Introduce yourself, and ask everyone to state their name.
Read. Share the passage between 2-3 people. Verses 1-7, 9-16, and 17-23.
Observe. Spend 2-3 minutes to allow everyone to silently read over the passage once more. Encourage them to make note of things they find interesting and things they don’t understand. Allow them to share a few things. Don’t answer the questions right away. “Good question/observation. We will see if we get to that as we move forward”
Question 1. What are the things that God does, according to Paul?
Try to encourage everyone to take note on all the verbs “chose, predestined, etc”. Make sure to cover “predestined (v5), forgives (v7), and gives inheritance (14)”
Question 2. Discuss three main actions: predestination, forgive, and inheritance.
Go in depth and discover what it means. These are all very grand incredible concepts that should bring tremendous joy and awe.
Question 3. How does that make you feel?
Invite each group member to share how they feel about this amazing gift.
Question 4. When we are thankful, what do we do? Why?
Lead into Paul’s response in thankfulness, his prayer.
Question 5. What does Paul pray for? Explain each one.
Paul prays that we will have increasing knowledge in a)hope, b) inheritance and c) the power of God demonstrated in Christ.
Question 6. How do we come to understand these things?
Back to the basic. We hear God speak through the Bible, and we speak to God through our prayers. Share examples, testimonies.
Question 7. What does verse 22-23 mean?
If we are in Christ, and Christ is seated high above everything, that means we will reign with Christ. From sinners, to being with the most high!
Conclusion message: we are in Christ, with him at the throne, which God put there, according to his will and purpose.
· Paul, is an apostle
· Apostle – “a carrier of message”
· People of Ephesus – Holy people (Christians who are dedicated and loyal in their faith in Christ)
· To the saints (ASB)
· To be a saint is to be faithful in Christ, not from character on earth
· Grace and peace
· From Father God and Lord Jesus Christ (mention both as equals) à “父”和“耶稣”放在一起，assume以弗所的信徒们明白这个
· “Christ” – mentioned 2 times
· 多次提到peace & grace
· Praise (give thanks) to God and Lord Jesus Christ (God – Father, Christ the Son)
· Declares God’s & Jesus’ identify
· Because we received spiritual blessings (God gave us the blessings, but only by being IN CHRIST can we receive those blessings à they work together to bring blessing to all believers)
· God is good, then his blessings have to be good (not of this world, not blessings that we can physically see)
· He does not just give us one blessing, He gives us all of them
· He (God) chose us in Him before creation
· To be holy (to be like God) – no sin (blameless) in God’s eyes
· We were adopted to by God
· Adopted – Not God’s child, God took us in 借着耶稣，我们得到了“儿女“的称呼
· What does it mean to be a son? A child? 我们要有什么样的形象？
· He (God) wants this
· We are blessed by His grace
· Grace – goodwill
· In Jesus, we have this grace
· Again, God and Jesus work together to achieve this purpose
· In Him (Jesus), we have redemption
· We have redemption and our trespasses (wrongdoing) with blood (of Christ) 救赎是由血换来的，都是神的恩典
· Grace is heavily emphasized, how many times is grace mentioned?? It is very key.
· Grace has been lavished (showered, poured abundant)
· We could understand (know) God’s will – in wisdom and insight
· Again, His kind intention
· God purposed in Christ, all things will be united in Christ – by grace of God
· In Christ, we were predestined to inherit (in God’s will)
· If God is the father, then we inherit everything that God has
· First, listen to the message
· Then, believe
· And then, you will have the seal of the Holy Spirit à圣灵第一次出现了
· Seal – something to prevent setting apart à 有了印记我们就不会和上帝分散
· Spirit seals the deal (you know…)
Again, praise God for His glory (everything is in Him)
· Thankful, for what?
· Heard the saints have faith in the Lord
· Love with each other
· Observe: Faith and love in one sentence à Paul is thankful for this
· Recap that Paul is thankful，一直为他们祷告
· Continue praying for the saints of Ephesus
· For what?
