I am currently preaching a sermon series on Sunday mornings at Wildwood Community Church called “Packed” – based out of Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. During this series, I am using my blog to post study prompts, devotionals, sermon audio/video, and discussion questions to help facilitate personal or group study of this book. NOTE: At the bottom of this post, I have a set of links to previous resources in this series.
Ephesians 3:1-13 – Study Prompts #1
- As you pray for your study today, ask God to use His Word in your life as the writer of Hebrews prayed in Hebrews 13:20-21: “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
- Read Ephesians 3:1-13.
- Paul begins chapter 3 by describing himself as a “prisoner of Christ Jesus.” This was not an exaggeration, as (at the time he wrote this letter to the Ephesian church) Paul was a literal prisoner, under house arrest in Rome. Read Acts 21-23. In these chapters, you will see how Paul ended up being arrested and sent to Rome. Given what you learn in these verses, in what way was Paul a prisoner “on behalf of the Gentiles” (Ephesians 3:1)?
- Both in the Acts 21-23 verses you read above AND in Ephesians 3:2, Paul mentions that the ministry he had to the Gentiles was given to him by God. Does it seem strange to you that something God gave to Paul led to his physical hardship? How do you reconcile this notion with the picture of God blessing us — the main theme of Ephesians chapter one?
- In Ephesians 3:13, Paul mentions that his suffering is for the glory of the Gentiles. This perspective is fascinating to me. Paul is resting in the notion that God’s plan for Paul’s life might find meaning NOT in his own comfort or happiness, but in the blessing of others. Think of the last struggle you have gone through where you asked “what is God doing in this moment?” Rather than asking that question only for what is “in it” for us (i.e. what we learn, how we are blessed, etc.), what might God be doing in other people’s lives as a result of our hardship?
- Speaking of Paul’s perspective of being a prisoner of Christ, John MacArthur says, “Perspective is all important. How we view and react to circumstances is more important than the circumstances themselves . . . Had he (Paul) thought that his life was ultimately in the hands of his persecutors, his jailers, his guards, or the Roman government, he would long since have given up in despair.” Paul viewed his life as in the hands of Jesus, not his circumstances. How would it impact your life and perspective if you had a similar attitude about the struggles you endure in life?
- Ephesians 3:6 echoes again that the ministry Paul had (that resulted in his imprisonment) was not something that he sought, but something that was “made” for him. What God had called Paul to, however, He equipped Him for. What do you see in 3:6 that indicates God’s provision for Paul’s calling to minister to the Gentiles?
- In what ways have you ever experienced God’s “power” in your personal life . . . particularly as you have dealt with struggle and difficulty?
For more resources related to this study of Ephesians click on the following links:
- Packed – Series Introduction
- Eph. 1:3-14 (Study Prompts #1)
- Eph. 1:3-14 (Study Prompts #2)
- Eph. 1:3-14 (Study Prompts #3)
- The “In Crowd” (Devotional/Sermon Preview)
- Packed Sermon Discussion Questions
- Packed #1 Sermon Audio/Video
- Eph. 1:15-23 (Study Prompts #1)
- Eph. 1:15-23 (Study Prompts #2)
- Eph. 1:15-23 (Study Prompts #3)
- It’s a Wonderful Christian Life (Devotional)
- Packed #2 Sermon Discussion Questions
- Packed #2 Sermon Audio/Video
- Eph. 2:1-10 (Study Prompts #1)
- Eph. 2:1-10 (Study Prompts #2)
- Eph. 2:1-10 (Study Prompts #3)
- Unbelievable Offer (Devotional/Sermon Preview)
- Packed #3 Sermon Discussion Questions
- Packed #3 Sermon Audio/Video
- Eph. 2:11-22 (Study Prompts #1)
- Eph. 2:11-22 (Study Prompts #2)
- Eph. 2:11-22 (Study Prompts #3)
- Uncommon Denominator (Devotional/Sermon Preview)
- Packed #4 Sermon Discussion Questions
- Packed #4 Sermon Audio/Video
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