Vol. 16 No 52 – December 24, 2017
Eph 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
“The Bible records the sad results of parents neglecting their children, either by being bad examples to them or failing to discipline them properly. David pampered Absalom and set him a bad example, and the results were tragic. Eli failed to discipline his sons and they brought disgrace to his name and defeat to the nation of Israel. In his latter years, even Isaac pampered Esau, while his wife showed favoritism to Jacob; and the result was a divided home. Jacob was showing favoritism to Joseph when God providentially rescued the lad and made a man out of him in Egypt. Paul tells us that the father has several responsibilities toward his children.” (Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Rich, Ephesians).
In the Greek this verse begins with the continuative use of the Conjunction KAI, “and,” with HO PATER for, “the fathers,” in the subject Nominative Plural, and “do not,” the negative particle ME. Fathers are addressed because they represent the governmental head of the family on whom rests the responsibility of child training and discipline, just as God the Father is our head and we are His children. Nevertheless, both parents should heed this instruction, yet the main responsibility falls to the fathers. So this means to stop doing something which a lot of the parents had been doing.
“Provoke to anger,” is the verb PARORGIZO, παροργίζω that means, “make angry, provoke to anger, or enrage.” It comes from the root ORGE that means, “anger.” It is used here and in Rom 10:19, regarding Israel provoking God to anger. Some ancient Greek translations also use it in the parallel verse in Col 3:21, for “exasperate.”
Col 3:21, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.”
For Col 3:21, other Greek translations including those applied in the NASB, use the verb ERETHIZŌ for “exasperate.” ERETHIZŌ, ἐρεθίζω means, “excite, arouse, provoke, irritate, or embitter.”
But in Eph 6:4 PAROGIZO is used where fathers, (i.e., parents), are commanded about “provoking” their children to anger when disciplining them. This refers to causing a lasting bitterness, not just an angry outburst. It is used in the Retroactive Present, Active, Imperative, for a command to stop doing something that began in the past and continues into the present.
The ones the parents are not to cause a lasting bitterness to occur in their souls is, their “children,” HO TEKON, τέκνον in the direct object Accusative, Neuter, Plural, with the Genitive of relationship Pronoun HUMEIS for “your.”
How do parents cause anger or exasperate their children? The answer is very simple; unjust treatment, abusive authority, taking your frustrations out on your children, etc. Parents have no right to abuse the authority given to them.
This is a commandment to parents against nagging their children to the point where they feel helpless to achieve your expectations, or by unreasonable demands, petty rules, or favoritism. Such actions cause children to become discouraged, Col 3:21. Parents who constantly goad their children may cause them to fall into a state of perpetual resentment.
Fathers and mothers provoke their children and discourage them by saying one thing and doing another, by always blaming and never praising, by being inconsistent and unfair in discipline, and by showing favoritism in the home, by making promises and not keeping them, and by making light of problems that, to the children, are very important. Christian parents need the fullness of the Spirit so they can be sensitive to the needs and problems of their children.
Here are some other possible causes of angering our children:
- Failing to take into account the fact that they are kids.
- Comparing them to others.
- Disciplining them inconsistently.
- Failing to express approval, even at small accomplishments.
- Failing to express our love to them.
- Disciplining them for reasons other than willful disobedience and defiance.
- Pressuring them to pursue our goals, not their own.
- Withdrawing love from them or overprotecting them.
Instead, you should train and instruct your children, as we see in the second half of this verse. We should be aiming at encouragement, not discouragement!
Having given the command of negation for what not to do, we now have the positive command of what parents should do, “but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
The opposite of “provoke” is “encourage.” Notice the three actions to which parents are called to encourage their children, “bring up, discipline, and instruct.” The fact is, if left to themselves, children will be rebels, so it is necessary for the parents to train their children. So, Paul is basically saying that dads should care for their children lovingly.
