Tag Archives: Sunday School lesson

Ephesians Study: Love of Christ

 

[Ephesians 3:14-19]

“And I ask Him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God” 17-19 [MSG]

 

17 –          Rooted deep in love… founded securely on love

18-19 –    Strength to comprehend…

BREADTH – extends to all

John 3:16 – For God so LOVED THE WORLD

LENGTH – everlasting duration

Romans 8:37-39 – Nothing can separate you from LOVE of GOD

DEPTH – Christ’s humility saves those from pit of sin

Ephesians 2:4-5 – When dead in trespasses made alive

Romans 5:8 – While still sinners, Christ died for us

HEIGHT – raises to glory

Ephesians 2:6 – Raised & seated with God because united with Jesus

2 Corinthians 4:14 – Raises us with Jesus and brings us into His presence

Know the Love of Christ that…

Surpasses Knowledge

Fills you with all the fullness of God

 

“We should be astonished at the goodness of God, stunned that He should bother to call us by name, our mouths wide open at His love, bewildered that at this very moment we are standing on holy ground.” – Brennan Manning

Bible Study Questions:

  1. We usually gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by the cost of that love. Many times we look at the sacrifices, the money, the time we give as a way to measure the love. How can we measure Christ’s love by what it cost Him?

 

  1. We can gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by how much we actually deserve the love. If we are not so nice to someone and they love us compared to someone who loves us when we treat them well, there is a difference. It’s more difficult to love some people. How can we measure Christ’s love by how much we deserve it?

 

  1. We can gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by the greatness of the benefits we receive from being loved. What are the benefits we receive from Christ’s love?

 

  1. We can gauge the depth of someone’s love by the freedom with which they love us, meaning that the person isn’t doing something because they are made to do so, but because they choose, they so desire. How free is the love of Christ?

 

  1. What gets in the way from you accepting the love of Christ? What gets in the way from you showing the love of Christ to the body of Christ (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

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Ephesians Study: Sons & Daughters

[Ephesians 1:1-14]

  • 4-5 – Predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ
    • He knew before the foundation that we would be separated. (1 Peter 4:20)
    • He predestined us for adoption.
    • Everyone who believes through faith is a child of God. (Galatians 3:26, John 1:12)
  • 11 – Obtained an inheritance
    • This inheritance is ALREADY ours through Jesus Christ.
  • 13 – Sealed with promise of inheritance
    • The Holy Spirit is our guarantee

Adopted Children of God:

  • Receive New Rights (Galatians 4:4-7)
    • Identical legal rights as blood child
    • All riches in Christ & citizenship in heaven
  • God will care for us
    • Adopted parent is granted full rights & responsibility of natural father
    • Complete authority over child
    • Legal role as caregiver
  • Relationships will change
    • Our relationship with God changes
      • God the Father – not only judge, Loving Father
      • God the Son – not only Lord, Savior and Brother
      • God the Holy Spirit – not only calls & sanctifies but Spirit of adoption within us
    • Our relationship with others changes

1 John 3:1-2 – “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” [NIV]

Romans 8:14 – “All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.” [HCSB]

Bible Study Questions:

  • Verses 4-5 speak of predestination. The Bible says that before the foundation of the world, God knew that we would need Jesus Christ. What does this term predestination mean?
  • Ephesians 1:10 says, “As a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” What is this fullness of time? What does this mean?
  • In verse 11, the passage says we “obtained and inheritance.” How is this different from an inheritance we may receive from our earthly family?
  • God has sealed us with a promise it says (v. 13). The Holy Spirit is our guarantee of an inheritance. But this guarantee is not like a normal promissory note that you hold until the time of the collection. What benefits to we have the Holy Spirit?

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

Philemon Study: True Forgiveness

[Philemon]

  • Paul wrote letter to Philemon while he was in jail.
  • Philemon’s house may be where the Colossian church met (v. 2).
  • Philemon had a slave Onesimus (v. 16).
  • Onesimus means “useful” or “beneficial.”
  • Onesimus was useless to Philemon – slave who stole money and ran away.
  • Paul converted Onesimus.
  • Onesimus is now useful to Philemon and Paul. (v. 11).
  • Though Onesimus was helping Paul while he was imprisoned, Paul sent Onesimus back to Philemon with this letter to appeal for forgiveness for Onesimus. Roman law required this to happen.
  • Philemon owes Paul his life – his very soul— salvation in Christ (v. 19)
  • Paul asks Philemon to charge all that is owed by Onesimus to his (Paul’s) account (v. 18). He offered to pay for Onesimus’ sins against Philemon.

Friendship – Forgiveness – Reconciliation

Ephesians 4:32 – Forgive as you have been forgiven

Forgiveness comes through Jesus. Through Christ alone we have forgiveness and reconciliation to God. Reconciliation means “coexist in harmony” or “restore friendly relations.” We only have the ability to forgive others because of the Holy Spirit.

Forgiveness has a cost. Paul offered to pay the cost. Onesimus could have been punished – even with death. Our cost for forgiveness was paid by Jesus Christ.

