Wk 4 // JACKED // Our Walk With Christ
Think back to your worst experience of a group project, whether it be at work, school, or a volunteer organization. What was it that made this experience so bad?
Think back to your best experience of a group project. What was it that made this experience so good for you? What made it so good for the group as a whole?
If you had to describe what often makes group projects difficult, what would you say some of the factors are?
Group projects are often polarizing—they are either great or terrible experiences. Individual personalities and the challenges of accomplishing goals make for unpredictable situations. In his Letter to the Ephesians, Paul described church life as something like a big group project—everyone must do his or her part in the work of ministry. Previously in Ephesians, Paul described where God was taking the world (Eph 1:9-10); that it’s in and because of Christ and His work that we get to participate in what God is doing (Eph 1:11-23); that this isn’t because of our goodness but God’s grace (Eph 2:8-9); and that we should live in light of who God has made us, and spur those around us to do the same (Eph 2:11-22). When we get to Ephesians 4, we will think through what it means to be “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do” (Eph 2:10). Paul said that if the church is going to be all that she can be, it takes individual Christians doing their part, building up the body, and pressing on to maturity.
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?
Have a volunteer read Ephesians 4:11-13.
In verse 11, Paul introduced some gifts that exist within the body of Christ. Who did Paul say gives those gifts?
How does that change how those with these gifts see themselves and their role?
How did Paul describe the goal for which these gifts were given in verses 12-13?
Paul didn’t give an exhaustive list of spiritual gifts here. In fact, if you look through this list there’s a common thread for all the gifts—they’re all word-based ministry—the witnessing to and application of the gospel. The proclamation and application of the gospel into people’s lives lays the foundations for how we understand who God is, how we relate to Him, and how we relate to those around us. While some in the body are gifted to teach, all are gifted with responsibility.
Have a volunteer read Ephesians 4:14-15.
According to verses 14-15, what did Paul say that responsibility is? To whom are we responsible?
What’s avoided when we do this? What’s gained?
In verses 14-15, Paul noted the importance of spiritual growth and the role God’s Word plays in that growth process. For Paul, maturity as a Christian isn’t something found in isolation; it’s something brought about by God’s Spirit (Eph 3:16-19) as God’s people (the body) live out their calling together. We press on toward maturity by continually growing in the Word and speaking God’s truth to one another. That is our responsibility to one another.
Have a volunteer read Ephesians 4:16.
As Paul finished this section in verse 16, how did he describe the relationship between individual Christians and the body of believers as a whole?
What did he describe as their goal for both the individual and the whole body? How are the two related?
What do you think he meant by “proper working” (some translations say “working properly”)?
In contrast, what would it look like for the individual parts of the body to be “improperly working”?
The challenge we often face as we think about our place within the body is to either misunderstand or underestimate our importance. We might value one individual more for their gifts and talents, or see ourselves as less crucial to the body because we lack certain gifts. But for Paul, the importance of each person is not found in what they can do, but that “there is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:4-6). And because of this truth, each individual is as crucial as another to building the whole body toward maturity in Christ.
Consider the challenges you are facing in your life right now. What truths of the gospel are you tempted to forget? What would it look like for you to speak the truth in love into these situations for each other?
It’s easy to think that those who are paid, or those with official positions, are responsible for the church. How does this passage reshape that idea? What are the ways you most often misunderstand or underestimate your importance within the body of Christ?
Discuss the ways you think God has gifted you, whether through life experiences, formal training, or conviction. What would it look like to exercise these gifts not merely for yourself, but for the good of the body?
Spend some time praying for each other, that we might work toward reminding one another of who we are in Christ together. Pray that, in love, we might be using our gifts, resources, and passions to build one another up into the image of Christ.