Thursday, September 14, 2006


Ephesians Bible Studies


Study 1: Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Key verse: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” 1:3.

Way in…. What does society think God is like? What do you think God is like?

Read Ephesians 1:1-14 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will: To the saints and believers in Christ Jesus at Ephesus. 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, in Christ; 4 for He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 5 He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, 6 to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 He made known to us the • mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him 10 for the administration of the days of fulfillment—to bring everything together in the • Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him. 11 In Him we were also made His inheritance, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, 12 so that we who had already put our hope in the Messiah might bring praise to His glory. 13 In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation—in Him when you believed—were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. 14 He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.

1) List the blessings we have “in Christ” (1:3-14)*. What does it mean to be “in Christ”?
2. We have amazing spiritual blessings…
a) Who gives us these spiritual blessings (1:3)?
b) Where are these blessings to be found (1:3,4,7,9,11,12,13)?
c) How do we receive these blessings (1:13,14)?

3. We only have these “spiritual blessings” (blessings received through the Spirit) because of who God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is and because of what he is like.
a) How do these verses (1:1-14) describe God?

b) How does this list compare with the answers given in the “Way in”?

4. What do we learn about God’s present and future plans (1:9-14) for:
a) the world?
b) Christians?

5. It is clear that God blesses us for our good, but there is a bigger reason why God has given us all of these amazing blessings. Read verses 6,12,14. What is the reason?

6. The idea of God bringing glory to himself may seem arrogant to us. This can often be because we think of him as just another person like anyone of us.
a) So how is God different to us?
b) Why is it not arrogant, but absolutely right that God is glorified (honoured and recognised for who he is)?

Reflection & Action
At times we can feel that God doesn’t love us. How does what God is saying here help you to see that he does love you even if you don’t feel that he does?
How does the knowledge of God’s purposes as described in verses 10-11 help you when:
a) you or other Christians are persecuted?

b) evil seems to be winning in the world?

EPHESIANS Study 2: Focused Prayer
Key Verse: “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” 1:16.
Way in…. Do you ever struggle with what you should pray for other Christians? Why or why not?

Read Ephesians 1:15-23
This is why, since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 [I pray]that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 [I pray]that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength. 20 He demonstrated [this power]in the Messiah by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens— 21 far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way.

Ephesians 3:14-21 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. 16 [I pray]that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think—according to the power that works in you— 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

1. a) What does Paul pray for in his 1st prayer - 1:15-23 (at least 3 requests)?
b) What does Paul pray for in his 2nd prayer - 3:14-21 (at least 4 requests)?

2. In summary, what does Paul want for the Ephesian believers?

3. Power is mentioned a lot in these prayers:
a) What is this power (1:19-20, 3:16)?
b) What is the purpose of this power for us (3:17-19)?
c) What is the outcome of this power for God (3:20-21)?

4. The word “know” in these prayers refers to head and heart knowledge combined. Why is it so important that we “know” the things Paul mentions in these prayers?

5. Paul’s passionate prayers for the Ephesians show that they haven’t made it yet as Christians. How does Paul’s passion and honesty encourage us as we pray?

Reflection & Action
God wants us to “know”: him better; the hope to which we are called; his incomparably great power for us who believe; and the width, length, height and depth of the love of Christ! If we really grasped these things, how would that challenge the common beliefs that:

o we need quality clothes, the latest gadgets, good looks & lots of money?

o we need to find love in the arms of another person?

o we need to be the centre of attention?

Pray: Paul’s prayers reveal what really matters in life. Pray some of these prayers for each other, your churches and any Christians you know of across the world!


Study 3: Saving Grace

Key verse: “…God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgression” (2:5).

Way in…… Think of some TV “makeover” programmes. What are the people, homes or gardens like before and after the makeovers? Describe any you can remember.

Read Ephesians 2:1-10
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to this worldly age, according to the ruler of the atmospheric domain, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and by nature we were children under wrath, as the others were also. 4 But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, 5 made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved! 6 He also raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace in [His]kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His creation—created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

1. How do unbelievers live their lives according to 2:1-3?

2. What kind of relationship do unbelievers have to God (2:1-3)?

3. How does God change the status of unbelievers (2:4-10)? Why?

4. Read 2:8-10. Why do we do “good works” (live in a way that pleases God)?

5. Remember that 2:1-3 describe the state of all people before they come to know Jesus. Fill in the following sentence in your own words:
I was…………………….but now am……………….………because…………….…….

