D) The Believer’s Walk in the World; God’s Standards for Authority and Submission in the Church, Eph 5:18-6:9. (continued)
Ephesians 5:18-21 – As to One’s Self and the Church,
Be Filled with God’s Spirit,
Doctrines & Principles in Ephesians 5:19-21 Study:
- Doctrine of Singing Praise to God, vs. 19.
- Principles of Praise Thanksgiving, vs. 20.
- Doctrine of Fear of the Lord, vs. 21.
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Eph 5:19, “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.”
This verse gives some excellent advice on how to remain filled with the Holy Spirit. You do so by worshiping God. Paul mentions here, only two of the many ways to worship God. In ordinary Christians, the Spirit fills not the mind that seeks the disturbing influences of excitement, but in the well-balanced prayerful mind. Such a one expresses his joy, not in drunken or worldly songs, but in Christian hymns of thankfulness.
“Speaking” is LALEO – λαλέω that means, “to make external sounds with your mouth, to speak, proclaim, say or utter a sound.” It is in the Present, Active, Participle, Nominative, Plural. The Participle is used with Imperative force once again, so we have another mandate.
This “speaking” includes, “the use of words in order to declare one’s mind and disclose one’s thoughts,” and is a powerful communication tool; whereby, we speak one to another in song, as noted hear. And as we have noted, the messages we bring to each other in harmony with God’s Word is the result of being filled with the Spirit. When we do, we build up each other and encourage one another to be strong in the faith. Our love for God and one another grows as we blend our voices together in spiritual songs.
“To one another,” is the Personal Pronoun HEAUTOU in the Dative 2nd Person, Plural, which typically means “yourself,” but here it is in the Second Person, so it refers to others, the ones receiving our communication. It emphasizes our relationship with fellow believers, as a result of being filled with God the Holy Spirit, as well as a means of maintaining our fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
The content of our communication is noted next. Each is joined together with the Conjunction KAI, “and” for the coordination of our praise to God and fellowship with others, as a result of our fellowship and filling of the Holy Spirit.
“Psalms,” the Noun PSALMOS, ψαλμός that means, “songs of praise, a psalm.” It can be used for any song of praise or joy, (a song sung with musical accompaniment), and for the book of Psalms, which is a hymn book written by David and others of the Old Testament.
“Hymns,” is the Noun HUMNOS – ὕμνος that means, “hymn or song of praise.” Used only here and in the parallel verse of Col 3:16. The verb is used of Jesus and the Apostles singing a hymn in Mat 26:30; Mark 14:26.
Mark 14:26, “And after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”
They probably sang the Hallel, a song commonly sung at Passover, which was taken from Psa 113–118.
“Despite the influence of local customs or ethnic traditions, undoubtedly the most influential force behind the content of Christian songs would have been the Old Testament and the songs of the synagogue.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)
“Spiritual songs” is the Adjective PNEUMATKOS – πνευματικός that means, “spiritual or actuated by the Holy Spirit,” with the Noun ODE, ᾠδή meaning, “song, songs of praise, and poetry,” used here and Col 3:16, as well as in Rev 5:9; 14:3; 15:3, in regard to the worship of God in heaven during the Tribulation.
Can songs be distinguished from hymns and spiritual songs? Yes; So also can the verbs related to each: PSALLO, HUMNEO, and ADO.
Psalms and the verb PSALLO, “making melody or ‘psalmizing’,” are songs and music sung to accompaniment, originally to the accompaniment of a psaltery, a small harp, from which the root of this word was originally derived. The Old Testament psalms were such musical pieces sung in praise to God.
Hymns and the verb HUMNEO, “celebrate, praise, sing, or ‘hymnize,” are songs and music that are doxological, creedal, and confessional in character.
Hymns are musical pieces rich in theology and appropriate as pedagogical, (educational), tools.
Spiritual songs and the verb ADO, “sing,” may then refer to any musical expression of testimony or exhortation.
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In the second half of vs. 19, we have a double emphasis of our praise through singing and song, when it states, “singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.” Here the emphasis is squarely on our worship of the Lord, HO KURIOS in the Dative Singular meaning, “to the Lord.”
Songs and singing are valid means of worshiping God, and singing is an essential ingredient in the worship of God. Hymns vividly expressed Christian joy, James 5:13.
James 5:13, “… Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises.”
Rev 15:3 speaks of a multitude, which sings “the song of Moses the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.” The “song of Moses” praises God’s redeeming power; the “song of the Lamb” praises Him for the atoning sacrifice of Christ. All of these songs, both the old of Moses and the new of the Lamb, unite in one heavenly symphony to praise and honor God. As such, we will be singing praise to God in the eternal state, just as we should be doing here in time.
