 6:16

a) The shield of faith – The Roman shield was rectangular with 4 corners and was very tall compared to other ancient battle gear. The Roman shield was used for a variety of military positions from a wall, to a huddle that virtually impenetrable from arrow attacks. As the Roman soldier would place shield to shield they could withstand an arrow attack, draw the enemy in, and stab them between the gaps in the shields.

b) Faith will always overcome attacks from personal spiritual evil. Greek – faith – pistis – believing it to be true. Faith considers what God has declared and promised and believes it to be true and rests in that truth.

c) It is important to note that the Greek text does not literally read “evil one”. The word is ponēros – full of labors, annoyances, hardships, bringing toils,
annoyances, perils; of a time full of peril to Christian faith and steadfastness; causing pain and trouble, in an ethical sense: evil wicked, bad. It is true that these things originate in the evil one, but it is also important to note that there are multiple dimensions regarding the type of attacks that faith defeats.

Ephesians 6:17

a) Helmet of salvation – The Roman soldier’s helmet (Galea) protected them from head wounds, neck wounds and face wounds, and was designed in a way where swords, arrows and other weapons would glance off. The decorative crests were not used in battle.

b) The helmet of salvation speaks of the having our minds protected by the knowledge of God. 1 Corinthians 2:16, says that we have the mind of Christ, or having access to the mind of Christ. This is knowing how God thinks and feels about a matter. When our thought life aligns with God’s, then we are equipped in using the wisdom of God that defeats attacks on our thought life. 2 Corinthians 10:5 – We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

c) Sword of the Spirit – Paul references the Roman short sword (Gladius) that was used from behind the shield. It was double-edged, wide and strong. It would penetrate enemy defenses and inflict mortal wounds on their enemies.

d) The word of God – Greek – rhēma – the living voice as contrasted the written word. The Word of God applied by faith and spoken by being led by the Holy Spirit will inflict damage on the assault of supernatural spiritual enemies.

Ephesians 6:18-19

a) Prayer and intercession is where the armor of God is deployed and used effectively in our battle against supernatural evil forces that come against Christians and Christ’s Church.

Epistle to the Ephesians – Identity, Intimacy and Influence – Ephesians 6:1-9 – Week 15 – Rob Covell

Epistle to the Ephesians Identity, Intimacy, and Influence

Ephesians 6:1-10

Week 15

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will continue with Paul’s exhortation that began in Ephesians 5:2133, regarding how Christians should relate to one another in marriage, family and in the context of the Roman slave system in Ephesus. We should keep in the forefront of our minds, that Paul begins this section of his letter to the Ephesians using “be filled with the Spirit” as the backdrop.

All interpersonal relationships are successful when we are yielded to the Holy Spirit, who is our Teacher, Helper and Advocate. As we explore Ephesians 6:1-10 in this Session, it is important that we approach this section of Scripture in the context of Roman Ephesus. Otherwise, we run the risk of missing of the truly revolutionary Christian equality, honor and value of all people. We could say that Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesians in Ephesians 6:5-9, is revolutionary social justice in the context of the culture he is writing to. Authentic expressions of Christianity have always put forth the equality of all people, and the command to honor all people.

In Ephesians 6:1-9, we look at the following movements in the text.

1 – Paul’s exhortation for children to obey their parents.

2 – The Father’s responsibility to father their children in ways that re-image God and lead them into His ways.

3 – The conduct of Christian Roman slaves.

4 – The warning to Christian Roman slave masters.

Ephesians 6:1-4

a) The exhortation in verse 1 is for children to obey their parents. The exhortation is 2-fold; parents have the responsibility to train their children to obey and children have the responsibility to learn obedience. Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. – Teaching our children to obey leaves a godly legacy.

b) Christian parents have the unique responsibility to model the type of relationship that each one of us has with our heavenly Father. Teaching our children to obey is the best thing we could do for them, because we teach them to trust, which will carry over in their faith walks with the Lord and empower them to obey and trust their heavenly Father and believe He is good and benevolent.

c) Notice in verse 3 that there is a promise that is attached to honoring our father and mother. Many of the issues of life that steal longevity from humanity directly correlates to the wise council of our fathers and mothers. Long life is associated with wise choices.

d) The breakdown of moral anchors in cultures is directly connected to the concept of honor.

e) It is interesting to note that Christian Bible commentators typically divide the 10 Commandments into 2 divisions of 4 and 6. The first 4 are directed towards God
and the last 6 are directed towards others. Jewish commentators divide the 10 Commandments into 2 sections of 5, and include honoring father and mother as directed toward God more than a duty directed towards man. In Matthew 15:3-6, Jesus used this Commandment to rebuke the Pharisees in the context that honoring father and mother was obedience to God.

f) It is important to note that Christian fathers set the tone in the development of character in their children. If fathers “exasperate” their children, they rob the child of the close, trusting relationship that builds obedience in their hearts. We see this same exhortation in Colossians 3:21 – Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. Greek – exasperate/provoke – parorgizō – to rouse to wrath, to provoke, exasperate, anger.

g) Our approach to the correction of our children either empowers them to learn the lessons of life, or be on-ramped to anger, which robs them of destiny. Fathers have the responsibility to teach our children about God’s ways, about His nature and character, and about His love, mercy and grace.

