Notes on the Book of Ephesians
Taken at a Bible Study Led by Walt Henrichsen
In San Francisco, 19-23 March 2007
· 5:1-14 free from vice
· 5:15-21 filled with the Spirit
· 5:22-33 family relationships
· 6:1-3 family relationships continued
· 6:11-18 fighting the devil
· Offering – after the harvest; sacrifice – blood
· Gen 8:20-22 – Noah offered burnt offerings … and the Lord smelled the soothing aroma …
· A sacrifice is an extreme form of obedience.
· In Isaiah 1 He said your offerings are odious, because your heart is not with Me.
· I suggest the thing that makes it sweet smelling is that He gave Himself.
· It was a freely given sacrifice. And Paul said it was an odor that God enjoyed.
· No. It’s not always but sometimes it’s expressed as such.
· Jn. 12:24 – kernel of wheat must die.
· Eros love is not in the Bible; it’s antithetical to all love of the Bible
· Does every act of love toward your wife require sacrifice?
· Example: if I have 2 billion dollars and give 1 million to someone, it may or may not require sacrifice.
· If a person does not sacrifice, though, you won’t feel he really loves you.
· A spoonful of gas.
· It becomes a sacrifice when you are not in agreement.
· Sacrifice by definition has an expectation of return.
· So love seeks the best good of another and does not expect returned benefits from that person.
In your part of the world, to give a gift when visiting
a home is appropriate,
but it must be proportional so that the person does not feel obligated to give more than planned.
· Thus, to give sacrificially may not necessarily be in love. It is just fulfilling an obligation.
· The question is not can love be sacrificial. The question is does it have to be?
· Are you suggesting that the non-Christian cannot agape?
· The pagan mother who protects her child at great cost, maybe even her own life – how is such a thing possible?
· The former.
· She would say it’s motherhood.
· John 15:13 – greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for a friend or daughter.
· A non-Christian cannot live a life of perpetual self-sacrifice, because that requires an eternal hope.
· But he/she can love sacrificially.
· Verse 5 gives the reason for verse 3 – they will have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
· Emphasizing the importance of the content.
· Yes, these things keep you out of the kingdom.
· One thing is for sure: illicit sex is an environment in which all three meet.
· That is, if I have sex outside marriage, then I am a fornicator, I am impure and I am a covetous man.
· The three are not synonyms, but when you commit the first, you commit the other two.
· Coveting is wanting something that is not your own. Desiring can be legitimate.
· Remember, because God wants you to have a temporal hope, coveting is one of the most difficult sins to identify in your life.
· In this case [5:3,5], it is bad because I am desiring that which God expressly forbids.
Because covetousness is not identified by the senses,
as Paul says in Rom. 7:7,
it is one vice that most Christians in the Church call a virtue.
· Note also that covetousness and competition are not synonyms, but they live in the same house.
· Most competition is covetousness. That’s why you see grown men cry.
· They coveted the prize, and they missed it.
· Covetousness is another word for ambition.
· Godly ambition: if it’s to be His obedient slave, then there’s no problem.
· The line between covetousness and temporal hope is real but invisible.
· I don’t know.
· I encourage all of you to have an agreement with God, “I’m going to ask You for everything – [because James 4:2 says] ‘you ask not, because you have not’, but I beg You not to give it unless You want me to have it. Don’t grant me my request and send leanness to my soul!”
· The same reason he repeat the commands to the husband – because we are such slow learners.
· I think the first two [fornication and all uncleanness] are manifestations of the third [covetousness].
· In the Greek and RSV it seems they all are.
· If forced to at gunpoint.
· It is, because if you are not content with what God has given you, there’s no need to.
If I have such a hard time drawing the line between
temporal hope and covetousness,
then why would I want to do something that is obviously covetousness?
· If a man says to you, “I’m a follower of Christ, but I do not love my wife, and I care not what the Bible says about it,” then in this case, you discipline him, because he tells you [he’s a willfully sinner].
· But in other cases you cannot tell a man he doesn’t love his wife.
· Ps. 2:4 – God laughs here and in other psalms and proverbs
· But in every instance it is an act of derision [the use of ridicule or scorn to show contempt, despising]
Mt. 5:11,12 – “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad”
[“when reviled … b/c great is your reward in heaven”].
