Ephesians 6

* The duties of children and parents. (1-4) Of servants and

masters. (5-9) All Christians are to put on spiritual armour

against the enemies of their souls. (10-18) The apostle desires

their prayers, and ends with his apostolic blessing. (19-24)

1-4 The great duty of children is, to obey their parents. That

obedience includes inward reverence, as well as outward acts,

and in every age prosperity has attended those distinguished for

obedience to parents. The duty of parents. Be not impatient; use

no unreasonable severities. Deal prudently and wisely with

children; convince their judgements and work upon their reason.

Bring them up well; under proper and compassionate correction;

and in the knowledge of the duty God requires. Often is this

duty neglected, even among professors of the gospel. Many set

their children against religion; but this does not excuse the

children's disobedience, though it may be awfully occasion it.

God alone can change the heart, yet he gives his blessing to the

good lessons and examples of parents, and answers their prayers.

But those, whose chief anxiety is that their children should be

rich and accomplished, whatever becomes of their souls, must not

look for the blessing of God.
5-9 The duty of servants is summed up in one word, obedience.

The servants of old were generally slaves. The apostles were to

teach servants and masters their duties, in doing which evils

would be lessened, till slavery should be rooted out by the

influence of Christianity. Servants are to reverence those over

them. They are to be sincere; not pretending obedience when they

mean to disobey, but serving faithfully. And they must serve

their masters not only when their master's eye is upon them; but

must be strict in the discharge of their duty, when he is absent

and out of the way. Steady regard to the Lord Jesus Christ will

make men faithful and sincere in every station, not grudgingly

or by constraint, but from a principle of love to the masters

and their concerns. This makes service easy to them, pleasing to

their masters, and acceptable to the Lord Christ. God will

reward even the meanest drudgery done from a sense of duty, and

with a view to glorify him. Here is the duty of masters. Act

after the same manner. Be just to servants, as you expect they

should be to you; show the like good-will and concern for them,

and be careful herein to approve yourselves to God. Be not

tyrannical and overbearing. You have a Master to obey, and you

and they are but fellow-servants in respect to Christ Jesus. If

masters and servants would consider their duties to God, and the

account they must shortly give to him, they would be more

mindful of their duty to each other, and thus families would be

more orderly and happy.
10-18 Spiritual strength and courage are needed for our

spiritual warfare and suffering. Those who would prove

themselves to have true grace, must aim at all grace; and put on

the whole armour of God, which he prepares and bestows. The

Christian armour is made to be worn; and there is no putting off

our armour till we have done our warfare, and finished our

course. The combat is not against human enemies, nor against our

own corrupt nature only; we have to do with an enemy who has a

thousand ways of beguiling unstable souls. The devils assault us

in the things that belong to our souls, and labour to deface the

heavenly image in our hearts. We must resolve by God's grace,

not to yield to Satan. Resist him, and he will flee. If we give

way, he will get ground. If we distrust either our cause, or our

Leader, or our armour, we give him advantage. The different

parts of the armour of heavy-armed soldiers, who had to sustain

the fiercest assaults of the enemy, are here described. There is

none for the back; nothing to defend those who turn back in the

Christian warfare. Truth, or sincerity, is the girdle. This

girds on all the other pieces of our armour, and is first

mentioned. There can be no religion without sincerity. The

righteousness of Christ, imputed to us, is a breastplate against

the arrows of Divine wrath. The righteousness of Christ

implanted in us, fortifies the heart against the attacks of

Satan. Resolution must be as greaves, or armour to our legs; and

to stand their ground or to march forward in rugged paths, the

feet must be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

Motives to obedience, amidst trials, must be drawn from a clear

knowledge of the gospel. Faith is all in all in an hour of

temptation. Faith, as relying on unseen objects, receiving

Christ and the benefits of redemption, and so deriving grace

from him, is like a shield, a defence every way. The devil is

the wicked one. Violent temptations, by which the soul is set on

fire of hell, are darts Satan shoots at us. Also, hard thoughts

of God, and as to ourselves. Faith applying the word of God and

the grace of Christ, quenches the darts of temptation. Salvation

must be our helmet. A good hope of salvation, a Scriptural

expectation of victory, will purify the soul, and keep it from

being defiled by Satan. To the Christian armed for defense in

battle, the apostle recommends only one weapon of attack; but it

is enough, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. It

subdues and mortifies evil desires and blasphemous thoughts as

they rise within; and answers unbelief and error as they assault

from without. A single text, well understood, and rightly

applied, at once destroys a temptation or an objection, and

subdues the most formidable adversary. Prayer must fasten all

the other parts of our Christian armour. There are other duties

of religion, and of our stations in the world, but we must keep

up times of prayer. Though set and solemn prayer may not be

seasonable when other duties are to be done, yet short pious

prayers darted out, always are so. We must use holy thoughts in

our ordinary course. A vain heart will be vain in prayer. We

must pray with all kinds of prayer, public, private, and secret;

social and solitary; solemn and sudden: with all the parts of

prayer; confession of sin, petition for mercy, and thanksgiving

for favours received. And we must do it by the grace of God the

Holy Spirit, in dependence on, and according to, his teaching.

We must preserve in particular requests, notwithstanding

discouragements. We must pray, not for ourselves only, but for

all saints. Our enemies are mighty, and we are without strength,

but our Redeemer is almighty, and in the power of his mighty we

may overcome. Wherefore we must stir up ourselves. Have not we,

when God has called, often neglected to answer? Let us think

upon these things, and continue our prayers with patience.
19-24 The gospel was a mystery till made known by Divine

revelation; and it is the work of Christ's ministers to declare

it. The best and most eminent ministers need the prayers of

believers. Those particularly should be prayed for, who are

exposed to great hardships and perils in their work. Peace be to

the brethren, and love with faith. By peace, understand all

manner of peace; peace with God, peace of conscience, peace

among themselves. And the grace of the Spirit, producing faith

and love, and every grace. These he desires for those in whom

they were already begun. And all grace and blessings come to the

saints from God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Grace, that is,

the favour of God; and all good, spiritual and temporal, which

is from it, is and shall be with all those who thus love our

Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, and with them only.

Copyright information for MHCC