Ephesians 6:5-7

a) It is important for us to understand the concept of slavery in the ancient Roman world. The institution of Roman slavery was very different from the oppressive exploitative racial slavery in the Enlightenment and the Modern eras. Roman slavery was not race based, and slaves were from all Roman occupied areas of the ancient world. The institution of Roman slavery in Paul’s time was heavily influenced by the Greek Stoic philosophers who advocated for societal rights and privileges for slaves. Roman slaves were a diverse work pool from professionals like doctors, and accountants to manual laborers and miners. Roman slavery in the First Century accounted for approximately 40% of the population of the Roman Empire. Slaves did not have citizenship rights, could not testify in a court of law, and could be punished by branding, beatings, or capital punishment for crimes against their masters. However, slaves could buy their freedom, own property and amass resources. Roman slavery resembled modern +indentured servitude. Slavery collapsed in the Roman world because of 3 main factors; 1 – Stoic Philosophy. 2 – Rome’s total control of the civilized world, which decreased the opportunity to enslave conquered people groups. 3 – The rise of Christianity. The Early Church Fathers taught that all people were made in God’s image, and in Christ, every person was equal in their expression of Christianity. There were Roman slaves who were elders in the Church, deacons, pastors, teachers, and prophets who were considered equal to their Roman citizen brothers and sisters. Christianity has destroyed slavery in every culture that it has met. Paul’s letter to Philemon concerning Onesimus, his Christian slave, reveals how Christians regarded their brothers and sisters who were slaves. Interestingly, Ephesus was the largest slave trading market in the Roman world outside of Rome.

b) Notice in verse 6, that Paul calls Christian slaves, slaves of Christ. When Jesus Christ is our Master, no man owns our destiny, dignity, and value. Christianity eroded the Roman cultural slave system because of its virtue, power and equality inherent in the Christian world view.

c) Many Bible commentators appropriate these verses and apply them to the
modern labor versus employer arrangement in our society. While we could apply the work ethic that Paul puts forth in these verses, we would miss the truly revolutionary Christian social justice view of equals among men and women in the context of Roman slavery. Clement (Philippians 4:3), according to Church tradition was a Roman slave. He was martyred for the faith by being tied to an anchor and cast into the Black Sea. The anchor became a Christian symbol of fidelity after this.

Ephesians 6:8

a) Notice that there is an eternal reward for living our lives in a way that honors God. 2 Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

b) Charles Spurgeon – “Grace makes us the servants of God while still we are the servants of men: it enables us to do the business of heaven while we are attending to the business of earth: it sanctifies the common duties of life by showing us how to perform them in the light of heaven.”

Ephesians 6:9

a) Paul reminds Christian Roman slave masters that they were to regard their slaves with the same honor and respect required for Christian slaves towards their masters. The root issue that Paul is addressing in this section of Scripture is honor in our interpersonal relationships. Jesus taught us this in Luke 6:31 – Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Epistle to the Ephesians – Identity, Intimacy, and Influence – Ephesians 5:21-33 – Week 14 – Rob Covell

Epistle to the Ephesians Identity, Intimacy, and Influence

Ephesians 5:21-33

Week 14

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will complete Ephesians chapter 5. As we conclude chapter 5 and move into chapter 6, we see a shift in the movement of the text. Previously, the exhortations of Paul were focused on our personal responsibilities of faith, discipleship, and course of our lives regarding our identities in Christ.

The next movement in Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesian Church is directed toward how we relate to one another as we are in Christ. There are 3 movements in the text in Ephesians 5:21-33.
1 – The mutual benefit towards each other for the sake of Christ

2 – The role of Christian wives

3 – The role of Christian husbands

Ephesians 5:21

a) To more fully understand Ephesians 5:21, we should look at the Greek words for clarification. The Greek word used here for submit is hypotassō – to arrange under, to subordinate, a Greek military term used to describe ranks. When this word is used in a non-military context, it carries the thought that people who are relating to each other adopt an attitude of cooperation, mutual responsibility and carrying a burden together. The Greek word hypotassō is followed by a reciprocal plural pronoun allēlōn, which means one another, reciprocal, and mutually.

b) The idea that is presented by Paul to the Ephesian Church is the idea of working together, for the mutual benefit of each other, because of the authority that Jesus Christ possesses over everyone in the Body of Christ. As we see Christ in all people who are possessed by Him, we see value, and therefore we are compelled to serve one another for the greater good in Christ.

c) This does not imply that there is no order in the Church/Body of Christ. Earlier in Ephesians 4:11, we see that there is an apostolic order in the governing of the Church, and we have Hebrews 13:17 – Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.

d) Paul is presenting to us that Kingdom Culture is honoring, loving, respectful, and conscious of other people’s hearts. Notice that this verse and the ones following are preceded by Ephesians 5:18 – “be filled with the Spirit”.

