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Ephesians Study: Unity of the Body

[Ephesians 4:1-16]

“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (v. 2-3 ESV)

 

  1. 2 With ALL

humility, lowliness of mind, modesty

gentleness, mildness, gentle strength (power with reserve & strength)

patience, forbearance, longsuffering, steadfastness, staying power

bearing with one another in love, enduring with, suffer, admit, persist

 

  1. 3 Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace

ONE BODY – all part of one body

ONE SPIRIT – united by one Spirit – the Spirit of God – the Holy Spirit

ONE LORD – one Lord of all

ONE FAITH – one faith in Jesus Christ

ONE BAPTISM – one baptism in Christ

ONE GOD & FATHER OF ALL – one God, one Father of all

 

“To a true child of God, the invisible bond that unites all believers to Christ is far more tender, and lasting, and precious; and, as we come to recognize and realize that we are all dwelling in one sphere of life in Him, we learn to look on every believer as our brother, in a sense that is infinitely higher than all human relationships. This is the one and only way to bring disciples permanently together. All other plans for promoting the unity of the Church have failed.”

– A.T. Pierson

 Bible Study Questions:

  1. Verse 7 mentions “grace given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” What does this mean?
  2. Verse 11 mentions a list of different titles.
  3. What type of people were mentioned?
  4.   What does Paul say these different people are responsible for?
  5.  Verse 14 mentions what can happen to us.
  6. What can happen to us if we stay infants? What does this mean?
  7.  How does this happen? (v. 14)
  8.  How can we prevent this? (see verses 15-16)
  9.   What happens when we each are united working together? (see verses 15-16)

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: Abundantly More

[Ephesians 3:20-21]

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” [ESV]

God is alive. God is active. God is at work.

This is a Doxology written by Paul. A doxology is defined as “an expression of praise to God, especially a short hymn sung as part of a Christian worship service.” It often appears at the end of psalms and hymns.

To Him be glory

  • All members of one body, like mirrors, reflecting the glory of God.
  • We allow for an area for God to move—where the work of Christ Jesus can take place for all to see

To do far more abundantly

  • Abundantly – super abundance in quality and quantity (doesn’t just mean more)
  • In the church God can do more than we ask for or imagine.

Verse 19 – Love of Christ for the church goes beyond what we can know

Verse 20 – Power of God over the church goes beyond what you can think

God says, “I can do more.”

1 Kings 3 – Solomon’s request

  1. 9 – “Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?” [NLT]
  2. 13 – “And I will also give you what you did not ask for–riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life!” [NLT]

Because we struggle to imagine & believe God can do great things through us, we don’t ask Him to do them.

Our prayers are so little, so limited. How do we compliment God when we ask for small things? No prayer is too big for our God.

 

  • Remember who you are in Christ (Ephesians 1:1-14 – Sons and Daughters)
  • Ask for help for your unbelief (Mark 9:14-29 – Jesus heals boy with unclean spirit)
  • Ask for more & expect more

Bible Study Questions:

  1. The main passage we are studying focuses on the glory of God. How is God’s glory displayed in the Church?
  2.  How does God get glory when there is harmony and unity in the church? How can we strive to be more united as a church? What can be a stumbling block to this harmony and unity in the church?
  3. How does God get glory when we as a church are obedient to His leading? What can we do to be more obedient? What can be a stumbling block to this obedience as a church?
  4. How can you be a disciple who lives for the abundantly more for the church?
  5.  How can we be a church who lives for the abundantly more for the church?

 

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

Ephesians Study: Least of the Saints

[Ephesians 3:1-13]

Paul wrote over half of the books in the New Testament. Paul knew the Scriptures well. Paul had an encounter with Jesus and a special calling to preach to the Gentiles. He had many reasons to be puffed up. Instead we read:

1 Corinthians 15:9 “least of the apostles,” Ephesians 3:8 “very least of all the saints,” 1 Timothy 1:15 “foremost of sinners”

  • We are dead – we need to be made alive

Romans 3:23-24We are all sinners – we all fall short of the glory of God

Ephesians 2:1 – “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins”

Ephesians 2:5 – “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.”

Colossians 2:13 – “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins”

  • God humbles Himself – He makes us alive

Psalm 113:5-6 – “Who is like the LORD our God, Who is enthroned on high, Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in heaven and in the earth?”

