Upcoming Women’s Conference at Berean

The Berean Church here in Lincoln is hosting their Women’s Spring Conference on Saturday April 4, 2009. All are welcome! Registration by April 1 is strongly encouraged.

How To Struggle Well

Find freedom from these snags that can hinder successful living:

  • Guilt
  • Perfectionism
  • Low Self Esteem
  • Poor Boundaries
  • Making Comparisons
  • Fear of Change
  • Uncontrolled Emotions

Begin to struggle well by taking away practical tools and biblical insights for successful living. Door prizes will be given away throughout the day. Bring a friend!

Saturday April 4, 2009
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Lincoln Berean Upper Room, 70th & Hwy 2 (enter through the North Entry)
Cost: $12 per person, includes lunch

Register at www.LincolnBerean.org/webview or call 483-6512

Childcare is not provided.

Advertisements

Ephesians Bible Study ~ Week 10

We finished our study of Ephesians this week with a discussion on the Armor of God and the importance of recognizing that God’s own helmet (His salvation) and sword (His word) have been offered to us. We can surely stand against the enemy with the strength of His might!

Thanks again to Charles Talbert, a great scholar and the author of my frequently-referenced commentary on Ephesians. And many thanks to those who studied along with us on-line. Please join us again!

May we love our Lord Jesus with a love that has unending existence, a love incorruptible!

Ephesians 6:10-24

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A.      The Whole Armor of God

1.       Why do we need it?

a.        Spiritual warfare

  • “In the present, the spiritual powers continue their assault on humans, attempting to create divisions and lawlessness…There is warfare between the heavenly powers and believers. Believers need to know how to resist.” (Talbert, p 158)

b.       Spiritual strength

  • The armor of God provides the tools we need to achieve the goals described in Ephesians: unity of the church, unity with other believers, unity in the household, unity within ourselves

2.       What is it?

a.        Empowerment

  • Strength to enter into battle, resolve to remain in battle, perseverance to withstand the fight — We have access to the “strength of His might”!
  • In the ancient world, putting on another person’s clothes signaled the empowerment of that person (cf 2 Kgs 2:13-15; Judges 6:34; 2 Chr 24:20; Job 29:14-17)

b.       Equipment

  • Concrete tools: belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, helmet, sword, prayer
  • Not just a conceptual idea – concrete commands to “put on” (6:11), “stand” (6:14), and “receive” or “take” (6:17)
  • God’s own helmet (His salvation) and sword (His word) have been offered to us!

B.      The Text

Parenesis (4:1-6:20) – advice or exhortation

Unity and Diversity: a call to maintain Christian unity (4:1-6) and the goals of Christian diversity (4:7-16)

A “Two Ways” form (4:17-5:21)

The Two Ways form: Part I (4:17-32)

The Two Ways form: Part II (5:1-21)

“Household Code” (5:22-6:9)

Wives and husbands (5:22-33)

Children and parents (6:1-4)

Slaves and masters (6:5-9)

The Whole Armor of God (6:10-20)

Final Greetings (6:21-24)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[10] Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

Final exhortation: Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

• Note the passive tense (“be strong”). The strength comes from outside of us – it comes from the Lord.

[11] Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. [12] For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. [13] Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

How can we be strong in the Lord?

• Put on the whole armor of God
• Individual parts of the armor can function independently, but God intends for the whole armor to be used together. An area not protected by the armor is vulnerable.

Why do we need to be strong in the Lord?

• So that we can stand against the schemes of the devil (4:27)

What does this look like?

• Wresting with the cosmic powers of evil that rule the world (2:2) – a spiritual battle – not against other human beings!!

Wrestling was a common custom in the ancient Greek world and would have been very familiar to the Ephesian readers.

• Evil powers are very real (cf, 1 Cor 7:5; 2 Cor 2:11,4:4,11:3). They exist around us on the earth and God permits them to exist in the heavenly places (for the time being).

[14] Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, [15] and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. [16] In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one [17] and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, [18] praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

What are we to do?

• STAND (repeated in vv 11, 13, 14) and hold your ground against the enemy!

