My heart is so full as I write and record the message for today. You have been in my prayers each and every day. Your words of encouragement, your excitement, and your commitment have blessed me beyond measure. How I wish we could all gather together in one place for our lesson so I could see each one of your precious smiling faces. But this is how God has chosen to bring us together, and I know He will be at work in and among us!!
Below please find our Introductory Lesson.
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Reading Assignment: Read Ephesians Chapter One. If you would like some background on Paul and his role in Ephesus, read Acts Chapters 19 and 20. In our lesson, I share tips on how to approach your homework and your time in God’s Word.
Homework Questions: Please do as many questions as time allows. Your time reading and studying is when God will do His greatest work!
Father God, as we begin a new study of Your Word today, we come before You acknowledging You as Lord of our lives. If we have places of pride, self-pity, worthlessness, rebellion, fear, doubt, and unbelief, we surrender them to You today. Lord, we invite You into the secret places in our hearts, the places we never want anyone to see. Father, it is only in You that we will find our true value and worth. Help us take our eyes off ourselves and what the world wants and thinks of us. Fix our eyes on You and You alone. Open the eyes of our heart to understand the marvelous Truths in Your Law. We pray for divine Wisdom, Knowledge, and Revelation, the kind that will change our lives. Father, we want our lives to be different for the time we will spend with You. Change our hearts, O God, make them ever true. Change our hearts, O God, make them more like You!!!
1. Let’s have a bit of fun before we begin. If someone gave you $10,000, and you had to spend it in one day (no saving it you frugal girls), where would you go or what would you buy?
2. Read Acts 17:24-28. Share what these verses tell you about…
b. what God provides
c. why God provides it
3. Read Ephesians 1:4-5, Galatians 4:1-7, Colossians 1:21-22, and Romans 8:17.
a. What do Galatians 4:3 and Colossians 1:21 say about a believer’s status before being adopted into God’s family?
b. Share what God did in Galatians 4:4-5, Colossians 1:22, and Ephesians 1:4-5 to change a believer’s status?
c. What does Galatians 6 tell believers they receive as God’s children?
4. Let’s dig a bit deeper. Read Ephesians 1:6 and Romans 3:23-26.
a. What exactly did God do to change our status (Ephesians 1:6a)
b. Read Hebrews 9:18-27. Why was the shedding of blood necessary? What happened as a result of that action? (Ephesians 1:7)
5. In Ephesians 1:11 (New Living Translation), Paul says that because we are united with Christ, we will receive an “inheritance from God.” What is this inheritance?
6. In Ephesians 1:13, Paul explains that when the Gentiles believed in Christ, He identified them as His own. How did He identify them?
7. According to Ephesians 1:14 and 2 Corinthians 1:22, what does the Spirit guarantee?
8. Let’s go back and read Ephesians 1:7. In this verse, Paul tells us that God purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sin.
a. Do you live as if you are forgiven, or are there places in your heart where you have not forgiven yourself, and, thus, have not received your heavenly Father’s forgiveness. Will you search your heart right now and ask your Father to show you where you are holding on to things from your past? Invite God into those places and allow Him to wash the powerful blood of His Son Jesus over your heart. Accept His forgiveness and live in the freedom of that forgiveness.
b. Do you have a place of unforgiveness in your heart towards someone else? Scripture clearly teaches that God will not and cannot work in a heart that is in bondage to unforgiveness. Search your heart. Submit your spirit, your pride, and your right to be right to the Lord. As a first step, ask your heavenly Father for forgiveness for holding on so tightly to your unforgiveness. Then take a second step toward forgiving the person against whom you harbor unforgiveness. This will look different for every one of us, but take a step and watch what God will do!!
9. Read again Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in 1:15-23. With this prayer, Paul prays for fresh and profound spiritual experiences for believers. He invites God to do something supernatural and amazing. Friends, this is the kind of praying that can truly change lives. What tugs at your heart as you read Paul’s prayer?
