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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 5:1-21 – 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 5:1-21
  3. As previously mentioned, “walking” is a biblical term used to describe how you live your life.  Therefore, it would be appropriate to paraphrase Ephesians 5:15 this way, “Live your life carefully, making sure you are living a wise life, and not a foolish one.”  What kinds of things would a Christian do who was being careful to make wise choices?
  4. Pastor Andy Stanley says that Ephesians 5:15-17 instruct us with how to ask the “best question ever.”  His premise is that it is much better to ask “is it wise” than “is it lawful”?  In other words, there are many things that are permissible for Christians to do, but not ultimately helpful in light of their personal history, present circumstances, and future hopes and dreams.  What are some things in life that you “can do” but would not be “wise” for you to do?
  5. Part of the reason it is important to live wisely is because our time is limited and “the days are evil” (5:16).  What do you think Paul means when he says this?
  6. In Ephesians 5:17, the antidote to foolishness is to know what the will of the Lord is.  How does someone discover the will of the Lord (in order to live a wise life)?  What can you do to discover the Lord’s will/wisdom?
  7. There are a few ways in which we use the word “fill.”  Sometimes “fill” means to pour into an empty container a substance until it is completely full.  An example of this usage would be “My car was out of gas, so I filled it up with gasoline.”  Another use of the term “fill” is to be controlled by something or someone.  An example of this would be to say that “I was full of anger, so I slammed my book on the table.”  In Ephesians 5:18, Paul says that we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Which of the two meanings of “fill” do you think he is using here?  Why?
  8. There are many things that seek to control the life of the Christian.  Some are controlled by their appetite for sex.  Others are controlled by their appetite for a certain “high” feeling.  Others are controlled by their appetite for money or things.  Here, Paul calls the Christian to be controlled by the Holy Spirit (5:18).  What does it mean for a Christian to be controlled by the Spirit of God?
  9. One of the things that happens when a person is controlled by the Spirit of God is that they spend time praising God; Ephesians 5:19-20 detail this outcome of the Spirit’s controlling influence on our lives.  Reflect for a moment on your own heart.  Audit the last month of your life.  Have you frequently found your heart rejoicing in thankfulness to God?  If not, what is preventing you from spending time praising Him?  The Holy Spirit that resides in the life of a believer wants to move us to praise and thanksgiving for who God is and all He has done for our lives.
  10. STUDY NOTE:  In Ephesians 5:19-20, one indication that a Christian is controlled by the Holy Spirit is the praise and thankfulness they exhibit toward God.  Another indication of the controlling influence of the Spirit is that Spirit led Christians submit to and serve one another (5:21).  Sadly, the work of the Holy Spirit has been very misunderstood by some Christians.  Some have erroneously expected the Spirit’s control to most be evident through strange and spectacular phenomenon like speaking in tongues, voicing new prophecy, or healing the sick.  While the New Testament has examples of some believers exhibiting these gifts some of the time, these kinds of spectacular manifestations are not the normal indicator of the Spirit’s presence.  The normative work of the Holy Spirit is far more relational.  All Christians, when they are controlled by the Spirit of God have a thankful and worshipful heart before God (5:19-20).  And, all Christians, when they are controlled by the Holy Spirit, have a heart of service and humility before their fellow Christians (5:21).  From Ephesians 5:22-6:9, Paul will apply what a Holy Spirit empowered life looks like in one’s marriage, work, and parenting.  It is in these very normal arenas of our every day life that the work of the Spirit is most seen, and most needed.  Of this concept, Darrell Bock said, “For Paul, the Christian faith was not an abstract exercise in theological discourse.  Instead it called for a different way to relate to others.”  Further, John Stott said, “Too much so-called ‘holiness teaching’ emphasizes a personal relationship to Jesus Christ without any attempt to indicate its consequences in terms of relationships with the people we live and work with.  In contrast to such holiness-in-a-vacuum, which magnifies experiences and minimizes ethics, the apostles spelled out Christian duty in the concrete situations of everyday life and work.”  Praise God!  The controlling presence of the Holy Spirit is not simply for our prayer closet or Sunday services . . . it is for everyday life!

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

 

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21 thoughts on “Ephesians 5:1-21 (Study Prompts #3)

  1. Pingback: wildwoodmark.com

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