Can you believe we have completed half of our study? Time goes by so quickly…especially in the summer. I recorded this message early since we are spending the Fourth of July in the mountains of North Carolina with my Aunt and her husband. You never know if you will get internet connections up there! It is a wonderful place to visit in the heat of the summer.
Your words continue to amaze me as you share how God is using His Word to penetrate your hearts and minds just as we prayed so many weeks ago. Hebrews 4:12 tells us His Word is living and active, and you are living this Truth each and every time you dig into His Word and hear Him speak.
In this week’s homework, we talk about giftedness. Paul teaches us about the gifts God gives each one of us. You will learn to identify your giftedness and discover ways you can use that giftedness. There is no greater joy spiritually than operating in your area of giftedness.
I teach a Bible study here in Charlotte. At the end our study this year, one of the small groups gave me a gift basket full of the most beautiful treasures…all created by an artist named Sandy Thomson. I absolutely loved her work and contacted her personally to tell her how much I appreciated her work. As I was preparing for this study, God brought Sandy to mind again. She has found her giftedness…an extraordinary giftedness…and uses it for His glory. You can visit her web site at http://www.sandythomsondesign.com/. She has graciously agreed to allow me to give away a few of her creations. From the comments left today, we will select two winners.
Below please find the third 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 Four
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, my Redeemer and Savior, the Great I Am Who is the same Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow I come before You today inviting You into my lesson. Lord, You brought me to this study to teach me, grow me, and make me more like You. Please guide me into all wisdom and understanding. Open the eyes of my heart that I may see and UNDERSTAND the wonderful Truths in Your Word. Father, take my hungry and thirsty heart and fill it full. Through the power of Your Holy Spirit enable me to discern what it is You are speaking to me personally. Take away my pride, my fear, my hurt and work in me. Father, take these lessons and help them to make me more like You. Give me a pure and holy passion, Lord, to know and follow hard after You. Convict me when You have a Word to speak to me and make my heart tender to change and obey. Father, thank You that You love me unconditionally, and want only the very best for my life. I ask this in the Name of Your Son, Jesus, trusting You will be faithful with what I have entrusted You. Amen.
1.In Ephesians Chapters 1-3, Paul shares what God has done for us. In Ephesians Chapters 4-6, Paul tells us what we can do for God. In other words, Paul teaches us how to take what we have learned and apply it in our everyday living. After praying for unity among believers, Paul now shows us how to walk together in that unity as one body. In Ephesians 4:1 Paul writes, “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” What do you think Paul means by this?
2. Read Colossians 1:3-12.
a. What is the reason Paul is praying? (hint: 1:4)
b. What is Paul praying for them?
c. Why does Paul pray this for them?
3. In Ephesians 4:1-3, identify five ways Paul says we can live worthy of our calling.
4. Ephesians 4:7 says, “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” In this verse, grace refers to a special endowment that brings responsibility for service. God created each one of us to function in the body of Christ in a special way through His enablement/giftedness.
a. Read Ephesians 3:7-8. What is Paul’s giftedness?
b. Have you ever thought about your giftedness? In what areas do you generally volunteer to serve?
c. What volunteer work brings you the most joy? Why?
5. Okay, were you totally confused by the reference in Ephesians 4:8 and verses 8-10? Me too!! Two commentators, Matthew Henry being one, write that Paul was not quoting one particular verse of Psalm 68. Rather, he wanted his audience to know the essence of Psalm 68 which is that a military victor has the right to give gifts to those who are identified with him. Thus, Christ, having captivated sinful people by redeeming them, is Victor and gives them as gifts to the church. He gives gifts to His church body to do works of service so that the whole body becomes united and mature.
a. If you are a member of a church, identify different areas of giftedness being utilized at your church. (Ephesians 4:11-12).
b. Are you equipped for service in your church? If so, what service are you doing?
c. If you answered “no” to (b) above, what equipping do you need to begin to serve in your church body? Where can you go to receive that equipping?
d. In what other areas of your life can you use your giftedness to serve the Lord?
6. If you looked at the list in Ephesians 4:11 and thought none of those fit me, don’t be discouraged. This verse speaks more of gifted believers given to the church. But there are many other gifts God gives to His children that we can use to serve the church. Read 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28 and Romans 12:6-8. The totality of the three passages in Ephesians, 1 Corinthians, and Romans identify all the spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament.
