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Ephesians Study: Our Cornerstone

[Ephesians 2:11-23]

Psalm 118:22 – stone rejected by the builders has become the head of the corner

Verse 12 —   At one time we were                               Through Christ we are

Separated                                                                 Brought Near

Without hope                                                          With Peace

  • Fellow citizens with the saints – Members of the household of God
  • Built on Foundation of Apostles & Prophets
  • Christ – Cornerstone – whole structure joined together into Holy Temple in the Lord – We are living stones to be united to & built up by the Cornerstone

 

Christ is a stumbling block to those without faith

Isaiah 8:14 – And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. [ESV]

Parable of the Wicked Tenants – Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17

 

Christ is security to those who believe

Acts 4:11 – Built together into dwelling place for God by the Spirit – completeness & unity

Matthew 7:24-27 – built house on the Rock – hear words & act upon them – firm foundation

Isaiah 28:16 – Therefore the Lord GOD said: “Look, I have laid a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will be unshakable. [HCSB] — Firm, Unshakable, Reliable

1 Peter 2:6 – those who trust in Him will never be put to shame – no shame

 

Follow up questions:

Read Isaiah 28:16. This verse describes the foundation of Christ as firm, unshakable, and reliable.

Take time to consider in your life…

  • How has Christ been firm?
  • How has Christ been unshakable?
  • How has Christ been reliable?

Read Psalm 118:22. This verse speaks of a stone that is rejected by the builders becoming the head of the corner, the Cornerstone. The Cornerstone holds in place all of the other stones. Consider what you have used to build up your house. Examine the pieces you used to build. Is Jesus the Cornerstone? What are some of the pieces you have been using to build? What do you need to do to get back to your foundation of Christ and allow Christ to be your Cornerstone?

Read Acts 4:11. Peter makes it clear that this cornerstone is Jesus Christ who was rejected by the Jewish leaders and crucified. If the stone is precious and sure to be laid as a cornerstone, why would it be rejected by the builders? Why did the Jewish leaders not accept Him? What can we learn from this?

Read 1 Peter 2:6. This verse says those who trust in the Lord will not be put to shame. When have you felt shame in life? Why did you feel this shame? Why does the Bible promise that we will not be put to shame? How can you live this out?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

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Ephesians Study: Immeasurable Greatness

[Ephesians 1:15-23]

The Power of God – Omnipotence (all-powerful)

  • Parted the Red Sea & the Jordan River
  • Reattached the ear of the soldier
  • Raised the dead – Resurrection Power!

God’s power is GREAT – God’s power is UNABLE TO BE MEASURED

  1. 19 “And what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.” [ESV]
  2. 21-22 “Now He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else–not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.” [NLT]

All things under the feet of Jesus

He is above

  • All authorities
  • All powers
  • All dominions
  • Every name named in this age & the age to come
  • The Church

 

  • God raised Jesus – defeated death / broke the power of death (v. 20a)
  • God seated Jesus at His right hand – and we are seated with Him! (v. 20b)
  • God set Jesus over all demonic powers (v. 21)
  • God gave Jesus as head over all things to the Church (v. 22)
  • Where God rules, we believers rule (v. 23)

The Apostle Paul is praying in this passage. He wants us to know three things:

  • The hope to which He has called you
  • The riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints
  • The immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe

Paul is saying…

  • You have the calling
  • You are heirs – you have an inheritance
  • You have the power of God

He is praying that you may KNOW – that you would know this power toward us

Bible Study Questions:

How would you describe the power of God?

We have the power of God within us. Why does it sometimes seem otherwise? What gets in the way of this power?

What helps us to know the power of God?

How can we use this power within us?

Read 1 Peter 4:11. Why do we want to live our lives with this power?

When you have seen the power of God at work?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

More Than a Story: Fruitfulness

[The Unproductive Fig Tree: Luke 13:6-9, Withered Fig Tree: Matthew 21:18-22]

Colossians 1:9-10“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” [NIV]

*BEARING FRUIT IN EVERY GOOD WORK*

  • Filled with the knowledge of His will
  • Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord
  • Bearing fruit in every good work

INTERNAL FRUIT + EXTERNAL FRUIT

            Internal Fruit – Deeper walk with God which produces: Fruits of the Spirit

            External Fruit – Abiding in Christ impacts relationships and increases effectiveness of your ministry

Galatians 5:22-23a – “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” [NLT]

John 15:5“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” [NASB]

John 15:8, 11“My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples… I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” [HCSB]

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:14-21 [NIV]

Bible Study Questions:

1) Looking at the Parable of the Unproductive Fig Tree, who is:

            The Vineyard Owner –

The Vineyard Keeper –

2) The Keeper of the Vineyard pleas with the Owner to give another chance. What does this say to us?

