Sunday, October 9th, 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 5:1-2, Paul commands the church in Ephesus to be imitators of God through a love like that of Christ’s sacrificial love for us. Why do you think Paul begins the chapter with these statements in the first two verses? How does this shape your view of the several “ethical” commands that Paul goes on to list in the following verses?
- In 5:3-6, Paul shifts his focus to prohibitive commands. In the series of prohibitions, the topic at hand is sexual impurity. Interestingly, the last remark Paul makes in these prohibitions equates greed with idolatry. In these verses, Paul is describing the type of people who constantly exude this behavior pattern. Why do you believe Paul equates greedy people with idolatry? What affects you the most about Paul’s sincere tone towards sexual immorality?
- In the second portion of the chapter, 5:7-14, Paul uses a metaphor to equate the new walk of life with light contrasting it with the old walk of life which he equates with darkness. In these verses, Paul challenges the church of Ephesus not to be participants with nonbelievers in their dark, evil ways. Paul uses the term co-partakers twice, in verses 7 and 11 both in reference to abstinence from the non-believer’s lifestyle. Is Paul informing the church to withdraw from the lives of those who walk in darkness? Why or why not? When Paul tells the church to expose evil deeds, what do you think he means?
- When was a time when you were able to be light in someone else’s life?
- Starting in verse 3, Paul warns to not have any sexual immorality, impurity, greed, obscenity, and coarse joking. He finishes verse 4 that we should instead have thanksgiving. What should we be thankful for? How does that relate to the “do not’s” of verse 3?
- Verse 10 says to find out what pleases the Lord. Did you know that God could be pleased? Read Romans 8:5-8. How can we please God?
- Paul instructs to be careful with how you live, to be wise, to understand what the Lord’s will is, and to be filled with the Spirit. As a church, how does watching how you live impact each other and those outside the church?