1.) “Bring up.” First, we have the contrasting Conjunction ALLA, “but,” then the Present, Active, Imperative verb EKTREPHO, ἐκτρέφω that means, “feed, nourish, bring up, or rear.” It comes from the root TREPHO that means, “feed, nurture, or bring up,” where our verb has the prefix EK that usually means, “out from,” but here simply adds emphasis to this word for nurturing your children, and may infer raising them from childhood to adulthood. Nevertheless, it means to, “provide for physical and spiritual needs.”
It is used only here and Eph 5:29, regarding the love a man has for his own body demonstrated by “nourishing it.” In like manner, our verse uses the word for a command to bring up children, with the implicit idea of loving provision, training, and instruction.
This is followed by the Accusative, Neuter, Pronoun AUTOS in the 3rd Person Plural for “them,” referring back to the children.
2.) “Discipline.” Here we have, “in the discipline,” which is the Dative Preposition, EN, “in,” with the Noun PAIDEIA παιδεία that means, “training or discipline.” This is the word from which we derive “pedagogy,” the science or profession of teaching. It can refer to discipline, but normally contains a broader meaning of “education,” the entire training and instruction of the young, including directing and correcting. Therefore, “discipline” involves training, including punishment, as we see it in other usages below. This word is first used here in the NT, but is also found in 2 Tim 3:16; Heb 12:5, 7-8, 11.
2 Tim 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.”
Here, we see what parents should be using to discipline and train their children, the Word of God / Bible Doctrine.
In the Hebrew epistle, it is used regarding God’s training and discipline utilizing punitive discipline, (i.e., Divine discipline), toward the wayward adult Christian child, to get them back into God’s plan for their lives, Heb 12:5-11. In light of what Paul has written about anger, Eph 4:26, 31, such discipline must be done under control.
3.) “Instruction.” Here we have the coordinating Conjunction use of KAI, “and,” with the Dative of the Noun NOUTHESIA, νουθεσία that means, “admonition, warning, counsel, or instruction.” It is a narrower term than PAIDEIA, referring to training by word or instruction. “Instruction,” carries the idea of teaching, counsel, admonition, or warning, and perhaps verbal instruction. This word is used here and in 1 Cor 10:11; Titus 3:10.
1 Cor 10:11, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” The example here was God’s discipline of the people and nation of Israel because of their reversionism.
In our passage, the overarching charge to fathers to bring up, discipline, and instruct their children is “of the Lord,” which is the Genitive, Singular of KURIOUS, κύριος. Therefore, children are to obey “in the Lord,” Eph 6:1, and here parents are to bring up, train, and instruct, “of the Lord.” Therefore, fathers are to teach Christian instruction and discipline in a way that honors the Lord.
As we noted in vs. 1-3, loyalty and submission to one’s father and mother in the context of the Covenant was absolutely vital for the passing on of God’s blessing from one generation to another. Likewise during the Church Age in which we currently live in, it is vital for proper function inside the Plan of God for your life.
Parents are charged with the solemn responsibility of carefully instructing their children, both by precept and example; to live for God and His testimony, rather than following the corrupt example and mind-set of the secular world around you, as authentic heirs of God’s blessings bestowed on you, just as the Hebrew nation at the time of the Exodus was.
So important was this principle for the perpetuation of the faith in the nation of Israel that each family and each assembly were to recite the creedal declaration of the SHEMA set forth in Deut 6:4-7. The parents were to set the tone for their home and all who live in it, making it clear that their main purpose in life was to put God first in their lives and live for Him, rather than for the ambitions and goals of worldliness in a vain search for happiness and meaning in a career of egoistic self-seeking.
The NT likewise emphasizes the responsibilities of parents toward their children, cf. 2 Cor 12:14. Parents are entrusted with the responsibility to educate their children, cf. 1 Tim 3:4-5. A proper relationship with children is a model for the pastor’s relationship with his congregation, as it was in Paul’s case, 1 Thes 2:7-11. The things Paul notes here are a good lesson of how parents are to operate with their children in a loving, self-sacrificing way.
