Ephesians – Going Deeper Chapter 6 (Feb 19-23)
Paul wrote this to Ephesians (6:12) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Earlier in Ephesians (2: 1-3). Paul identifies 3 main sources of temptations & struggles: the world, the flesh and the devil. What are the differences between each of them? In what ways can we fight against/resist these unique “spiritual enemies?”
The Devil is known by many names, devil–meaning accuser (Rev 12: 7-11), satan–meaning adversary, tempter (Matt 4: 3), murderer and liar (John 8: 44), angel of light (2 Cor 11: 13-15) and “god of this age” (2 Cor 4: 40).
For reflection – what can we learn from the names of the devil in terms of his function? How can we protect ourselves from his evil schemes?
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
How does Paul suggest we respond to spiritual warfare (Eph 6:13)?
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand (vrs 13).
How can we “put on the full armor of God?”
Can you name the equipment we have at our disposal to fight evil (Eph 6:14-17)?
 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
In what way does each of the individual parts of the Armour of God directly neutralize the function/work of the devil as seen in his names.(above).
In what ways (or in what sense) is the Armour of God a picture of Jesus?
See John 14: 6, 2 Cor 5: 21, Eph 2:14, Gal 2:20, Luke 2: 30, John 1:1, 14.
Ephesians – Going Deeper Chapter 4 (Feb 12-23)
What is the difference between uniformity and unity? Which of those are we called to live in Christ?
Are we called into equality, or is there a value in diversity and variety?
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:1–2).
What details does Paul say it is important for us to possess before we actually practice our Spiritual gifts?
What does Paul say is an essential element in the unity of the Spirit?
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Gal 5:22-26)
How does this passage relate to the Fruit of the Spirit and Galatians 5 and the Beatitudes in Matthew 5?
In our uniqueness we are called to be united in what ways can we do that according to Ephesians 4:4-7?
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many (1 Corinthians 12:12-14).
We are called to function as “one body” in our unique roles, how does this apply to 1 Corinthians 12? Is one part of the body more important than another? What does this tell us on how to function in the church?
Do you know your unique gift or gifts? In what ways are you putting them into practice?
We would love to encourage you to discover and develop your spiritual gifts. We’d like to partner with you and help you live into the calling and purpose that God as uniquely created for you! Speak to the pastor or elders and we would love to help you with this!
Ephesians – Going Deeper Chapter 3 (Feb 05-23)
- Paul starts this chapter by reminding his readers that he was a prisoner of Christ. Why was he in jail? [See Eph 3:1]
I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. [Eph 3:7-9]
- Despite being arrested, how does Paul describe his calling/mission?
This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. [Eph 3:6]
In our culture, judging or acting differently toward others simply because their place of birth, cultural background / language is considered unethical, improper & in some cases illegal.
- How was this different in the ancient world?
- In what ways is Paul a “pioneer of equality?”
- How were Gentiles seen by the Israelites?
- How does that apply to us today?
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. [Eph3:14-15]
- What is the reason Paul kneels before the father [vrs 14] – see [Eph 3:12-13]
- What can we learn from Paul’s posture of prayer?
- Is there a more effective (or Spiritual) posture of prayer?
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. [Eph 3:16-19]
Meditate on Paul’s prayer (reflect on underlined words).
- Where is our source of strength and power?
- Through whom can we get access to God’s glorious riches?
- How does Christ dwells in our hearts?
- What are these “riches” that Paul refers to?
Believing in Jesus goes beyond, simply knowing that Jesus lived, coming to church regularly… or living a generous and good life.
- In what ways do we get stuck on religiosity and ignore our need of becoming “rooted and established in love…?”
- What happens when we ignore God’s presence in our lives and don’t allow the Spirit to change us from the inside out?
- In what ways can we experience being “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” What does this mean?
Ephesians – Going Deeper Chapter 2 (Jan 29-23)
Paul’s Background (Acts 22:23-31)
- As recorded in Acts 22, Paul was a Jew, born in Tarsus with all privilege and rights of a Roman citizen. In what ways did his privilege help Paul?
- How much importance/focus did Paul give to his privilege, education and social position (see Philippians 3:4-9)?
- What is the essence of Paul’s calling (as an apostle) as he describes it (1 Cor 15:9–10)?
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. [Eph 2:1-3]
- Why is the difference in the personal pronouns “you” (in verses 1-2) and “we” and “our” (in verse 3) important to note?
- What can we learn from this, when we share our faith with others?
- How would you paraphrase Paul’s words in [vrs 3-5]?
- Do we at times sound judgmental as we share the good news with others?
- What words, phrases (some call this “Christianese”) do we use in our speech, social media posts, etc. that may be misunderstood and possibly even create barriers to faith?
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- What happens when we accept Jesus and invite him into our lives?
- Is this just a “spiritual” new life (in heaven) or does this start a new process that includes our present existence?
- In what ways do you notice this “new life” in your day-to-day activities?
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Eph 2:4-5)
- Paul says that we’re under God’s wrath (vrs 3). How do we express wrath?
- How is this different from the way God expresses His wrath?
- What does Paul say is the “wage of sin (Romans 6:23)? Did God say anything similar to Adam & Eve?
- If the result of disobedience is death, how did this affect humanity (both physically & spiritually)?
- How did God ultimately deal with sin (John 3:16)?
- What do we have to do in order to have eternal life?
While we didn’t cover Ephesians 2:11-22 in this message, here’s a few underlines from my reading for further reflection.
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Ephesians Chapter 1 (Jan 15 – 23)