There was a significant amount of enmity and hatred between Jews and Gentiles. We see this time and again between peoples of the earth. What are some of the primary factors that contribute to the hatred and enmity between people today?
Can you think of a time in history there has been progress and true peace has been accomplished?
- Read Ephesians 3:1 and 3:13. Paul does not want the Ephesians to lose heart or confidence in his message because he is in prison.
a. Why do you believe Paul was concerned that his letter from prison could cause the people of Ephesus to lose heart and confidence?
b. Notice Paul’s faith and hope in the face of tough circumstances. Discuss a time in your life when faith and hope helped you in times of difficulty.
- Read Ephesians 3:2-13. Jim mentioned in his video that Christians, when they hear that God has called them to serve Him in His purposes, could err on two extremes: arrogance or a sense of inadequacy that keeps them from serving.
a. Discuss a time when you failed to serve out of fear of being inadequate or that you may be perceived as arrogant. How can we stay humble while engaging with God’s call on our lives?
b. Sometimes we can feel so inadequate that we decide to say nothing, do nothing, and not engage. What are some ways you have successfully dealt with feelings of inadequacy in serving God?
- Read Ephesians 3:5-6. Again we see this theme of God creating one people for himself in Christ Jesus. As Jim mentioned, to experience oneness between different cultures will take work and a deliberate effort on the part of God’s people.
a. Discuss what the church can do to become a place for racial reconciliation in our culture.
b. How can we help Summit look more like what we see in Revelation 4— with every tribe, nation, and tongue worshiping together around God’s throne?
c. End your time together by going around the room and having each member state one way they can put forward a deliberate effort in this area of reconciliation.
Our lives become more enriched as we enter into community and relationship with people different from ourselves. Think through who God has placed around you who may be different and who you may not generally engage with. This may be in your workplace, at Summit, in your neighborhood, at the gym, in your grocery store, or on your drive to church. This week, recognizing that we all have the same God-given dignity, engage in conversation with someone who you may not normally.