“Singing,” is the verb ADO, ᾄδω that means, “sing,” which is a cognate of ODE above. It is in the Present, Active, Participle, Nominative Plural, once again for a mandate of worship towards the Lord.
“And making melody,” is the Conjunction KAI, with verb PSALLO, “to sing, (a spiritual or sacred song), or sing praise.” In ancient Greek, it meant to pluck an instrument, but over time is changed to mean, “to sing,” with a possible nuance of, “to sing with instrumental accompaniment.” As in the Septuagint, PSALLO is used in the N.T. only of singing directed to God in praise. It is also used in Rom 15:9; 1 Cor 14:16, twice; James 5:13.
Rom 15:9, “And for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, (2 Sam 22:5; Psa 18:49), ‘THEREFORE I WILL GIVE PRAISE TO YOU AMONG THE GENTILES, AND I WILL SING TO YOUR NAME’”.
“With your heart,” is the Dative, Singular, Feminine of HO KARDIA that means, “heart or mind,” which we also call, “the right lobe of your soul.” This is the place where you store and retain God’s Word / Bible doctrine, and do your thinking in terms of cycling it through your soul. This is the place where Christ longs to reside, Eph 3:17, but only does so when we are filled with the Holy Spirit and grow in spiritual maturity, as a result of living faithfully to God by learning and applying His Word / “the mind of Jesus Christ.”
As we noted above, the One we are to be praising in the heart of our soul is our Lord, KURIOS, Jesus Christ.
Psa 95:1, “O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.”
The parallel verse is Col 3:16, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Here we see some minor differences of emphasis but the same context. The main emphasis here is to “let the Word of Christ dwell in you,” (i.e., be resident within your soul), and to teach and admonish one another with songs of praise. We are to do this in “thanksgiving” to God.
We must not forget that the thought of this “fullness of the Holy Spirit,” is here connected, in a special degree, with that of the joy of the Lord and its expression. As the miserable exhilaration of the drunkard comes out in the song of “riot,” so the “calm excess” of the man “filled in the Spirit” will come out in song too. It will come out always in the song of the life, the melody and harmony of a character and conduct gladdened by the blessed Presence. But it will often tend to come out in the song of the lips, and above all, when Christians thus “filled” meet together before their Lord. As such, we worship God through singing psalms set to music, through hymns that are songs of praise to God, and through spiritual songs. Our worship in song should contain a balance among these three types of singing.
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Doctrine of Singing Praise to God
Old Testament Worship Music.
In the O.T., worshipping through song and music was a main part of their praise to God. In the days of Samuel, a school of prophets are trained on wind, percussion, and stringed instruments, which they use in their service, 1 Sam 10:5. David arranges a talented choir and full orchestra for tabernacle worship with a skilled conductor, 1 Chron 6:31-47; 15:16-24; 25. In the inauguration of temple service, Solomon likewise arranges musicians and choirs, 2 Chron 5:11-14; 7:6. Having purged the nation of idolatry, Hezekiah and Josiah both restore these worship functions, which the Lord had originally commanded through David and the prophets, 2 Chron 29:25-30; 34:12-13. After the return from Babylonian and Persian captivity, the repair of the temple’s foundation is celebrated with instruments and songs of praise, Ezra 3:10-11.
Nehemiah restores the worship music at the dedication of Jerusalem’s rebuilt wall, Neh 12:26-47. Clearly, worshipping God, through song accompanied by music, was an important part of their spiritual walk.
New Testament Worship Music.
As we turn to the N.T., singing in worship is seen in many circumstances and has many purposes. Interestingly, instruments of music in worship are conspicuously absent in the N.T. That is why some believe we should not have accompanying music in our song services and just sing. But that is reading too much into the Scriptures and making an argument from a position of silence, which is always dangerous, as nowhere in the N.T. does it state to not use accompanying instruments. Nevertheless, Christians practiced singing during the early Church in praise and worship of God, as we too should do today.
Mat 26:30, “…and when they had sung an hymn, they went out unto the Mount of Olives.” Cf. Mark 14:26.
Acts 16:25, “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God; and the prisoners heard them.”
Rom 15:9, “I will sing unto Your name.”
1 Cor 14:15, “I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.”
Heb 2:12, “Saying, I will declare Your name to my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise to You.”
The Purpose of Our Singing is the Worship of God.
We praise and give thanks to God in our singing. Through the psalmist, God demonstrates His strong desire to receive our praise. The point is not that God needs our praise, but He appreciates our praise. Furthermore, our praise can lead others to Him. Therefore, honoring God in song is to be something we do gladly, willingly, and joyfully, not as drudgery or under compulsion. Cf. 2 Cor 9:7.