Areas of parental training include:
- In the mental realm, providing a vocabulary with which to think. Training in the field of self-discipline and concentration. Training in the realm of freedom and respect for privacy, respect for property, respect for the rights of others, thoughtfulness.
- In the physical realm, providing food, shelter, and clothing. The training comes through teaching them how to properly eat food, teaching them basic systems of grooming, provide recreation, provide training in the principles of health and hygiene.
- In the spiritual realm, evangelization of children followed by initial doctrinal communication. Academic instruction from the Lord, emphasizing the instruction from the local church. Parents are to always select a church where doctrine is taught, rather than one that offers young people’s programs.
Children also learn through observation:
- One of the primary places parents were to live out the instructions found in the overall letter / book of Ephesians was in the home. As they do, children are observing their parent’s own relationship to the Lord. They are watching them pray, study the Bible, and worship. They know if their parents are dazzled by God’s grace or not. Children are constantly observing how their parents value the Church. They are watching how their parents are speaking truth lovingly, working honestly, giving generously, encouraging others properly, putting away bitterness and anger repentantly, and forgiving one another Christianly, Eph 4:25-32, or NOT.
- The first picture of God children receive is from their parents. They will get a sense of authority, love, and protection from their parents. As they see and treasure this example, it will inevitably point them away from the parents to the ultimate Father. Even when you fail to reflect God before your children, you should teach them how to repent and receive grace from God.
- They are also forming their view of marriage based on their parent’s marriage. Give them a compelling vision. Remember you are giving your children a picture of the gospel, as well as demonstrating how husbands and wives love each other, Eph 5:22-33. One of the best things you can do as a parent is love your spouse and stay together.
- Finally, children are learning obedience, respect, and submission as they watch their parents submit to and obey God. This point is drawn from the immediate context also. A theme of submission and obedience and respect runs through Eph 5:21-6:9.
- Yet on the other hand, they also observe you walking in the world where your relationship with God is not really that important or imperative. Your example is influential. What are they seeing? Are they learning to value mission more than money? Faithfulness to God, over career success? Are they learning humility and repentance, or hypocrisy? Parents are under God’s authority, both in their roles to one another and in their roles as parents. Children are watching how you obey God.
While the father bears primary responsibility for training and instruction, both share in the task of making children disciples of Jesus. It is best for both parents to be present in the lives of their kids. It is not the job of a day care, nannies, an institution, or grandparents to raise children. It is the parents’ job. Big homes, nice cars, and long vacations are not worth neglecting your kids. This requires spiritual discipline on the part of the parents, and especially on the part of dads. It may call for an adjustment of one’s lifestyle.
In Prov 6:20-22, the writer says, “My son, keep your father’s command, and do not reject your mother’s teaching. Always bind them to your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk here and there, they will guide you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; when you wake up, they will talk to you.” Cf. Prov 1:8.
Though Paul does not say, “set an example for your children,” in vs. 1-4, this point is implied based on the previous chapters of Ephesians and by the focus on “teaching children.” What are children learning? They are learning basic Christian living by watching their parents. Therefore, the father must be fair, loving, and consistent in attitude toward his child.
Finally, in your communication and education you may feel insufficient. You are right. Parenting makes you desperate for God’s help. Some days I think success equals keeping my children out of prison; on other days I think success is keeping myself out of prison!
In fact, we all fail as parents from time to time. This does not make us bad parents, (unless our failures are over a long period of time and consistent). Nevertheless, it simply means we need grace. Do not hide your need for grace, for that is part of the teaching experience too. Kids need to know that people fail in obedience, but there is One who did not fail. He stood in our place and gives us forgiveness and empowerment. They need to know Eph 1-3; in Christ, we are accepted, forgiven, redeemed, and made alive.
But take great comfort in Titus 2:12. Paul says the grace of God instructs us for godliness. While parents have this responsibility to train their children, God in His grace is working in their lives. Look to God for grace and strength. The psalmist reminds us of our desperate need, Psa 127:1.
Psa 127:1, “Unless the Lord builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain; unless the Lord watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain.”
