Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain. 2 It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
3 Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth. 5 How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.
Solomon surveys some of the mundane events of life and notes that apart from the sovereign blessing of God, human endeavor is unfruitful. In verse 3, the conception and birth of covenant children is brought up as an illustration of the kind of mundane human event which is impossible apart from God’s sovereignty. Expounding on the nature of covenant children, Solomon explains that they are given life by the Lord and they are given as a blessing from the Lord to their parents. By the Lord’s design, the covenant home is for the mutual blessing and defense of both covenant parents and their children. The conclusion draws out several points of application to admonish both parents and children how to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the teaching of this psalm.
13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil [one]. 17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Three motives must be internalized to take up a sword and fight: a real enemy who means harm, something of great value to defend, and armor and weaponry suited to the battle. Paul motivates Christians to engage the spiritual battle he sets before them by showing that the situation of Satanic opposition to the church meets these three criteria. In view of this, Paul calls all Christians to enlist in the spiritual battle between the kingdom of darkness and the kindom of Christ. This message surveys the spiritual armor, explains the military function and the spiritual application.
Ephesians 6: 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
As Paul winds down this great letter to the Ephesians he concludes in a peculiar way. Normally, Paul brings his letters to a conclusion by sending various greetings, referencing specific individuals, and offering bits of instruction and encouragement. In the book of Ephesians however, Paul sets forth in depth instruction about spiritual warfare, and calls all Christians to be strengthened in the Lord and to put on the armor of God that they take a firm stand against the devil. This message explores the nature of the spiritual enemy and the admonitions to engage the conflict in order to motivate believers to take on the hosts of darkness.
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; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.
And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
Some passages in Scripture challenge our thinking because they seem to take a stand on an issue which is directly contrary to the prevailing opinion in our culture today. One such matter where contemporary culture and Scripture are at polar opposites is the issue of slavery. Due to the unsavory nature of the institution of slavery in America and how it contributed to hostilities which eventually led to the most violent and bloody war this nation has seen on its own soil, it can be difficult for American Christians to interact with Paul’s exposition of the ethics of masters and slaves. However, since all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for instruction, this passage must be expounded accurately and understood within the whole context of the Bible that Christians may have a proper understanding and attitude toward slavery. One point which must be affirmed without compromise is that Scripture never teaches that race-based or ethnicity-based conceptions of slavery are Biblical; the Bible nowhere endorses racism, White Supremacy, or bigotry, such views are immoral and contrary to the Biblical teaching that all men are made in the image of God.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
The evidence is mounting that we live in a culture of single-parent homes, where mothers are rearing children without the help of a father. Family Research Council statistics tell us that currently one-third of American children live in a home with one parent and that by the age of 17, 45% will live in a single parent home. The effects of the decomposition of the family include increased poverty rates for children, increase in juvenile crime rates, and an escalation in high school drop outs. What is desperately needed in a time such as this is more godly fathers who understand their office and calling in light of Scripture. This message explores the Biblical definition and duties of fathers, and contains a substantial amount of specific application aimed at helping fathers connect Biblical duty to real life situations.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.
Statists, leftists, dictacrats, and Marxists, view children as belonging to “the community” rather than to parents, and therefore hold that children are resources of the state to be indoctrinated by the public education system in order to be prepared to be loyal subjects of the polis. The Bible however, teaches that children of believers belong to the Lord, are bound in covenant to Him by baptism, and are given to parents to train in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Since Scripture teaches children possess covenant status before the Lord, they have a special obligation and calling to be obedient to their parents and to honor them in the Lord. Three motives are given for this obedience: it’s in the Lord, it is right, and it secures reward. This message explores the relationship between the covenant status of the children of believers and their calling to behave in the ethical manner prescribed by Paul.
4 although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.
7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comesfrom God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Two things stand out in Paul’s mind as he weighs the implications of the bodily resurrection of Christ for the Christian life: knowing the resurrection effects our conceptions about self-righteous works and knowing the resurrection effects progress in sanctification. The basis of both of these spiritual effects is that great bed rock of redemptive truth, bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead. Everything changed in Paul’s life spiritually upon encountering the resurrected Christ; he counted both heredity and achievement as loss, and Christ’s righteousness alone as gain. As Paul made progress in the Christian faith, he also began to see the necessity of knowing the power of the resurrection for the sanctified life as well and based upon hi own example he exhorts believers to seek this same power for their growth in godliness.