In many of his psalms, David pours out his heart to the Father expressing his innermost feelings. Singing is a medium through which we also can do, as David did. When we feel happy, sad, lonely, afraid, excited, or worried, singing is a means of expression and sharing. James relates this thought:
James 5:13, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.”
Eph 5:18-20, “…giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Col 3:16-17, “…and whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
God has richly blessed us with spiritual blessings through Jesus His Son, Eph 1:3-6. We have a lot to be cheerful and thankful about, and singing hymns of praise is one way we can express to God our thankfulness.
Heb 13:15, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”
Rom 15:9, “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, for this cause I will give praise to You among the Gentiles and sing unto Your name.”
Acts 16:25, “But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”
Heb 2:12, “… saying: ‘I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You’.”
We are to teach and admonish one another through our singing. The following passage shows that singing is an effective method for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in the righteousness of God’s inspired Word, cf., 1 Tim 3:16.
Col 3:16-17, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
“Admonition,” is literally, “a putting to mind,” is instruction in God’s Word and includes speaking both words of warning and correction, as well as words of encouragement and guidance.
We edify and encourage others through our singing. Singing plays a part in edification. Words are often easier to remember when set in melody, meter, and rhyme. Many truths of the Bible and the nature of God can become engraved in our hearts by the familiarity of song.
1 Cor 14:12-15, “…Let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel…. 15What is the conclusion then? … I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”
Eph 5:18-19, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”
Mat 26:30, “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” Cf. Mark 14:26. This remarkable snapshot of Jesus comes shortly after He reveals Judas as His betrayer and shortly before His ordeal in the garden. Imagine how Jesus must have been strengthened by this singing.
In Acts 16:25, the multi-purpose nature of singing is clearly demonstrated.
Acts 16:25, “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”
The verse plainly states Paul and Silas were singing praises to God. They had just been beaten and thrown into prison, so they were no doubt thanking God that they were counted worthy of that, as they sought His protection, as was done before, Acts 4:29; 5:41. As they sang, they were speaking to each other, which certainly gave them courage to bear the trial. The inspired writer makes the point that the prisoners were also listening, and the gospel message heard by the jailer that night in those songs obviously touched his heart, vs. 29-34.
How are We to Sing?
God is as much concerned about our attitude and manner of doing things in worship, as He is about the actions themselves. Even though we may be performing service in conformance to every detail of God’s Word, God is worthy of more than worship characterized by mindless routine. God has never been satisfied with superficial worship demonstrated by a mere outward show of reverence, Sam 16:7; Mat 15:8. In Leviticus, we see that the burnt offering sacrifices were to be of animals young and healthy, without blemish or defect, but it was the meaning behind the ritual that God was after, Heb 10:1ff. Correspondingly, the singing we offer in worship should reflect an effort to the best of our ability and with our body, soul, heart, and spirit involved.
Mark 12:30, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Cf. Mat 22:37; Luke 10:27.
Our song and praise should be directed to God, and not to man.
Acts 16:25, “… sang praises unto God.”
Rom 15:9, “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy… and sing unto Your name.”
Eph 5:19, “… singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord.”
Col 3:16, “… singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
While it is good to have singing that is beautiful to the ear, we must remember that we should be concerned about pleasing God and not men.
We are to worship according to the mandates of the God, 2 John 1:9-11. We cannot go beyond what God has commanded.
2 John 1:9, “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.”
John 4:24, “God is a spirit: and those who worship Him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
That means we are to be filled with God the Holy Spirit, Eph 5:18, so that our human spirit is in control of our soul, as we apply His Word when worshipping Him. In other words, we do not make things up and call it worship when it is outside of the Bible.
Scripture indicates that our song service to God is to be sincere, from the heart, Mark 12:30; Eph 5:19; Col 3:16. As such, our singing must come from the heart, the right lobe of your soul.
Therefore, our singing is to be from the mentality of our soul in application of God’s Word, and not from the emotional revolt of the soul in reversionism. There is a proper role for emotions in singing. It should be in response to thankfulness and gratitude, as an expression of our love for God, but not a leading of emotional overload from the sin nature.
Eph 5:19, “… singing and making melody in your hearts …”
Col 3:16, “…singing with thankfulness, (CHARIS – grace), in your hearts to the Lord.”
Our singing should be heart-felt, in sincerity, in sensibility, and devoid of worldly distractions. But half-hearted, nonchalant participation will have little influence on others for good, and it certainly does not honor God as He deserves. Conversely, if we are singing with a cheerful heart, believing what we are saying, it will be evident to others. We can convey our feelings not only by the words we speak, but also by our inflection and tone of voice. This holds no less true when we sing with meaning.
We must understand what we are saying when we sing the words of a song of praise.
