Bible Study Jan. 24, 2018

Bible Study Wednesday January 24, 2018

Scripture: Ephesians 1:15-23

 

 

Power and faith rarely come together in the same sentence. People tend to think of faith as a trait that creates endurance, comfort, and perhaps influence with God. But powerful faith? Those who spend time with authentic faithful people discover there's power in faith. Or more accurately, power released by faith. Can you name two or three people you think have a powerful faith in God? What are the evidences of their faith?

As was his practice in most of his letters to churches, Paul prayed before, during, and after he wrote. He described in detail the way he prayed for other Christians, providing us with wonderful examples of encouraging prayer. These were not casual or canned prayers, but deep longings expressed to God on behalf of others. In this prayer Paul detailed the extraordinary power we have as believers.

Paul’s Prayer

15 That is why since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks to God for you. I always remember you in my prayers, 17 asking the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you will know him better. 18 I pray also that you will have greater understanding in your heart so you will know the hope to which he has called us and that you will know how rich and glorious are the blessings God has promised his holy people. 19 And you will know that God’s power is very great for us who believe. That power is the same as the great strength 20 God used to raise Christ from the dead and put him at his right side in the heavenly world. 21 God has put Christ over all rulers, authorities, powers, and kings, not only in this world but also in the next. 22 God put everything under his power and made him the head over everything for the church, 23 which is Christ’s body. The church is filled with Christ, and Christ fills everything in every way.

 

EXPLORATION

  1. Why does having faith make a difference in our lives?

 

 

  1. Paul prayed for the Ephesians to have a spirit of wisdom and revelation to know God better. Describe the process of knowing God better.

 

 

  1. What rich and glorious blessings promised by God do you hold on to in your life?

 

 

  1. The same power that raised Christ from the dead works through our faith.

       In what way should we be using the power of our faith?

 

  1. If God is over all rulers, kings, and powers in this world, why do evil dictators exist?

 

 

 

 

When you believe in Christ, Christ works a miracle in you "When you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit" (Eph. r:13 NLT). You are permanently purified and empowered by God himself The mes­sage of Jesus to the religious person is simple: It's not what you do. It's what I do. I have moved in. And in time you can say with Paul, "I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20 NLT). You are no longer a clunker ,not even a clean clunker. You are a sleek Indianapolis Motor Speedway racing machine.

if  that's true, Max, why do I still sputter? If  I'm born again, why do I fall so often

 

Why did you fall so often after your first birth? Did you exit the womb wearing cross-trainers? Did you do the two-step on the day of your delivery> Of course not! And when you started to walk, you fell more than you stood. Should we expect anything different form our spiritual walk?

 

But I fall so often, I question my salvation. Again, we return to your first birth. Didn't you stumble as you were learning to walk? And when you stumbled, did you question the validity of your physical birth? Did you, as a one -year-old fresh flopped on the floor, shake your head and think, I have fallen again. I must not be human!

Of course not. The stumbles of a toddler do not invalidate  the act of  birth . And the stumbles of a Christian do not annul his spiritual birth.

Do you understand what God has done? He has deposited a Christ seed in you. As it grows, you will change. It's not that sin has no more presence in your life, but rather that sin has no more power over your life. Temptation will pester you, but temptation will not master you. What hope this brings!

Nicodemuses of the world, hear this. It's not up to you! Within you abides a budding power. Trust him.

Think of it this way. Suppose you, for most of your lif e, have had a heart condi­tion. Your frail pumper restricts your activities. Each morning at work when the  healthy employees take the stairs, you wait for the elevator.

But then comes the transplant.  A healthy heart is placed within you. After recovery; you return to work and encounter the flight  of stairs -  the  same flight of stairs – the same flight you earlier avoided. By habit, you start for the elevator. But then you remember. You aren't the same person.  You have a new heart. Within you dwells a new power.

Do you live like the old person or the new? Do you count yourself as having a new heart or old? You have a choice to make.

You might say, "I can't climb stairs; I'm too weak." Does your choice negate the presence of a new heart? Dismiss the work of the surgeon? No. Choosing the elevator would suggest only one fact – you haven't learned to trust your new power.

It takes time. But at some point you've got to try those stairs. You've got to test the new ticker. You've got to experiment with the new you. For if you don't, you will run out of steam. (From Next Door Savior by Max Lucado)

 

REACTION

  1. How do God's sovereignty and man's will coexist? (As much as possible, base your answer on this lesson's passage from Ephesians)

 

  1. What is the relationship of our will to our salvation?

 

  1. What about your salvation causes you to actively trust God? In what areas of life?

 

  1. What about your salvation causes you to actively trust God? In what areas of life?

 

  1. How would Paul describe the quality of faith you see around you today? In relation to Max's comments above, is it elevator faith or stairway faith?

 

  1. Paul says the church is the body of Christ. In what way is the church filled with Christ?

 

Life Lessons

Paul's prayer for the Ephesians offers a powerful outline for praying for other believers. We can ask God to grant them spiritual growth, not because they  try harder but because God pours himself into them. We can pray that others  will know God better. The "knowing" Paul speaks of here is not figuring God out or complete understanding, but a settling into intimacy with God.  We can pray that the Holy Spirit will seal them, marking them as God's own people (1:13-14), and lead them to a fuller appreciation of the salvation they have in Jesus Christ.

 

For more Bible passages on God's powerful salvation,  see  Romans 8:28- 30; r Timothy 2:3- 6; Titus 3:4- 7.

To complete the book of Ephesians during this twelve-part study, read Ephesians 1:15- 23.

 

Closing Prayer

Blessed Lord and God, we come to you, aware that you rule our world. You became flesh, dwelled among us, saw us in our fallen state, and reached in and pulled us out. You offered us salvation; you offered us mercy. And we are ever thankful. In Jesus’ name. Amen