Ephesians 6:5-9,“sincere (singular) of heart as to Christ – avoiding inner division of the soul.

Class Outline:

Sunday February 13,2022

From Cornelius Plantinga’s book Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: “Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 1978 commencement address at Harvard University, a defining moment in the twentieth-century culture wars, condemned Western godlessness, materialism, and consequent superficiality. The West has thrown away God, said Solzhenitsyn, as well as the accountabilities and depths of purpose that used to be attached to belief in God; it has substituted for these weighty things faddish variations on the pursuit of freedom and happiness. Any return to greatness must begin with a reappraisal of the goal of human life, a recognition of its spiritual nature, and the recovery of a sense of responsibility to God and for others.”


Journalistic reaction to the speech was immense. Writers were irritated and defensive. Imagine the popular media’s response to such a speech today. The perversions of society can easily influence the Christian’s own daily routine. The fires of truth must be constantly stoked by our study of God’s Word.


Solzhenitsyn spoke of accountability and depths of purpose that flow from God to His creation. In our own lives, in our churches, in our marriages and homes we are accountable to God. Even the slave, says Paul, must work as unto the Lord and he will be recompensed one way or the other by a God who does show partiality.


Before we return to Ephesians let’s look at its sister passage in Colossians.


COL 3:22-4:1

Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25 For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.


4:1 Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.


“He who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong” would apply to slaves and masters. Paul writes here the same that he does in EPH 6:9 - there is no partiality with God.


The two passages parallel each other in many ways. Fear and trembling in EPH 6:5 is fearing the Lord in COL 3:22. External service and merely pleasing men in Col is eye-service and men pleasers in Eph. Slaves of Christ in Eph is for Christ in Col. Do your work heartily in Col is “with good will render service” in Eph. He will receive back from the Lord in Eph is “you will receive the reward of the inheritance” in Col. It is Christ the Lord who you serve. This is true of all of us, just as Christ is the Master of us all and He shows no partiality to any of us, but will evaluate us on our own conduct. Still, in this relationship of top rung of wealthy landowner to low rung of subhuman slave, that Paul would point out that both have their Master in heaven is significant.


Paul elevates the slave to Christ’s slave, which is a title for Paul and the entire RF, while the slave remains in his role - encouragement for all in low places.


EPH 6:5-9

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; 6 not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ [as you would obey Christ], doing the will of God from the heart [psuche = soul or life, could be translated “wholeheartedly”]. 7 With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. 9 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.


We could clarify a bit more some of the translation, for instance:


“fear and trembling” - humility and reverence (1CO 2:3; 2CO 7:15; PHI 2:12; HEB 12:21).


“sincerity of heart, as to Christ” - singular devotion to Christ as Lord and Master.


There are some things we should highlight before we leave this section and move into spiritual warfare. First is this sincerity, or singularity of heart.


Jesus used the adjective of the same word Paul uses here. It is translated “sincerity” here and “clear” in MAT 6:22. Jesus used the word to describe the proper state of the eye of perception. The Greek word, haplotes, basically means singular. Jesus was saying that if our perception of all the things around us was singular, or perhaps, seen through one lens, then our whole body would be full of light. The lens is Christ Himself. It is to see all things in our lives as He would.


When we take that thought of truth to the slave’s instruction, the slave is to see his difficult place and difficult circumstances and his master and his master’s house and his master’s things and his master’s children - as Christ would. Christ would not work differently if the master were looking. He would not despise the master or his things or his children. He would not harm anything belonging to master if He could do so in secret and not be discovered. He would never steal. He would never harbor ill thoughts of the children who enjoyed a higher position than Him in the home and in society. He would be the Lord as we would expect Him to be. He tells the slave, and by doing so, He tells us, none of whom have it near as bad, to do the same as Himself - to be the same as Himself.


It is tied to “eyeservice” and “men-pleasing.” If a servant had a divided heart, he would be a different person when the master is watching.


But our Master is always watching. Serving in all things unto Christ we avoid having divided minds and therefore divided lives.


Everyone who has a divided heart hates it and periodically, and seemingly without end, hates himself. When the Lord said that you cannot serve two masters, you will hate the one and love the other, that master you hate is always with you and that master you love is always with you, but they are not always the same person. Sometimes you will hate the bad in you and love the good, but sometimes you will hate the good and love the bad. You will hate that goodness restrains you and you will hate that badness makes you stay too long, or have too much, or pay too much.


Chuck Swindoll in a devotional titled A Survival Secret writes: Sin will take you farther than you want to go, it will keep you longer than you want to stay, and it will cost you more than you want to pay. Whatever changes you need to make, start today. Don't hesitate because of the pain it may cause or the problems it may create. Surviving requires changes. Sometimes, drastic changes. Like turning away from evil. Like saying "no" to sin.


Sincerity of heart is opposed to double-mindedness. Point everything in your life towards Christ, even if you are a slave.


JAM 1:5-8

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.


“Double-minded” is doubting God in some circumstances and it makes us unstable.


JAM 4:1-10

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: "He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us"? 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to gloom [context: the laughter and joy over their worldly blessings]. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.


The double-minded need to purify their heart. No spot or stain as Christ made us (EPH 5:27) - purity is singular devotion to Him.


A divided house cannot stand.


We are not perfectly sinless. Nobody loves God with a totally pure and undivided heart. We go on by repentance and renewal of mind. All of us have temptations that seek to split our devotion to Christ. We know this all too well. We shall apply this principle to a common means of trying to control the nature of sin rather than doing what is the really hard thing which will in essence kill it.


C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity: “The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says “Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here or there, I want the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked - the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours. Both harder and easier than what we are trying to do.”