Psalm 18:35 – “You have given me the shield of your salvation. Your right hand supports me. Your gentleness makes me great.”

Philippians 2:7-8 – “Rather, He (Jesus Christ) made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross!”

  • Exalt self = humbled, humble self = exalted

Luke 18:9-14 (Parable of the Two Men Who Prayed / Pharisee and the Tax Collector) – We get full of ourselves – We become like the self-exalting man Pharisee from parable – he prayed that he wasn’t like that sinner

1 Peter 5:6 – “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.”

Numbers 12:3 – “Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.” Aaron and Miriam trash talked Moses, God exalted Moses – with him I speak face to face

Proverbs 29:23 – “Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.

Bible Study Questions:

  1. In the Bible, humility is seen as submissiveness toward God. What are some things we need to recognize to be humble?
  1. If we are humble, we recognize God’s power and wisdom. This leads to accepting His will and leads to obedience. How do we see this in life?
  1. With humility comes suffering, hardships, and even persecution. Why do you think these things related?
  1. We are to be humble / meek; however, this does not mean we submit to everything. When are we not supposed to submit?
  1. How can we stay humble?

6.  How does humility keep us from sin?

 

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

 

Colossians Study: Ministry to Maturity

[Colossians 1:21-29]

1) Must stay DEEPLY ROOTED and FIRM IN FAITH (v. 23a)

2) Must NOT GIVE UP HOPE received (v. 23b)

  • Warn every man
  • Teach every man all wisdom
  • Present every man mature in Christ

3) Must PREACH COMPLETE MESSAGE (v. 25)

plērōsai (play-ro’-o) Fulfill, complete, to make full, full to individual capacity

  • In its fullness [NIV]
  • Entire message [NLT]
  • Fully carry out [NASB]
  • Fully known [HCSB]
  • Fully deliver God’s message [Weymouth]

Our task is to make the Word of God known – to EVERYONE

Verse 28 says EVERYONE 3x’s – “each one”– emphasizing Christian teaching for all

WHY I work so hard?

Christ followers will GROW & MATURE

Goal (v. 28) – Present every man COMPLETE IN CHRIST.

How is it possible?

HIS POWER mightily works within me. (v. 29)

Bible Study Questions:

1) In verse 22, Paul wrote that God lets you stand in His presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent.

What does it mean to be holy?

What does it mean to be faultless?

What does it mean to be innocent?

2) The passage notes that this “message was kept secret from everyone, but now it has been explained to God’s people” (v. 26). The word “mystery” is used (v. 27).

What was the word mystery referencing?

Why was the message kept secret? Why was it now explained? (v.27)

3) The goal is “all of Christ’s followers will grow and become mature” (v. 28). How is this accomplished?

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

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

Colossians Study: The Gospel Truth

[Colossians 1:1-8]

The Gospel is…

  • Good News of God (v. 5)
  • The Word of Truth (v. 6)
  • The Message of God’s Grace (v. 6)
  • Centered in a person – Jesus (v. 4)
  • Universal – It is for the whole world (v. 6)
  • Humanly transmitted (v. 7)
  • Productive – Multiplies (v. 6)

People believed. People were discipled. People were faithful in Christ.

FAITH in Jesus and LOVE for God’s people that spring from HOPE stored up in heaven (v. 4-5)

HOPE…

God’s way = the best way

How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways. (Psalm 128:1 NASB)

God’s way = the only real peace

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 ESV)

God’s way = the only real joy

I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! (John 15:11 NLT)

God’s way = the only true and lasting reward

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. (Hebrews 10:35 NIV)

Bible Study Questions:

1) How does Paul introduce himself to the Colossians? How does he address the Colossians?

2) Paul wrote that he was thankful for the Colossians. What specifically made Paul thankful and excited for this church in Colossae? (see v. 3-8)

3) Paul never met the people in Colossae. Who shared the Gospel with these people? How is he described?

4) What is the Gospel? Read Acts 2:22-24, Acts 16:30-31, and 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.

5) One of the unmistakable characteristics of the Gospel is God’s grace in all its truth. John 1:14, 17 says: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth… For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (ESV).

How do you define grace?

How do you define truth?

How can you share God’s grace?

How can you share God’s truth?

