Packed ongoing.001

 

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 4:1-16 – Study Prompts #3

 

  1. Take a moment to pray.  Praise God for His Word and ask Him to teach you its truth, just as the psalmist prayed in Psalm 119:12-16, “Praise be to You, O Lord; teach me Your decrees.  With my lips I recount all the laws that come from Your mouth.  I rejoice in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.  I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways.  I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your Word.”
  2. Read Ephesians 4:1-16
  3. In Ephesians 4:1-6, Paul defines the unity of the church and encourages the Ephesians (and us) to live a life consistent with the unity purchased for us in Christ.  Beginning in 4:7 and following, Paul talks of the intentional diversity inside the unity of the church — a diversity that Jesus not only appreciates, but created for a particular purpose.  According to Ephesians 4:7, how many Christians are given a gift from Jesus?  According to this verse, were you given a gift from Jesus?
  4. Ephesians 4:8 loosely quotes Psalm 68:18.  In the Psalm, God is seen as a conquering King, ascending a mountain and receiving gifts of praise.  In Ephesians 4:8, however, the triumphal Jesus does not merely emerge from the grave victorious and demand praise from people, He also gathered to Himself those who were “captivated” by His love, gifted them, then gave them back to the churches to help accomplish His work in the world.  The main idea in this reference is that Jesus gave to the church people who He would work through to further HIs mission.  In a sense, therefore, all Christians are “God’s gift to the church.”  How has God blessed your life through fellow Christians you have met?
  5. STUDY NOTE:  While there is some debate as to the meaning of Ephesians 4:9-10, the primary meaning of this passage seems to be that Jesus “descending to the lower regions, the earth” speaks merely of His incarnation.  To leave heaven and come to earth to die for the sins of humanity was an act of coming to our “lower regions.”  Some have wanted to imply that this verse speaks of Jesus descending into hell in the days between His death and resurrection, but that is not the case.  This passage merely speaks of Jesus arrival on earth (or possibly His arrival in the tomb), not a metaphysical journey to the underworld after His death.
  6. No where in the New Testament do we get a definitive set of spiritual gifts.  In the gift lists in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12 and here in Ephesians 4, differences between the lists are readily apparent.  The important thing about a spiritual gift is not so much what you call it, but what effect it has on those around you.  According to Ephesians 4:12-14, what is the effect of God giving the church gifted people?
  7. While there are a number of spiritual gifts tests available, perhaps the greatest way to find out how God has gifted you for ministry would be to ask those around you, “How does God seem to use me in your life?”  Take some time this week to ask four friends who have regular contact with that question.  Their answers may help clarify for you your spiritual gifting.
  8. People are given by Jesus to the church in order to help mature others in their faith according to 4:12-14.  This means that the reason you are not in heaven right now is because God wants to use you in someone else’s life.  Many times our perspective of life implodes around ourselves (our happiness, our interest, our plans).  How different is our mission in life according to these verses.  We are placed within churches, not for our entertainment, edification, or education (though all these things may also happen in our churches).  We are placed in our church to minister to others.  How does this reality square with how you currently envision your church involvement?
  9. According to 4:15-16, the church was designed to work together and to grow, just as a human body is designed to do the same.  This means that every part of the Body has its purpose and was strategically placed there by God Himself.  This purpose and strategic design is not conditional . . . it has already been implemented by God Himself.  What does this tell you about other Christians you worship, fellowship, and serve with at church?  What does God want to do in you through their strategic presence in your life?

For more resources related to this study of Ephesians click on the following links:

Packed Schedule.001

31 thoughts on “Ephesians 4:1-16 Study Prompts #3

  1. Pingback: wildwoodmark.com

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