3) In Matthew 21:18-22, we read of the Withered Fig Tree. The fig tree bears a false resemblance of one that would have fruit. How can we appear to be fruitful but not yet not bear any fruit?

4) What does the Withered Fig Tree represent to us? What can we take from this message?

5) Read Colossians 1:9-10. The passages mentions being filled with the knowledge of His will, to walk in the manner worthy of the Lord, and about bearing fruit in every good work. How can we:

            Be filled with the knowledge of His will?

            Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord?

            Bear fruit in every good work?

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

Acts: Proclamation

[Acts 8:26-40]

Peter and John were proclaiming the Good News. It disturbed people and they were put in prison. Annas the high priest and Caiaphas questioned them. They spoke of Jesus and the salvation only possible through Him. They were commanded to not speak or teach in the name of Jesus.

They responded:

As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” – Acts 4:20 [NIV]

  • “We cannot stop telling” [NLT]
  • “We cannot stop talking” [GW]
  • “There’s no question – we can’t keep quiet” [MSG]

Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

1) Obedience

Told to “Rise and go toward the south” (v. 26) “he rose and went” (v. 27)

2) Spirit Led

Ready to listen to God’s instruction – an angel of the Lord said (v. 26)

3) Specific Instructions

Spirit said go over and join this chariot (v. 29)

4) Concern for Others

Concerned about others understanding

“Do you understand what you are reading?” (v. 30)

5) Wait for the Open Door

No I need help – BOOM – DOOR OPEN

Begins with Isaiah passage and then speaks about the Good News of Jesus (v. 31)

6) Don’t stand in the way

What prevents me from being baptized?

Nothing (v. 37-38)

7) Don’t miss a beat

Spirit of Philip is carried away

His service is done – Onward and upward (v. 39-40)

This is one of the 4 part Acts series:

Acts: Prayer

Acts: Possessions

Acts: Persecution

Acts: Proclamation

Acts: Persecution

Acts Series: Persecutions

… everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12 [NIV]

Bold Speech + Truth = Persecution

“When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep.’” Acts 7:54-60 [NIV]

We must obey God rather than men

Apostles had to appear before Sanhedrin to be questioned by high priest. Reminded them of orders to not teach in name of Jesus. Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than human beings! (see Acts 5:29)

— GOD DELIGHTS IN OUR OBEDIENCE —

Standing Ovation from Jesus

“’Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’” – Acts 7:56 [NIV]

Stoning of Stephen = Spread of Persecution = Spread of Gospel

“Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria.” – Acts 8:1 [NLT]

— GOD USES EVIL FOR GOOD –

Blessed are those Persecuted for Righteousness’ Sake

“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit Me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.” Matthew 5:10-12 [MSG]

What to do when facing persecution:

BE SUBMISSIVE

Acts 4:3 Peter and John were arrested – didn’t fight back

“Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.” – 1 Peter 2:20 [NLT]

BE SPIRIT-FILLED

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:8 [ESV]

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” – John 14:12 [NASB]

BE BOLD IN TRUTH

“Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time – Ephesians 6:19b [MSG]

Acts 4:24b-31 [ESV] “And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to Your servants to continue to speak Your word with all boldness, while You stretch out Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.’

 Download Lesson Outline

This is one of the 4 part Acts series:

Acts: Prayer

Acts: Possessions

Acts: Persecution

Acts: Proclamation

Acts: Possessions

[[Acts 4:32-37 ]]

No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. (v. 32b)

And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. (v. 33b-35)

At this time people would sell some property – brought all proceeds – not told you have to sell everything (voluntary not mandatory) Barnabas sold a field he owned to support the ministry – sharing without considering repayment

[[Acts 5:1-11]]

Ananias & Sapphira – Sold property but kept back part of the money

“Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.’ When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.” – Acts 5:3-5 [NIV] The Holy Spirit Peter replied, Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38 [ NLT]

Quench or Grieve It

  • Quench—1 Thessalonians 5:19Do not quench the Spirit. (NIV) Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. (NLT) [[Suppressive / Destructive / Non-Unifying]]
    • Holy Spirit – Fire – Purifying / Enlightening / Enlivening – Don’t despise Spiritual Gifts
    • NOT ALLOWING HIM TO MOVE FREELY
  • Grieve—Ephesians 4:30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (ESV) [[“Lupe” – To cause grief / To offend]]
    • Lying, angry, corrupt behavior – actions, behavior towards God and others
    • ACTING OUT IN SINFUL MANNER

