The letter to the church @ Ephesus starts with the Holy Spirit clearly defining salvation in Christ: how God predestined Christ to be crucified and resurrected to forgive our sin and how those He predestines to eternal life receive that forgiveness and the indwelling of His Spirit.
The part we just finished declares that ‘In Christ’ we are spiritually enlightened: that brings us to eternal life and enables us to live and grow ‘In Light of Christ’. Some examples of how we live In Light of Christ as HIS body:
We surrender our lives and let God do a renovation project of our thoughts & actions. We are unified as Christ’s Bond Servants, around the singular message of Scripture that has been the same for 2000 years. We are to have nothing to do with; sexual relations that are not God ordained, all forms of impurity and lust, and foolish talk full of obscenity and degrading humor.
There are various other things: for a full recap listen to all the sermons!
Last week The Holy Spirit gave us specific instruction on dealing with substances and about the central human relationship of biblical marriage. In both cases we get to obey God’s Word as it has been practiced for centuries.
Today the Holy Spirit is going to give us clear guidance as to how we get to deal with relationships that are difficult by nature and can entangle us in sin.
We are called to do these relationships different than the world that does not name Christ as Lord. We get to obey the ‘The Light’ Christ has placed in us, so we can shine that light into our relationships.
Whether it is our relationship with our parents, our co-workers, our children, our boss or our subordinates…what is the overarching focus in how we relate? What is the essential attitude we as Christ’s Body can brings to these relationships? How shall we specifically conduct ourselves? What are our standards as ‘Bond Servants of Christ’?
Here at Midtown, as Christ’s body, we get our attitude, values and standards from the inspired word of God: The Bible. For two thousand years it has guided ‘The Church’ with clear theology and applications that always seeks to emulate our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Our Children are to obey their parents in light of our Lord. This is the essence of righteousness: 2 ‘honor your father and mother’. It is the first commandment containing a promised blessing: 3 ‘so that you may be established and live long in the chosen Land’.
- As Christ’s Church we are ‘The Called Out Ones’. We have a different standard
- We can only raise OUR children. We are fighting against a perverse culture
- When children obey their parents, things are as they were meant to be: SHALOM
- There are no conditions on the command to honor our parents (good or bad)
- The way we honor God is by obeying him
- The way we honor our parents is by obeying them (there are exceptions)
- So how does the promise work? Obedience to parents is a foundation we establish faith on
- As dependent children the focus is on obeying our parents
- As an independent adult the focus shifts to honoring
4 Likewise, fathers don’t exasperate your children. Instead, gently educate them in Our Lord’s council and guidance.
- You exasperate your children when you have unreasonable expectations of them
- Putting too much pressure on them, assuming they know things they don’t
- When parents are patient & gentle with their children…more SHALOM
- Our standard is to have a Christ-Like attitude as we teach them Christ’s ways
- The assumption is that in the body of Christ, children will be taught God’s ways
- When we do things God’s way our relationships will be rich and loving
- This can pertain to your ‘Spiritual Children’ as a mentor discipling someone
5 Obey those people who have been placed in authority over you with reverence, honor and sincerity, just as you would obey Christ.
- How to be a good employee: do what your boss says!
- What if they are wrong?
- What makes you think you know enough to understand what they should do?
- Recognize your place and honor those who God has placed you under
- Stay in your lane: worry about honoring Christ rather than if your boss is right
- It is not just obey, obey them like you would Christ
6 Don’t seek attention and accolades from people, but from Christ. Continue intentionally seeking God’s will, 7 enthusiastically serving The Lord, not people. 8 Be assured that everyone who does what is virtuous will be rewarded by our Lord no matter their status.
- Who is your Lord and God? Who sets that standards you shoot for?
- Who is the ONE you get to be focused on pleasing?
- Do us humans like to have others notice and admire us? Oh yeah!
- Continuously serving is the means by which we intentionally seek the Lord’s will
- In Christ’s body we do what is right based on scripture & Christ rewards us!
- (Disclaimer: That reward may not be until heaven)
9 And those placed in authority must themselves do the same; don’t use that authority to oppress those under you. We act this way because we know who has all authority; He inhabits the heavens, and there is no injustice in Him.
- As a follower of Christ we are called to a different view of authority & position
- Matthew 20:25-28: But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- Do the same: Intentionally seek God’s will & approval / serve the Lord / do right
- YOU, Bond Servant of Christ get to not oppress those serving under you
- WHY? Because you know God! You have surrendered your life to Christ!
- No one surrenders to Christ unless they believe HE has all authority
- HE not only inhabits the heavens, HE owns the heavens… HE IS the heavens
- HIS standards are perfect, HIS justice is perfect & HE will dispense it perfectly
For those in the Body of Christ, all of our relationships are to be lived ‘In Light of Christ’.
In Jesus’ Biblical Church, dependent children obey their parents as a demonstration of their obedience to Christ.
God’s command to Honor our parents is not conditioned on them being honorable. God is the ‘Honorable One’. We honor HIM by obeying & honoring our parents.
In the practice of benevolent headship over their family, fathers are to be focused on instructing their children in the ways of Christ, with His grace and patience.
When God places us under a boss in an organization or community we obey Christ by obeying that boss in the exact way we would obey Christ if HE was our boss.
In our Bible based culture we orient our lives to please an audience of ONE: Christ. We don’t live to please or get attention from people who don’t have biblical values.
Serving Christ’s Body while seeking God’s will gets us doing what He considers virtuous and worthy of earthy or eternal reward.
If God places us in authority over anyone, we are to emulate Christ in the exercise of that authority; balancing grace & truth.
We don’t use our God given authority to participate in the evil oppression of those under us because we know and trust God’s authority, power and justice.
How could you improve your biblical obedience and honoring of your parents?
As a father or mentor what can you stop doing that exasperates your child / protegee?
What are some attitudes and actions you have toward your boss that are not Christ honoring? What needs to change?
How are you guilty of pleasing people rather than pleasing God? What needs to change?
What are intentional ways you can follow Christ’s example in the treatment of any subordinates you have?