In his book, Sit, Walk, Stand Watchman Nee provides incredible insights into Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. ‘Sit’ in Ephesians 1-3 encourages us to sit down and listen to what God has done forus. In Ephesians 4:1-6:9 Nee observes a shift from sitting to walking lives of gratitude that reflect the result of what God has done for us as we live out our daily lives. Finally, in Ephesians 6:10-24 Paul tells us it is time to stand and prepare for war, concluding with the admonition to pray.
Beginning at the end of October we started working through the various aspects of living the Christian life that are detailed by Paul.
Walk in Unity and Maturity (Eph. 4:1-16)
Walk in the Light (Eph. 4:17-5:14)
- Think Differently (4:17-24)
- Care for One Another (4:25-32)
- Imitate God (Eph. 5:1-14)
Walk in the Spirit (5:15-6:9)
- Be Filled With The Spirit (5:15-20)
- Love Like Christ (5:21-33)
- Honor One Another (6:1-9)
SUBMISSION: THREE PILLARS
With the final two aspects of walking in the Spirit (Ephesians. 5:21-6:9), Paul addresses three main pillars of society that are to be subsumed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ: marriage, family and society. The characteristic, Christ-centered quality of the church is to be one of submission to one another (Eph. 5:21).
PILLAR 1: MARRIAGE
Paul appeals to husbands and wives who submit to one another out of reverence to Christ (Eph. 5:22-30). Husbands take the lead in providing a headship that chooses to lay down his rights to lead as a servant, to provide spiritual leadership that is holy, cleansing, and oriented towards making her ‘radiant’ (vs. 27). With this kind of loving and caring headship the husband hopes for the respect of His wife (vs. 33).
PILLAR 2: FAMILY
Children are to submit to parents because it is a command from God that includes a specific promise: “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Deuteronomy 5:16). Furthermore, fathers specifically work towards a Christ-centered love and discipline that does not exasperate (vs. 4).
PILLAR 3: SOCIETY
In Greek and Roman societies the rights of slaves were going through positive transformations. Perhaps their rights were given impetus, in part, through Paul’s instruction to Christian slaves and masters (Markus Barth, Ephesians 4-6, Anchor Yale Bible Commentary). Translate to today’s employer/employee relationships and we close the loop to understand that our foremost employer is Christ Himself. To honor Him we do our best to honor one another as equals.
Even today these simple guidelines have proven to be challenging in every realm, across cultures and in societal norms. One has only to wonder what the world would be like with a voluntary egalitarianism that strives to serve others.
Looking for a church? Perhaps one of the best predictors of congregational satisfaction for a seeker can be found in churches that exhibit these qualities among one another as well as to others.
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
– Jesus (John 12:32)