The Holy Spirit…

Counsels You (John 14:16)

Cleanses you (Romans 15:16)

Comforts you (2 Corinthians 1:3)

Empowers you (Romans 15:13)

Helps you when weak (Romans 8:26)

Gives you confidence (2 Corinthians 5:5-6)

Assures adoption in God’s family (Galatians 4:6-7)

Encourages you (Acts 9:31)

Gives you new life (Romans 8:11)

Gives you wisdom & revelation (Eph. 1:17)

Leads you to all truth (John 16:13)

Helps you pray (Romans 8:26)

Convicts you (John 16:8)

Strengthens & renews you (Ephesians 3:16)

Brings you reassurance (Romans 8:16)

Sanctifies you (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

Fills you (Ephesians 5:18)

Gives you joy (1 Thessalonians 1:6)

Helps you remember (John 14:26)

Dispenses God’s love in hearts (Romans 5:5)

 

Spirit leads into the Wilderness

“I suggest that many Christians… have never allowed them to be led by that selfsame Spirit into the wilderness. But those who would know the Spirit’s power and not just His presence must be tempted, tried, tested, and tempered, so that they might learn to live dependent on God and not on themselves.” – Oswald Chambers

1) Wilderness is a place of Separation Stripped down, out of comfort zone

2) Wilderness is a place of Grace God provides despite our sinfulness – Pillar of fire, Manna, Quail

3) Wilderness is a place of Revelation Opens your eyes to greater knowledge and understanding of God and His Word

4) Wilderness is a place of Preparation Correction, pruning, discipline

5) Wilderness is place of Choice With God – without God – a choice must be made

Download Outline PDF

This is one of the 4 part Acts series:

Acts: Prayer

Acts: Possessions

Acts: Persecution

Acts: Proclamation

Are You Ready for Solid Food?

Are You Ready for Solid Food?

[[Read Hebrews 5:11 – 6:4]]

Main Verse:

“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.” – Hebrews 5:12 [NLT]

Hebrews 6:1-4 Breakdown:

  1. Basic Foundation
  • Repentance
  • Faith
  1. Basic Instruction
  • Baptism
  • Holy Spirit
  • Resurrection
  • Judgment
  1. God’s Grace
  • “And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.” (6:3 NLT)
  • God’s Grace allows for Spiritual Maturity

You aren’t meant to stay a child living on milk.

What keeps you a Milk Drinker?

  • Laziness (v. 11) – Where is the passion / desire?
  • Lack of Influence (v.12) – Ought to be teaching but need retaught
  • Dull Discernment (vs. 13-14) – Unable to discern good and evil

From Milk to Solid Food…

  • Drink Milk – “Pure Spiritual Milk” (1 Peter 2:2) – The Gospel
  • Swallow & Digest Milk – Milk produces renewed mind
  • Practice, Practice, Practice
  • Satisfaction Promotes Discernment

Psalm 63:1, 8

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water… my soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me. [ESV]

Download Outline

Hard-Pressed Relief Outline

Hard-Pressed Relief

2 Corinthians 8:13-14 – “For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.” (ESV) BURDEN & EASE

If one member of the body suffers – all suffer – 1 Corinthians 12:26

Burden causes fatigue, struggle, drowning—become overwhelmed & even angry

Yet we are to “Serve with gladness” – Psalm 100:2

  • Delegation – You Cannot Do Everything
  1. Jethro & Moses (Exodus 18)
  2. Seven chosen for distribution including Stephen & Philip (Acts 6)
    1. Good reputation / Full of Spirit / Full of wisdom
    2. Know gifts / don’t serve in all areas – serve where you can give your all
    3. Not burdened that others may live at ease. Remember Exodus 16:18 – Manna was gathered and there was “nothing left over” and there was “no lack.” Each one gathered as much as they could eat.
  • Recognize Burden – Take Note When You Are Drowning & Speak Up
    1. Moses says: “I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me” [Numbers 11:14 ESV]
    2. “Gather for me seventy of the elders… and I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.” [v. 16-17 ESV]
    3. Two is Better Than One [Ecclesiastes 4:9-12] – “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a three-fold cord is not quickly broken.”(ESV)
  • Jesus Above All
    1. Guard the Gospel [2 Timothy 1:12-14] “Which is why I suffer as I do. But I’m not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what he has entrusted to me. Following the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (ESV)
    2. Keep aware not to take away from another’s walk. Equip. Empower.

Ephesians 4:15-16 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (ESV)

Download Hard-Pressed Relief Outline from Dropbox