"Life Together as God’s People: The Church"
Ephesians, theologians and Bible commentators tell us, is one of the most influential books in the Bible. It is without doubt one of the primary Books of the Bible which can assist us in our ecclesiology; our study of church life.
Ephesians 2:11-3:21 & 4:7-16 focuses upon:
Life Together as God’s People: the Church (2:11-3:21)
This life together is described and developed in three main ways. As:
a) A Temple
b) A Family
c) The Body of Christ (4:7-16)
Arising from these verses is: God’s intentions for his church; What is the church? What does it exist for? And how does it function?
An overview of the passages we will read, study and share today which help us to answer these questions are:
God has made a way for us to experience His forgiveness and peace with Him and others, through breaking the wall that separates us from Him.
In doing this, He has then poured His love upon us in such abundance and powerful measure that we will naturally overflow with this love to serve others using the gifts that He has given us to be a blessing for His body, the church, which we are.
Read through Ephesians 2:11-22. Discuss what this means to you thinking of another verse or two that are related.
(Try John 3:16, Romans 3:23 and I John 1:9 if you get stuck!)
The passage speaks about us being separated from God and Jesus being the one who makes a way for us to have a relationship with Him. He is our peace and the One who breaks down the wall of our sin, building a bridge of relationship between us and the Father.
Now read through Eph 3:1-21 doing the same. Discuss what this means to you thinking of another verse or two that are related.
(Try I Corinthians 13 and Romans 8:35-39 if you get stuck.)
Our second passage teaches us that God pours His love in our hearts and fills us with this love. This love is beyond comprehension because it is His Holy Spirit and love dwelling within us. It opens the way for us to experience God’s love meeting us in our times of need and rejoicing with us in our triumphs.How can this be applied in your life?
Read our final passage: Eph 4:7-16. Discuss what this means to you thinking of another verse or two that are related.
(Try I Corinthians 12 and Romans 12:4-8 if you get stuck.)
Paul is consistently saying that we are to use the gifts which God has given us and the love which He has poured in our hearts to be a blessing to others. We are called to not show off our gifts in a way that pretends they are gold medals or a premiership cup, or a Grand Slam tennis cup, but as something we have been given to use to serve others, both within the church and outside. A gift is a demonstration of love from one heart to another.How can you use your gifts to be a blessing to others? Conclusion
God’s intention for the church is that we experience his forgiveness and grace restoring us to relationship with Him as Jesus has died for us making a way for us to experience eternal life and to know his love deep within our hearts.
He has created us as a community to be filled with love, pouring out his love upon us, so that we can also pour out this love upon those around us, both within the church and those outside.
The church, who we are, is a place where we can be forgiven, freed, nurtured and then empowered to be a blessing to the world around us.
We then function most effectively when we use the gifts that God has given us to be a blessing to the Body of Christ to which we belong and as we also use these gifts to serve others.
- How are you going to improve the way you serve others?
- Finish by praying for each other for peace, empowerment and a shower of God’s love.