What an amazing week this has been! Do you girls know that we now have over 1,800 women from across the globe studying God’s Word together? That simply astounds me. Every day as I sit at the computer and read your comments, I am touched and moved by what God is doing. All He asks is that we seek Him, and look what happens when we do!!!
Thank you, thank you for faithfully doing your homework and for openly and honestly sharing your answers. It blesses me beyond measure to see God working in you through the questions He laid on my heart for this study.
Before you jump into the lesson, please visit my friend, LeAnn Rice’s, wonderful new blog, http://www.shecooks.org/. It launches Friday, June 25th, and she has a great giveaway opportunity if you leave a comment. So jump over and help her celebrate her new blog!
Below please find your introductory lesson and the homework and reading assignment for next week. Don’t forget you can subscribe by e-mail and receive this post in your in-box each week by clicking on the link in my sidebar. However, you will not be able to see the videos or comments unless you visit my blog directly at http://www.wendyblight.com/.
Reading Assignment: Ephesians Chapter Two
Homework Questions: Please do as many questions as time allows. It is in your reading and studying that God will do His greatest work. Sometimes I include additional Scripture references. If you are in a time crunch, do not feel the need to look them all up. I provide them to take you a bit deeper on the topic of the question.
Father God, open the eyes of my heart to hear the wonderful Truths in Your Law. You tell me that Your Word is nourishment to my body and my soul. Feed me this week. Speak into my heart, into the places I need You to reach… places I have been hiding. Make my heart tender to receive Your Word, even when it is hard. You have a wonderful plan for my life, and You created me to do good things for Your Kingdom. Help me to discover that plan and to walk in those good works. I am ready, Lord, waiting to hear from You. Help me to take my eyes off of myself and put them onto You and You alone. Give me divine Wisdom, Knowledge, and Revelation, the kind that will change my life. Make me different for the time I spend with You this week.
1. In Ephesians Chapter One, Paul laid out God’s eternal plan for choosing us to be in relationship with Him and the blessings that our ours when we choose to live in that relationship. Chapter Two presents a wonderful overview of the Gospel message. Paul reviews for believers in Ephesus why they were saved, how they were saved, and for what purpose they were saved.
a. As you read Ephesians 2:1-3, what does Paul mean when he says his readers were “dead?” (for more on this read Psalm 14:1-3, Romans 3:9-12, Romans 6:23, Colossians 1:21, and Colossians 2:13)
b. Read Psalm 51:1-6, especially focusing on verse 5. King David wrote this Psalm after the prophet Nathan confronted him about committing adultery with Bathsheba. The King James translation says, “Behold, I was shapen in inequity.”
Read Genesis 8:21. According to God’s Word, sin infects a person’s life from conception. When Adam and Eve first sinned in the Garden of Eden, they infected the human race with sin. Every person born on the is earth is born into sin. This corrupt nature is called “original sin.” It is a bent to rebel against God, to value self above all else.
Read Romans 3:23. How do you respond to the Truth that basically all people even those who seem decent and moral, are disobedient and influenced by the devil?
Do you believe this? If you do not, how do you reconcile what you believe with these verses?
c. In Romans 3:9-18, what does Paul say about sin?
d. How many people, on their own, seek after God?
2. Living in original sin means walking and following the ways of the world.
a. Who leads the ways of the world? (hint: 1 John 5:19 and 2 Corinthians 4:4)
b. Define “ways of the world?
c. How does walking in the ways of the world differ from walking in the ways of the Lord?
3. Reread Ephesians 2:2-3. Verse 2:3 talks about gratifying the “cravings” of our sinful nature or flesh.
a. What are those cravings, desires, and thoughts?
b. In your own life, what are the temptations with which you struggle?
c. How has reading these verses impacted your understanding of your own sin nature?
4. Are you ready for the good news? Read Ephesians 2:4-5 again.
a. What does verse 4 tell us occurred to change our state of original sin?
b. Why did God do this? (Ephesians 1:7)
5. Romans 5:12-21 discusses what God did for us in depth.
a. How did sin enter the world? (Romans 5:12)
b. What did Adam’s sin bring to the human race? (Romans 5:16)
c. What did God’s grace bring to the human race? (Romans 5:17)
d. What do you learn from Romans 5:18-19?
e. According to Romans 5:21, what do we receive through God’s gift of grace?
6. Read Ephesians 2:5-6. List the three things God’s love did for us? (Hint: look at the action verbs)
7. Read Ephesians 2:8-9. These verses tell us it is by _____________ we are saved, through _______________, it is the __________ of God. What truths do you take away from these words for your own life?