1 Cor 14:15, “What is the outcome then? I shall pray with the spirit and I shall pray with the mind (understanding) also; I shall sing with the spirit and I shall sing with the mind (understanding) also.”
This means that we need to understand the songs, which we are singing, for it to be effective for worship. If we are singing meaningless songs without understanding of what we are singing, our worship will be meaningless too. This is why such things like humming or whistling without words, instrument solos, etc., should not be applied in our worship, albeit, when you are alone, there is no problem with humming, whistling, or playing an instrument while the words are running through your mind.
We honor God in our hearts by continually meditating on spiritual truths, as we are instructed, Psa1:1-2; Phil 4:8; 1 Tim 4:15, which we can do while coincidentally doing many other non-related activities.
Phil 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”
In addition, repetitious words or phrases said over and over again, tend to lose meaning and your attention quickly, which means your worship is lost quickly too.
This demands that we be attentive to the messages of our songs. Our hymns, except those set to scripture, are composed by men, and therefore may contain false doctrine. If we are not diligent, we might be teaching error in our singing. No matter how much we might like the melody, or whether we have always sung a particular song for years, if we learn that it contains doctrinal error, we should stop singing it in worship. Our songs must be doctrinally sound.
Since Scripture reveals we are teaching when we sing, then all Scripture that gives instruction on teaching is justifiably applied to this aspect of singing as well. Consider the following passages now in light of singing:
Titus 2:1, “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine.”
1 Peter 4:11, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.”
Just as a preacher must give careful consideration to what he teaches, the song leader must give careful thought to the songs he chooses and the messages he conveys. If we would not teach in a Bible class the message contained in a particular song, then we should not be singing that song, no matter how beautiful the melody may be. We are supposed to be teaching with decency, but no one can learn if they cannot understand.
1 Cor 14:7-9, “…unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken…?”
1 Cor 14:26-33, “…for God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”
Singing is a beautiful expression of our worship and adoration of the Lord God. Let us strive to make it more pleasing to our Master and more edifying to each other. For our songs in worship to be instructional, edifying, and praising to God, they must be content rich with the Word of God. Singing is a medium which God has ordained for His Word to richly dwell in us, giving us wisdom, Col 3:16. We maintain our filling of the Holy Spirit by speaking to one another with His words of truth, and signing praise to God, Eph 5:18-19. For our songs in worship to be spiritual, their messages will pertain to things of the Lord, such as His Divine character, word, work, love, praise, and church, rather than things of the flesh or of this world.
God has specified what we are to do: sing hymns and spiritual songs. How we go about doing it, (the means, methods, and tools), are left to our judgment, as long as we are doing nothing more and nothing less than what is specified in His Word. Providing that we maintain the spirit and the truth with decency and orderliness, we can expedite our worship function as we deem appropriate.
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Eph 5:20, “Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.”
The next result of the Spirit’s filling is constant gratitude to God, cf. Phil 4:6-7; Col 3:16-17.
In this passage, first we have the WHAT we are to do. “Always giving thanks,” which is the Adverb PANOTOTE, πάντοτε that means, “perpetually, always, ever, at all times, etc.” and the Verb EUCHARISTEO, εὐχαριστέω in the Present, Active, Participle, Nominative, Plural that means, “to continually or habitually be thankful and give thanks.” It is another imperatival use of the Participle for a command to habitually give thanks.
All humans are to give thanks, Rom 1:21; 2 Thes 1:3; 2:13, and thanksgiving is an essential part of our corporate worship, 1 Cor 14:16-17. It is particularly seen in the Lord’s Supper, 1 Cor 11:23-25. Remember that EUCHRISTEO is also the word transliterated into English for Eucharist, better known as the Communion Supper.
Next, we have the CONTENT of our thanks giving or what we are to be thankful for, “for all things,” HUPER PAS. Notice this verse does not say to be thankful for this or that, or somethings, or any one or two things. No, it says, “all things.” You see, everything that we have, enjoy, or experience, either physically or spiritually, we are to be thankful for; the good and the bad.
As Rom 8:28 tells us, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Notice it does not say that God causes all things to happen to us. This is important, because God does not cause sin or evil to happen in our lives. But God does cause all things to work together for good. You see, for those who love God, everything that happens in their life, (for example, sin, evil, Divine discipline, happiness, joy, blessings, success, etc.), God takes those things and puts them in His plan for their overall good. Since God can take the lemons in your life and make them into lemonade, you are to be thankful for everything that comes in your life. This includes thankfulness for suffering and adversity, as well as prosperity and promotion.
