Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ephesians Part 4

Ephesians 4:1-5:2

Theme: Walk in unity and in holiness.
Session goal: To learn the manner of walk expected of us in this unified body.
Target Group/ No of People: Young working adults (23-35 years old)/ 15 people

Outline: (Notes for Bible Study Facilitator are in Italics)


Paul’s prayer in Eph 3:14-21 paves the way for the practical outworking of their position in Christ, outlined in chapters 4-6 of Ephesians. The revelation of the unification of Jewish and Gentile believers leads Paul to demonstrate the manner of walk expected of this body. They are to walk in unity (guided by love for God) and in holiness. For believer, both unity and holiness are essential. This chapter explains how a believer should not walk (4:17-19), and how they ought to walk (4:20-5:2).

1. Paul urges the believers to walk life worthy of the calling they have received (Eph 4:1). What does this ‘calling’ refers to? Is Paul talking about a special calling? If not, what ‘call’ is that? Share on how you can walk worthy of God in the marketplace.

‘To walk’ here is used metaphorically referring to our conduct or lifestyle. Its connotation is that the believer’s life should be worthy of the gospel of Christ. The conduct must be balanced with one’s call. Calling here refers to a religious call by God. It is often linked with election (Rom 8:28-30). In this present context, Paul might have included also the call to their union into one body, the church. It is again, refers both to individual and the corporate body.

2. The basis for Paul’s appeal for unity is reflected in the series of seven acclamations, each using the word ‘one’ (Eph 4:4-6). What do you think each of the common factors of Christian experience should contribute to your unity with other believers? Which one factor is lacking in our congregation and how this would hamper the unity of believers?

Explain briefly each ‘one’ as listed. Share with them that this treatise of unity is following after the pattern of the Trinity.

3. Paul further elaborates that unity does not mean uniformity. He analyses the means of preserving that unity of the body, by giving various gifts to the body (Eph 4:7-16). Do you understand the 5-fold ministries (or 4-fold as some scholars disputed) and their respective functions? What are the purposes for these giftings? How do you perceive our leaders have equipped our members to function as the body of Christ? If you are a leader functioning in this office, ponder about your current function and see if there is any improvement.

Briefly describe each offices that is to prepare the members for ministry, and to build the body of Christ into maturity, in one unity.

4. Have you put off the old lifestyles and put on the new one, and continually be made new in the attitude of your minds? (Eph 4:22-24) Read through Eph 4:25-32. With what aspect of speech do you have the most trouble in obeying the teaching of the Lord? What change would you like God to make in your pattern of speech in the future, for His glory?

5. Share what the Holy Spirit has done that truly transformed your life since you became a Christian. Are you still experiencing the deceitful and tricky nature of your desires in relation to other people? How have your mindset changed towards possessions?

Summary The Trinity is the integral part of this treatise on unity. The one body of believers are vitalised by one Spirit, so all of us have one hope. That body is united to its one Lord by each member’s one act of fact, and his or her identity with him is in the one baptism. One God is supreme over all and resides in all. All these components are united in the Trinity. God has given means for the body of believers to be united as one, and this could be achieved by God’s own power through the ministry of gifted believers whom Christ gives for the building of the church. The purpose is to bring all members of the body to the unity of faith and to the full stature of Christ; strengthened and growing in living union with Christ, the head of the church. Paul gives specific exhortations regarding the lifestyle of a new person in Christ. Clear contrasts are made between falsehood and truth, sinful anger and anger without sin, corrupt speech and edifying one. Paul urges the recipients to be kind and compassionate to one another, bearing with one another in love, exhibiting the same graciousness that God in Christ had demonstrated toward us.


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