Ephesians 5:22-24

a) We have come to perhaps the most abused and misunderstood, and misapplied text in the Scriptures regarding the dynamics of Christian marriage. If we were to look at Ephesians 5:22-33, we see Paul presenting the following movements in
the text. 1 – Christian wives have a distinct and honorable role in their marriage as they relate to their husbands. 2 – Christian husbands have a distinct role in their marriage as they relate to their wives. 3 – Christian marriages prophesy a greater spiritual reality that mimics the type of relationship that Jesus Christ shares with His Church. To summarize, as two have become one flesh, they are inseparable to each other and each person in the marriage is responsible to fulfill their role as they serve one another in love.

b) The reason that wives would “hypotassō” to their husbands is so that in their attitude of cooperation with their husbands, they re-image the type of relationship that Jesus enjoys with His Church.

c) The thought here is NOT that husbands rule over wives, but that there is order in Christian marriage that honors Christ. To think that Christian marriage is simply a Christian man and a Christian woman getting married, just like two unbelieving people getting married completely misses the point. The concept of Christian marriage revolves around the idea of Covenant; and is a Covenant that mimics Christ’s New Covenant with the Church.

d) “In everything” – authority and submission have a limit. “In everything” is limited by the boundaries of the husband’s Christlike character, obedience to Christ and his ability to be conformed to the image of Christ in his life.

e) It is very important that women choose very wisely when considering a Christian husband.

Ephesians 5:25

a) Ephesians 5:25 places the greater responsibility on the husband as he relates to his wife. It is the husband’s responsibility in the marriage to develop the Christlike character that mimics Jesus.

b) The Greek word for love here in text is agapaō – This word describes the type of love that contends for the best, for the object of that love. It is a love that chooses to love without demands. If we were to contrast this Greek word for love with the other Greek words for love (eros, storge, philia) we would see that agapaō is based on choice, and the others based on feelings.

c) The example of Jesus’ love toward the Church is unselfish, unto death, obedient to the Father, and a passionate choice. See Philippians 2:5-8.

Ephesians 5:26-27

a) Ephesians 5:26-27 enlighten us to the spiritual realities that we receive when we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. There are 3 spiritual realities we receive in these verses.

b) 1 – Jesus makes us holy, or set apart for the purposes of God. He gives us the grace to live a life that is redefined in Him.

c) 2 – Jesus washes us/cleanses us by His word. The Greek word for “word” in the text is not logos, but it is rhēma. Best described as a “living word”, which implies that have experiential knowledge with the One speaking the word to us.

d) 3 – To be presented without stain, wrinkle, blemish, but holy and blameless. The Greek word for “be presented” means that we are not currently without stain, wrinkle, blemish, holy and blameless, or in other words, spiritually perfected and
without personal sin; but that Christ will “stand by us/or be at hand” and present us in this light when we pass to glory or when He returns. To summarize, Jesus is loving us and seeing us and making us into these things when He beholds us.

Ephesians 5:28-33

a) In light of the husband and wife being one flesh as they have come together in Covenant marriage, the husband is charged with treating the wife as his own body. People who are whole, healthy and happy, care for themselves and make sure their spiritual and physical needs are met. Jesus completely cares for each one of us and will always do what is necessary to love us well and met our needs. Husbands have a similar responsibility to the wife.

b) Our union with our wives mimics the mystical union of Jesus and the Church. Therefore, Christian marriage is to prophesy this spiritual reality to the world around us so that people will see a tangible expression of Christlike love in our marriages.

c) Wives can respect husbands when they are cared for, loved, protected physically and emotionally, and provided for in the safety of agape love.

d) The sexual immorality that runs throughout the Church, mocks the prophetic symbolism of marriage Covenant, and is rooted in brokenness that blinds us to the beauty of a loving relationship that mimics the love of Christ.

e) The one flesh reality of Covenant marriage is the origin for the “soul-tie” concept in inner healing ministry. Every time we unite with another person outside of Covenant marriage we intermingle with them spiritually and we have an unholy exchange of spiritual strata and in some cases demonic entities.