Reflection & Action
What response would you give to a friend who says “people will go to heaven if they live a good life”?

Reflect on the reasons why God has made you alive (2:4,5,10). Are you living in the knowledge of God’s love and grace, or are you trying to earn it? What things do we put our trust in instead of God’s grace?

Everyone is either under God’s wrath or under God’s grace. Pray for friends and family under God’s wrath to turn to him and his rescue plan in Christ. Thank God for the amazing undeserved love he has shown you!


Study 4 "brought near…"

Read : Ephesians 2: 11-22
So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” done by hand in the flesh. 12 At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, with no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. 14 For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh, 15 He did away with the law of the commandments in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. 16 [He did this so]that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it. 17 When [Christ]came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. 21 The whole building is being fitted together in Him and is growing into a holy sanctuary in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.

In Ephesians 2: 1-3, and in verse 12, we are given God's terrible but true description of fallen humanity. Apart from Christ we are: Dead in sin (verse 1); Deceived by the world (verse 2); Dominated by Satan (verse 2); Degenerate in our living (verse 3), and Doomed to punishment (verse 3).

What is God's attitude towards fallen humanity?
What is His attitude towards us? "but" 4, l3.

1. What does it mean to be Born Again? (verses l and 5).
We who were spiritually dead because of sin have been made alive, by the miracle of the new birth (John 3: 3 and 5). The moment we believed on Christ and received Him as our Saviour (John 1: 12), we were born of God (John 1:13). Having received the Lord Jesus Christ we became possessors of eternal life (1 John 5: 11-12), and partakers of the divine nature(2 Peter 1: 4).

2. What does it mean to be Raised to Sit in Heavenly Places in Christ (verse 6).
We are now "citizens of heaven" (Philippians 3: 20).

3. What does it mean to be Saved by His Grace? (verses 8 to 10).

4. What does it mean to be Reconciled? (verses 14 - 17).

5. What is this New Relationship with God? (verse 18).

6. What is the significance of the Household of God? (verse 19-21).

7. We have been Made Fit Dwelling Places for God (verse 22).
But notice that the Church is "a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit"; and this is true of each individual member - see 1 Corinthians 6: 19.

By nature and by practice far - How very far from God! Yet now by grace brought nigh to Him, Through faith in Jesus' blood.
So nigh, so very nigh to God I cannot nearer be; For in the Person of His Son I am as near as He.
So dear, so very dear to God, More dear I cannot be; The love wherewith He loves the Son - Such is His love to me!


Read Ephesians 3: 1-12
For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 2 you have heard, haven’t you, about the administration of God’s grace that He gave to me for you? 3 The mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have briefly written above. 4 By reading this you are able to understand my insight about the mystery of the Messiah. 5 This was not made known to people in other generations as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: 6 the Gentiles are co-heirs, members of the same body, and partners of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 7 I was made a servant of this [gospel]by the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of His power. 8 This grace was given to me—the least of all the saints!—to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah, 9 and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. 10 This is so that God’s multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens. 11 This is according to the purpose of the ages, which He made in the Messiah, Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness, access, and confidence through faith in Him.

1. Why Is There a MYSTERY about the Church.
The word "mystery" occurs in verses 3, 4 and 9. 1 Corinthians 2: 7-12. Romans 11: 25; 1 Corinthians 15: 51; 1 Timothy 3:l6.

2. What do we MEAN when we speak of the Church?
What does God mean? 10, 6 Ephesians 4: 12, 15 and 16 and Colossians 1: 18.

3. What Is Important About The MEMBERSHIP of the Church?
- 1 Corinthians 12: 13.
4. What Is The MISSION of the Church? verses 8 and 10, Matthew 28: 19.

5. Who Are The MINISTERS of the Church? Verse 7, Ephesians 4: 11.

6. What Are The MARKS of the Church.
Notice the following five marks which should characterise every member of the Body of Christ: (1) Captivity. Are we bond-slaves of the Lord Jesus? (verse 1); (2) Fellowship. The words "heirs" and "sharers together" remind us of that which we share in Christ (verse 6); (3) Humility. (verse 8); (4) Testimony. (verse 8); (5) Acceptance. (verses 11 - l2). Underline the words "approach", "freedom", "confidence" and "in Him".

