Sunday, September 18th, 2016
The letter written to the saints at Ephesus offers general instruction in the truths of God’s redemptive work in Christ; the unity of the church among diverse peoples; and proper conduct in the church, the home, and the world.
There are three main themes found in Ephesians. The first is that Christ has reconciled all creation to himself and to God. It also explains that Christ has united people from all nations to himself and to one another in his church. Throughout this beautiful letter there is an unmistakable theme that expresses the truth that Christians must live as new people.
As you read and study together, make sure to work hard at hearing from everyone that has gathered together. Pray for one another and be accountable to applying the word of God to your lives.
Questions for this week:
- In the second half of Ephesians 2, Paul turns to discuss a second component of God’s reconciliation through the work of Christ, whereas the first in Ephesians 2:1-10 was an individual reconciliation between a person and God. Ephesians 2:11-22, the shift in emphasis is between corporate groups reconciled into one body, the church, to God (2:16). How does the fact that God’s redemptive plan is broader than just a restored relationship between you and Him strike you?
- What are some ways that you can incorporate this dynamic into your relationship with members in your missional community group this week?
- In Ephesians 2:19, Paul reminded the church in Ephesus that they were no longer defined by their previous condition, as strangers and aliens to God and His people, but were now co-citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household. Providing church members with a reminder of their true identity was often something that Paul did in his letters. Why do you think a major emphasis in Paul’s letters was to remind the churches of their new identity in Christ?
- When you think about who you are, are you more apt to see yourself as someone as an alien or citizen, a stranger or member of God’s household? How does seeing yourself as the former affect the way you conduct your life throughout your week? How does seeing yourself as the latter affect the way you conduct your life throughout the week?
- In the Old Testament, God’s dwelling place was in the Temple. In Ephesians 2:20-22, using metaphorical language, Paul provided tremendous insight into the amazing truth that not only is God’s dwelling place was now grounded in Christ, but also that His dwelling place, by the Holy Spirit, was in the Ephesian believers themselves as they were being built into a temple for God. How does this amazing reality—that the living God, who created the universe, actually dwells in you through the Holy Spirit—strike you?
- How does the truth that all believers are being built into a holy temple for God affect the way you see and wish to treat the members of your missional community group?