Wow, another incredible week of sharing! Thank you for continuing to post your comments. How you girls encourage and pray for one another though you live miles, even nations, apart blesses me.
This on-line study represents one of the most unique teaching opportunities I have ever experienced. I am so grateful God has allowed me to be a small part of what He is doing in your lives in and through His Word.
I continue to be on my knees on your behalf, thanking God for you…praying that His Word will fall powerfully upon each one of you…praying that He will give you ears to hear, eyes to see, and a mind to conceive every Word….binding in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord any attempt of the enemy to thwart what God has planned for you.
Below please find the second 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/.
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Reading Assignment: Ephesians Chapter Three
Homework Questions: Please do as many questions as time allows. It is in your reading and studying that God will do His greatest work.
Heavenly Father, Your Word tells me that You love me with an everlasting love, an unconditional, never-changing, all encompassing love. It is hard to understand that kind of love, Lord. As I spend time in Your Word this next week open my heart wide to receive this love. Help me to know how high and wide and deep and long Your love is for me. Show me in very real ways. And if there is anything in my heart that prevents me from experiencing Your love, Lord, please reveal it to me…past hurts, a sense of unworthiness, doubt, insecurity, shame…whatever it is, Lord, reveal it and help me to overcome it by the power of Your Word. Cleanse me, wash me, free me from anything that keeps me from growing closer to You. Empty me of the things that prevent me from being filled by You. Then, Lord, fill me to capacity with Your love. Make Yourself at home in my heart. Penetrate very nook and cranny. Leave no part untouched. In fact, God, I invite You to fill me to overflowing. Make it my desire to be so full that I can then share Your great love with those around me. Lord, make my time in Your Word this week sacred and pure…touch me in new and fresh ways. Renew a right spirit in me so that You can fill me and use me for Your glory and honor and praise. I ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
1. Read Ephesians 1:9-10, Colossians 1:25-27, and Ephesians 3:3-6.
a. Paul speaks again in Ephesians Chapter 3 of a mystery. The mystery he refers to here is not like a Sherlock Holmes or Jessica Fletcher mystery. It is a truth hidden by God in times past now to be revealed according to His plan in His timing. One author called it a “sacred secret with a divine purpose.” What is the mystery here? (hint: Ephesians 3:6)
b. Why was this “plan” so radical?
Max Anders wrote this helpful statement to give us insight.
We have trouble understanding why Paul is making such a big deal out of this because we don’t understand the degree of separation that existed between the Jews and Gentiles. It is like saying that there will no longer be blacks and whites in South Africa…no longer Catholics and Protestants in [Norther] Ireland…no longer liberals and democrats in the United States.”
Think of the movie Invictus. Or maybe it helps you to think in terms of sports. It’s like saying there will no longer be Yankees and Red Sox fans, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins fans, North Carolina Tarheel and Duke Bluedevil fans. It is like saying all these people are going to be one…and like it!!
c. What was Paul’s role with regard to this mystery?
2. Read Acts 2:42-47.
a. List specifically how the early church functioned?
b. Do you think that formula could work today? Why do you think modern-day churches differ so much from the early church?
3. Read Acts 9:1-19. Then focus on Acts 9:15, Acts 22:21, and Acts 26:15-18. What do each of these verses say about God’s call on Paul’s life. To whom did Christ specifically send Paul?
4. Why do you think God chose Paul, one of the worst persecutors of His people to carry the Gospel message to the Gentiles? What characteristics did God see in Paul (characteristics once used to persecute, now used to evangelize)?
5. Read Ephesians 3:12 and Hebrews 4:16.
a. What do these verses tell you?
b. Do you approach God with confidence? If you cannot answer “yes” to this question, explain what keeps you from feeling confident?
c. Does what you have learned these past few weeks give you greater confidence? Reread Ephesians 1:19-21. This same power that was available to Paul is available to you. So as you pray for the confidence to approach God with boldness, know you walk and pray in the power of the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. Write your prayer below.
*If you already consistently and confidently approach the throne of grace with confidence, I invite you to write a prayer for someone you know who needs to know that same power in his/her life.