· [Gen. 18:12] – Sarah laughed in unbelief [when she heard the Lord say she would have a son].
· It’s interesting how little laughing, jesting and joking have a play in scripture.
· Lk. 6:21 – “Blessed are you who weep (klaio in Greek – mourn, lament), for one day you shall laugh”
· Ecc. 2:1-2 laughter makes a man mad and lose his sanity.
· 5:4 is not talking about innocent humor but using obscene speech to cheer others up.
· It’s possibly related to 3:3,5 – which are related to immoral uncleanness.
· I have no problem with laughter or joking unless the Bible prohibits it.
· Sometimes humor can help people when they are tense to relax and not worry too much.
· Yep. God knows I laugh.
· Words of no purpose
· Be careful. He says in 5:7, “Do not be partakers with these people.”
· I think Paul does not mean separation, but emulation.
· Prove / test (dokimos in Greek) what is acceptable to the Lord
· It’s best for us to test everything that comes into our lives, to ask God Almighty in a spirit of brokenness and dependence, “Is this really where You want me to be spending my time?”
I don’t think anyone can answer that for another man
unless he gets into filth,
but it’s a question we have to ask ourselves.
· 5:16 – “Redeem the time because the days are evil.”
· Pr. 6:6 says, “Go to the ant you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise.”
· But we see a greater emphasis on not wasting time in the NT, than there is in the OT.
· Because the end times are near – like the readiness of the 10 virgins
· Not in terms of day-to-day living, but how we live our lives, not taking time for granted.
· 1 Cor 7:29 – Time is short, so husbands with wives should live as if they had none.
· The railroad – prior to that there were [virtually] no clocks.
· Only when railroads came into existence did people need to strictly follow a schedule.
· Today, time is money.
· It increases your margin for error. Ex: bicycle at 10 vs. 100 mph.
· It gives you a false sense of accomplishment. One of my many weaknesses is to fight the feeling that I'm less than productive if I’m like going to the airport than otherwise.
· It is addicting, like a narcotic. It gives you a high.
· It distorts your perception of reality. I was going to the airport after a conference with a guy in his pickup truck, and he was going 80mph with one hand behind the seat. He had completely distorted reality – didn't know how fast he was going. The smallest mistake would mean disaster.
· Remember, go, go, go does not mean grow, grow, grow.
· Whenever I visited HK, I always came always having the feeling that they had defined velocity in a whole new way.
· All it does is ratchet up expectations.
· My dad used to do business in San Francisco.
· It took him 3-4 days to get a contract, a few days to read it, then 3-4 days to send it back.
· Now, people fax it to you in the morning and expect you to send it back before lunch.
· That’s why psychiatric units getting more and more busy.
· Whatever redeeming the time looks like, it must include doing those things that you know you need to do.
· We are at this table free men, so how we spend our time is a reflection of our values.
· Every man has time for things that he thinks are important to him.
· We live in the U.S. in an entertainment-crazed society. Increasingly, silence is a luxury.
· When I travel and I meet a guy, and he turns the ignition on, almost always the radio is on.
· Men do not want to be alone with their thoughts.
· One guy said men don’t want to think. So many people want to be fed.
· One brother: If I don’t grab the opportunity, I won’t be wise, so I set priorities.
· None of us should succumb to the temptation to allow circumstances to rule our lives.
· Today we have a lot of opportunities.
· We don’t think of them as opportunities if we think of them as everyday things.
· Don’t let the good become the enemy of the best. Thus, be sure that you are not merely a responder.
· It seems like you need to know the will of God to prioritize your schedule.
· The great commission
· I try to as much as possible to wrap my priorities up into the eternal priorities.
I’ve worked with business and professional men all my
adult life, and in all my years I’ve never heard men say, “If I had to do it
all again, I would have spent less time with Jesus,” or
“If I had to do it all again, I would have spent less time with my wife and kids, or
“If I had to do it all again, I would not have gotten so much education.”
· I’ve heard many bemoan [express deep grief over] the opposite.
· I suggest every one of you ought to know what your priorities are.
· If you don’t know, that’s an indication that you’re too busy.