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

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

More Than a Story: Humility

[Two Men Who Prayed: Luke 18:9-14]

“Be humble or you’ll stumble.” – Dwight L. Moody

  • I am the least of the apostles – 1 Corinthians 15:9
  • I am the very least of all the saints. – Ephesians 3:8
  • I am the foremost of sinners. – 1 Timothy 1:15

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 18:14 [ESV]

Humbles HimselfTapeinoó – humiliate, abase, bring low, humble self

Exaltedhupsoó – raise on high, lift up, set on high

“A person’s pride will humble him, but a humble spirit will gain honor.” – Proverbs 29:23 [HCSB]

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” – 1 Peter 5:6 [NIV]

We all fall short / Through Christ alone we are justified (Romans 3:23-24)

“Though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me; Though I am guiltless, He will declare me guilty.” – Job 9:20 [NASB]

You cannot fake it / God knows your heart

“And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” – Luke 16:15 [NASB]

“I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean by humility, doubt of his own power, or hesitation in speaking his opinion. But really great men have a … feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than God made them.” – John Riskin

Bible Study Questions:

1) What are some of the positive attributes of the Pharisee who prayed?

2) What are some of the negative attributes of the Pharisee who prayed?

3) How would you describe the Tax Collector who prayed? What were his good points?

4) What gets in the way of your humility?

5) What are some things you can do to help you live a humble life?

6) Luke 18:14 says, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (ESV).

What does it mean to be justified?

What does it mean that everyone who exalts himself will be humbled?

What does it mean that one who humbles himself will be exalted?

 

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

More Than A Story: Persistence

More Than A Story: Persistence

[Friend at Midnight: Luke 11:5-13 / Persistent Widow: Luke 18:1-8]

“Prayer is not an exercise. It is the life of the saint.” – Oswald Chambers

1 Thessalonians 5:16-17“Rejoice always; pray continually.” [NIV]

Pray without ceasing, pray constantly, never stop praying, continually be prayerful

     UnceasinglyAdialeiptós (ad-ee-al-ipe’-toce) – unceasingly, without remission, without intermission

Philippians 4:6“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” [NLT]

     Everythingpas (pas) – all, the whole, every kind of, each / every part that applies

Luke 11:8“I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.” [NASB]

     ShamelessnessAnaideia (an-ah’-ee-die-ah’) – shameless persistence, no shame, unembarrassed boldness, without embarrassment, shameless audacity, impudence, importunity, sheer persistence, refusal to take a denial – used only in Luke 11:8

   “stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors” [MSG]

Luke 18:5Yet because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice, so she doesn’t wear me out by her persistent coming.” [HCSB]

Constant requests, continually coming, keep coming, constantly coming, unending pleas

     Beaten black-and-blue by her pounding [MSG]

“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with God; those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it.”
– Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God)

BIBLE STUDY QUESTIONS

More Than A Story: Persistence

[Friend at Midnight: Luke 11:5-13 / Persistent Widow: Luke 18:1-8]

1) In the parable of the Friend at Midnight, the friend in need knocked and his friend answered, “Do not bother me…”

                What were his excuses?

                How is this different from how God responds to us?

                Has there ever been a time when you felt like you were bothering God? Why?

2) In Luke 11:9, the Bible says—ASK and it will be given, SEEK and you will find, KNOCK and it will be opened.

                What does this mean to you? What does this say about prayer?

                 How can we apply this to our lives?

3) Luke 18:7-8 says, “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

               What does this mean?

               How does it involve you? What can you do to take steps in the right direction? What does this look like?

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

Something Outta Nothing

[Elisha and the Widow’s Oil – 2 Kings 4:1-7]

Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.” (ESV)

This woman:

  • Lost her husband
  • Was about to lose her kids into slavery (see Leviticus 25:39-41)
  • Would then have no one to work the family land which would leave her deeper in debt

Humility – go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors

Faith – empty vessels and not too few

Solitude – then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons

I HAVE NOTHING … NOTHING EXCEPT A JAR OF OIL

God of the impossible – Luke 18:27

  • Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” [NIV]
  • “No chance at all,” Jesus said, “if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.” [MSG]

See beyond the nothing… except a jar of oil

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. – Ephesians 3:20 [MSG]

 Study Questions:

1) The woman who approached Elisha was the wife of one of the sons “of the prophets.” This is similar to a disciple. The students were known as the “sons” and the instructor would be called “father.”