But only after you…

• Fasten on the belt of truth (cf, Isa 11:5; Ps 91:4-5)
• Put on the breastplate of righteousness (cf, Isa 59:17a; 1 Thess 5:8a)
• Put on the shoes…the readiness given by the gospel of peace (cf, Isa 52:7)
• Take up the shield of faith (cf, Eph 3:12; 1 John 5:4)
• Take the helmet of salvation (cf, Isa 59:17a; 1 Thess 5:8b) and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (cf, Isa 11:4, 49:2; the temptation stories in Matt 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13)
• Pray at all times in the Spirit (cf, Rom 8:26-27; Jude v 20; Luke 22:40,46)

“In sum, in this letter the Christian life is depicted neither as a steady progress toward heaven, nor as a sweeping missionary endeavor, nor as a struggle against internal psychological impulses, but rather as warfare against supernatural forces arrayed against believers. In this warfare the powers are defeated by Christ’s exaltation (1:20-22), by Christians’ moral walk in the world that does not leave an opening for the enemy (4:26-27), and by Christians’ donning God’s armor that enables them to stand against the enemy (6:10-17).” (Talbert, p 166)

To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, [19] and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, [20] for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

• We should not only pray for ourselves to have strength to stand against the enemy, but we should also pray for all other believers.
• “Paul” also requests prayer for himself, that he will speak with boldness (in Greek “en parrēsia” meaning freedom of speech) instead of fear when preaching the Gospel.

Other references to Paul in “chains”: Col 4:18; 2 Tim 1:16, 2:9

[21] So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. [22] I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts. [23] peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. [24] Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

Acknowledgement of Tychicus as “beloved brother and faithful minister,” the messenger and deliverer of the letter, and someone who can encourage the Ephesians.

Other references to Tychicus:

• Acts 20:4 as “Asian”
• Colossians 4:7 as the bearer of that letter
• 2 Tim 4:12 as being sent to Ephesus

Typical final greetings for a Pauline letter:

• Peace (2 Cor 13:11; 1 Thess 5:13b, 23 2 Thess 3:16)
• Love (cf, 1 Thess 5:26; 1 Cor 16:24)
• Grace (cf, 1 Cor 16:23; 2 Cor 13:13 Gal 6:18)

…with love “incorruptible” in Greek “en aphtharsia” meaning sincerity, genuineness, unending existence (Strong’s Greek dictionary).

C.      The Major Issues

1.       God’s Armor and the “Modern Church”: Is the battle with spiritual powers or human powers?

a.        Different viewpoints (Talbert, pp 168-169)

  • Berkhof (1962): Paul was using terms from apocalyptic Judaism, but regarded the powers as structures of earthly existence.
  • Cullmann (1957): Paul is referring to the dual powers of spiritual and human authorities.
  • Caird (1976): Paul was referring to spiritual beings that operated in and through the structure of this world.
  • Bultmann (1951): The powers refer to the conflicts and struggles that characterize our human existence.
  • Wilder (1964): The language points to the structural elements of unregenerate society; the fake authorities of culture, which are the objects of Christian social action.
  • Whiteley (1957): The powers refer to “the demonic,” or aspects of creation acting chaotically and destructively that seem to have gotten out of control and threaten the lives of humans.
  • Lincoln (1995): The author of Ephesians believed the powers to be supernatural forces, but these are best thought of now in terms of ideologies and societal structures.
  • Arnold (1992): “If the realm of spirits and angels is a dominant part of the biblical world view, it should thus be a dominant part of a Christian world view in our age.”

b.       Consensus

“The text refers to evil spiritual powers that are hostile to humans. They impinge on human life, controlling those outside the Christian fold and warring against those within the fold…The basic fault line is between those who believe in personal spiritual evil and those who do not.” (Talbert, p 169)

Ephesians Bible Study ~ Week 9

The topic of submission is not easy. Many of us, including Christians, are resistant to the idea of being a submissive wife, child, or employee. But it is exceedingly important that we realize the purpose of Godly submission, and the blessings that God provides when we willingly place ourselves in the submissive roles that He has ordained. Be filled with the Spirit!

