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SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 6:5b

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“Reflections Of His Grace”
“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”



The Grace Of Authority/Submission (6:1-9)

Eph 6:1-9 KJV
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

This devotional, continues to look at the second main division of the book of Ephesians. Previously, we have looked at “Reflections Of His Grace Revealed” (chaps 1-3). It that section, Paul revealed to us the gracious works of the Lord in the lives of His chosen people.

In this new section “Reflections Of His Grace Applied” (chaps 4-6) Paul will be explaining to us the practical effects of God’s grace in the lives of His people.
a. The Grace Of Unity (4:1-6)
b. The Grace Of Maturity (4:7-16)
c. The Grace Of Renewal (4:17-32)
d. The Grace Of Imitation (5:1-14)
e. The Grace Of Wisdom (5:15-21)
f. The Grace Of Relationships (5:22-33)
g. The Grace Of Authority/Submission (6:1-9)
h. The Grace Of Preparedness (6:10-21)

The next effect of God’s grace we will be looking at is the grace of AUTHORITY/SUBMISSION (6:1-9)…

For those who are under the authority of another, there exists a great opportunity to follow the example of Christ, who was under the authority of His Father during His earthly ministry.
For those who hold authority over subordinates, there exists a great opportunity to reveal Christ, who was exalted as Head above all, to those who are around them. Also, keep in mind that those who are given authority over others remain under the authority of the Lord.

Keeping all this in mind, let’s turn our attention to this is a very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I. The Role Of Children (vs 1-3)
II. The Role Of Fathers (vs 4)
III. The Role Of Servants (vs 5 -8)
IV. The Role Of Masters (vs 9)


Paul continues to describe look at Godly responsibilities given to servants.

Ephesians 6:5 – Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

Paul, now, addresses those who are “servants”.

In this text, the word servant comes from a word that means “to be bound”. Normally, this word is used to describe a person who serves out of compulsion or duty. Rev 6:15, it is translated “bondman” as compared to “free men”.
Paul is addressing those who are serving out of obligation. In other words, he is serving his master to pay off a financial debt, or to fulfill some other type of obligation that is due his master.

Paul was addressing those who were serving out of obligation, not of a free will. They were enslaved due to obligation not serving their master out of choice. In this type of servitude, it would only be a natural reaction for a servant to not give their all in their service to their master. They would be tempted to serve begrudgingly, only doing the minimum necessary to fulfill their obligation.

Paul addresses these servants, hoping to encourage them to give their all in their position of servitude, so as to be Godly examples to the world around them.

Please keep in mind… as Paul writes to the local church at Ephesus, he is not only describing the responsibilities of physical servants towards their master, but he is also sharing principles that will apply to all of God’s people (the spiritual servants of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ).

61) Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and [his] doctrine be not blasphemed.
2) And they that have believing masters, let them not despise [them], because they are brethren; but rather do [them] service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
3) If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, [even] the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; … (1 Timothy 6:1-3)

Why would “bond servants” be good pictures of the servants of Christ? Although we should be willing servants who have chosen to follow Christ, our responsibilities go much farther. A Christian’s service to Christ is not simply an issue of choice. Folks, stop and think about all our Lord has done for us. We can never begin to pay Him back for all that He has done for us. We need to understand that we OWE Him service with our entire life.

We were saved to offer up spiritual sacrifices to the Lord…
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)

It is, truly, only the reasonable thing to do…
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

Paul begins to list for us the responsibilities of servants.

be obedient to them that are your masters

Principle of Godly Service #1 – Be Obedient
The word translated “obedient” is the same root word we found in the instructions for children in verse 1. We saw this word carries with it two basic ideas:
1. Literally, “obey” means “to listen attentively to a higher authority”. This is why it is translated “hearken” many times in the New Testament.
2. However, based upon its context, it can also imply “compliance to that which is heard”. That is why it is also translated “obey” and “to be obedient” in the New Testament.

From this, we can see that the servant’s first responsibility Paul gives us is:
1. to listen carefully to the instructions of the authority holder
2. and then to follow those instructions

“Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.” (Psa 123:2)

“[Exhort] servants to be obedient unto their own masters, [and] to please [them] well in all [things]; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” (Titus 2:9-10)

according to the flesh,
Paul is reminding them that the believers at Ephesus have a great responsibility towards their human masters.