· You had better get alone with God and find it out.
· Redeeming the time does not mean being more busy.
I’ve gotten to where I ask men, “How’s your thought
life? Do you look at pornography?
Do you mentally cheat with your wife?”
· I can’t tell if a man is telling the truth, but I want him to look me in the eye and tell me.
· Our society has lost its sense of shame.
· What once was done in the dark is now done in your face.
· Confront even if don’t know – ask, don’t accuse.
· If he’s walking in purity, he’s eager to answer me. If not, it’s a different story.
· I wouldn’t with a stranger, but I certainly would with someone with whom I spend time.
· This is a sin issue, so I can ask anyone. There’s no obligation or prohibition.
· If the guy is not telling the truth he’s not going to be eager to meet with me again.
· If he tells me the truth and is embarrassed, then I empathize and share 1 Cor. 10:13 and ask what he’d like to do about it?
· If I had lived in a dormitory as a young man I would have succumbed [to the temptation to fornicate].
· Compare Col. 3:16 following with Eph. 5:18 following.
· I would suggest that the result of letting the word of Christ dwell in you richly is the same as being filled with the spirit. What it looks like is another question.
· I always wanted to sing in the worst way, and that’s exactly how I do it.
· My family says to not sing in their presence and that’s how it is.
· I would suggest that the manifestation of 5:19,20 – giving thanks (1) always to God (2) for all things
· The family relationship section is a manifestation of the submission mentioned in 5:21.
· All relationships rest on the idea of mutual submission, something required for them to be worthwhile.
· Submission is far more profound than obedience, because obedience can sometimes be in agreement.
· That’s why many non-Christian men are more moral than Christians – because they are in agreement [with God on many moral issues].
[End of fourth day’s discussion]
· In the OT people related to God on the basis of works, simply because no eternal hope was offered.
· The idea of how you get to heaven is a New Testament idea.
· Ask an OT Jew how to be OK with God, and he’d say follow the law.
· One of the mysteries Paul reveals is that to get a relationship with God in the NT, it is through faith.
· In the OT it was by works. God never recorded an offer of eternal hope in the Old Testament.
· 5:21 says, “Submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of the Lord.”
· 3 times in this material Paul says we have to fear. This is the first.
· 5:33 – the wife is to fear her husband. [This is the second.]
· 6:5 – the servant is to fear the master. [This is the third.]
· In these commands he says as unto the Lord [in 5:21 and 5:22 or as to Christ in 6:5]
· I understand that not to mean that the individual is to fear the other individual.
· 5:21 – I don’t submit to you because I fear you, but because I fear God.
· The same is true with the wife and servant. They don’t fear a beating from man, but from God.
· There are words in NT for respect. In these 3 its phobia.
· Respect is on my terms. Fear is on someone else’s terms.
· The fear of God is supernatural. The fear of God is one of the evidences of regeneration.
· Romans 3:18 says the non-Christian has no fear of God.
· When one thief on the cross mocked Jesus, the other one said, “You should fear God.” [Luke 23:40]
· Thus the Spirit of God was at work in his heart. Whether then there was conversion yet, I don’t know.
· Regeneration is a process. Acts 26:14 – Jesus said to Paul it’s hard for you to kick against the goads, indicating that God had been at work in Paul before Damascus.
· Most of us can see the footprints of God at work in our lives long before we came to Christ.
· Yes, knowledge gives us a reason to fear.
· We have a generation of people today who were not raised to fear God.
· They genuinely believe God is not to be feared.
· For a person who really believes that, the commandments of God are optional, because the force of law is in accountability. In the state of California if the state patrol goes on strike, people drive as fast as they want because there’s no enforcement of the speed limits.
· We relate to God on the basis of fear.
· We fear His displeasure.
· We can also say that the force of the commands is in accountability.
· For the obedient servant of God, who desperately wants to be the slave of God almighty, then, the commandments cease to be what he has to do, and they become the basis on which he discovers how to delight the Lover of his soul.
· That’s why David says in Ps. 19, “I love the law. It’s sweeter than honey, better than gold.”
· Because when I understand the law I learn how to please the Lover of my soul.
· The only time you need to fear God is when you contemplate disobedience.
