Ephesians

 

 

Introduction to a Ladies' Bible Study

Ephesians - A 24 week inductive Bible study

Scripture Paths Bible Studies

By Lisa Hughes -Fall 2021

 

“YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT, SO EAT WELL!”—

 

Hello Valley Heights ladies!

 

O.K, let’s pause for a moment and read this bold print statement together one more time!

As I was leafing through my monthly Costco membership magazine this week, this particular statement that headlined an article on how “healthy eating is linked to a healthy life” captured my attention. In light of preparing an e-mail to send out to you ladies about this year’s bible study, this statement immediately brought to my mind the vivid parallels of physically eating well to spiritually eating well.  My curiosity about this statement caused me to dig a little deeper into its meaning. Though the exact source of this statement is unknown, what I learned is that it has most often been used to mean, “the food we eat has a bearing on our mental and physical conditions.” In short, on the physical plain, what we eat ultimately affects us mentally and physically. Without a doubt, this is also true for us on the spiritually plain. The kind of spiritual food we “eat” or feed ourselves with, will also ultimately affect us mentally, emotionally, and physically.

 

Ladies, there is such a beautiful lesson here for us to learn—We must eat well.  Healthy eating both physically and spiritually are clearly linked to a healthy physical life and to a healthy spiritual life!  What we choose to daily feed not only our bodies but also our souls will indeed affect us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  We will become what we eat. To become physically and spiritually healthy and fit and serviceable for the Lord, we need to daily eat a healthy balanced diet of good food not only from our grocery list but from God Himself within the pages of Scripture. We must learn to eat well. We need to consistently and daily feed ourselves not only with a variety of life-sustaining, nutrient dense foods physically but we need to feed our souls consistently and daily with the life-sustaining, nourishing food from the Word of God. This is critical for our overall health!

 

I can’t help but think of 1 Timothy 4:6, which says, “In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.  One thing that stood out to me in Pastor MacArthur’s Commentary about this verse is this…he says, “Continual feeding on the truths of Scripture is essential to the spiritual health of all Christians…” Though Paul within the context of these verses was addressing mandates for spiritual leaders, like Timothy, we too who are followers of Jesus Christ can receive the healthy benefits from divine truth for our physical and spiritual lives. As we daily feed ourselves with the Word of God; passionately studying it, prayerfully meditating on it, purposefully memorizing it, and putting it into practice then we too as good servants of Jesus Christ will not only grow spiritually ourselves but will in turn help others to constantly be nourished on the words of faith and of sound doctrine so they too can grow spiritually.

 

Healthy eating is not only linked to a healthy life but to healthy growth! I don’t know about you, but I want to become more physically and spiritually healthy this year! Don’t you?  As God’s child I want to grow! Like a newborn babe, I long for the pure milk of the Word, so that by it I may grow in respect to salvation because I have endlessly tasted the kindness of the Lord in my life (1 Peter 2:2-3). How about you?

 

Ladies, no matter what season of life you are in, though it can be filled with many duties, distractions, daydreams, distresses, dark days, deceptions and defeats, one thing I know is this, we can by the grace of God and the enabling of His Spirit learn to delight in our Merciful Master and be devoted to being in the Word of God daily.  Do you desire to be spiritually healthy? Are you desiring to physically eat well and spiritually eat well in the months ahead?

 

COME and join me this Fall to start one of Lisa Hughes’ in-depth, verse by verse Bible studies on the book of Ephesians!  Lisa is a dear friend and sister in Christ who has been faithfully and prayerfully studying, teaching and writing inductive (verse by verse) Bible studies for more than 30 years.

On her website scripturepaths.com Lisa’s heart beats with mine when she says in her bio, “To me, there’s nothing quite so sweet as watching other women fall in love with the Lord more deeply as they get to know Him in their study of the Scriptures.”