Elyse Fitzpatrick quips, “The obvious difference between Paul and us is that Paul bragged about his weakness, and we try to hide it” (Give Them Grace, 150). Do not hide your weaknesses. Admit them. Go to God for help; His strength will be sufficient. Weak parents have a mighty Savior!
Next, in Eph 6:5-9, we have a third group of address with instructions for workers, vs 5-8, and bosses, vs. 9, in performing their jobs in the secular world. Whereas the first two groups, (wives and husbands, children and parents), were directly involved in family relationships, this group, (slaves and masters, or workers and bosses), is outside the immediate family.
Eph 6:5, “Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ.”
It begins with “slaves,” which is the Greek Article HO and the Noun DOULOS, δοῦλος in the Vocative of address, Plural that means “slave, bondman, or servant.” It is one who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another; generally it is one serving, bound to serve, or in bondage, Rom 6:16-17.
Although this word is used throughout the NT in a figurative sense referring to our relationship to God or our fellow believers as servants, here it is used in its literal sense of being a slave or servant to another member of the human race, e.g., Luke 7:2ff.; John 18:10; Col 3:22ff.; 1 Tim 6:1. The last two passages parallel the discussion in our passage, cf. 1 Cor 7:21-22; Titus 2:9-10.
The concept of a slave to the Greeks is to be subject to an utterly debasing social and anthropological position. Autonomy was the highest prize of the Hellenistic world; thus servitude was the absence of any such freedom. Although the position of slaves within households differed, the dependence of the slave upon another and his or her subjection in service made it repulsive to Greeks.
To the Jews of the OT, it was very different. First, people could become slaves as a result of choice. Second, in contrast to the Hellenistic idea, slaves served only for 6 years, Ex 21:2, and the Old Testament also provided for the protection of slaves from mistreatment, Ex 21:14, 26, 27. Third, a religious relationship was regularly conveyed by servanthood.
Here, as elsewhere in the NT, slavery is accepted as an existing institution, which is neither formally condemned nor formally approved.
“The institution is left to be undermined and removed by the gradual operation of the great Christian principles of the equality of men in the sight of God, and a common Christian brotherhood, the spiritual freedom of the Christian man, and the Lordship of Christ to which every other lordship is subordinate.” (Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)
Most writers estimate that approximately 60 million people, or one-third of the population of the Roman Empire, were slaves at that time. Vincent says, “In this appeal, Paul was addressing a numerous class. In many of the cities of Asia Minor, slaves outnumbered freemen.” (Vincent Word Studies). In addition, these Christian slaves most likely had heathen masters.
Given that Paul addresses this group who are in servitude to others and the mandates from God he asks them to follow, our current day concept of workers on the job should no less follow these principles. While it may be stretching the passage too far, it is easy to make some comparisons between these statements about slave-master relationships and employee-employer relationships today.
Next, we have the main verb of this passage, “be obedient,” which is HUPAKOUO, ὑπακούω in the Present, Active, Imperative that means, “listen to, obey, follow, be subject to, or respond or answer.” This is the same word Paul used for children to “obey” their parents in vs. 1 and Col 3:20. With the Imperative Mood, we have a command or mandate from God. The Customary Present Tense is for habitual ongoing action. The Active Voice addresses slaves who are to perform the action of “being obedient.”
The root AKOUO means to “hear or listen,” with the prefix HUPO that can means, “under, by, from, from under, or subject to,” it provides the understanding of subjection, dependence, or the state of being under any person or authority. So it means, “obedience” that comes from “hearing,” and here to submit or comply with. It is used 21 times in the NT, and Paul used it in terms of being obedient (as a slave) in our passage and Col 3:22.
The slave/worker is not concerned with the rights or wrongs of his circumstances; he is concerned to do his job as unto the Lord. He is concerned to grow in grace. His job is to take in Bible doctrine as a believer and to reach spiritual adulthood, and to leave his job (and all) circumstances in the hands of the Lord. It is part of the Faith-Rest life.