Ephesians 5:22-6:9

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A.      “Household Code”

1.       Rooted in Mediterranean culture

a.        Influenced by Greek philosophy that affected Jews in the Hellenistic world

  • Philo: household management is assigned to men, but women have their own sphere of authority within the home
  • Josephus: under the Law, men have duties to God, to wives, to children, to parents, to friends, and to strangers
  • Aristotle: natural ruler + natural subject = marriage
    marriage + a slave = a household
    several households = a village
    several villages = a city-state

2.       Very early Christian writings contain “household code”

a.        Two types in Christian antiquity

  • Code of duties for the home (cf, Eph 5:22‑6:9; Col 3:18‑4:1; I Pet 2:13-3:7)
  • Code of duties for the church (cf, I Tim 2:1-2, 8-12; 3:8-13; 5:1-3, 17-22; 6:1-2)

b.       “The specified duties were very much the same in pagan, Jewish, and early Christian usage. Only the motivations for the specified behavior differed significantly.” (Talbert, p 138)

3.       Functions of the “household code”

a.        Missionary strategy (cf, I Pet 2:12; 3:1-2)

  • “If Christians who had changed their gods still maintained order in the household according to the best values of the culture, then they would decrease the hostility of their pagan neighbors and perhaps encourage them to convert.” (Talbert, p 138)

b.       To run counter to an “overrealized eschatology” (cf, I Cor 7:1‑24; 11:2-16)

  • At the time, some Christians claimed that because of their salvation they were no longer bound by the “orders of creation” (ie, categories such as slave/master or ruler/subject) because of the equality created by the Spirit. (cf, Col 3:22-25)

c.        Illustration of unity

  • A peaceful Christian household would illustrate God’s purpose in unifying the cosmos through Christ (Eph 1:10)

B.      The Text

Parenesis (4:1-6:20) – advice or exhortation

Unity and Diversity: a call to maintain Christian unity (4:1-6) and the goals of Christian diversity (4:7-16)

A “Two Ways” form (4:17-5:21)

The Two Ways form: Part I (4:17-32)

The Two Ways form: Part II (5:1-21)

“Household Code” (5:22-6:9)

Wives and husbands (5:22-33)

Children and parents (6:1-4)

Slaves and masters (6:5-9)

**Important items to consider:**

1. Three relationships (6 groups) are presented

2. In each case, the subordinate member is mentioned first

3. In each case, the relationship being advocated is between the individual and Christ and is not based on the behavior of the other person

4. It is assumed that the household described in the text is Christian

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[22] Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. [23] For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. [24] Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

What are wives are to do? (v 22)
• Submit to your own husband as to the Lord

“Submit” in Greek is “hupotassō” meaning to be under obedience, to obey, be subject to, submit oneself to

In other words, submit to your husband in a way that is analogous to your submission to Christ (Talbert, p 140)

Why? (vv 23-24)
• Because the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body

“As Christian wives within the church are subject to Christ as head, so in the household they should be subject to their husbands.” (Talbert, p 140)
“How the Christian wives are to act is rooted in their relation to Christ. Their submission to Christ in church is the model for their submission to their husbands in the household.” (Talbert, p 141)

[25] Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, [26] that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, [27] so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

What are husbands to do? (v 25)
• Love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

“Love” in Greek is “agapaō” meaning to be fond of, love dearly

In other words, love your wife in a way that is analogous to how Christ loved the church (his body)

Why? (vv 26-27)
• [so] that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word

“Sanctify” in Greek is “hagiazō” meaning to make holy, purify, consecrate to God

“Cleanse” in Greek is “katharizō” meaning to make clean in the physical (ie, stains, dirt) and/or moral (ie, sin, guilt, wickedness) sense

“The image of the bath [of the bride] refers here to the cleansing that has happened to God’s people through the word of the gospel.” (Talbert, p 142)

• so that he might present the church to himself in splendor…that she might be holy and without blemish

“Splendor” in Greek is “endoxos” meaning glorious, noble, honorable, GORGEOUS

[28] in the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. [29] For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, [30] because we are members of his body. [31] “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” [32] This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. [33] However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

What are husbands to do? (v 28a)
• Love their wives as their own bodies

“Body” in Greek is “sōma” meaning literal body (flesh)

Why? (vv 28b-33)
• He who loves his wife loves himself (cf, Gen 2:24)
• For no one hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body

“Since the husband and the wife are one flesh, to love one’s wife is to love oneself. What one loves, one nourishes and cares for. So there is an analogy when Christ cares for the church because we are members of his body.” (Talbert, p 142)

“Paul appeals to Gen 2:24 to argue that a bond between husband and wife is analogous to that between Christ and the church. It is this bond that makes the husband’s love for his wife and Christ’s love for the church a love for oneself.” (Talbert, 143)