· That God may provide the spirit of wisdom and revelation to know His knowledge
Verse 18, 19, 20
· Eye of heart enlightened (opened)
· To know about the hope, which God told you about
· The inheritance of Christians à 知道信徒的产业是什么 (see notes above)
· God’s might (He is all-powerful)
· All this is according to God’s great power (our faith and believe and understanding through His power)
· God used this same great power to raise Christ from the dead (this is what we are to understand)
· Jesus’ seat in the right hand of God
· What are the characteristics?
· Above (beyond) everything
· No authority and power is above this seat (this position)
· This great power also works on us
· More emphasis on Jesus’s great power: God gives Jesus authority over everything
· Jesus, the head of everything in the church
· The “Church”, however, is Christ’s body
· Repeating theme: God + Jesus work together, salvation, inheritance
· Appreciation of the relationship between church and God
Hook (choose 1 I guess):
1. If the Queen of England comes to you today, wants you to come with her and will give you everything that she owns, what would be your reaction?
2. What’s your hope in life?
Questions from observation
What is our “inheritance”?
1. Our inheritance in this life (our transformation, etc.)
2. Our inheritance in Heaven
It is eternal, the things we get when we are with GoD
God and Jesus work together. What is up with that?
- Jesus is a part of the plan
- He comes to the world as a human, and gets crucified (the plan)
- Set an example for us
- Teaches us things that we might not be able to understand otherwise (that were not exactly clear in the OT)
- Bring out salvation: why did Jesus do that? Because He came to save us and complete God’s plan
God came up with the plan, Jesus executed the plan, Holy Spirit sustained the plan
Some footnotes for you to consider
- When parents pass away, they give their children everything (well, most of the time)
- God gives us everything, because we are His children
- It’s a hope that we have: to be transformed and become more Christ like, also the eternal hope of Heaven
- Be more specific, don’t just say “attributes”
- Fruit of the Holy Spirit
- The power in God’s kingdom
- Faith in God, and love for one another à once again, the transformation of us
- Not necessarily materialistic
- By describing God’s and Jesus’ power, it reinforces our faith
- Word of God
- The Lord Himself
The relationship between inheritance and identity?
- We are children of God
- If we don’t have this identity, we cannot inherit
- God saved us so we can become His children again
Everything we inherit is from God, and the plan was completed by Jesus
Highlight – In Christ
We do not instantly become “good people” after becoming Christians. We shouldn’t think that we are saved because we do “good”. The only way we get saved is through Jesus
Other observations from the original document
· How many times is “Jesus”, “Him”, and “Grace” mentioned? Are these words significant if they are mentioned so many times?
- I ain’t gonna count, someone else please fill it in
- Everything from God is 福气
- Verse 13: Seal
- Verse 17: to know Him more
- Verse 9: 我们能够了解上帝的旨意（指salvation） à 一个罪人能认识人, that’s a spiritual blessing
- Inheritance for the children of God
· Where is “Jesus” and “God the Father” mentioned in parallel? (AKA in one sentence)
· What did Paul pray for?
· What are the spiritual blessings?
· What do we inherit from God?
· What did Paul pray for?
- What did God do according to Paul?
- There are 10 things, I’m not too sure myself…
But bring out these 3:
- Chosen (5)
- Forgive (7)
- Inheritance (14)
What is the meaning of each?
- No consequence (God will continue to discipline us through punishment, but we are saved from Hell)
- God will not see out sins b/c we are saved by blood
- Each of us is chosen
- God initiated this entire plan, we didn’t do anything Inheritance
- God chose us no matter what, not only did he forgive us, he gave us the inheritance
- The shock and joy of being saved
How does it make you feel? (sharing)
- In the end, we should all be thankful
- What do we do when we are thankful
- How did Paul respond? (he prayed)
How do we come to understand these things?
- Textbook answer
- Some testimony
What do you think about verse 20 – 23?
- Implicit remind us of this: God has put Jesus far above all else, and we are His body
- Everything that is Jesus, eventually we’ll have that, and we’ll seat on His throne
- Paul ended his prayer there, the grand finale
- Everything is wonderful, and we are part of that
Other questions listed in the original document
· What did God do for us? Look at what God did. List God’s actions (verbs that God performed).
· What is the role of Jesus in our salvation?
· What does the Holy Spirit do?
· What does the word “son” mean to you? Son-ship? Note: Predestined, chosen, inherit. What do these words mean?
How do we respond to all this? How do we react to God’s plan for salvation?