The caveat is, if we are walking habitually in sin, we will not see those bad things as beneficial in our lives. But if we are walking by the filling of God the Holy Spirit, even the bad things that happen to us, God will work it out, so that it ends up producing good, especially Divine Good in your life. Therefore, you are to be thankful “for all things.”
1 Thes 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
In addition, the words gratitude and grace come from the same root word, CHARIS. If we have experienced the grace of God, then we ought to be grateful for what God brings to us. Thank and think also go hand-in-hand. If we would think more in terms of Bible doctrine, we would thank more as a result.
Next, we are told the HOW to give thanks, “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is made up from the Greek EN ONOMA, in the Dative of Sphere; the sphere in which we are to be praying is the person of Jesus Christ, our position, union, and occupation with Him. Then we have the Genitive of Reference, Singular of HO KURIOS for “the Lord,” with the Personal Pronoun HEMEIS, in the Possessive Genitive, First Person, Plural for, “the Lord of us,” or better, “our Lord.” Then we have the Genitive of IESOUS CHRISTOS, for “Jesus Christ.”
The key to everything is Jesus Christ. We are what we are, because of what Christ is. We are members of the Royal Family, because at the moment of salvation, God the Holy Spirit entered us into union with Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father. We are in union with the King of kings; therefore, we are royalty. Only Church Age believers are in this status of royalty.
This emphasizes a principle regarding our prayers that relates to our songs of praise, in that we pray in the “name of Jesus Christ.” We are not commanded to pray to Jesus, but we are commanded to pray in His name, John 16:26; Col 3:17; James 5:14. Therefore, in our thanksgiving, either by song or prayer, we are to do so in the name of Jesus Christ.
Finally, we are given the WHO we direct our thanksgiving songs and prayers to; “the God and Father.” The Greek reads, HO THEOS KAI PATER, ὁ θεός καί πατήρ, in the Dative of Indirect Object case.
Here, we have an application of the Granville Sharp Rule that states, “when two nouns are connected by the Conjunction KAI, and the Article, (in this case HO), precedes only the first noun, there is a close connection between the two.” It indicates unity, equality, and/or identity. In other words, God and Father; it is speaking about one and the same person, the First member of the Trinity; God the Father.
It is to Him, and Him alone that we are to direct our thanksgiving in song and prayer. Therefore, even when we are singing about Jesus or the Holy Spirit, our song of thanks and praise is directed to the first member of the Trinity, God the Father, just as our prayers are also to be directed to Him.
Heb 13:15, “Through Him (Jesus Christ) then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”
This is another form of our expression of love to God. When you truly love someone, you are thankful for that person and what they do. As a result, you give thanks for that person you are occupied with. That person is in your soul, in your heart/right lobe, in your frame of reference, in your memory center, and you are constantly thinking about that person.
Therefore, giving thanks is first a mental attitude. It is a mental attitude of thinking of someone else. It is a mental attitude of love, and therefore a mental attitude of appreciation. It then is expressed from your heart, to your soul, to your mind, and then with your strength/body, Make 12:30; Luke 10:27.
Mark 12:30, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
It is a wonderful thing for members of the Royal Family of God to be grateful to God in time for all that He has provided, whether it is blessing or adversity, regardless of the circumstances. Therefore, it is a wonderful privilege of the Royal Priest to express, on a daily basis, in his thinking and in his prayer, in his attitude of love, in his occupation with the person of Christ, his thanksgiving to God.
And where there is growth in grace, and where the believer has the capacity to love Jesus Christ, and where the believer is occupied with Christ, his thanksgiving, including the Communion Table, becomes a very meaningful and wonderful thing.
On the other hand, if you are not taking in Bible doctrine, if you are not growing in grace, and if you are a reversionist moving away from Bible doctrine, then things like singing, praying, thanksgiving, the communion table, etc., become very tedious and painful; ritual without reality is meaningless, and you have no ability to concentrate on who and what God and Jesus Christ are.
Praises of Thanksgiving Conclusion:
Psa 100:4, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless/honor His person.”
Psa 96:2, “Sing to the LORD, bless His name; proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.”
Psa 107:22, “Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His works with joyful singing.”
Summary and Principles: Praises of Thanksgiving.
1) Thanksgiving is first of all directed toward God, and is an overflow of capacity and appreciation for all that He has and will do for you.
2) Thankfulness is based on maximum intake of Bible doctrine in the soul through the function of the Grace Apparatus for Perception, (GAP). The GAP of Bible doctrine, causes the believer priest to appreciate the members of the Godhead, the plan of the Father, the principle of grace. Therefore, the believer is in a constant state of thanksgiving regardless of the circumstances of life.