8. Ephesians 2:10a (NLT) says, “For we are God’s masterpiece….”
a. Read Psalm 139:13-16. What do these verses tell you?
b. God specially knit you together, designed very part of you to be exactly who you are today…your eye color, your hair color and texture (I am talking to myself here…a girl with naturally curly hair who spends insane amounts of time and money to straighten it!), your height, your shape, your heart, your mind, your gifts, your talents, and your personality. He handpicked your family of origin, and if you are married with a family, your husband and your children. Share what you like and dislike about His plan. Be honest with your feelings, your doubts, and your questions.
9. Ephesians 2:10 continues, “…He has created us anew in Christ Jesus.” Do you sometimes doubt you can accomplish God’s plan? Maybe because of your family history or bad choices you have made. Maybe because of your present circumstances, which seem dim or hopeless. Maybe because you don’t like who you are. Maybe because you don’t feel accomplished enough, smart enough, worthy enough, talented enough, pretty enough, outgoing enough. Will you reread Ephesians 2:10? My friend, listen to Paul’s words and insert your name… “YOU, _________, ARE GOD’S MASTERPIECE!”.
a. No matter what has happened in the past, no matter what is going on in the present, you have a guaranteed promise. If you have invited Christ into your life by asking forgiveness for your sin and accepting Him as your Lord and Savior, you are a new creation. At that moment, God’s perfect plan for your life was put into play. And the only person who can interfere with that plan is you. Read Philippians 2:13, 2 Timothy 1:9, Romans 8:28, and Jeremiah 29:11-13. What do these verses speak to you?
b. Is there something in your past holding you hostage, keeping you from fulfilling God’s plan for your life? If there is, will you give that to Him right now? Will you believe with me that He is big enough to forgive, heal, rebuild, restore, and renew? Pray with me now…
Heavenly Father, I believe You have a plan for my life, plans for a hope and a future, plans to prosper and not to harm me. But, Lord, it is hard to see them right now. There is so much pain and anguish. I am struggling every day to find hope for tomorrow. Lord I do believe; help me with my unbelief. Take my doubts, my fears, my anxieties, and my dashed dreams and replace them with Your peace, Your hope, Your love, Your assurance, and Your provision. Father, take Your Word and sear it into my heart. Give me everything I need to trust in You for this place in my life. Father, open my eyes to see hope, to see the great plans You have for me! Keep my eyes on You and not my circumstances. I ask all this in the Name Above All Names, Jesus Christ, My Lord. Amen.
10. Ephesians 2:10 ends with “…so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” The NIV says we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works “which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Understand this clearly, we are not saved by good works but for good works. A saving faith results in a changed life that desires to serve and please God. God planned before the beginning of time for you to do Kingdom work for Him on this earth. We have God-given gifts and talents that when exercised in the power of His Holy Spirit will not be “work,” but will bring joy and pleasure to our lives. There is no greater joy than to experience God working in and through you to touch another person’s life.
a. Take a look at your design. Prayerfully ask the Lord to reveal your gifts and talents. Are you currently using those gifts and talents? If not, why not?
b. I want to encourage you if you are in a dry time, if you feel unequipped to be part of any plan, let alone God’s grand plan for your life, you are not alone. There are times when God must do a work in us before He can do a work through us. God spent forty years working in Moses before He could work through Him. Joseph suffered thirteen years, many of those in prison, before the Lord placed him on a throne, second only to Pharaoh. David spent years hiding in a cave, running for his life, before God raised him up to be the greatest King Israel has ever had. Paul spent three years in solace before God sent him forth as one of the greatest evangelists that has ever lived.
If you have struggled with Ephesians 2:10, ask the Lord to reveal what is keeping you from living out His plan. Ask Him if there is a work He must do in you before He can work through you. Perhaps it is related to what you prayed above. He is faithful. He will show you.
11. Let’s end our time together this week with Psalm 103:1-12. Soak in these verses for a few minutes. Share the portions that touch your heart and move your spirit.
There is so much more meat in this chapter regarding the relationship between Jews and Gentiles. But I hesitate to dig into an entirely new topic here and add more homework questions. I will try to do a quick summary.
Before Christ, there were basically two groups of people. The Israelites (Jews) were God’s chosen people under the covenant God made with Abraham. (Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 15:18-20, Genesis 17:14) The Gentiles were a rag tag collection of small nation states continually warring with each other and with Israel. Historically, there has been animosity and, at times, downright hatred between these two groups. But this was NOT God’s desire, and He sent Jesus to end this strife. Paul spends the remainder of Chapter Two educating the Ephesians about this truth. If you are interested in going deeper, please read and study the verses below.
Romans 14:2, 5, 10-13, 17:22-23
Isaiah 11:10; 42:1, 6; 49:6; 53:11
Acts 10:1 – 11:18
Please know that I continue to pray for you and enjoy reading your comments. Your words are such a blessing, not only for me, but for all of us.