 

“YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT” ---This coming year let’s together feed our souls and grow from the life-saving, life-sanctifying, life-sustaining, life-stabilizing and life- strengthening food from the 155 verses of this little letter! I am convinced that we are all going to be well fed from this study this year! And I can only pray that as you and I feed ourselves well, we will desire to feed others with the nourishment that we have received from this study! As one theologian once wrote, “It’s in the study of the Scriptures that we grow in our knowledge of God and are transformed into His likeness.”  To God be the glory!

 

This year we will be giving two options for our ladies Bible study:

 

Starting Tuesday, September 14th  in the morning from 9:30a.m to 11:30a.m we will be spending time in prayer, praise and learning some practical application from the book of Ephesians. (Though I would encourage those of you who desire to study the book of Ephesians more thoroughly, the binder for the 24 week Inductive Bible Study is not required for the morning study) Location to soon be announced.

 

Also starting, Tuesday, September 14th from 7:30p.m to 9:00p.m, the evening Bible study group will be spending time at the church building working through more thoroughly an inductive study on Ephesians.

For anyone who would like to join me before our study begins at 7:30, I will be at the church building a little earlier at 7:00 p.m.  This window of time will be available for fellowship and prayer together.

 

Binders with the study materials will be available to purchase on Sunday, August 29th and Sunday, September 5th. The cost will be $15.00 per binder.

 

“Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore, my soul observes them.  The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.  I opened my mouth wide and panted, for I longed for Your commandments.  Turn to me and be gracious to me, after Your manner with those who love Your name.  Establish my footsteps in Your Word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.”

(Psalm 119:129-133NASB)

 

With love and prayers and gratitude filling my heart for you all,

Christyn

 

Sermons on Ephesians

By John MacArthur

The Rich Blessings of the Gospel - Ephesians 1:1-3 - Mar 21, 2021

The Greatest of All Spiritual Blessings - Ephesians 1:3-6 - Apr 11, 2021

The Wonder of Redemption in Christ - Ephesians 1:7-10 - Apr 18, 2021

The Believer’s Glorious Inheritance - Ephesians 1:11-14 - Apr 25, 2021

Our Great Savior, Part 1 - Ephesians 1:15–23 - Aug 8, 2021

Our Great Savior, Part 2 - Ephesians 1:15–23 - Aug 15, 2021

Gospel Grace: From Death to Life - Ephesians 2:1-10 - Aug 22, 2021

The Church Is One Body, Part 1 - Ephesians 2:11-22 - Aug 29, 2021

The Church Is One Body, Part 2 - Ephesians 2:11-22 - Sep 5, 2021

The Mystery of Christian Unity, Part 1 - Ephesians 3:1-14 - Nov 21, 2021

The Mystery of Christian Unity, Part 2 - Ephesians 3:1-14 - Nov 28, 2021

Preaching the Unfathomable Riches of Christ - Ephesians 3:7-11 - Dec 5, 2021

A Prayer for Spiritual Power - Ephesians 3:12-21 - Dec 12, 2021

Sanctification: The Honorable Obsession - Ephesians 4:1 - Jan 2, 2022

Invisible Unity Made Visible - Ephesians 4:2 - Jan 9, 2022

The Strength of Gentleness - Ephesians 4:2 - Jan 23, 2022

The Priority of Unity - Ephesians 4:2-6 - Jan 30, 2022

One Lord, One Faith, One God: The Exclusivity of Christianity - Ephesians 4:4-6 - Feb 6, 2022