10. Read 2 Peter 1:19-21 and 2 Timothy 3:16.
a. According to these verses, Who was the source/author of Scripture?
b. How did the authors receive what they wrote?
c. Fill in the blanks below.
According to these truths, the revelation of God’s Word into our heart is done by the
11. Read Proverbs 2:1-8.
a. According to Solomon, how do we “get” wisdom?
b. Who does Solomon say is the source of that wisdom?
c. Read Isaiah 11:1-2. To Whom is Isaiah referring in these verses?
d. Practically, what must we do to get to know God better?
12. In Ephesians 1:18, Paul prays for the “eyes” of the Ephesian believers’ hearts to be enlightened so that they may know the hope to which He has called them. Here Paul refers to more than factual knowledge. “Eidenai” is factual knowledge, knowledge about God rather than knowledge about being in relationship with God. Here Paul desires for the believers to really understand what it means to be in relationship with God and all the benefits that flow from that relationship.
a. According to 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, can everyone understand this knowledge? What is the message of the Cross to those who don’t believe according to verse 18?
b. Explain why the Gospel message seems foolish to natural men.
c. Read 1 Corinthians 1:27-28 and describe what God has done. Why did He do this?
13. In Ephesians 1:19, Paul prays that the believers would know God’s “incomparably great power” available to those who believe. Paul wanted to be sure that we as believers know that the extraordinary divine force by which God raised Jesus from the dead is the very same power that lives and is at work in us today. Do you grasp the enormity of what that means in your life today, sweet friend?? Do you have circumstances that seem desperate and hopeless? Do you have trials and struggles in your life from which you just can’t believe God is big enough to rescue you? Reread this verse and share how KNOWING, BELIEVING, PRAYING, and APPLYING this Truth could change your personal circumstances today.
14. Paul’s words in Ephesians 1:19-22 are some of the most moving and powerful in Scripture.
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else – not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made Him head over all things for the benefit of the church.
Paul wrote this prayer to give God’s people HOPE. No one and nothing is greater than our God! There is no circumstance too big that our God is not bigger! Whatever it is you are facing, He is able…He is enough…He is sufficient.
a. What does it look like for you personally to live as a person with hope rather than without hope?
b. Paul calls us to know the hope to which we have been called. How does knowing that hope, Paul’s prayer, and the power discussed in Questions 13 and 14 impact your current circumstances?
15. How does Paul’s prayer compare with how you typically pray?
16. Which of the things Paul prays for do you most need to pray for yourself?
17. Will you write a prayer today inviting the Lord to do a mighty work in and through the power of His Holy Spirit in the area of your life He has brought to mind? I am sharing an example below. Please write your own prayer or if you are new at writing prayers, then use this as a model and edit it to fit your circumstances.
Heavenly Father, today I bring my marriage to You and surrender it at the foot of the cross. It seems that everything my husband does irritates me. It seems I never see the good in him. My words are critical and biting. My heart is hard. I know I hurt him and even more, I hurt You everytime I speak, and even think, words of disrespect. I feel so unworthy to even come before you.
Yet you love me. Even when I am not living in a way that pleases You, You love me. You pursue me. You patiently wait for me… waiting to draw me back into perfect fellowship with You, lovingly speaking to me through Your Word and Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that Your Word is TRUTH and that there is Power in Your Word, power to change and transform. Thank You that I can live in the power of Your Holy Spirit and that I can do all things through You Who strengthens me. Please take what I have committed to You today, Father, and do a mighty transforming work. Change me, mold me, and shape me to be the woman You created me to be. Open the eyes of my heart. Sear Your Word into the deepest and darkest of places so that I can change and be more like You. I love You, Lord. Thank You for all You will do in my life this year.
I will be praying God’s promise from Isaiah 55:11 for you as you open the pages of Scripture.
It is the same with my Word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
Please remember to share your thoughts by leaving comments on the blog. This is how we learn and grow from each other!!