Ephesians 6:5-9, “doing the will of God from the heart,” – overcoming the flesh by faith.

Class Outline:

Tuesday February 15, 2022


We are still wrapping up this section in Ephesians that reveals the life of the new self. It is a walk worthy of the calling. We have sufficiently overviewed and clarified everything fROM 4:1 to slaves and masters in 6:5-9. We’re adding some finishing touches.


Last time we saw the power of sin compared with the singular devotion to Christ. All of the ways that we have been seeing (our personal lives, our church lives, our equipping one another, our growing up in Christ, our speech and conduct, our marriages and homes, the ancient institution of slavery) all get back to the new self that God has made every born-again believer.


Sunday we focused on the new self as singularly devoted to Christ.


EPH 6:5

Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity (singularity, clarity) of your heart, as to Christ;


Related to this is the allure of the flesh that seeks all other devotions, especially to self. A fleshly slave is simply not going to live like Paul tells him to. A slave must be spiritually minded and spiritually devoted to Christ in order to do this. The promise is that he will be rewarded in some way.


The allure of the flesh has to be overcome. There is no time to lose. Don’t wait to grow up, so-to-speak, but do it now. Put your faith in who you are in Christ. What that looks like is the topic of this message.


The believer who through faith in his calling overcomes the flesh looks like he is wearing Christ.


What does this person look like? He looks like EPH 4:1-6:9 and all the other passages that mirror the revelation of this new life that has been given by grace to all who have believed in Christ. Each believer has their work and study cut out for them to come to a place of being convinced of who they really are now, the beauty of that life (they only get a glimpse - exceeding abundantly beyond), and the urgency that comes from knowing that they are only fit for this life and everything else is a counterfeit, human attempt at something much, much less.


The first thing we note is that the power of this life comes from the inner self and not the outer.


EPH 6:6

not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart (psuche - soul or life).


Doing the will of God from the inner man is juxtaposed to “eyeservice” and “men-pleasers.”


I would liken Paul’s switch from kardia (heart) to psuche (soul) to refer to the inner self in general. Singularity of heart to Christ and an inner self that only desires God’s will. Sounds like the new self, and there is no other way for us who have been redeemed by God.


EPH 3:14-21

For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.


20 Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.


The second thing to know is the awfulness of sin, God’s hatred of it, and where sin gets its power (it is a parasite).


The new self knows sin and that it is a parasite that only gets its life and power from people who acquiesce to it willfully or ignorantly.


Third, faith in who we are and faith in the surpassing value of the way of life that God has graciously given us will give us the momentum and desire that is necessary for overcoming the passions and desires of the flesh.


The new self knows that faith will overcome the power of the flesh (passion and desire).


We can find many more steps, depending on how detailed we want to be. I am only summarizing a pathway on a largish map. There are many subtleties to this road (new and living way, HEB 10:19) that we will learn as we study scripture and also as we strive to walk the path. There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.


We closed last time with the insight of CS Lewis that Christianity is both harder and easier than what most are trying to do, which is to submit enough to be considered good enough and keep enough time and energy for ourselves. The hard part about this method is that self is always the end goal, and with that, true love, happiness, and peace will elude us. Paul commanded us to lay aside the old self and put on the new. The new self serves God completely and does not regard self.


So then, the life, or walk, of our calling is the life of the new self. The new self gives all allegiance to God.


Lewis shows great insight here. The harder way is to give all of ourselves over to God’s will as opposed to giving Him some and keeping some for ourselves. The later is easier initially but in the long run it is much harder because you never get what you really want, which is fulfillment and happiness. You get frustrated, jaded, and dumb, and you lose many years that could have been lived. It’s never too late to start, but you have to start at the beginning, putting one faithful foot in front of another, walking like newborn, putting your faith in God’s promises and doctrines that you know, striving to learn His word - to learn God. We must understand that half-measures are no good. They will not get us there. We have to make every effort, and use faith when the flesh feels pained by your new life.


As one writer put it - We want the things of God without God. The easier way is to give all of ourselves over to the will of God, for although this seems like an almost impossible thing (harder) it is the only thing that gets us to where we want to go. And it is not impossible. For the old self it is impossible, but the new self is made for it. Each believer must know that he or she is the new self, and although the old self remains within us like a virus, that it has been put off by the work of Christ.


We have the power, the indwelling Spirit and the word of God to more than overcome the old self, ROM 8:10-11.


ROM 8:10-11

And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.


There is a very great lesson in the Bible, one of many, for mankind that seems to elude us.


We will not get happiness by looking for it. We will get it when we get God. It’s Him we have to be looking for.


Happiness and all the other things that go along with it; love, peace, strength, etc., are God. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to know the essence or attributes of God. God is love, is life, is Spirit. Good things like happiness only reside in Him, everything else on the market is a fake, a copy, a masquerade. We must know this without doubt. The things we really want, that everyone truly wants, are only found in God. And God is going to give you more than these, because there are some things about God that we don’t yet know exists. We might think that because God is going to give us what we truly want that this whole thing we call the universe is about us, or even “me” for that matter. But God is going to give you more. He is going to give you His happiness which cannot come to anyone who thinks they are the center of anything. Happiness only exists with God and if you try to take Him off His throne, or off the throne of your own soul, you have turned your back on happiness, and sadly, with a lot of effort and heartache in the process.