The True Measure of an Authentic Church - Ephesians 4:7-10 - Feb 13, 2022

Perfecting the Saints - Ephesians 4:11-16 - Feb 20, 2022

What’s Wrong with Everybody? - Ephesians 4:17-24 - Mar 6, 2022

Totally Transformed - Ephesians 4:17-24 - Mar 13, 2022

Serious Worship and Self-Examination - Ephesians 4:17-24 - Mar 11, 2022

The Disastrous Sin of Lying - Ephesians 4:25 - Apr 10, 2022

The Walk of the True Christian, Part 1 - Ephesians 4:25-32 - Apr 24, 2022

The Walk of the True Christian, Part 2 - Ephesians 4:25-32 - May 1, 2022

The Walk of the True Christian, Part 3 - Ephesians 4:25-32 - May 8, 2022

The Walk of the True Christian, Part 4 - Ephesians 4:31-32 - May 15, 2022

The Love That Forgives - Ephesians 5:1-2 - Jun 5, 2022

The Perversion of Love - Ephesians 5:3-7 - Jun 12, 2022

From Darkness to Light - Ephesians 5:8-14 - Jun 19, 2022

Do Not Be Foolish - Ephesians 5:15-17 - Aug 28, 2022

Drunk or Spirit-Filled?, Part 1 - Ephesians 5:18 - Sep 4, 2022

Drunk or Spirit-Filled?, Part 2 - Ephesians 5:18 - Sep 11, 2022

Drunk or Spirit-Filled?, Part 3 - Ephesians 5:18-20 - Sep 25, 2022

(to be continued..)

Ephesians Recap

SCRIPTURE PATHS BIBLE STUDIES- By Lisa Hughes

Ephesians – A 24 Week Inductive Bible Study

Fall/Winter 2021 – Winter/Spring 2022

 

What is the author’s purpose in writing this book? Having come to the end of an in-depth bible study of the book of Ephesians this past year, I thought I would do a brief overview of the six chapters of this “Prison Epistle” to see the apostle Paul’s reasons, for writing this letter. We will not only look at Paul’s heart toward the church in Ephesus but also God’s heart towards the church today.

(I have added some practical biblical lessons in this overview that we stopped to meditate upon as we journeyed through this epistle. Also, I summarized each chapter with two words and a key phrase from each chapter for the sake of memorizing chapter themes.) Grab a cup of tea and review with me!

 

Chapter One summarized in two words: “IN HIM”

We see in this chapter: The “riches of His grace” defined (articulated).

Ephesians 1:7 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”

 

Paul’s desire for the church then and God’s desire for the church now is:

 

-to seek to understand the triune God’s roles in our salvation and sanctification

-to savor the Gospel and ALL of the spiritual blessings that are ours in Jesus Christ

-to submit ourselves to pray that we would know the hope of His calling in our life

-to settle our hearts in knowing that we possess an amazing eternal inheritance

-to specifically know the surpassing greatness of His power at work in our lives

-to see how He has exalted Christ over everything/everyone including His church

-to solidify in our hearts that “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12NASB)

 

Chapter Two summarized in two words: “BUT GOD”

We see in this chapter: “The surpassing riches of His grace” detailed (elaborated).

Ephesians 2:8 “so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

 

Paul’s desire for the church then and God’s desire for the church now is:

 

-to soberly remember our spiritual deadness from which we were redeemed

-to sense the magnitude of His boundless mercy and grace put on display

-to set our minds on glorifying Him because of His limitless love towards us

-to saturate our hearts with His will: Jew and Gentile being joint heirs in Christ

-to see that because of the cross and the blood of Jesus those who were at war can now be at peace with one another

-to strengthen our witness in the world by preserving unity with one another

-to solidify in our hearts that there is “one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5NASB)

 

Chapter Three summarized in two words: “THE MYSTERY”

We see in this chapter: “The unfathomable riches of Christ” declared (confirmed).

Ephesians 3:8 “To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ.”

 

Paul’s desire for the church then and God’s desire for the church now is:

 

-to shine forth the Gospel in word and deed…come what may…

-to see that Paul was not a prisoner of his circumstances but a prisoner of Christ

-to shape our understanding that we can glorify Him in the midst of our trials

-to set before us His glorious eternal plan for bringing Jew and Gentile together

-to spell out the mystery of His purpose for the church: to glorify Him as one body

-to speak to Him in prayer: willingly, confidently, assuredly, boldly, & respectfully

-to savor the reality that’s His love for us is vast beyond all measure

-to solidify in our hearts “the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Romans 11:33NASB)

 

In this chapter, we saw that Paul was a prisoner with a purpose. He knew that He was called for a purpose. What about you? Do you know what your purpose in life is? Let’s see how the Word of God directs our thoughts in this regard…

 

My Biblical Goals for Life Should be:

-To make it my aim to please the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:10) (Colossians 1:10)

-To be resolved to live for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)

 

To glorify God is a vertical focus! Pastor Steve Lawson states that, “One of the heart cries of the reformation was “semper reformanda” meaning always reforming. That is believers must be constantly seeking to conform to what they believe and how they live more closely to the unchanging standard of God’s Word.”

