Wk 1 // JACKED // Spiritual Development

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ICEBREAKER

  • Paul’s letter to the Ephesians begins by describing how a person is changed when he or she enters into a relationship with Jesus. Spend a few minutes sharing your own experiences as a group. In what ways are you different than you were before you started following Christ?

INTRODUCTION

In Ephesians 1, Paul described the marvelous spiritual blessings that belong to the church in Jesus Christ. All of these blessings are assured to each believer, for they flow from God’s grace, wisdom, and eternal purpose. Behind each of these blessings is God’s desire that our lives glorify Him.

SERMON RECAP

Spend a few minutes recapping this week's sermon together. Click here to view the sermon notes.

  • What was one takeaway from this week's sermon for you?

  • Were there any stories, ideas, or points that stuck out?

  • Was there anything that challenged you?

READ

Have a volunteer read Ephesians 1:1-2.

  • What images come to your mind when you hear the word “saint”?

  • Is that similar or different to how Paul uses it here?

NOTE
When we hear the word “saint,” we might think of selfless people like Pope Francis, Mother Theresa, or those who never seem to struggle with sin of any kind. But Paul’s use of this word is not dependent on a person’s conduct; rather, it is a term loaded with an understanding of what happens to anyone who comes into Christ. When we come to know Jesus, we are changed at the very core of who we are.

Have a volunteer read Ephesians 1:3-6.

  • Why is it important to know that God intentionally chose you to be part of His family?

  • How does knowing that give you confidence and security in your salvation?

  • What does the fact that God adopted us show us about His nature and character?

NOTE
It’s amazing to think that you have been in the mind and heart of God before the foundation of the world, but that’s exactly what these verses tell us. Because of His great love and mercy, God graciously chose to bring us into His family. Because that choice was based in His character and not our own goodness, we can know that nothing we do will make Him reverse that choice.

Have a volunteer read Ephesians 1:7-12.

  • How does your redemption shape the way you deal with your sin and your struggles?

NOTE
In the case of the believer’s redemption, the price paid was the blood of Jesus (1 Pet. 1:18-19)—referring to His sacrificial death. If you are a Christian, understand that God has redeemed you to provide Himself an inheritance. This is part of what He has planned to accomplish through Jesus Christ. The death of Jesus secured the redemption of sinners. Every time a sinner repents and turns to Christ, that redemption is applied to his or her life.

Have a volunteer read Ephesians 1:13-14.

  • What did Paul say was the Holy Spirit’s function in salvation? How does the Spirit enable you to live a holy and blameless life?

  • If the Holy Spirit is the down payment, what are the remaining promises of our inheritance in God through Christ?

NOTE
Once we repent of our sins and trust Jesus to save us, the Holy Spirit seals our salvation and guarantees we’ll always be God’s children. We can live confidently, knowing our salvation is secure in Christ for all eternity because of the Spirit. The seal of the Spirit shows ownership; we belong to God for eternity. In addition to sealing us to God in salvation, the Holy Spirit also serves as a pledge, or “down payment” from God, guaranteeing that He will finish the redemptive work He began in us at the moment of our salvation (see Philippians 1:6).

Have a final volunteer read Ephesians 1:15-23.

  • What difference does growing in our knowledge of God make in our daily lives?

  • How would you go about your day if you fully understood the power available to you as a child of God? What would look differently about your life?

NOTE
Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian believers shows that God’s will is for all Christians to grow in spiritual insight. Though we might feel powerless in the face of a given situation, with our hearts we see that we share in Christ’s victory.

APPLICATION

  • How does knowing you are adopted by God change your view of yourself and of God?

  • How do you feel about the quality of love of the One who has chosen you? How does this affect your love for others?

  • Which of the spiritual blessings in Christ from this passage do you have the hardest time believing is true for you? Why?

PRAYER

Close in a time of praise, inviting your group members to voice sentence prayers. Begin the prayer time with your own statement of praise, such as “I praise You, God, that I am in Christ, that I am a saint, and that I am blessed.”


Brian Otte