Sunday, July 30, 2017

Posted on Jul 28 2017

Bible Background: In this chapter Paul’s builds on what God has done for us in Christ, and challenges us to live up to our calling to be Christ’s own, and to be united by the Spirit, in love. What follows is a series of do-able ethical instructions, and a reminder of how Christ equips the church and each of us for ministry.

Digging Deeper: 1. “Therefore” suggests that all that Christ has done for us (reconciled us to God, adopted us, given us hope, etc.) calls for a response from us. The fitting response would be to live a life worthy of our calling as God’s people! Sometimes when someone gets a second chance at life: a transplant, renewed health, another chance at love, they make the most of that opportunity.

2. How to live up to our calling as Christ’s own, is really rather simple: by demonstrating humility, gentleness, patience, and bearing with one another in love. (v.2) Which of these four ‘fruits’ of the Spirit is easiest to come by for you? Is there one you tend to resist? Why do we Christians need these rather ‘basic’ reminders? How do these basic virtues produce large results?

3. Verse 4 emphasizes the “one” theme that shows up 20 x’s in Ephesians: “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all.” “Paul draws a larger circle around the Christian Church than anyone thought possible!” (Scott Mast) When have you seen the church ‘draw a wide circle’? How have you helped widen that circle to include others? Have you ever tried to keep the circle smaller?

4. One point Paul makes is that ‘everything we are and everything we have is a gift from God.’ That’s true for the church as well! So when God gives gifts to believers, these are to help “equip the saints for ministry.” Yes, some of us are called to be prophets, apostles, pastors….but not all of us! What is each one of us called to be? An authentic representative of Christ’s? A servant? A worker in God’s kingdom?

5. When do we tell someone to “grow up?” What tone of voice do we typically use with that? How can we hear Paul encouraging us to grow up into fully mature Christians? What would that look like? How do we grow into a unified and fully mature church with a God-sized sense of mission? What would that require of us? Imagine that!

For next week, read Ephesians 5–6 or read the whole letter!