 

God’s Goals for My Life are:

-To conform me more into the image of His Son Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29)

-To teach me and help me be satisfied in Him above all else (Psalm 27:4) (Psalm 73:25)

 

What precious and purposeful God-glorifying goals for our lives that you and I can live by with the enablement of God’s Spirit!!

 

Chapter Four summarized in two words: “ONE BODY”

We see in this chapter: “The body of Christ” demonstrated (unified).

Ephesians 4:12 “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”

 

Paul’s desire for the church then and God’s desire for the church now is:

 

-to surrender our lives completely to the Lordship of Jesus Christ as Paul did

-to see how our riches in Christ should balance our responsibilities in Christ

-to submit to God’s plans for the structure and the purpose of the body of Christ

-to serve Christ and His followers by using our spiritual gifts to build up the body

-to seek how to walk in unity, to walk in purity, and how to walk redemptively

-to stimulate our growth towards holiness by being kind and tender-hearted to all

-to solidify in our hearts that we are to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” (Romans 13:14 NASB)

 

In this chapter, we saw that Paul appealed for believers to no longer walk in their old ways. He reminded them that they lay aside the old self and put on the new self when they submitted their lives to the Lordship of Christ. Paul exhorted them to be renewed in the spirit of their minds. We formulated a scriptural plan of action for daily renewing our minds with some “R’s”…

 

By the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us we must:

-Recognize our sinful thought patterns/thoughts void of God and His truth

-Realize that these sinful thoughts dishonor God

-Run to God in prayer and ask Him to alert us through His Holy Spirit the minute the negative thought pattern begins

-Repent of these negative and sinful thought patterns

-Rifle them to death (put them to death) immediately

-Refuse to think them (No is not sufficient by itself. By an act of our will with the enablement of the Holy Spirit we must choose to say no to that negative, sinful selfish thought.) We must choose to stop the negative habit of thinking.

-Redirect our thoughts. We must provide a new course of thinking.

-Replace our negative inward and self-focused thoughts patterns with upward God-honoring, God-glorifying thought patterns based on scriptural truths

-Renew our mind by putting on biblical, righteous, hopeful, thankful, and trusting thoughts

 

Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit lovingly commanded the church then and God continues to lovingly command the church now to not grieve the Holy Spirit of God who dwells within us. By God’s enabling power and grace we can renew our minds daily and redirect our thoughts in ways that please Him instead of grieving Him.

 

Chapter Five summarized in two words: “BE SUBJECT”

We see in this chapter: The “fear of Christ” described (established and applied).

Ephesians 5:21 “and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”

 

Paul’s desire for the church then and God’s desire for the church now is:

 

-to see the necessity of being imitators of God by walking in love and forgiveness

-to saturate our whole hearts in understanding the will of God for our lives

-to simply look to Christ’s life and example and to surrender our wills to His

-to stop sinning, to walk as children of Light, and to learn what pleases the Lord

-to seriously consider how to walk wisely and to be controlled by His Spirit

-to seek to live out a Spirit-filled life in our God ordained roles in our marriages

-to stand in awe of how the husband/wife relationship is compared to Christ and His relationship with the Church

-to solidify in our hearts that we are to “be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead…” (1 Peter 3:8-9NASB)