Forgiveness is always necessary. Paul asks Philemon to do the right thing. He could have punished Onesimus or he could forgive him and receive him as a partner. The word used means “fellowship.”

Forgiveness from God lasts forever. When we are transformed, becoming a “new creature” in Christ, the Spirit changes us from the inside out – just like Onesimus. This is forgiveness and transformation that lasts forever. The board is wiped clean.

Bible Study Questions:

1) Paul mentions in verse 14 that he preferred to do nothing without consent in order that Philemon’s (fih-LEE-muhn) goodness be of his “own accord.” What does this mean?

2) Paul wrote in verse 21 that he was confident of Philemon’s obedience. How could he be so confident that Philemon would forgive and do even more than asked?

3) Forgiveness, Paul notes, will take Onesimus (o-NEH-sih-muhs) from position of bondservant to beloved brother. Was he asking for Philemon to free his slave Onesimus or does this beloved brother mean something else?

4) Read Colossians 4:7-9. Onesimus was sent along with Tychicus (TIH-kih-kuhs).

How was he described?

Why do you think Paul had Onesimus go along with Tychicus to deliver the Letter to the Colossians as well as the      Letter to Philemon?

 

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: Good Words

[Colossians 4:1-18]

5- 6 [CEV] “When you are with unbelievers, always make good use of the time. Be pleasant and hold their interest when you speak the message. Choose your words carefully and be ready to give answers to anyone who asks questions.”

  • Always make good use of time
    • Walk in wisdom.
    • Use your head. Don’t miss a trick.
    • Remember it’s when you act the fool that all eyes are upon you.
    • Be honest (we all need Jesus) and point to Jesus in all you do.
  • Be pleasant & hold their interest
    • Be gracious in your speech – grace stoops down and brings up
    • Speech seasoned with salt (salt elevates)
  • Choose words carefully
    • Words can build up and tear down, encourage or kill
    • Consider the motives for your words before you speak
    • Grace with Truth. Not one or the other.
    • Consider what God’s Word says—and say that!
  • Be ready to give answers
    • Always be prepared to answer questions.
    • One is prepared to answer questions from Bible reading & study, daily prayer, and the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit. It’s God’s Word that gives the answers and God’s Spirit which leads the way. You aren’t in this alone.
    • Don’t fear being asked questions. No one knows all the answers. When in doubt, admit you don’t know and seek answers together. It is better to say you do not know and look together than to be proud and pretend you know and lead someone down the wrong path. Stand for truth at all cost. Seek the Truth always.

Bible Study Questions:

1) The Bible says we are to make good use of time, walking in wisdom. What does that mean? Do we always have to be so serious?

2) The Bible says we are to be pleasant and hold the person’s interest. What does that mean?

How do you hold someone’s interest without trying to entertain them with the aim of making Jesus “more exciting”?

What does “speech seasoned with salt” mean to you?

3) The Bible says we are to choose our words carefully. What happens when our speech is all truth? What happens when our speech is all grace?

How can we use words that build up instead of tear down whenever we speak?

4) The Bible says we are to be ready to give answers. Does it mean we always have to know the answer? What does it mean to be ready? If we don’t know the answer, what are some ways we can respond?

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: Worship Works

[Colossians 3:22-25]

“What you think about you care about

What you care about you chase”

“Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.” (v. 22-25 MSG)

  • Do your best
  • Work from the heart
  • Remember Who you serve

“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” – Romans 12:11 [NLT]

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

– 1 Corinthians 10:31 [NASB]

Anything you do can be an ACT OF WORSHIP

“The Lord is pleased with those who worship Him and trust His love

– Psalm 147:11 [CEV]

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” – Romans 12:1-2 [MSG]

Bible Study Questions:

1) The passage speaks about working from the heart. This phrase “from the heart” translates in the Greek as “the soul” or “life” or “self” – “the breath of life.” What does that mean for us?

2) What is the difference between working for men and working for God?

3) Romans 12:11 says we should not be lazy. Instead we should work enthusiastically. What should we do if we find ourselves not working with enthusiasm?

4) The Bible says we should serve with joy (Psalm 100:2). What can we do if we find ourselves serving but not with joy? If we are not serving with joy, with what are we serving?

5) What does it mean when Paul says “do your best”? What is your best? How do you know it is your best?

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: Taking Responsibility

[Colossians 3:5-14]

[V. 5] THEREFORE consider dead…

  • Because you are alive with Christ – seek things above (v. 1-4)
  • Because we died with Christ
    • Put off earthly life / past sin
    • Put on Christ (clothe yourselves)
    • Result – more like Christ

[V. 5] Consider dead to…

  • Immorality – “porneia” – where word pornography comes
    • Includes fornication, adultery, incest
  • Impurity – unclean – someone who refused to clean up act
    • Someone who never repents
  • Passion – “pathos” – inordinate affection or lust to point of suffering for it
  • Evil Desire – longing for that which is forbidden
  • Greed – always wanting more, associated with acts of fraud and extortion

[V. 8-9] But now also put aside…

  • Anger – “orge” – where word orgy comes
    • Passion out of control
  • Wrath – “heavy breathing” – rage / fierceness
  • Malice – attitude of ill will toward a person
  • Slander – “blasphemy” – speech that tears down
    • Opposite of let your speech be grace seasoned with salt
  • Abusive speech – filthy language
  • Lies – working with / cooperating with the father of lies

[V. 12-14] Put on…

  • Compassion – mercy
  • Kindness – form of general moral excellence – person who does right thing – to extend goodwill
  • Gentleness – Christians are most powerful people on earth but power should be clothed in gentleness – obedient, submissiveness to God
  • Humility – modesty
  • Patience – “macro” means you’re going to need a lot – patience that doesn’t give up on other people – handling injustice / difficulty well
  • Bearing with and forgiving each other
  • Love – perfect bond of unity – it’s the binding strap that holds the church together.