[6:1] Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

What are children to do? (v 1a)
• Obey your parents in the Lord

“In the Mediterranean world, obedience to parents was the chief virtue of children. This was true for pagans, Jews, and Christians alike.” (Talbert, p 144)

Why? (v 1b)
• for this is right (cf, Rom 1:30; 2 Tim 3:2)

[2] “Honor our father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), [3] “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

What are children to do? (v 2a)
• Honor our father and mother (cf, Exod 20:12; Deut 5:16)

This commandment has the approval of Jesus (cf, Mark 7:10, 10:19)

Why? (v 2b-3)
• this is the first commandment with a promise, that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land

In other words, we honor our parents because it is right, it is commanded by scripture, and scripture contains a promise to those who fulfill the command and honor their parents.

[4] Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

What are fathers to do? (v 4)
• Do not provoke your children to anger…bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord

According to Talbert, it was a Mediterranean cultural value that fathers teach their children, and fathers were ultimately responsible for the religious upbringing of their children. (p 145)

Paul is putting a level of restraint on parental authority by encouraging the use of discipline and teaching (encouragement and reason) as opposed to force (which is discouraging).

[5] Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, [6] not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, [7] rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, [8] knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

What are employees to do? (vv 5-7)
Three things:
• Obey your earthly masters (ie, employers) with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ
• not with eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart
• rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man

“The Ephesian household code assumes a Christian household that has slaves. From these slaves it asks for wholehearted effort in their duties.” (Talbert, p 147)

Why? (v 8)
• knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free

Why do we work in the first place? (cf, Eph 4:28; I Thes 4:11-12; I Cor 15:58)

Ultimately, we are working for the Lord and not for our employer. While we may receive a “reward” from our employer (a paycheck), it is the Lord who will truly reward us.

[9] Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

What are employers to do? (v 9a)
• Do the same (ie, good) to them (ie, employees)
• and stop your threatening

Anger, threats, and punishment were the normal way to control slaves. (Talbert, p 147)

Why? (v 9b)
• knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven…and is not partial

Employers and employees have the same Lord who looks upon both with an impartial eye.

C.      The Major Issues

1.       Submission

a.        Effective household management

  • “In the Christian household, the subordinate figures are to yield to the dominant ones, while the dominant figures are to relate lovingly and humanely to the subordinate ones. The unity and harmony produced by this type of household management is yet another evidence of God’s summing up all things through Christ.” (Talbert, p 148)

b.       A result of being filled with the Spirit

  • “…but be filled with the Spirit…submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Eph 5: 18b, 21)

c.        An imitation of Christ

  • Imitating the virtues of Christ in our personal relationships (wife, child, employee) is a microcosm of the unity and peace that God is forging in the cosmos (cf, Eph 2:11-22)

Homework for Week 10:

Read Ephesians 6:10-24 and consider the following questions:

  • Do you think it is legitimate to speak of certain aspects of Christian life in terms of “battle” or “spiritual warfare”? Why or why not?
  • Why are we commanded to put on the armor of God? What do you think can happen to us if we don’t?
  • How does clothing ourselves with the armor of God empower us?

Ephesians Bible Study ~ Week 8

This week we continued looking at what putting on the “new self” looks like according to Ephesians. While the aspects of the new self in Ephesians 4 are “horizontal” or about relating with each other (speaking the truth, letting go of anger, helping others in need, building each other up with your words, and forgiving one another), the aspects in Ephesians 5 are more “vertical” or about our relationship with God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

May we be greatly encouraged this week as we strive to live in the new self!

Ephesians 5:1-21

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A.      “Two Ways” form of instruction (continued)…

1.       Puts 2 ways of living in stark contrast, one positive and the other negative.

a.        Part I: 4:17-32 (discussed last week)

  • General exhortations on what not to do, why not to do it, and what to do (vv 17-24)
  • 5 exhortations on the specifics of a New Life: speak the truth, let go of anger, help others in need, build each other up with your words, let go of bitterness and forgive as thoroughly as Christ forgave you (vv 25-32)

b.       Part II: 5:1-21

  • Be imitators of God and Christ
  • Change your lifestyle and watch your walk
  • Be filled with the Spirit

