Having good physical posture is important. Good posture makes everything function and feel better, whilst poor postural habits create fatigue in the body. The same is true for our spiritual posture. The letter to the Ephesians was written by Paul while he was in prison in Rome. Although he was persecuted and even physically restrained, his spiritual posture remained the same – he had a posture of praise.
Read Ephesians 1:1-14
- List the characteristics of God and those He had given to the believers addressed in the passage. Which one stands out the most for you? Why?
- What does having a spiritual posture of praise mean to you? What does a posture of praise look like?
- How might we instigate even just a small part of this community of God (Acts 2:42-47) in our modern context? What prevents us from doing this?
- How does having a posture of praise help us in our journey through life?
- Read Ephesians 1:3-8. According to Paul, how can we be found holy and blameless in the presence of God (v.4) ? What is your understanding of the “adoption to sonship” in verse 5 (NIV)?
- Read Ephesians 1:11. We were once slaves to sin. Through Jesus, not only are we saved, and have become His children, but we have also received His inheritance. What have we inherited? How do we avoid the trap of taking this for granted?
- Should people believe in Jesus, His birth and resurrection so that they receive this inheritance? Discuss.
Having a posture of praise does not mean our problems go away. It does not mean that God will give us what we ask of Him straight away, or at all. Having a posture of praise keeps our eyes off ourselves and places them where they should be. That is, on God, His grace, and His love for us. End the meeting by spending some time sharing personal praise points, big or small, and focus your eyes on Him.
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he strongly emphasis that our salvation is found only in Jesus, when we place our faith in Him alone. Paul stresses emphatically that there is nothing more that we can do. We cannot save ourselves. The only way we can be saved is when we place our full trust and faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.
Paul clearly states that salvation is a gift from God by His grace alone. God has granted to us His unmerited favour, that we may know eternal life with Him, when we have placed our full and unreserved trust in Jesus.
Read Ephesians 2:1-10
- Read Ephesians 2:4-8. What does it mean to you personally to place your faith in Jesus? How might an outside observer notice this in you?
- How does being saved ‘by grace alone’ impact the way you live out your faith? How does this influence the way you see God?
- Read Ephesians 2:8-9. Why are these two verses important for us to understand at a heart level? How might verse 9 influence your Christian service (either positively or negatively)?
- Read Ephesians 2:10. What does it mean to you to be God’s handiwork?
- What might be the good works (v. 10) that God has planned in advance for you to do? How can you identify the works that God has prepared for you?
- Read Revelation 7:9-10. How might this verse impact the way you see and treat people of different nationalities? What does it meant to you to be a part of the Kingdom of God?
Take a moment now to reflect upon the fact that Jesus died on the cross for your personal sins. Think about the fact that He bore the pain of death by crucifixion on a wooden cross, so that you could be forgiven by God, and thus know eternal salvation. What might you do differently tomorrow, with this reality fresh in your mind? Commit to follow this through.
When it comes to houses, the deeper the foundation, the better to withstand all kinds of weather. Each home has a different atmosphere – one may be a place of peace and rest, while another might feel like a lonely or even stressful place.
Just as a building may be transformed by a renovation, the Holy Spirit works to transform our hearts. The deeper we grow in Him, the stronger our foundations become. The question is, how are we looking after our hearts, knowing that Jesus Christ lives in us?
Read Ephesians 3:14-21
- What is your understanding of being empowered by God’s glorious and unlimited resources (v.16)? What does it look like for you?
- In the letter, Paul says that God dwelling in our heart is the by-product of having the Holy Spirit empowering our inner strength. How have you experienced this in the past six months? Share.
- Pastor Dale uses the term ‘home renovation’ and ‘perpetual work in progress’ as metaphors for the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. What does it mean to be perpetually a work in progress of the Holy Spirit? What could possibly hinder us from progressing?
- Read Ephesians 3:17-19. Paul explains that we have to be deeply rooted in God’s love to understand and experience the love of Christ. Do you think having deep roots is hard or easy? Explain.
- We have to tell our feelings what we know. As Christians, we believe that everyone is known and loved by God and that our lives matter. What are some things in our lives that might conflict with this truth?
- Read Ephesians 3:19. How do you see yourself being made complete with the fullness of life and power from God? What would you be doing then? How are you working towards that now?
God is able to do so much more than what we could ask, think or imagine. We will not be able to understand His love fully, but that does not mean we cannot experience His love each and every day. The Holy Spirit is working in us so that Jesus Christ can dwell in our hearts, growing our roots deep down into God’s love. What can you do intentionally and differently to experience God’s love this week and grow deeper in Him?
The Apostle Paul writes that as believers, we need to make every effort to be united in the Spirit and to live lives worthy of Jesus. It is not about doing good deeds or ticking boxes. Following what Paul writes in Ephesians 4:2, we see four attitudes that inform how we are to live out our calling:
Humility: seeing and amplifying the best in others.
Gentleness: strength under control.
Patience: being slow to anger.
Forbearance (perseverance): to hold up against a thing and so to bear with it.
As we live out our calling in Jesus, practising these four attitudes helps us to build up family, relationships, church and society.
Read Ephesians 4:1-10
- How would you picture an ideal society that lives in unity? Name two traits that the main leader would need to have, and two traits for the wider society. Why are these traits important to you?
- Read Ephesians 4:3. We live in a world that emphasises strength and power. How is it possible to practice the four attitudes above in our world today?
- What does it mean to see the best in others and amplifying it? What is a difficult season you’ve had to live through that has kept you humble?
- Read 1 Peter 3:15-16. Why do we need to show strength under control? What are some of the obstacles to doing this? Give an example of someone you have seen who does this well.
- How can we exercise patience towards people with conflicting views?
- Why do we need to make allowance for each other’s faults?
- When have you experienced/witnessed forbearance (perseverance)? What helped to enable this?
We do not live in a united world and the reality is that each of us is different. There will be times of disagreement, whether it’s with the government, your boss, your Life Group, friends, family, church, etc. When we as Christians encounter this, it is important to remember that we are all works in progress as we seek to live lives worthy of our calling. Which of the four attitudes would you like the power of the Spirit to cultivate in you this week? How might you practice this trait toward others?
We all face many battles in our lives, and each battle impacts us either in the physical, mental, emotional or spiritual areas of our lives. In the final chapter of Ephesians, Paul looks at the constant unseen spiritual battle that is going on all around us, and he commands how we can best prepare to defend and have victory in this battle. While Jesus has already won the battle for us, we still need to stay alert and walk in this victory with Him.
Read Ephesians 6:10-20
- Read Ephesians 6:10-20. What images come to mind as you hear these words from Paul? What is significant about each piece of armour he mentions?
- Which piece of armour do you most readily relate to or feel that you need at this time? Why?
- In verses 11, 13 and 14 Paul speaks about taking a stand against the devil. What does this mean to you? How might this apply in your life today?
- In verses 18-19 Paul speaks of the significance of prayer. How can you apply what he says in these verses?
- While most of the armour Paul names in these verses is for defence, the only offensive weapon included is the sword of the Spirit – the Word of God (Bible). What is significant about this? What does this say to you?
- What can you do to ensure that your sword (the Word) is sharp and ready for battle, metaphorically speaking?
While we know that Jesus has won the battle for us at the cross, we still have a responsibility to be alert and ready for the spiritual battle that is happening all around us. We need to have the offensive weapon of the Word of God ready in our minds and hearts to use at any time.
Take time this week to intentionally spend time reading scriptures regularly. Take up the challenge this week to memorise a Bible verse that is significant to you. If you are not able to think of a specific verse, memorise Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”