Follow-up From Last Week
Last week we were asked to focus on speaking positivity into those God has placed around us. Share any impact this has had on your day, your workplace, and your home with your group.
Jim mentions that Paul continues in this chapter to use contrast to discuss what life is to look like by also talking about what life is not to look like. But he also notes that the real focus of the manner of life Paul describes is relational. Paul expects change and transformation in the lives of the Ephesians, but he does not expect perfection. There is an emphasis on healing, maintaining relationships, and growing in new patterns of living while learning to deal with mistakes. When we sin or engage in a pattern of life that is not God’s best for us, it affects others which is why we must maintain and heal these relationships. Think of a time you have made a mistake that affected someone close to you. Were you able to maintain or heal this relationship? If you are willing to, please share your story with the group.
- Walking in Love / Read Ephesians 5:1 - 7
a. The main idea here is that because of God’s great love for us, he sacrificed himself so we might live. This chapter opens with “Follow God’s example” and so our love for others should be the same kind of sacrificial love that Christ exemplifies. Jim mentions that being asked to love in the manner that love has been modeled for us by God blows our cultural understanding of love out of the water. It is not a love that just feels good or is nice or non-judgmental. Discuss a time you have been part of (or witnessed) love that is self-sacrificing. What impact has this had on you?
b. Jim mentions that these verses 3-7 are not a secondary issue being addressed by Paul; they still fall under this banner of walking in the way of love and understanding what God has done for us through Jesus on the cross. Sexual immorality—what we do with our body, how we talk or joke—is an expression of what we value, love, and worship. How can we praise God and remind others of his goodness when we are engaging in these behaviors? Discuss how you have become, or might be able to become, a better ambassador for Christ through transformed behaviors.
- Walking in Light / Read Ephesians 5:8-14
a. Verse 8 is saying that now that the light of the Lord has shined on us we are to be light to others. Discuss what it means to be the light to those around you at work, in your home, at your church, or in your neighborhood.
b. Read verse 10 and cross reference it with Hebrews 11:6. Discuss and make a list of things that please the Lord.
- Walking Wisely / Read Ephesians 5:15 - 20
a. In these verses we are being asked to walk wisely. What might be some of the differences between walking wisely and walking in the light?
b. What does it look and feel like to be filled with the Spirit? How can we fill ourselves with God’s power and Spirit?
c. We may find it easy to give thanks in times that are good, but can find it difficult to give thanks when life is especially difficult. Discuss a hard situation or season you have walked through that you now know gave you strength and wisdom in your walk moving forward.
Spend some time this week praying about what it looks like in your life today to walk in love, walk in light, and walk wisely. Look back at some of your answers to the above questions to inform your prayers and take action as the Holy Spirit prompts you.