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Path | Coming to Believe in Jesus | April 10

Review: In Ephesians 1:1?14 Paul pours out praise to God for the lavish blessings that believers experience in Christ. Included among these generous blessings is the privilege of knowing God’s plan for the entire universe! What is this glorious plan (v. 10)? How did your knowledge of this plan affect the way you lived in the past week?

Background: The book of Ephesians is included in the category of Paul’s letters known as the “Prison Letters” or “Captivity Epistles,” because in it, as in Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, Paul specifically states that he is in prison at the time of writing (Ephesians 6:20). Although Paul does not identify the location of this imprisonment, there is strong scholarly consensus that this letter was written while he was imprisoned in Rome (Acts 28:30?31).

Pray: Thank you, Lord God, for the generous blessings that you have given to us in Christ. Help us learn how to live day by day in the light of those blessings. Amen

Read: Ephesians 1:15?23

Discussion:

1.     How does the opening phrase “For this reason . . . ” (verse 15) connect what has preceded in vv. 3?14 with what follows in vv. 15?16? In other words, what is Paul’s response to his enumeration of the blessings that his readers have received?

2.    What is Paul’s basic request in all his prayers for the recipients of this letter (v. 17)?

Note that Paul is praying here for more than growth in knowledge about God; he is praying that they may know God better—personally, in their own experience.

3.    Then, in the context of their personal knowledge of God, Paul prays that they will know three specific truths (“I pray also . . . ”). List the three realities that Paul prays that they will know in increasing measure (vv. 18?19a):

a)   

b)   

c)   

These three facts relate respectively to the past, the future, and the present.

4.    Paul’s prayer for their current situation focuses on God’s power (v. 19b?21). To emphasize the magnitude of the power that is currently and constantly available to Christ’s followers, Paul describes what that power has already accomplished. What three acts did God’s power accomplish, according to vv. 20?22?

a)   

b)   

c)   

How do these achievements compare to the areas in your life in which you need God’s power?

5.    How does Paul depict the relationship of Christ to the church in vv. 22?23?

Note the order: God made Christ the head of everything “for the church.” What difference does it make to you to know that the head of the church is also the head of the universe?

Application:

6.    Of the three areas of knowledge for which Paul prays for his readers (vv. 18?19a), which one stands out most to you at this time, and why?

7.    How could Paul’s prayer in this passage serve as a model for your prayers for other believers, including the members of your small group? Is this the way we typically pray for each other? If not, why not?

This week pay attention to when you start to worry. Remind yourself that the Creator God of the universe will take care of you. Redirect your energy to investing in God’s kingdom.

Pray: Pray for each other by repeating aloud in unison Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:17?19:

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you
       the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know
       the hope to which he has called you,
       the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,
       and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Amen.