B.      The Text

Parenesis (4:1-6:20) – advice or exhortation

Unity and Diversity: a call to maintain Christian unity (4:1-6) and the goals of Christian diversity (4:7-16)

A “Two Ways” form (4:17-5:21)

The Two Ways form: Part I (4:17-32)

The Two Ways form: Part II (5:1-21)

~~~~~~~~~~~

[5:1] Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. [2] And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. [3] But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. [4] Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. [5] For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. [6] Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Exhortation#1: Be imitators of God by imitating Christ

How?
• Recognize we are His beloved children (children imitate their parents)
• Walk in love as Christ did

Why?
• Because Christ sacrificed Himself for us as a fragrant offering (recall the burnt offerings of Israel and how they were a “pleasing aroma” to God [Ex 29:18], cf Eze 20:40-44)

What must we avoid in order to imitate God and Christ?
• Sexual immorality – in Greek “porneia” meaning premarital and/or extramarital intercourse
• All impurity – in Greek “akatharsia” meaning physical and moral impurity
• Covetousness – in Greek “pleonexia” meaning greed

Why?
• Because these behaviors are not fitting among saints (we are saints! cf, 2:19)

What other behaviors should we avoid?
• Filthiness – in Greek “aischrotēs” meaning obscenity
• Foolish talk and crude joking – in Greek “mōrologia” and “eutrapelia” meaning coarse, vulgar language and degrading joking

Why?
• This language is out of place [among saints] when there should instead be thanksgiving!
• Because we know that people who behave and speak in these ways will not inherit the kingdom of God and Christ

And finally…
• Do not listen to those who lie and excuse their evil actions (ie, the “sons of disobedience”)

According to Talbert, “Various Jewish writings refer to wicked persons who excused their evil actions on the grounds that God does not judge. The author of Ephesians says, ‘Do not listen to such people. They lie!'” (Talbert, p 126)

[7] Therefore do not associate with them; [8] for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light [9] (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), [10] and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. [11] Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. [12] For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. [13] But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, [14] for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Exhortation #2: Do not participate in the “Gentile lifestyle”

Why?
• Because we (believers) are light in the Lord – in Greek “phōs” meaning luminous (cf, Matt 5:14, Acts 26:18)
• We must walk as children of light (ie, Christ is our power source and we are therefore luminous and glowing in the darkness of the world!)

How will we know that we are walking as children of light?
• We will bear fruit: goodness, righteousness, truth, and discernment of what is pleasing to the Lord

If we are light, how do we respond to the “darkness” in the world?
• We confront it, expose it, and make it visible by bringing it into the light
What happens then?
• Any sin that is exposed by the light can no longer remain
• The one who has committed the sin is now “light” herself, she is awakened and restored, and is reconnected to the light of Christ

[15] Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, [16] making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. [17] Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. [18] And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, [19] addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, [20] giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, [21] submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Exhortation #3: Look carefully at how you walk and be filled with the Spirit

Why?
• Because we must walk in wisdom and make the best use of our time because “the days are evil” (recall that the sons of disobedience are telling us lies! cf 5:6)

What does walking in wisdom look like?
Do not be foolish
BUT…
Do understand the will of the Lord
Do not drink to excess and behave improperly
BUT…
Do be filled with the Spirit

What are the results of being filled with the Spirit?
• We will sing praise to each other
• We will sing praise to the Lord
• We will give thanks to God and Christ at all times and for all things (not just the good things!)
• We will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ

C.      The Major Issues

1.       The imitation of God

a.        The view of ancient Greek, Jewish, and 1st century philosophers

  • Humans attained likeness to God by imitating His virtues
  • True worship is not only believing God but imitating Him as well

b.        New Testament examples

  • Matt 5:43-48 “…be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
  • I Cor 11:1 “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
  • I Thess 1:6-7 “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord…so that you became an example to all the believers…”
  • I Pet 2:21 “…Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”

Homework for Week 9:

Read Ephesians 5:22-6:9 and consider the following questions:

  • 5:22-6:9 provides specific examples of relationships where we can be “imitators of God” (wives and husbands; children and parents; employers and employees). How do you think becoming imitators of God and Christ can help us to fulfill these roles?
  • What do obedience and submission look like for a wife? For a child? For an employee?
  • Are you bothered by the idea of being an obedient and submissive wife/daughter/employee? Why or why not?