7. The MIGHT of the Church.
This is indicated in verse 7 in the words, "the gift of God's grace given me"; and also in the words, "through the working of His power."
There are those who think that because the witness of the Church today is often weak and ineffective, and many Christians are half-hearted, the Church will decline until she fades away altogether! - but the Church will never fail, because the Lord Jesus Christ is her Founder, her Foundation, her Builder, and He has guaranteed that no power on earth or in Hell will prevail against His Church - look up Matthew l6: 13-18 and 1 Corinthians 3: 11.


Study 9 The Spirit-Filled Life

Read : Ephesians 5: 15 - 33
Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 And don’t get drunk with wine, which [leads to]reckless actions, but be filled with the Spirit: 19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music to the Lord in your heart, 20 giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, 23 for the husband is head of the wife as also Christ is head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives should [submit]to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as also Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 to make her holy, cleansing her in the washing of water by the word. 27 He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and blameless. 28 In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own flesh, but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 since we are members of His body.31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. 32 This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.

In Ephesians 5: 18 a contrast is made between the person who is under the influence of alcohol and the person who is under the controlling influence of the Holy Spirit. We as Christians are not to be drunk with the wine that comes from any earthly vineyard but with the new wine of the Kingdom which comes from the heavenly vineyard, from Him who is the True Vine (John 15: 1). There is a purpose in setting these two commands in contrast. It was a pagan belief that God dwelt in the blood of the grape, so that in drinking wine man was drinking God into himself. Drunkenness was therefore held to be a sacrament in which a man was supposed to be under the control of the god who filled him. Paul reminded the Christians at Ephesus of this pagan belief, and then he pointed them to the true way of being God-possessed. Concerning the Spirit-filled life, let us notice the following truths:

The Spirit-filled life is a command. Ephesians 5: 18

The Spirit-filled life is a command to every Christian.

To be filled with the Spirit is more than being indwelt by the Spirit. The Christians at Ephesus were "sealed" by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1: 13; 4:30), and thus they were indwelt by the Holy Spirit, as every Christian is (1 Corinthians 6:19), but we may be indwelt and not filled by Him; we may possess Him without His possessing us.

To be filled with the Spirit is not a matter of excess, but of sanity.

The Spirit-filled life is to be the normal experience of God's children. Ephesians 5: 18 means "Go on being filled…" God's plan for every one of His children is that they may be filled with the Holy Spirit so that they may live lives that are glorifying to Him in all their personal (Ephesians 5: 15-21), domestic (Ephesians 5: 22-33 and 6: 1-4), and business (Ephesians 6: 5-9) relationships.

Being filled with the Spirit is not our getting more of Him; it is His getting more of us. The Holy Spirit is a Person, and to be filled with Him means to allow Him to take full possession of our personalities.

The Spirit-filled life is marked by certain definite and easily discernible characteristics. Just as a drunken man can easily be recognised, so can a Spirit-filled Christian be recognised; the same characteristics are true of both.


Study 4: Living as One Body

Key Verse: “… we are all members of one body” (4:25b)

Way In…. What would you say to a Christian who said: “I don’t get anything out of church so I don’t bother going, I have my own relationship with God and that’s all I need”?

Read: Ephesians 4:1- 16
I, therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, 3 diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds [us]. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope at your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. 7 Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the • Messiah’s gift. 8 For it says: When He ascended on high, He took prisoners into captivity; He gave gifts to people. 9 But what does “He ascended” mean except that He descended to the lower parts of the earth? 10 The One who descended is the same as the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. 11 And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, [growing]into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. 16 From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.

1. How does Paul urge the Ephesians to live (4:1-3)? What does he mean in light of the first 3 chapters? See especially, 1:6,12,14.

2. Read 4:4-6. Baptist churches all over the country share a doctrinal basis that they agree on. Do you think this is good or bad?

3. Why does Jesus give Christians different gifts (4:11-13,16)?

4. How do the images Paul uses help us to understand what a mature Church looks like (4:14)?

5. Why is it so important that we have both “truth” and “love” in the body of Christ (4:15)?
Reflection & Action

Think back to the “Way in”. Would you answer the question any differently now?