Next, we have the object of their obedience, “to those who are your masters according to the flesh.” It is the Dative Article HO, “the,” with the Preposition KATA, “according to,” and the Noun SARX in the Accusative that means, “flesh,” and the Dative Plural Noun KURIOS that means, “lords or masters.”
“According to the flesh,” tells us this passage is speaking of earthly masters or bosses, and not about service to the Lord God or your fellow Christians. It means those who they are indentured to or who own them. These are the ones the slave or worker is to be obedient towards.
The use of “flesh” also points to the real issue, the Old Sin Nature that every man possesses. That is the issue. When you are dealing with your boss they have an OSN just as you do. To combat the OSN you need the power of the word of God resident in your soul, plus the filling of God the Holy Spirit. Even though these words are speaking of the earthly people we face on the job, it also reminds us of the spiritual battles we face every day.
Paul carefully encouraged these slaves who had become followers of Christ to obey their masters as they would obey Christ. In other words, they should not use their Christian freedom for an excuse not to render faithful service. In fact, Christians should feel even more obligated to do a good job because of this command and their position in Christ Jesus.
Paul then tells them the way in which they should be doing their job, in three parts:
1.) “With fear and trembling.” This uses the Preposition META, “with,” with the Genitive Singular Noun PHOBOS, φόβος that means, “fear, terror, alarm, or reverence and respect.” The latter, “reverence and respect,” is in view. We noted this word in Eph 5:21, regarding service towards our fellow Christians, but here it is service towards one’s master or boss. Then we have the coordinating Conjunction KAI, “and,” with the Genitive Singular Noun TROMOS, τρόμος that means, “quaking, quivering, or trembling.” It generally relates to a trembling caused by fear.
Except for Mark 16:8, this word is only used in the phrase, “fear and trembling,” 1 Cor 2:3; 2 Cor 7:15; Phil 2:12. Although Mark 16:8, does use PHOBEO, “fear” in the passage.
It means they are to have respect for the authoritative position the master or boss has been given by God over them. And with such respect to a good job at the tasks they are to perform. In addition, reverence means to honor the authority their bosses or masters have.
Then “trembling” describes the anxiety of one who distrusts his ability completely to meet all requirements, but religiously does his utmost to fulfil his duty. It is an axiom for having extreme concern and consideration in performing the duties or job at hand, and means giving maximum exertion and effort.
2.) “In the sincerity of your heart,” is the Dative Preposition EN, “in,” and the Dative Noun HAPLOTES, ἁπλότης that means, “simplicity, sincerity, generosity, or purity.” Then we have the Genitive Article HO, “the” with the Noun KARDIA, “heart or mind,” and the Pronoun HUMEIS, “of you or your.”
HAPLOTES is used in the NT for “giving with liberality” in Rom 12:8; 2 Cor 8:2; 9:13, for the service towards Christ, 2 Cor 11:3, and the servitude of slaves in Eph 6:5; Col 3:22. Therefore it carries the tone of “over and above,” or “above and beyond,” the normal call to duty.
3.) “As to Christ,” is the Subordinating Conjunction HOS, with the Dative HO CHRISTOS. This is the motivation for giving excellent service. Just as we would serve our Lord, we are to serve our bosses and masters. In other words, do your job as unto the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now given the words flesh, heart and Christ, we see that we are dealing with the OSN of human beings, therefore the heart (right lobe of our soul) has to be right with God, (in fellowship – filled with the Word and Holy Spirit) to combat the sin natures of our bosses, and we can only accomplish this when our motivation is Christ, (the messiah/savior, our God), and being in right relation with Him.
Therefore, this is an encouragement to slaves who have become followers of Christ to obey their masters as they would obey Christ. This also means that they should not use their Christian freedom for an excuse not to render faithful service to their masters or bosses. This is further defined in vs.6-8.
Eph 6:6, “Not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”
Here we have two negative ways of working and then two positive ways of working.