3) Thanksgiving involves grace orientation. This is impossible apart from Bible doctrine in the right lobe and human spirit. Doctrine in the human spirit and right lobe is impossible apart from the daily function of GAP. The greater the spiritual IQ, the greater the grace orientation. The greater the grace orientation, the greater the thankfulness of the Royal Priest. If we have experienced the grace of God, then we ought to be grateful for what God brings to us.
4) Thanksgiving is the state of being Occupied with the Person of Jesus Christ, oriented to the plan of God, and maintaining Divine viewpoint in the right lobe. If we would think more Divine viewpoint, we would thank more.
5) Thanksgiving is a moment by moment mental attitude produced by the spiritual skills in the soul, (Rebound, Filling of the Holy Spirit, and application of Bible Doctrine).
6) Thanksgiving is a result of having Divine viewpoint towards life. It is more than an expression of gratitude, more than appreciation in a human sense. It is appreciation for God.
Col 2:7, “Having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”
Col 1:12, “Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”
7) Thanksgiving is an act of giving thanks, grateful acknowledgement of the benefits of the grace of God, hence, it is an expression of gratitude toward God based on your doctrinal capacity to appreciate who and what He is.
8) Thanksgiving is a function of prayer.
Eph 1:16, “I do not cease giving thanks for you, and I make mention of you in my prayers.”
Col 1:3, “We give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.”
Col 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.”
Phil 4:6, “Stop worrying about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
9) Thanksgiving is often a public acknowledgment or celebration of worship, 1 Chron 16:7‑36; Rom 14:11; 15: 9.
10) Thanksgiving is not some shallow, fleeting system of gratitude for something. It is a system of worship toward God, capacity for worship, and capacity for life.
11) Giving causes thanksgiving, 2 Cor 9:7-12.
12) Food should be accepted with thanksgiving, 1 Tim 4:3‑4.
13) Therefore, are you known for ongoing thanksgiving or for complaining, murmuring, and pouting? Spirit-filled believers are thankful people, not complaining people. When we consider what God has done for us in the previous chapters of Ephesians, how could we not live with constant gratitude for His amazing grace? People who are always thankful, always grateful, and who have an object, as well as content of thanksgiving, are the best oriented people in life, and this is the normal procedure for the Royal Priest in Phase Two.
14) Thank Him today because:
- He formed you and made you.
- He has given you the breath of life.
- He has given you this day.
- He is working in you to become all that He has intended you to be.
- He is working everything in your life together for the good.
- He is using your difficulties and trials to conform you to His image.
Thank Him today for:
- The forgiveness of your sins.
- The peace that surpasses all understanding.
- The smiles that have come to your face because His joy is in your heart.
- The comfort of His presence that has quieted your heart and calmed your fears.
- The hope that is in you because He has promised to always be with you.
- The place in heaven that He has reserved and has prepared for you.
Thank Him today with:
- Words of exaltation.
- Songs of celebration.
- A heart of strong devotion.
- Thoughts of deep reflection.
- Acts of admiration.
- Claps of loud ovation.
1 Thes 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
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Eph 5:21, “And be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
With this verse, we will complete the first segment of our 4th division of Chapter 5.
D.) The Believer’s Walk in the World; God’s Standards for Authority and Submission in the Church, Eph 5:18-6:9.
- As to one’s self and the church, be filled with God’s Spirit, Eph 5:18-21.
Here we will note the third evidence, result, or demonstration of the Spirit filled life, which is also a means for maintaining the filling of the Holy Spirit:
Vs. 19, we will be joyful, singing praise to God.
Vs. 20, we will be thankful to God the Father for all things.
Vs. 21, we will be submissive toward one another and our Lord.
Vs. 21, also sets up the overarching principle for the next four topics of relationships to follow: marriage, family, working, and worldly.
The word “and” is not in the original language for this verse. It begins with, “be subject to one another,” which is HUPOTASSO, ὑποτάσσω, ALLELON, ἀλλήλων.
ALLELON means, “each other or one another.” It means the quality or state by which there is a mutual exchange between others and ourselves. This could reference every other member of the human race, as other scriptures do, but more specifically, it is talking about other members of the Royal Family of God. In both applications, it sets up the following groups we interact with, our spouse, our parents or children, our bosses and employees, and those in the world / Satan’s cosmic system. Each, in their own unique way, call for some form of genuine humility, as noted in the term HUPOTASSO, on our part in order to have meaningful and successful relationships, as well as to remain filled with the Holy Spirit and produce Divine Good.
Specifically, HUPOTASSO means, “to be subject to, put in submission to, to be or make subject, to submit oneself, to be under obedience, to subordinate, etc.” It is in the Present, Middle, Participle, Nominative, Plural. The root word TASSO means, “to appoint or order.”
The Active voice of this verb means, “to place under, to affix, or to subordinate.” This describes involuntary submission or obedience, and occurs less often.