The study of Ephesians thus far has given us the perfect context for understanding marriage as God designed it! Yes! God beautifully designed marriage between one man and one woman to put His glorious Gospel on display. Ladies, God desires for us to have a Spirit-filled(controlled) marriage. But in order for us to have a Spirit-filled marriage, we as wives must first yield to the Spirit and allow Him to control us. How do we do this? Well, we can start by daily reminding ourselves to be:

 

In wonder of our Riches in Christ –(Ephesians 1:1-14)

In wonder of our Resources in Christ –(Eph. 1:15-19)

In wonder of the Rule and Reign of Christ –(Eph. 1:20-22)

In wonder of God’s Redeeming love and grace –(Eph. 2:1-10)

In wonder of God’s provision of Reconciliation –(Eph. 2:11-18)

In wonder of God’s Revealed priorities for those in His Household –(Eph.2:19-22)

In wonder of the Revelation of God’s Mystery –(Eph. 3:1-13)

In wonder of the Radical power of God at work in us –(Eph. 3:14-21)

 

After learning about who our Great God is and all of the spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ, Paul pleads with us believers to walk in a manner worthy of our calling (Eph. 4:1). Paul wants us to understand not only our Riches in Christ but our Responsibilities in Christ. He wants us to balance our beliefs with our behavior…to balance our doctrine with our duties…to understand that our position in Christ motivates our practice…to make it our aim to please the Lord with all of our thoughts, words, actions and reactions.

 

Because our lives have been divinely transformed by grace through faith by the Holy Spirit of God through the living Word of God, Paul exhorts us to walk worthy of the One who called us:

 

We are to walk in unity together –(Eph.4:1-16)

We are to walk in purity together –(Eph.4:17-24)

We are to walk redemptively together –(Eph. 4:25-32)

We are to walk in love together –(Eph.5:1-6)

We are to walk in the Light together –(Eph. 5:7-14)

We are to walk in Wisdom together –(Eph. 5:15-21)

 

Before we moved on into chapter 6 of our Ephesians study, I wanted to put something together for you to help you and I see how our study thus far creates a beautiful biblical framework for why we are to submit to our own husbands “as to the Lord”. As husbands and wives we are called to walk in the Will of the Lord together –(Eph. 5:22-32) for His glory! And when we have a Spirit-filled marriage, by God’s grace our marriages will not only produce unity, harmony and thankfulness but will display to a dying world, a beautiful picture of the Gospel!

 

 

Chapter Six summarized in two words: “STAND FIRM”

We see in this chapter we are to: “Be strong in the Lord” -this is a decree (proclaimed and our position).

Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”

 

Paul’s desire for the church then and God’s desire for the church now is:

 

-to show the world the beautiful picture of the family as God has ordained it

-to see that whether we are employed or not we are the Lord’s bondservants

-to spiritually be prepared to defeat the daily temptations that come our way

-to stand firm against the devil’s schemes by clothing ourselves with God’s armor

-to stimulate growth and godliness and to live victoriously in our walk with Christ

-to strengthen our witness in the world as citizens of His eternal kingdom

-to show us the eternal purpose of the body of Christ: to glorify His great name

And finally…

-to solidify in our hearts that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6NKJV)

 

Ladies, Paul’s closing words in his letter to the Ephesians in chapter 6 verses 23 and 24 beautifully summarizes the peace, love with faith, and grace, which are ours from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The themes of peace, love with faith and grace were clearly interwoven as Paul poured out his heart for the believers in Ephesus. Though I only scratched the surface in my brief overview of the six chapters of this prison epistle, it is my prayer that you would know that your riches in Christ are based on His grace, His peace, His will, His pleasure and purpose, His glory, His calling, His power, His strength, His love and His Holy Spirit!

 

Proverbs 28:20a states that “A faithful man will abound with blessings.” We saw this to be true in Paul’s life and it can be true in our own lives too. Because of the fullness of blessings that are ours in Christ, may we be women who are fearlessly faithful to live and to share the Gospel of grace and hope to all who come across our path. To God be the glory!

 

With love and prayers and gratitude filling my heart for you all,

Christyn

 

 

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