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For Further Reflection:
- Read 5:21-24. The gospel-wise life will start manifesting itself in the most intimate oflife settings: the home. Each role within the household is designed to depict unique facets of the pattern of Christ, and when all threads follow their respective patterns, it will create the most spectacular gospel tapestry for the world to behold. The overriding Christ-pattern that all household threads are to embrace is that of mutual submission (v. 21), and in vv. 22-24 we see specifically how the wife is to embrace this pattern in how she interacts with the headship of her husband. Who have been the most Christ-depicting wives you have ever observed, and how has their example impacted your own life?
- Read 5:25-33. The husband works out his side of the mutual submission (v. 21) between husband and wife as the other half of the Christ-pageant of marriage, so that the marriage can fully depict the beautiful love story between Christ and his church. Husbands play their unique role by lavishing the same kind of humbling, sacrificial, self-giving, sanctifying, uniting, empathetic love that Christ has poured out on the church. Who have been the most Christ-depicting husbands you have observed, and how has their example impacted your own life? Which have been the marriages that have most accurately depicted Christ and his church, and how has their embodied gospel shaped you?
- Read 6:1-9. Paul completes his tour of the gospel-wise and Christ-depicting household tapestry by exploring the other two kinds of relationships which were common in the first century household: the child-parent and slave-master relationships. In Christ, the old power dynamics between “superior” and “inferior” are transformed into relationships of mutual love and submission. Children are to lavish obedience and honor towards their parents, and parents are to nurture their children with the same kind of restorative discipline and loving instruction which the Lord has showered upon us. Slaves are called to embody their obedience to Christ in their obedience to their masters, and both slave and master must lavish towards one another the same kind of enthusiastic, genuine, and heartfelt service which Christ showed them. Both are to look at all their Christlike service towards one another as service to God, the great Master of all. In what ways have you witnessed the gospel transform and reweave the power structures of this world into beautiful, Christlike relationships of mutual submission? What does gospel-centered parenting look like? How have you seen Christian business leaders selflessly serve their employees, and what evangelistic opportunities has that witness unlocked?
- Read 6:10-17. We are not called to struggle against any other human being, but for them. The real war is against “the cosmic powers of this present darkness.” In order to take this stand, we must continually wrap ourselves with the truth, righteousness, gospel readiness, faith, salvation, and word of God: the gospel of Christ. How can we daily envelop ourselves and each other in Christ’s gospel, as Paul did the Ephesians in ch. 1-3? What has it looked like for you to fight for people with the gospel?
- Read 6:18-24. Paul begins to end his letter with one final plea: that the Ephesians would knit themselves to God and each other through an immersive, gospel-centered prayer life, praying for boldness in their gospel battles. Not only has Paul’s written letter worked to knit himself and the Ephesians closer to each other in Christ, but so has the embodied presence of Tychicus as an apostolic representative and gospel encourager. Paul ends with a gospel benediction: that God through Christ would continue to knit the Ephesian community into his peace, love, faith, and grace. How constant and deep is your communication with God? How centered are your prayers on the gospel battles that God has put before the church? How can we embody the close knit reality of Christ’s gospel community in tangible ways that overcome all kinds of barriers?