· God is like a warm fire on a cold night. You want to get close as you can without getting hurt.
· If people think I’m weird, I suggest that I’m weird in that I wanted my children and grandchildren to fear me. If I’m with my grandson, and a car is coming, and I say, “Stop!” I want him to freeze, so as to save his life. The fear of God will save your soul.
· I feared my dad. The only time I needed to fear him was when contemplating disobeying him.
· If you ask wife to get a cup of coffee, and she says, “Do I have to?” you can say, “Yes you have to,” or you can get it yourself. Irrespective of what you do, you know that something is terribly wrong. You have a major, major problem.
· When submission or request becomes obligatory, something is very wrong.
· So a command is the last line of defense in a relationship that has gone bad.
· You never want to go there with anybody unless you are forced to.
· Because after the command, all you have are consequences. That’s damage control.
· So for us, we should not distinguish between a request and a command.
· It ‘s a sign something is wrong when you say, “Do I have to?”
· My children learned to fear God from fearing me.
· If you don’t teach them to fear you, you put them in harms way.
· If your daughter keeps going when you say stop, it could be very damaging depending where you are.
· The last time I saw my father he was in fetal position.
· I held his arms and prayed for him, but I still feared the man.
· You’d have to ask my children that question regarding me.
· There is safety in fear. I loved my dad. He was a delight to be around.
· The thought of crossing him was too horrific to contemplate.
· I don’t have a good answer, but it was just a gut reaction to how he trained me.
· I’m not saying it ought to be true for you and your father.
· All forms of governments in the world want people to fear them.
· It is an essential ingredient for civil order.
· We always relate fear with control. Yes. There is a relationship between the two.
· If I fear, I don’t want to face the consequences, and I don’t have control over those consequences.
· Remember, fear is not the enemy of love or hope. Fear is the enemy of security.
· When you are insecure, you are afraid, and nobody, nobody likes that feeling.
· If I have a right relationship with God, then I should not fear the future, because even if it is a bad thing, it is the loving act of God.
· I review each morning: God, I exist for you. I am your obedient slave – when born, now, in eternity. I am grateful. If I could be free, I’d still rather be a slave. O God, help me today to live that!
· When he was in Hong Kong, he closed a deal that made a businessman a lot of money.
· The man took him to a big meal. Then 10 beautiful women surrounded the table.
· The host said, “Your pick.” Lee said, “I can’t afford it.”
· The host said, “It’s on me.” Lee said, “No, I can’t afford it.”
· Gentlemen, what sin can you afford?
· When I fear God, I don’t fear men.
· We tend to fear those who are better. That would be a lot of people.
· Fear and hope are the head and tail of the same coin.
· Show me your fear and I’ll show you your hope. It cannot be any other way.
· Our foolishness … we fool ourselves into saying that God didn’t say that.
· I recommend it to you.
· In the book of Job, chapter 39 Job gave up, but God went on for two more chapters.
· Then, Job said, “I’d rather be your obedient servant than anything else.”
· Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden … take My yoke upon you and learn form Me.” [Mt. 11:28,29]
· You are going to wear the yoke, whether Mine or someone else’s.
· God, like with Job, will not accept resignation. He’ll only accept repentance.
· If you say, “OK God, I’ve got to be somebody’s slave, so I want to be yours,” that’s not good enough.
· You have got to really want to be His slave.
· I don’t know. All I suggest is that you look deeply and be instructed.
· Mutual submission is at the heart of every relationship.
· Even if it isn’t your wife, and you ask [someone] for some coffee, [if the person doesn’t give it,] something is terribly wrong.
· So it is the desire to please others without being men-pleasers.
· The difference between the two is “as unto the Lord”.
· Yes. All authority is limited except for the authority of God Himself.
· He alone has unlimited authority over another individual’s life.
· Civility in interpersonal relationships requires that we understand where that line is.
· For example, if I go skiing and ask an expert a simple question, I pay him a compliment.
· If I ask him to spend the day helping me, I offend him. That’s what all of us finesse in our lives.
· It’s an art, not a science. We all know people who have a hard time distinguishing between the two.
· Suppose your wife says, “We’re supposed to be in mutual submission, (5:21) rather than me be in submission to you (5:22).”