The first of the two negatives uses the Greek Negative Particle ME, “not.” Followed by the Accusative Preposition KATA, “with,” and the Accusative Noun OPHTHALMODOULEIA, ὀφθαλμο-δουλεία that means, “eye slavery or eye service,” used only here and Col 3:22. It is a compound word from OPHTHALMOS that means, “eye” and DOULEIA, “slavery or service.” Eyeservice means someone who wants to attract attention to themselves on the job in a hypocritical function of their job. They do things just to look good in front of the boss.
The second negative way of working is classified, “as men-pleasers,” which is HOS, “as” with Nominative Adjective, ANTHROPARESKOS, ἀνθρωπάρεσκος that means, “one who tries to please men.” Paul coined this term from ANTHROPOS, “man,” and ARESKO, “to accommodate, be pleasing, seek to please, etc.” It too is only used here and Col 3:22. It refers to someone who tries to please people or butter up people at the expense of principle, someone who holds their job by flattery and fawning.
This means that you only work hard, or do any work at all when the boss is watching you. Otherwise you are slacking off, goofing around, or not working when they are not in your presence. Even more egregious is when you go out of your way to do things in the presence of the boss like showing off, doing special favors for them, running other people down with your mouth to make yourself look good, gossiping, etc. Sometimes even dressing in a certain way or provocatively to get the attention of your boss is included here. Therefore, we are to do our jobs unto the Lord and not in a self-aggrandizing way to simply please our bosses.
Then we have the first positive way to serve our bosses or masters, “but as slaves of Christ,” ALLA HOS DOULOS CHRISTOS, in the Genitive. Every believer must do his job as unto the Lord, not whether he is supervised or not, and he does not make up for lack of ability by becoming a flatterer for personal gain.
We should always realize that as born-again believers, we are in full time Christian service to God, which includes our earthly jobs whether outside or inside the home. That means we are “professional Christians,” as royal priests and royal ambassadors. Therefore, when we do our job, we are do it unto the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then the second positive way to serve on the job, “doing the will of God,” which is the Present Active Participle of POIEO, “to make or do,” with the Accusative of HO THELEMA that means, “will, desire, determination, purpose, or inclination,” and HO THEOS in the Genitive for, “of God.”
This means that we are to walk in our Personal Sense of Destiny, a Problem Solving Device, while on the job. It means that you know that God has a plan for your life and you are walking / living it out daily. It means we are to accept our circumstances and use them to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. If the Lord wants to change your circumstances, He will, but in the meantime, do your job unto the Lord. The dynamics of Bible doctrine comes from utilizing your own circumstances assigned to you by God.
Therefore, “doing the will of God,” means that you do not commit sin to fulfill God’s plan for your life, but instead walk / function in the holiness and righteousness of God, by not entering into sinful behaviors and functioning with honesty and integrity. It means you have the Christ-like nature and use it to perform your job. It means you function as God would function, in righteousness. It means God’s will for you is to “be holy as He is holy,” and therefore you perform motivated by how God wants you to perform your job, in holiness. God has placed believers in every aspect of life. God can bless a believer in any circumstances of life.
1 Peter 1:15-16, “But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY’.” Cf. Lev 11:44; 19:2; 20:7.
The place this service is to emanate from is “the heart,” which is not HO KARDIA in the Greek, but is actually EK PSUCHE that means, “from the soul.” So, this is better translated, “from the soul.”
As in vs. 5, we noted the battle ground of the Angelic Conflict is the soul where there it noted the heart or the right lobe of the soul. So here, the whole soul (PSUCHE) is now in view. So, we see the battle ground of your entire soul being the issue for dealing with the OSN (flesh) of your boss on the job. The issue of your soul is, will you allow it to be controlled by your own OSN when you are tempted to sin and be a lazy worker when your boss is not around and a man-pleaser when he/she is, or will you allow your soul to be led by the Word of God and the Filling of the Holy Spirit and do your job in righteousness and holiness, with integrity and honor at all times.
