Break the Ice (5 min)
- Have everyone share their eyeglasses with everyone.
- Did you see better or worse?
- Does everybody have the same magnification?
Bring the Word (40 min)
If you wear eyeglasses or reading glasses, tell how they help you read or drive. In the first chapter of Ephesians Paul uses several references about how God and the Holy Spirit helps us see and recognize things we can’t see with our physical eyes. He helps us see life more clearly. The fact is we have more reasons to be in unity with God and each other as well as reinforcing that Jesus restored the image of God in humanity and the world.
Ephesians 1: 9 God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. (NLT)
Ephesians 4: 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. (NLT)
The theme of Ephesians is found in these two passages. It is essentially divided into two parts: unity in Christ – doctrinal (Ch. 1-3) and unity in the Church – application (Ch. 4-6).
Prayer for the conversation to come. (Leader)
Part 1 Topic: The Father’s plan for the unity of all things in Christ. Ephesians 1 through 3:21
Paul’s praise to the Father, Eph. 1:1-14
- For the Father’s love before time
- For the Father’s love in His Son at the right time
- For the Father’s continuing love by the Spirit through time
Have someone or several read this passage
Key points to mention by verse:
“to the saints” or “to God’s holy people” – Believers are both declared holy (positional sanctification) and called to lifestyle holiness (progressive sanctification). Justification and sanctification must be affirmed together!
“who are faithful” or “who are faithful followers” – The word’s primary OT emphasis is on the trustworthiness of God, not the enthusiasm or sincerity of a human response. Believers must respond, receive, and trust in His trustworthy character and eternal promises. The key is the object of our faith, not its intensity. Christianity is faith in Christ, not faith in faith. Christianity is an initial repentant and faith response followed by a lifestyle of faithfulness. Biblical faith is a series of human choices-repentance, faith, obedience, and perseverance.
The Father in eternity
The Son in time
The Spirit in the future
Election / Predestination
Not favoritism but a call to be a means of others’ redemption
OT Use – for service
NT Use – salvation which leads to service
Affirms God’s sovereignty but also Man’s free will
Vs 4 clarifies that the goal predestination is not heaven but holiness (Christlikeness). Love the benefits but neglect the responsibilities
“He chose us” – not determinative or choose some but not others, it is a covenantal choice
God promised to redeem fallen mankind. God always takes the initiative in salvation but also to sanctification.
We were all created in His image and God intends us to become like Himself or Christlike.
God’s redemptive plan started before creation.
Adoption is used as a metaphor to describe salvation with security. The Roman laws towards adoption were binding lifelong. They could disinherit their biological children but any child adopted was for life and their well-being protected by law under penalty of death.
Jesus was always the plan for the Father restoring all things.
Vs. 6, 12, and 14 repeats “to the praise of the glory of His grace” three times to accent the work of the three persons of the trinity.
“redemption” – we were bought back for a price,
“through His blood” – substitutionary and sacrificial death,
“the forgiveness” – Day of Atonement required two sacrifices: one was sent away to symbolize forgiveness and one was sacrificed to symbolize the fact that sin costs a life
“according to the riches of His grace” – forgiveness in Christ cannot be earned,
“lavished” – overflowing fountain
“mystery” – the uniting of all people, Jew and Gentile, in Christ to God, Always the plan but not understood until Christ came to earth and fulfilled the Father’s will.
“having been predestined according to His purpose” – election/predestination is according to the grace of God, “not of yourselves”, “the gift of God”, and “not as a result of works”.
“after listening to the message of truth, the gospel..having also believed”
A person to receive (personal relationship)
Truths about that person to believe (worldview)
A life that the person is to live like (Christlikeness)
“you were sealed in Him” – Sealing was a sign of security, genuineness, and ownership. This is parallel to the Spirit’s baptism of new believers in Christ
“who is given as a pledge” – a promise to pay a debt, a promise of providing sustenance, a personal promise from God
Bring it Home (5 min)
Preparation for next week: Reread chapter 1. Bring any insights or questions from this week’s lesson.
Have someone close in prayer.