I am concluding the teaching on the armour of God today.
We live in a time when people are divided into factions. The message of Ephesians and the gospel is that we are united - not by class, sex or race but at the cross. The whole of Ephesians explains this. Chapter 6 shows us how. By being in Christ, by walking in the truth , by sharing the gospel, by being filled with the Spirit, and knowing our salvation is secure in Christ alone.
Paul prays for boldness. Acts tells of Paul’s visits and riots in Ephesus.
It was definitely a “here! Hold my coat or toga” moment.
Paul is in chains in Rome writing to the Ephesians. They will know that he has been in dangerous situations before and not shied away from confronting injustice and sinful behaviour.
Paul prays for Holy Spirit boldness that his words will bring salvation because of the gospel (good news).
Why did Paul have to be bold and courageous? What was the culture around at the time.
Lesley touched on this a couple of weeks ago.
- The accepted way for men in the Greek and Roman culture was very much like Harvey Weinstein. They assumed that they could have sexual favours from any woman and even men. Hence the context of the teaching on the roles of men and women and marriage and slaves.
- Idol worship was part of the economy. They worshipped the gods but also turned leaders like Caesar into gods. Ephesus had the temple to Artimus or Diana and this created such a great deal of money. Ephesus became a banking centre for the region.
- They went to the temple to worship and sacrifice to Artimus. Paul uses the knowledge of the temple to explain the church and our individual security in Christ in Ephesians 2:19-22
What should we draw from these two small verses in scripture?
In the context of the whole book we are to be bold to be counter cultural.
- Although our culture now rails against the behaviour of Harvey Weinstein, it still encourages sex outside marriage as a good thing. Heterosexual or homosexual. Christians should walk a different path not because it is a higher moral way but because that is Gods word and plan.
- Our culture is very similar to the Greek and Roman culture, worship of money, sexual experience and superstitious false gods. The Ephesian people believed that Artimus had fallen from heaven and they had to give sacrifices to her. Paul preached that God (Jesus) came from heaven to earth by choice, then made himself the sacrifice for us so that we can be seated in heavenly places. Ephesians 2 v 6.
- Paul taught that you could be seated with Christ but also filled with Christ by his Holy Spirit.
All counter cultural points.
All were highly contentious.
All very relevant for our current culture.
How do we apply this?
- We see the deep divisions being played out in the CofE at the moment. Let us not stand by and carp. There are many very excellent Christians in the CofE. We must stand with them and hear their hearts as they are breaking as many of the leaders go with the culture and against the word of God. PRAY.
- Pray for ourselves to be as bold as Paul and our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted. It is very likely to be us soon if not happening already. PRAY
- Pray for the evangelists in the church and those support them.
- Pray that the circumstances that we find ourselves in, God will use for His glory and purposes
- Pray that we will all know His purpose for us when we go through difficult times.