Bible Study Questions:

  • The passage mentions that because of the sins listed, the wrath is coming. How does that relate to us? Do we face this wrath? Do these sins have any consequences for us?
  • What are some actions we need to take or things we need to do to take responsibility for our actions?
  • What is the hardest to take responsibility or blame for in your own life? Why is it so hard?
  • Verse 13 mentions bearing with one another and forgiving one another. What does it mean to bear with one another?
  • Verse 14 says that love binds everything together. Explain what that means to you and what that means for the church as a body.
  • Consider the list of sins listed in this passage. What can we put on in place of this sin? How can we go about taking action?

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: Men of Rules

Men of Rules

[Colossians 2:16-23]

  • Let no one steal your freedom (v. 16)
    • Legalism = slavery/bondage à Christ accomplished the Law
    • Spiritual elitism – believed if circumcised, watched diets, observed days – then elite
    • Asceticism (self-denial and self-modification) – Christ does more than restrain—He puts new desire within a person
  • Let no one disqualify or condemn you (v. 16)
    • There is NO condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1)
    • Your qualification is from God (2 Corinthians 3:5)
  • Let no one beguile you of your reward (v. 18-19)
    • Beguile = to declare unworthy of a prize à “Don’t be cheated”
    • You do receive a different degree of glory (1 Corinthians 3:8)

TRADITION CANNOT BE EQUAL TO THE WORD OF GOD

Tradition of Man or Truth and Grace of Christ…

  • Does is stress man made rules over grace?
  • Is it condemning or discipline in love (truth in love)?
  • Does it focus on knowledge and formulas or on the Word of God?
  • Does it elevate rule keepers over Christ?
  • Does it act like elite group?

Bible Study Questions:

1) In verse 16-17, we read not to let anyone say we must celebrate a list of items.

What are these items we should not be forced to celebrate?

Why are these items not mandatory?

What are we to celebrate? (see v. 17)

2) The message mentioned “asceticism” which is a life of self-discipline. It involves practicing strict punishment and restriction (self-denial) to one’s body to modify or change behavior. What are some examples? What is the difference between it being part of the Law or something more?

3) Read verses 20-23.

            How does following the rules makes you appear? How is this not true?

The end of this passage says all of this doesn’t “have any power over our desires.” If this doesn’t have the power, where do we get this power over our desires?

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: 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 Will of God

[Colossians 1:9-14]

Prayed for:

  • “Wise minds and spirits attuned to His will” [MSG]
  • “All the wisdom & understanding that His Spirit gives” [CEV]
  • “God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding” [NLT]

Prayed for:

  • Practical Obedience (1:10) – Knowledge & obedience go together

True spiritual wisdom must affect daily life

Wisdom / Walk / Work – Cannot work for God unless we walk with Him, cannot walk with Him if ignorant to His will

General will = clearly in Bible                Specific will = always agrees with Bible

Knowing general will makes it easier to know specific will for daily life

God wants us to:

  • Know His Will (Acts 22:14)
  • Understand His Will (Ephesians 5:17)

Paul prayed for ALL wisdom & understanding, COMPLETE knowledge…

Complete = Filled full                    Filled = Controlled by

  • Filled with _______ (ex: anger, jealously)
  • Filled with Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)

Controlled by full knowledge of God’s will

How? By all wisdom & spiritual insights. Understand will of God through Word of God. Holy Spirit teaches us to submit to Him (John 14:26, John 16:31)

THEN…

  • You will live a life that honors the Lord
  • You will always please Him by doing good deeds
  • You will come to know God even better
  • You will be patient & strong to endure everything because of His power
  • You will be truly happy

Bible Study Questions:

1) Paul prayed for the Colossians to have ALL wisdom and understanding. He grasped that God wants us to know and understand His will – and to do this would bring us closer to Him. With our reading, the words patient and strong and happy appear. What does this mean for us?

2) What is the hardest thing about following God’s will?

 

3) When we have this completeness (fullness), we will be controlled by it. We will then be able to determine what God wants. How do we determine God’s Will—how do we determine what He wants?

 

4) Let us dig deeper into God’s Word.

Read each of these verses and decide what each verse says about God’s will for us.

  • Read 2 Peter 3:9
  • Read Ephesians 5:18
  • Read 1 Thessalonians 4:3
  • Read 1 Peter 2:15
  • Read 1 Peter 5:10
  • Read Psalm 37:4

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