6. Read Ephesians 3:14-21. This passage is the second of two prayers recorded in Ephesians. You already studied Ephesians 1:15-23. The prayer in Chapter 3 is one of the most beautiful passages in all of Scripture. It deals with the spiritual condition of the “inner man”…the spiritual part of our beings. So often our prayers focus on our physical and material needs, and we forget to pray for the deep inner needs of our hearts. And never forget as you read this prayer that Paul wrote it from inside the four walls of a prison cell!
a. As you read verse 14, what is Paul’s posture as he prays?
b. Specifically, to whom does Paul address his prayer?
7. First, Paul prays for _______________. (Ephesians 3:16)
a. Write Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:16 below.
b. Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Paul preached the Gospel of Christ for years, even at the risk of death. Relate this verse to Paul’s life, especially as he was writing this prayer. What motivated Paul?
c. Now take the 2 Corinthians verse and relate it to your own life. What is God speaking to you through these words? What motivates you?
8. Read Matthew 7:24-27.
a. Who does Jesus address in verse 24?
b. Who does He address in verse 26?
c. In these verses, Jesus specifically refers to “My teaching.” To what teaching is He referring?
d. What is the distinction between verses 24 and 26?
e. How is the presence of strength exhibited in verse 25?
f. How is the absence of strength exhibited in verse 27?
g. What Truth is God speaking into your life through these verses?
9. Based on how you handle adversity, which person are you most like in the Matthew 7 parable?
10. Ephesians 3:17b begins some of the most powerful words written by Paul.
So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the saints, 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.
**I love the New Living Translation
Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
a. What do these words speak to your heart?
b. What does Paul mean when He says Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust Him? Is Christ at home in your heart? If not, why not?
c. According to these verses, what happens when Christ is at home in your heart?
d. What is your part in this process…especially in helping your roots grow deeper?
11. The verb Paul uses is “rooted” (like a plant) and “established” (like a building) in love. The participles are in the perfect tense, indicating a past action (salvation) with continuing results (sanctification or becoming more and more like Christ). Read Psalm 1:3 and Jeremiah 17:5-8. Why is it imperative for Christians to be rooted and grounded in God’s love?
a. Give examples in the world today of people who are not grounded in God’s love? How is it reflected in their lives?
b. Now give examples of people who are rooted and grounded in God’s love? How is it reflected in their lives?
c. Share ways you can reflect God’s love in your life?
12. This question will take you on a bit of a journey. Visit the concordance in the back of your Bible and find at least five verses on God’s love. (The concordance is similar to an index and is located in the back of most Bibles. You look up verses by subject matter. For example, if you want to find a verse on “sin,” locate the word sin in the concordance. Underneath it you will find a list of verses containing the word sin). If you do not have a concordance, visit http://www.biblegateway.com/ and do a “keyword” search for love and find five verses. Don’t feel you have to stop at five…go as long as God leads you. Write the verses you find below.
13. In Ephesians 3:18, Paul prays that we would have the power to experientially know the love of Christ…to grasp the immensity of it…to really lay hold of it in our hearts and minds. What are the four ways Paul desires for us to experience God?
14. In Ephesians 3:19, Paul prays for us to be filled to the measure of the fullness of God. But if our lives are filled full with other things, we cannot be filled with the things of God. We must empty our hearts.
a. Do you need to empty your heart of anything? Invite the Lord to show you those things and prayerfully ask Him to empty your heart and begin His filling process.
b. Are there fruit and blessings that you desire fill your heart (mercy, patience, grace, peace, joy, hope, etc.)? Invite the Lord to give you a full and fresh filling of whatever it is you are seeking. Using the same method you used in Question 12, find verses and pray to know the fullness of those things in your life. God is eagerly waiting to fill you!!!
15. Finally, Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us…” Remember, Paul writes this in the context of unifying Jews and Gentiles…something that seemed utterly impossible at the time. But with God’s power of love in each believer’s life, Paul was confident and told his audience to confidently pray that the two could not only function together as one but also thrive together as one body. And when it happened, Paul said “to God be the glory in the church and in Jesus Christ throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen!”
Today, if you have something in your life that seems beyond repair, beyond hope, beyond change, will you believe God at His Word? Remember this power available to you raised Lazarus from the dead, healed the blind, made the lame to walk and the deaf to hear, and raised Jesus from the dead. Pray in faith. Find a friend, a mentor, a teacher, or a pastor or even one of us to join you in praying this prayer over your circumstances. Your God is FAITHFUL to keep His Word.
Sweet Blessings to you,