What impressions does a church give to the outsider if it is full of divisions?

How can you “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit” in your Church?

Pray for unity in our church to be centred on 4:4-6.

Challenge: This week make an effort to encourage some Christians in your church.


Study 5: Giving up the old way of living!

Key Verse: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children” (5:1)

Way In…. Share with each other in what way(s) you bear your family’s likeness (in personality or looks etc).

Read: Ephesians 4:17-5:2
Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their thoughts. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. 19 They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.20 But that is not how you learned about the Messiah, 21 assuming you heard Him and were taught by Him, because the truth is in Jesus: 22 you took off your former way of life, the old man that is corrupted by deceitful desires; 23 you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24 you put on the new man, the one created according to God’s [likeness] in righteousness and purity of the truth. 25 Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and don’t give the Devil an opportunity. 28 The thief must no longer steal. Instead, he must do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. 29 No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear. 30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit, who sealed you for the day of redemption. 31 All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
5:1 Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. 2 And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.

1. How do people who do not know Jesus think and act according to 4:17-19?

2. Read Genesis 1:26-27. What was God’s original intention for human behaviour?

3. a) As Christians who know “the truth in Jesus”, what three things have we been taught to do (4:22-24)?

b) How does this relate to Genesis 1:26-27? What is God doing in us now?

4. What behaviour are we to take off and what behaviour are we to replace it with?

5. Why is it right to live this way (there are quite a few reasons given in this passage)?


Study 6: Relationships that honour God

Key Verse: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” 5:21

Way In…… When a person has power or authority over someone else, how are they likely to act?

When a person is under the power or authority of someone else how are they likely to respond? Can you think of any examples of these situations?

Read Ephesians 5:21-33
1. What overall rule should govern our relationships? What does this mean?

2. The marriage relationship is a picture of Christ and the Church (5:22-33).
a) How should the wife relate to her husband?

b) How should the husband relate to his wife?

3. a) How should the Church relate to Christ?

b) How does Christ relate to the Church?

Read Ephesians 6:1-4
4. Most families, including Christian families, have strained and stressful relationships from time to time:

a) How can we do our part according to 6:2?

b) What does this mean in light of 6:1?

Read Ephesians 6:5-9
5. a) What attitudes and actions should the slave and master have to their work and each other?

b) Do you have relationships equivalent to the slave-master relationship? If so, how should you apply this teaching?

Reflection & Action
How does this passage compare with society’s idea of relationships?

Why is submitting “to one another out of reverence for Christ” the way forward?

Pray that God will fill you with His Spirit so that you have a right view of Jesus and each other, so that you are motivated to serve Christ and one another!


Study 7: Doing Battle in the Armour of God
Key Verse: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” 6:10

Way In…. Think about one of the many films with ancient battle scenes (Gladiator, Troy, King
Arthur, Kingdom of Heaven etc). What makes a successful soldier and army?

Read Ephesians 6:10-20
1. Why do we need to “be strong in the Lord” and to “stand firm” (6:10-13)?

2. What do the devil’s schemes and the battles and struggles look like in every day life
(use these passages to help you: John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 4:4, 11:14)?

3. The armour that is mentioned in these verses was put on in the order in which it is listed. Looking at the role that the pieces of armour have, why is each piece so important in our battle against the devil?

Verse Physical Armour Spiritual Importance
6:14a Belt: the strap upon which all of the soldier’s armour hung.
6:14b Breastplate: covered the body from the neck to the thighs. It was known as a heart-protector.
6:15 Feet: refers to shoes thickly studded with sharp nails so as to ensure a good grip and quick action
6:16 Shield: covered the entire person. It was made of wood and covered with metal straps and leather to extinguish flaming arrows.
6:17a Helmet: was a bronze piece that covered the neck and extended over the eyes and cheeks.
6:17b Sword: refers to a short dagger for use in close combat situations

4. How does prayer help us as we wear God’s armour in battle (6:18-20)?

5. Read 6:18-24. What do Paul’s request for prayer and his closing words reveal about what really matters in life?

Reflection & Action
As Christian soldiers what disadvantages are there to standing alone, compared to a standing as a group together?
We are in a spiritual battle but with far superior armoury thanks to God! Pray for one another: that you would glorify God by standing firm together continuing to put on all of the armour of God.

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