Follow-up From Last Week
In the Next Steps section last week you were asked to spend time in prayer asking God to show you what good works He has in mind for you to pursue. Share with the group what those are and what steps (even if they feel small to you) you’ve taken or can take toward them.
This section of Scripture is speaking of God’s purposes in Christ to bring His creation together (specifically the Jews and the Gentiles). Think about people in your life who would not identify themselves as God’s creation.
- Read Ephesians 2:11 – 13. In this section, Paul explains how the Gentiles were far from God, but now, because of the sacrifice of Christ, both Jews and Gentiles are afforded the same opportunity to become the people of God. Think about this in terms of those you know who may be unsure of where they stand in their faith. Spend a couple of minutes in silence as a group praying for who God has put on your heart and for Him to help you best love the people He has placed in your life.
- Read Ephesians 2:14 – 18 aloud.
a. In Paul’s day, there was discord and hatred between the Jews and Gentiles. What did God do to bring about peace between them?
b. Discuss the message of peace in these verses for both Jews and Gentiles in view of recent events in Orlando. Talk about some of the peace you have personally witnessed among different groups.
c. For some (both believers and non-believers alike), the church is seen merely as a place of commandments and regulations. In light of this, discuss the meaning of verse 15 further.
- Read Ephesians 2:19-22.
a. How do you think the Gentiles felt hearing this news?
b. How do you think the Jews felt hearing this news?
- Jim covers a large sweep of the Bible from Genesis 1 to Ephesians 2 (even to Revelation), showing that the plan and purpose of God is consistent throughout the Scriptures.
a. Recall some of the things Jim points out about God’s desire and intention to bless all of creation. What specific role does He intend the “pinnacle of His creation” (people) to play in this plan?
b. Discuss in your own words God’s intentions from creation in Genesis 1 throughout the Bible.
c. Jim states that the Fall does not thwart God’s blessing but it is now crippled in many ways. Discuss the impact of this statement on us as His image-bearers who are to exercise care and nurture, and provide stewardship over God’s creation in this fallen state.
- Jim states that there is a railroad track that is laid all the way through Scripture. Discuss some of the ways this challenges you as a Christian— as an image-bearer of God.
God is always working to create a people who will be God’s own and live under God’s rule and blessing and He wants them to be a blessing to all peoples and to join Him in extending His rule to a fallen world.
The general message of chapter two of Ephesians is the good news that God has come for all of us through Christ. Commit this week to pray everyday for those who you care about and their own strengthened relationship with God. Ask the person to your right if there’s someone you can be praying for alongside them. Pray that hearts would be open to what God is doing for all of us and through all of us.