The Passive voice means, “to be made subject to.”
The Middle voice, as we have here, means, “to subject oneself, to be subservient, to submit voluntarily, or to place oneself in submission.” The middle voice is used showing the necessity of voluntary submission.
In classical Greek, it frequently occurs in the middle voice, as it does here, and most often indicates voluntary submission or obedience.
In the LXX it is used in Psa 37:7, “Rest in, (be in subjection to. The Hebrew is DAMAM, “stand still or keep silent.”), the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.”
In our verse, it is a general humility corresponding to the mutual subjection of fellow members of society, especially of those who are part of the Body of Christ.
It is used of submission in the sense of voluntary yielding in love, 1 Cor 16:16; Eph 5:21; 1 Peter 5:5.
1 Cor 16:16, “That you also be in subjection to such men (Pastors and Evangelists) and to everyone who helps in the work and labors.”
1 Peter 5:5, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” Cf. Prov 3:34; James 4:6.
Submission to authority is another extremely important issue. Although we are all equal in Christ, believers are to give deference to elders, those in positions of high standing, and to all operating in the body of Christ.
Gal 5:13, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
In society all members of the human race, all men and women, in various positions of authority, leadership, following, or dependence, are equal, even though their functions vary and their responsibilities are diverse. As Scripture tells us, we are all equal before God, Gal 3:28. Likewise, we are all equal in the laws of society, and yet we have varying functions and responsibilities. If we accept certain functions under the authority of a fellow human, we must then subject ourselves to that individual to accomplish the desired goal. The functions are equally important, although different in scope and responsibility. They are different, not because we want them to be, but because God made them to be so. Therefore, within the Church, where we are all members of the body of Christ, yet have differing spiritual gifts, ministries, and impact, we are to support one another in humility to achieve God’s Plan for our generation.
As we see in the second half of this verse, we have the manner by which we voluntarily place ourselves in subjection to one another, as the situation calls for, as it reads, “in the fear of Christ.” This is also an indirect statement of the deity of Jesus, the Lord.
The Greek reads, EN PHOBOS CHRISTOS, with the Dative of Manner for EN PHOBOS indicating “how” this submission to one another, (genuine humility), is accomplished.
With this we have the Genitive of Source of CHRISTOS. There is no article here, so this phrase should read, “in fear of Christ.” This is also a principle of Occupation with the person of Jesus Christ.
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Doctrine of Fear of the Lord
PHOBOS means, “fear, fright, terror, or alarm,” but also “respect, awe, or reverence.”
“As early as Homer (Eighth Century B.C.) the Greeks used phobos in the sense of “fright” or “panic.” The word is related to phobeō (5236), “to flee” or “run away” (Liddell-Scott). Throughout the classical period, the word was used not only for “terror” and “headlong flight” but “fear” or “apprehension,” whatever the cause. Fear of death was a common example. Sometimes the word was used in the positive sense of “respect, awe,” or “reverence,” especially toward authorities to whom one is responsible or to deity. As early as Homer the god Phobos was ranked high in the mythological system, depicted as a typical war-god (ibid.).” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)
Fear is Used Two Ways in the Bible.
- Fear is used for an emotional mental attitude sin, characterized by panic when in a dangerous situation. It is a painful emotional distress aroused by impending pain, danger, disaster, evil, or by illusions regarding the same. It is worry, apprehension, consternation, or horror. Fear is also an active feeling of dread, of which fright and terror are the more intense degrees. This is the “bad” category of fear.
- Fear is used for reverence, respect, or awe. It is a reverence manifesting itself in obedience. In this respect, fear is a Christian virtue, 1 Peter 2:17. This is the “good” category of fear.
1 Peter 2:17, “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”
The latter is the application for this verse. But remember, a little emotional fear goes a long way to having respect and reverence for the Lord.
Fear is a natural, and in its purpose, a beneficial feeling, arising in the presence or anticipation of danger, and moving to its avoidance; it is also awakened in the presence of superiors and of striking manifestations of power, taking the form of awe or reverence.
This kind of fear is also an expression of two great Problem-Solving Devices, our Personal Love for God and Occupation with Christ, 2 Sam 23:2-3; Neh 5:9; Job 28:28; Psa 19:9; 34:11-12; 111:10; Prov 1:7; 9:10; 10:27; 22:4; Mal 3:16; Eph 5:21.
First and foremost, in the believer’s life, is to have this kind of fear / respect / awe for God, where we revere, honor, exalt, lift up, hold in high regard, esteem, worship, yield, and surrender to Him, Deut 13:4.
Deut 13:4, “You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.”