· Then ask her, “When was the last time you asked me to do something, and I said no to you?”
· If she gives 16 illustrations, then the problem is yours!
· If she mentions an ongoing issue she’s unhappy with, then you exercise your headship.
· There are a number of decisions made in your home.
· On 75% you are in agreement [with your wife or children].
· On 20% you are not in agreement, but you don’t care that much, so you let them decide.
· That leaves 5%. I suggest that 4.99% of these decisions are important but not worth fighting for.
· That leaves 0.01 % of the decisions when you come to the place that it is significant to both you and them, and there is no meeting of the minds and it is your vote that counts.
· Then you exercise your headship.
· In order to have the right to do that, you love and serve your wife as Christ does the church.
· First, if she is not in submission to the Lord, she surely won’t be in submission to you.
· Second, if you wife in her soul of souls does not believe that God can protect her and the children from you, then she will never submit. She will pretend to, but it will never happen.
· Third, godly women who genuinely want to submit to their husbands tend to be unsubmissive in those areas in which they perceive they are living in self-sacrifice.
· For example, when you don’t think your wife is eating properly, and she doesn’t eat – even if you push her to eat – because she thinks it’s herself she’s hurting [not anybody else].
· She tends to resist you, because she thinks she is denying herself, [even though] it would be easier to do what you want.
· This is probably one of those areas to let go [4.99% not worth fighting for], but I suggest you circle back a couple hours later and ask why she resisted you.
· If she says, “I wasn’t hungry,” you could say, “You could have said, ‘I’m not hungry, but if you want me to eat I’ll do it.’”
· [Although it is categorized under the 4.99% not worth fighting for], you could bring it up, because it could affect the 0.01% [when you exercise headship]. This could be a training exercise.
· However, it’s important to wait two hours [to minimize the emotional element.]
In one way or another, in one setting or another, a man
can say to his wife (calmly and slowly),
“I’m not going to hit you, but do you really want to meet God and give account for this?”
· A godly woman will say no.
· A woman never has reason to refuse to be submissive unless her husband asks her to violate the negative commandments. If I tell her to steal, she must respectfully disobey.
· 5:24 says she must submit “in everything”.
· Men and I have had this conversation, and none have taken my advice. They never took my advice.
· If your wife professes faith in Christ and does not obey, I would discipline her according to 1 Cor. 5 like anyone else. It’s not grounds for divorce, though.
· Say, “It matters not what you think, but Biblically you have no reason to be think you are saved.”
· Say, “Honey, do you want me to help you pack your bag, or should I pack mine?”
· Biblically, why wouldn’t you?
· Deals with motives and what it looks like, which I cannot determine.
· So don’t tell me that you don’t love your wife.
· By the grace of God I never had to do that.
· I cannot remember the last time my wife and I had a serious disagreement.
· You may think I’m wide of the mark, but I live with two women, and I honestly cannot remember the last time.
· Why wouldn’t they want to? I give them everything they want?
· All they have to do is make sure all their requests are not too much, that I’d have to say no.
· Negative. How does the beloved know that he or she is loved?
· Naturally, if you meet their expectation, [they’ll feel loved, so] that is extortion.
· My kids tried that when they were young. “You don’t love me!” I’d reply, “Nice try, son.”
· [We have to recall] Romans 5 – why does God treat his friends like His enemies?
· God hits you, and then says, “I love you.” Repeat. That is the Christian life.
· I say to my wife, “You are more spiritual than I and more gifted, so you should be the head, but God pulled a dirty trick on us and made me head, so we both have to live with that.”
· Anytime anybody argues that they are more spiritual than you, concede the point.
· There’s no need to argue about it.
· Yes, that’s delegating authority.
· Almost all wives have told husbands to take better care of themselves.
· For example, “I don’t think you should expand your practice because you’re too busy.”
· “You’re hurting yourself.” I thank God for my wife when she’s said that.
· It’s better than her saying, “Kill yourself if you want.”
· If your wife and your children see you living in submission to authorities or others, it will probably assist them in complying with the expectations of God [to submit to you].
· So my question is, do you have men to whom you are amenable [accountable to]? If not, why not?
· Generally, the Bible speaks to us at the place of our weakness.