In reality, Paul classified only two types of service: working to please men and working to please the Lord. The first type is an outward show of loyalty and goodwill when the boss is watching. But when the worker is no longer under surveillance, the hardworking attitude is replaced by a begrudging one. Even if the worker has a genuine desire to please superiors only for the purpose of reaping the rewards they might bestow, this is still considered eyeservice because it is not done to glorify God. Flattery and hypocrisy are also ingredients of this kind of service. Yet, the second type we are exhorted to perform, is to do our jobs unto the Lord, which means to do the things that are pleasing to Him, as noted above, while performing your job.
Christians can bring reproach on the name of Christ by stealing time; for example, some witness for the Lord when they are being paid to work. Paul made it clear to these Christian slaves/workers that faithful service would be a testimony to their masters/bosses. Some of their masters/bosses were also Christians, but no doubt many of them were not.
We can also classify these two opposing concepts of performing our jobs as:
- Working for personal, independent gain.
- Working to please Christ.
This is also noted in the next verse, but in opposite order.
Eph 6:7, “With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men,”
This time the passage begins with the positive and ends with the negative.
The positive, “with good will render service,” begins with META, “with,” EUNOIA, “good will, favor, benevolence, or kindness.” It comes from EU, “well or good” and NOUS, “mind, perceive, understand, realize, see, consider, take note of, or think over.” It is a state of zeal based upon a desire to be involved in some activity or state, therefore, “zeal, eagerness, or wholeheartedness.” It is a positive attitude exhibited in a relationship; a good attitude or willingness. So, it originally meant, “good thinking,” but came to be used for “loyal enthusiasm.”
With this is DOULEUO, δουλεύω in the Present, Active, Participle that means, “be a slave or be subject to obey.” DOULEUO is also found in the promise of blessing for good service in Col 3:24, for “you serve.”
We then have the motivation factor, “as to the Lord,” HOS HO KURIOS in the Dative case. We do our job unto the Lord.
Then we have the negation, “and not to men,” KAI OUK ANTHROPOS in the Dative. As stated above, do not be men-pleasers.
Here we are exhorted, “if you cannot transfer your job, transfer your boss,” i.e., from a man to Christ Himself. When we get our eyes off of our bosses and put them squarely on the Lord Jesus Christ, Heb 12:2, we will have the proper motivation to do our jobs, and in most cases, will do it well, pleasing the Lord. Bible doctrine changes things from the soul, not from the function of people seeking change and improvement of environment. Remember, the grass is not always greener at another job or company. But if you change the way you think and approach your job from a worldly viewpoint to a doctrinal view point, you will see the greenness wherever God places you.
Therefore, a worker is to serve his boss with goodwill that includes such characteristics as zeal, enthusiasm, loyalty, devotion, etc. The believer with Bible doctrine in his soul, especially the spiritually mature, does the most menial tasks with loyal enthusiasm as to the Lord.
As such, Paul gives instructions to slaves and masters, (workers and bosses), exhorting them to glorify Christ with proper attitudes, work ethic, and a deep awareness of Christ’s Lordship. We are to do our work as unto Christ, which means:
- Glorify Christ by working respectfully, Eph 6:5a. We are to work seriously and reverently, because we are working unto Christ.
- Glorify Christ by working wholeheartedly, Eph 6:5b-6. Do not be a hypocrite and work hard only when the boss is present. Remember that Christ sees all things.
- Glorify Christ by working willingly, Eph 6:7. Put your heart and soul into your work from your free will volition led by the Word and Holy Spirit within your soul, because you are doing God’s will.
- Glorify Christ by working expectantly, Eph 6:8, because the ultimate reward is coming. No Divine good work goes unnoticed by God. We will stand before the BEMA seat of Christ and be rewarded, Mat 16:27; Rom 2:6-11; 1 Cor 3:10-15; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 2-3.
Col 3:22-25, “Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23Whatever you do, do your work heartily (PSUCHE – from the soul), as for the Lord rather than for men.”
Paul further defined the Christian work ethic in 2 Thes 3:6-15.
Heb 12:2, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#17-134, 17-135, 17-136
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I Welcome You to the Eternal Family of God !!!