In fact, the entire world should fear the Lord, Psa 33:8, “Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him,” just as the thief on the Cross did, Luke 23:40. But unfortunately, the world has no fear of God and does not honor Him, Rom 3:10-18, “18THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES,” just as there is no fear of Him in the sinner, Psa 36:1.
Yet the fact is, if we live in sin, we absolutely should fear the Lord, because one day He is going to judge us, Psa 119:120.
Psa 119:120, “My flesh trembles for fear of You, and I am afraid of Your judgments.”
One of the greatest restraints on sin is fear of the righteousness and justice of God, Ex 20:20.
Ex 20:20, “Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin’.”
Legitimate fear of failure is helpful in utilizing the Faith-Rest Drill and making doctrinal applications in life, Heb 4:1. Believers should be afraid of subjective thinking and failure, and instead claim the doctrines, promises, and logistical grace blessings of God.
Prov 14:26, “In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and His children will have refuge.”
Prov 19:23, “The fear of the LORD leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.”
In Lev 25:17, fear prevents wrongdoing toward other persons, “So you shall not wrong one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the LORD your God.” Instead of reacting to the wrongdoing of others, you should put the entire matter in the hands of God.
When you realize in humility, your own weakness and dependence upon God, and knowing that God will judge you according to your own works, you are commanded to “pass the time of our stay upon earth in fear,” 1 Peter 1:17. In doing so, the believer will be kept from the arrogant self-confidence, which so often leads to falling.
As Paul states in Phil 2:12, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
To Fear God is to:
- Realize that sin is in your life.
- Respect that He did something about it.
- Be in awe of Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, coming down to become a man in our own image to take our sinful place on the Cross.
- Realize how much sin cost, which was His humanity dying on a Cross for mankind.
- That is reverence of God.
Fear denotes respect for God’s Word, Bible doctrine, that results in respect for the Lord, Deut 17:19 “It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes.”
Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom, Psa 111:10; Prov 1:7; 9:10.
Prov 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Prov 9:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Psa 111:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding has all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.”
The respect for the Lord is the beginning of a lifetime of learning Bible doctrine and having that Bible doctrine circulating in the stream of consciousness.
As a result, it keeps you away from evil with the results of a healthful life, Prov 3:7-8; 16:6.
Prov 16:6, “By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil.”
Prov 3:7-8, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. 8It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.”
The Bible is full of assurance to those who “fear God, and keep his commandments,” Eccl 12:13.
Eccl 12:13, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.”
In that relationship of love and trust, for those who fear Him and keep His commandments, God delivers them from bondage, and gives them the spirit of adoption (son-placing), so that they confidently call God “Father,” as the glory of the gospel, in that a new relationship with God, overwhelms the negative aspects of fear.
- As noted above in Prov 14:26, it gives you strong confidence, boldness, and assurance in all aspects of life.
- It fulfills the desires of your heart, Psa 145:19.
Psa 145:19, “He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them.”
- It saves and protects you, Psa 34:7; 91: all.
Psa 34:7, “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.”
- It leads to a life free of fear and worry, Psa 19:23.
Prov 19:23, “The fear of the LORD leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.”
- It prolongs your earthly life to maximize your service to God here on earth, Prov 10:27.
Prov 10:27, “The fear of the LORD prolongs life, But the years of the wicked will be shortened.”
- It leads you to voluntarily place yourself in subjection to God and to one another in support and service of the body of Christ, Eph 5:21.
To voluntarily place yourself in subjection to one another, especially in the four areas noted in Eph 5:22-6:20, you must have respect for our Lord Jesus Christ, which is demonstrated by following His commands and mandates, Deut 11:27; 1 Sam 15:22; Jer 7:23; 11:4, 7.
Deut 11:26-28, “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I am commanding you today. 28and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today…”
1 Sam 15:22, “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams’.”
Spirit-controlled believers are to submit to one another, willingly serving others and being under them rather than dominating them and exalting themselves. Basic to your attitude toward others, is your reverence for Christ. Whatever relationships exist in life, in order for them to be successful, wonderful, and have great content, they demand self-discipline on the part of one person, as a result of fear and respect of the Lord, (i.e., authority orientation to the Person of Jesus Christ), which also means occupation with the person of Jesus Christ.
The believer priest is to submit to the various authorities in life, as noted in the following verses of Eph 5:22-6:20, through self-discipline provided under the ministry of the Word of God and the Filling of the Holy Spirit, in the fear of the Lord. Therefore, we submit to others, because Christ is the ultimate authority over our lives. This does not mean believers live in terror of Christ. It means they stand in awe of Christ, who is the King and Judge. Believers stand in awe not only of His holiness but also of His forgiveness, Psa 130:4. We belong to Christ’s kingdom. He is the King. Out of reverence for Him, we gladly submit to His rule and serve others with compassion.