· Certainly in the agrarian [agricultural] society in which the scriptures were written, the wife as the child-bearer and the homemaker was a lot more vulnerable than the man.
· Before the birth control pill, women always understood it was important to be monogamous (only one wife), because all the risk was on her [i.e., she was dependent on her husband].
· After the wife could control things through birth control, she saw no compelling reason for that, and men applauded her decision to work.
· When was the last time for a woman to say she wanted to be a mother and homemaker?
· If she does, she’ll be in a minority.
· God always holds the man responsible.
· David was the one with the problem [not Bathsheba]
· The time of monogamy and no sex before marriage is gone.
· I think the woman was deceived, and the man applauded it.
· If you want to bear the kids and compete with me in the marketplace, be my guest.
· And we will have hell to pay for it.
· We are responsible for standing between our family and harm.
· We must absorb all hurt and hostility that is directed toward the family unit.
· Col. 1:24 – “I fill up in my flesh what is lacking in regards to Christ’s afflictions for the sake of the body, which is the Church.”
· The husband should act as a shock absorber – like a hand that stops a missile thrown at the head.
· I can’t say what it looks like, but I can say it is your intent [responsibility].
· Lee Yih says if someone swings at your wife, you say, “Duck!” and take the punch.
· When a wife is in distress you take her in your arms and absorb her hurt, comfort.
· Ask why? If it’s for significance and self-esteem, then [if I were a single man] I think I’d look for somebody else or else try to educate her more fully in the ways of God before marriage.
· There’s no scriptural prohibition, but finances should not be a factor, because God provides through you.
· Typical [sad] story of how things go:
· A man puts together a great business deal, comes home and says, “How’s your day?”
· His wife says, “Terrible! The baby had a temperature … bad, bad, bad, …”
· He says, “I had an unbelievable day!”
· So the wife says, “I will go out there to participate in the market and let my husband to do the diapers.”
· If that happens, we have nobody to blame but ourselves.
· The spiritual well being of your family rests in your hands.
· I urge you not to try to do that through sermons and lectures.
· A good rule of thumb is to never make a statement when you can ask a question.
· So whenever you have time together, you engage your family in conversation about the things of Christ, asking questions, probing.
· Example of questions for 10-year olds: if your daughter says, “Susie is mean to me. I hate her,” ask her, “What happened? Why do you think it happened?”
· Get her to talk to you. Lead her to see the biblical view.
· It’s not that you never make a statement, but that’s not your objective.
· Let me urge you to never ever, ever develop an objective that requires the performance of your family to meet, especially a spiritual objective to meet.
· In the marketplace you are free to do that because you hire a man to do it.
· I will give you a certain number of hours for a certain wage.
· Therefore, you spend that number of hours for a wage, but you do not do that in the family unit.
· Ex: devotions every night at the table, or memorize 3 verses / week, or have Bible study every week.
· In discipling men and with family, you help them to become all that they think God wants them to be.
· It is harder to help them discover truth on their own than telling them.
· But if you don’t want a hand grenade blowing up in your face don’t tell.
· You can have structure, but don’t have goals to reach and things they have to do.
· I’m not saying you don’t ask kids if they have homework.
· Those are responsibilities they have as a result of being in school.
· Ask, “Son, what is it you want out of life? Why is that important? How can I help you?”
· “What’s it going to look like in 20 years? How do you think God sees that? You tell me.”
· The mystery is not 5:31 [two become one flesh] – that’s from Genesis 2:24.
· The union between Christ and His people – that we’re one flesh – that’s the mystery.
· In the natural order of things, because men are stronger than women, the women had to submit.
· The mystery refers to something hidden beyond the reach of human knowledge.
· I suggest it is the union of Christ and His church.
· Whatever your answer is, it’s got to be in some mystical way.
· Right now – you are the body of Christ.
· Col. 1:24 says just as Christ absorbed the shock of the Church, I’d like to absorb some of the animosity directed towards His head.
· I am flesh of His flesh and bone of his bone – not in a physical sense but in some mystical sense.
· So in the analogy, Christ is the man and we are the women.
· Does my wife see that I live submission to Christ and not just preach it?
[Fifth day’s morning break]