But also, Paul is giving them a subtle reminder that they have another master, the Lord Jesus Christ, who should be the ultimate authority of their life.

1Pe 2:13 KJV – “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; “

with fear and trembling,
Principle of Godly Service #2 – Fear

The obedience of the servant is to be accompanied by a spirit of fear (to be terrified) and trembling (to shake visibly).

This type of fear is to be had realizing the possibility of punishment at the hand of their earthly master, as well possibly of feeling the chastening of the Lord. It is not simply speaking of a “reverence” of the Lord, but clearly includes a true fear of His chastening hand and the physical results of unresolved sin in the life of the Christian.

in singleness of your heart,
Principle of Godly Service #3 – singleness of desires to please
The obedient servant is to serve with a “singleness of heart”. In other words, to have clear, undivided desires pointed towards submission and obedience.

as unto Christ;
Principle of Godly Service #4 – recognizing his service is a type of service for Christ.

This servant, as he obeys his earthly master, is to serve as a form of service to Christ, who has commanded him to do so. Folks, service to earthly authorities is truly a great privilege. In doing so, we can accomplish several goals for the glory of Christ:
1. we are actually obeying Christ and will be rewarded eternally for doing so.
2. we are setting the proper example for the lost around us, showing to them the need to trust in and be submissive to their ultimate authority, Christ.
3. we are setting the proper example for the saved, showing them the proper way to serve both their earthly master and their Heavenly Master.

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him…. Servants, obey in all things [your] masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” (Colossians 3:17-25)


So far in our study we have seen that:
Principle of Godly Service #1 – Be Obedient
Principle of Godly Service #2 – Fear Of the Results Of Disobedience
Principle of Godly Service #3 – Singleness of Desires to Please
Principle of Godly Service #4 – recognizing his service is a type of service for Christ.
are all aspects of Godly servanthood.

May we all remember the great opportunity around us to be a shining light for Christ by submitting ourselves to the authorities that are over us (government, church, family, employment etc). May we all submit to these authorities recognizing we are pleasing to the Lord and glorifying Him in our lives.

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!

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  1. Your message is so wonderfully true…may your weekend be very blessed!

  2. "light and salt" says:

    This is well done, Rob! Interesting to note…Jesus refers to His disciples, (and to us), as His “friends” in the book of John. Yet, we are still “in service” to Him as per the will of God.

    We are the most blessed “servant/friends” that anyone has ever been!

    Good job here…

    Steve Pejay

  3. Godly advice that if heeded will lead to a good earthly life. Thank you brother!

    • Rob Barkman says:

      This section of Ephesians holds so much truth for all of us Levi! It certainly has been a blessing to be able to study these sections of Scripture. Lord bless you.

  4. “Also, keep in mind that those who are given authority over others remain under the authority of the Lord.”

    Pastor Sir,
    What option does one have when the person who has authority over them is not under the authority of the Lord? That seems to be a big problem in workplaces, homes, and churches.
    God bless!- Shelia

    • Rob Barkman says:

      Hi Sheila,

      I know it can be very difficult to place ourselves into submission to one who is not following the Lord’s will for their lives. For the Christian, we are held responsible by the Lord to submit to higher authorities as long as their directives do not force us to go against God’s will for our lives. When they do we are supposed to follow the Lord’s will for us and disobey those authorities.

      Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)

      But keep in mind, EVERY authority over us is under the authority of God. They are held responsible by the Lord to lead us in a way that is pleasing to Him. When they rebel against the Lord and attempt to lead us away from His will… it does not go unnoticed by the Lord.

      Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. (Romans 13:1-2)

  5. SLIMJIM says:

    Thank you for this devotional

  6. Thank you for this biblical reminder to respect those in authority even if we don’t agree with them on all issues. Of all people on this planet–Christians should be known for their respectful behavior no matter what. I’ve blown this behind closed doors when the news is broadcasting political events–even then I need to show respect. Practice makes perfect.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀


    • Rob Barkman says:

      Thanks for your comments Wendy. Can I just say one word? “AMEN”! (We all fail at this, but there is no reason to not continue to strive to do what we know is the right thing to do.)

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