When the woman asked Elisha for help, what was Elisha’s response?

2) Considering this interaction between Elisha and the widow:

How do you respond when someone approaches you with a need?

How do you respond when you have your own need?

What could you do differently?

3) In tonight’s passage, we read about many different problems this widow had to overcome. Not only did she have to overcome the loss of her husband and potential loss of her children and her income stability, she had some inner obstacles to overcome.

What were some of those obstacles?

How did Elisha direct the widow through those obstacles?

4) What obstacles are you facing?

Being A Stairmaster Outline

Being A Stairmaster

Psalms 120-134

The Pattern of the Psalms: Situation of Distress / Lord’s Power / Security from God

Takes over ten minutes to read these Songs of Ascents

Be Free to Climb

Able to come / Able to be fully present / If serve one service, attend the other

Be Glad to Climb

“A Song of Ascents, of David. I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’” Psalm 122:1 [NASB]

Look Up

Fix your eyes on God: Pray and Praise Him before service

“A Song of Ascents. To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.” Psalm 123:1-2 [ESV]

“Lift up holy hands in prayer, and praise the LORD.” Psalm 134:2 [NLT]

Retrace Your Steps

Remind yourself of what God did today, this week / remind yourself of His Word

Psalm 126:1 – Lord restored fortune in past; Psalm 132 – remembering Word to David

Climb with Humility

Is your heart right? Approach with humility. Remember you need God’s grace/love/mercy

“What if the LORD had not been on our side when people attacked us? They would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger.” Psalm 124:2-3 [NLT]

“A song of ascents. Of David. My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.” – Psalm 131:1 [NIV]

Step by Step

Don’t be about the hustle and bustle / Patience / Peace / Calmed & Quieted Soul

“I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5 [NIV]

“But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131:2 [ESV]

Download Being A Stairmaster Outline

Passionate Patience Outline

Here’s a message outline on Hebrews 12:1. You can download this outline below.

Passionate Patience

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” – Hebrews 12:1 [NLT]

In 1845, the ill-fated Franklin Expedition sailed from England to find a passage across the Arctic Ocean.

                The crew loaded their two sailing ships with a lot of things they didn’t need: a 1,200-volume library, fine china, crystal goblets, and sterling silverware for each officer with his initials engraved on the handles. Amazingly, each ship took only a 12-day supply of coal for their auxiliary steam engines.

                The ships became trapped in vast frozen plains of ice. After several months, Lord Franklin died. The men decided to trek to safety in small groups, but none of them survived.

                One story is especially heartbreaking. Two officers pulled a large sled more than 65 miles across the treacherous ice. When rescuers found their bodies, they discovered that the sled was filled with table silver.

What strengthens and encourages your relationship with Jesus? What is beneficial?

What disrupts or interrupts your relationship with Jesus? What is a hindrance?

 

Sin, habits, pleasures, self-indulgences, associations that hold you back, worldly cares, riches, honors, opinions, activities, possessions, relationships, careers. Anything that occupies our time, energy, affections to neglect time with the Lord and our pursuit of Christ-likeness.

Jesus is the goal of our journey and companion on the way

Go steadily forward in the race and refuse to be deflected: Hupomone (hoop-om-on-ay) – cheerful or hopeful endurance, enduring patience, patient continuance (waiting). Passionate patience – Perseverance or Patient Endurance – 2 Pet 1:6, Rev 3:10, Rev 14:12, 1 Cor 13:7, Lk 21:19

  • COMMIT YOURSELF: BOLDLY CLAIM IT CAN BE DONE!! It’s already been done. Great cloud of witnesses – inspiration – motivation – what we see in them – Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith
  • FOCUS ON YOUR WEAKNESS – Admit you cannot do life alone. You need Jesus. Passionately seek Him with all you have. Know Him, love Him, worship Him.Fix your eyes on Him.
  • ADMIT YOU AREN’T FINISHED YET. “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.” – Philippians 3:12 [NLT] Passionately pursuing Jesus –Press on to the finish
  • EMBRACE HARDSHIPS & STRUGGLES AND REMOVE OBSTACLES & DISTRACTIONS. Hardships are opportunities for growth. “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” –C.S. Lewis “Problem of Pain

Hebrews 12:2 Fix your eyes on Jesus

 

Download Passionate Patience Outline