Ephesians in the Heart

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(Ephesians 1-6)
Lesson Number: 

Lesson 14

Ephesians in the Heart

(Ephesians 1-6)

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: Before a final exam my students love to have a review of the entire course. That feels like what we are doing this week - reviewing all of the book of Ephesians. Let’s dive into our study to refresh our recollection of Paul’s Holy Spirit inspired advice to us!

  1. The Foundation of Our Life
    1. Read Ephesians 1:3-4. What is available to us? (Every spiritual blessing!)
      1. What is the purpose of this gift? (That we should be holy and blameless.)
    2. I’m halfway through Ron Duffield’s “The Return of the Latter Rain.” In it he recounts the 1888 controversy in my church over righteousness by faith. Some leaders were arguing what I consider classic “salvation by works,” while others were arguing “righteousness by faith.” How do you believe we become “holy and blameless,” as Paul says? (Read Ephesians 1:7-8. It says that we are forgiven and redeemed through the blood of Jesus.)
      1. Duffield reveals that those arguing for righteousness by faith were also arguing that by the power of the Holy Spirit we could go on to overcome sin. This overcoming was not for the purpose of being saved, but rather to honor God. How do you view this?
  2. Resurrected with Christ
    1. Read Ephesians 2:1-3. How is our former life described?
    2. Read Ephesians 2:4-5. How does this shape our view of righteousness by faith and obedience? (It tells us that while we were still in our former life (“dead in our trespasses”), God saved us by grace. That means the argument that we cannot be “saved in our sins” is technically wrong.)
    3. Read Ephesians 2:8-10. Is it God’s goal that we should be “saved in our sins?” (No. Verse ten explicitly states God’s goal for our life, “we should walk” in “good works.”)
  3. The Mystery of Unity
    1. Read Ephesians 3:2-6. What is the mystery that forms the basis for Paul’s work in life? (Verse six tells us that the “Gentiles are fellow heirs” in the church and the gospel.)
      1. What is the importance of that revelation? (As a Gentile, it is wonderful news!)
    2. Read Ephesians 3:8-10. What is our goal in our new unity with the Jewish people? (To reveal the wisdom of God to “the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”)
      1. Who are those rulers and authorities? (Paul must be referring at a minimum to unfallen and fallen angels. This may also be a reference to other worlds.)
      2. Let’s assume the audience is at least fallen angels and Satan. How would you expect them to react to this news? (The battlefront for the war between good and evil just got a lot bigger.)
      3. How should you react to an expanded battlefront? (This tells us that the battle is not just about us, it is about the greater community of Christians.)
    3. Read Ephesians 3:16-17. How are the Holy Spirit and God’s love related? (We are grounded in God’s love first by His sacrifice on our behalf, and second, because of the gift of the Holy Spirit.)
      1. Think about this for just a minute. Jesus made a tremendous sacrifice to come to earth to save us. Is it a similar sacrifice for the Holy Spirit to spend His time helping all of us? What was He doing before He was sent to help us?
    4. Read Ephesians 3:18-19. If we are filled with God are we filled with love?
      1. If you answered, “yes,” is that easy for you? (In the battle against evil, it is hard for me to have a positive attitude towards the people who are doing so much harm. My attitude needs to be modified.)
  4. Walking in Unity
    1. Read Ephesians 4:2-6. What should be the Christian’s goal? (Unity with fellow believers.)
      1. How did all the different denominations happen? What does your church say about other churches? (We need to resist attacks on fellow Christians. If you disagree, how do you understand Paul’s teaching here?)
    2. Read Ephesians 4:15-16. How does “speaking the truth in love” work for unity with other churches? (This is undoubtedly the sticking point. If we disagree on what is true, we find problems with building a unified body.)
  5. Children of Light in Darkness.
    1. Read Ephesians 5:8-10. If you look around you and are angry or discouraged by all of the evil, what should you do in response? (Be sure that you are walking in the light. Why? Because the result of that is “all that is good and right and true.”)
    2. Read Ezekiel 9:4-6. This is a text about judgment. It seems that it was not that many years ago I would read this with some concern about my attitude. Did I “sigh and groan” over sin? Or was I attracted to temptation? These days I can truly say that I “sigh and groan” over “abominations.” How about you?
      1. If your experience is like mine, do you think the world has changed or you have changed? (Our goal is, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to walk more fully in the light. But I am confident that the world has greatly changed for the worse.)
  6. Exposing Deeds of Darkness
    1. Read Ephesians 5:11-14. How does exposing evil help in the battle between good and evil? (Bringing darkness into light reduces its power by allowing people to better understand the evil. This is the first step to allowing truth and righteousness to prevail.)
    2. I’m now reading Douglas K. Murray’s book, “The Madness of Crowds.” His book recounts example after example of those who either deliberately stood up for truth or inadvertently spoke the truth and had their careers destroyed. Yet Murray has the courage to expose that to the light. Murray is teaching me new things. Is that like Ephesians 5:14 that we are like “sleepers” being awakened by courageous people?
      1. In the “light” department I must tell you that Murray is both an atheist and a homosexual. Does that prevent him from bringing light? (I would love to discuss this issue in detail. Knowing his background helps me to better evaluate his opinions. He misses the Biblical picture in all of this. For example, I just read his comment that the conflicts over sex, race, and gender are currently so terrible that if they continue the world will be looking for some powerful figure who will sort it all out for us. I’m thinking about the anti-Christ, he is not.)
  7. Armor of God
    1. Read Ephesians 6:13. What is our primary goal as soldiers in the battle between good and evil? (To stand firm. Isn’t the most important conflict about you and your family? Our first obligation is to stand.)
    2. Read Ephesians 6:18. How does prayer bolster our spiritual defenses and offenses? (Prayer connects us directly to God, the source of our strength, wisdom, and guidance in every battle.)
    3. Friend, the book of Ephesians guides us in understanding the nature of our spiritual warfare. Waging peace is not passive; it involves standing firm in our identity, promoting unity, walking in love, shining as light in the darkness, and wearing God's armor. As we encounter spiritual battles may we be continually rooted in the teachings of Ephesians, harnessing God's power to wage and promote true peace. Will you, right now, agree to use Ephesians as your guide in the battle between good and evil?

Next week: New series on “God’s Mission - My Mission.”