Dr. David Jeremiah teaches that spiritual gifts are tied by language to the grace of God. The Greek Word for grace is “charis,” and the Greek word for spiritual gift is “charisma,” a grace-gift. Don’t you love that??? God uniquely created you and me with special gifts of His grace that only we can do to serve Him.
a. List the spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28.
b. List the spiritual gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8.
c. How many total gifts did you identify from the three passages?
d. Read 1 Peter 4:10-11? What is listed here?
7. Now that you have read all the passages, and in light of what you answered in Question Number 4 (b) and (c), what spiritual gift or gifts do you believe you have?
a. How did you identify them?
b. Are you currently using your gift(s)? If yes, how?
c. What blessing have you noticed when you share your gift with others?
d. What blessing do you receive when you share your gift with others?
e. Before the end of our study, will you commit to use your spiritual gift or gifts at least once to bless another. Prayerfully invite the Lord into this exercise. For example, if you have the gift of encouragement, pray for the Lord to reveal names of one or more people in your life who need encouragement. Write a note, drop an e-mail, or make a call to that person. Journal how the Lord uses your obedience. Share what you did so we can all celebrate with you!
8. Paul has finished discussing unity in the church and beginning in Ephesians 4:17 enters into a discussion of purity and how essential it is among those who call themselves children of God. For us, we now move into the PRACTICAL part of Paul’s letter. The remainder of Chapter 4 tells us how to live as children of Light in this world of darkness. Read verses 17-24.
a. Read 1 Peter 4:1-5, focusing on verse 2. How does Peter divide two categories of desires in this culture?
b. Contrast the two categories and explain how daily living differs for them. Use examples from your own life, people you know, or celebrities.
c. Consider Ephesians 2:1-3 along with the 1 Peter passage. What specifically are the evil (pre-Christian) things that godless people enjoy? What controls their decisions? To what and where does this kind of life lead?
d. What does Peter warn his audience about in 1 Peter 4:4?
9. Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Who does Paul say will not inherit the Kingdom of God?
a. Don’t you think it interesting that Paul begins verse 9 with a question: “Don’t you realize?” in the New Living Translation and “Do you not know?” in the NIV. Why do you think he began with that particular question to his audience?
b. List the practices of those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
10. Read 1 Corinthians 6:11. What is the key word (verb) Paul uses in the very first sentence in verse 11? There is hope! God does save and sanctify ALL people no matter their background, no matter their sin.
a. According to verse 11, what three things happen when one who lives an unholy lifestyle repents, asks forgiveness, and turns her life around?
b. So what about the person who claims to be a Christian yet still chooses to participate in the activities listed in verse 9-10?
c. In your own life, if you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, how has your life changed? Do some things remain a temptation for you? How do you deal with them?
11. Scripture teaches that as children of God we are “holy,” set apart for God. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:24 that we are created to be like God in true righteousness and “holiness.” Read the following verses and share what you learn about holiness.
a. Ephesians 1:4
b. Ephesians 2:21-22
c. Hebrews 2:10-11
d. Hebrews 10:10
e. 1 Peter 1:15-16
f. 1 Peter 2:9
12. Read Ephesians 2:25. Let’s talk a bit about truthfulness. Read the following passages and share what you learn.
a. Proverbs 12:17
b. Proverbs 14:5, 25
c. Proverbs 19:5
d. Proverbs 23:23
d. Proverbs 25:18
f. Proverbs 30:8
g. John 14:6
h. James 5:19-20
i. 1 John 1 6-7
j. 2 John 4
k. 3 John 3, 4
13. Read John 8:42-47.
a. What do Jesus’ words tell us about Satan and who he is?
b. What is the distinction between those who listen to God and those who don’t?
c. I believe Jesus’ words in John 8:44 are a wake-up call and a warning for His children. How can you take Jesus’ words and apply them in your own life?
14. Write out Ephesians 4:30. What does it mean? What does this say about the Holy Spirit Himself?
15. Let’s end this week reading Ephesians 4:32. I encourage you to write the verse below, spend the next five to ten minutes memorizing it, and find ways to live this verse out in your life this week. Journal what you experience and share what you learn.
Lets end our time together in prayer:
Heavenly Father, through the power of Your Holy Spirit enable me hold my tongue this week. I commit my heart, my tongue, my facial expressions, and my actions to you. I surrender my right to be right. Place on me a special anointing of Your kindness and compassion so that I may love others the way You love me. Father, create in me a clean heart, a pure heart that will not seek my own way. Give me eyes to see and hear what You would have me do. Father, bless my efforts and show me You are pleased with my desire to live according to Your Word. I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who died for me. Amen.
Blessings to you today,