Centered: “Christ is the Center”

Passage: Ephesians 1:3-14
Guide for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

Sermon Summary

In this divided time, it’s more important than ever to remember what unites us as Christians, which is Christ. He is the center of our faith, and indeed the center all creation.

In Ephesians 1:3-14, Paul gloriously unpacks the riches of the Christ-centered gospel for the Ephesians to celebrate. First, these verses teach that Christ himself is at the center of our gospel message. Through the repetition of the phrase “in him” and “in Christ” Paul reminds us that the blessings of the gospel—election, redemption, forgiveness, adoption—all come to us by virtue of our union with Christ. At the heart of the gospel is Christ choosing to unite himself to us, his church, in a loving, marital relationship, and sharing all that he is and has with us.

Christ is also at the center of our community. In this passage, Paul is addressing the Ephesians as a whole community, reminding them of the great truths of Christ’s self-giving love that has made them into a community in the first place. Remembering this helps us to form strong, others-centered bonds with one another, both as a church, and in our community as well.

Finally, Christ is the center of our mission. God’s goal for his creation is ultimately to “unite all things in Christ” (1:10)—to reunite everything in heaven and on earth under Christ’s gracious reign. In the end, the healing our broken world needs can be found only in Jesus, the one who “sums up” everything in himself.

Sermon Outline

  • Christ is the Center of the Gospel (1:3-14)
  • Christ is the Center of our Community (1:3-14)
  • Christ is the Center of our Mission (1:9-10)

Group Discussion & Personal Reflection Guide

Re-read the passage (Ephesians 1:3-14)

Christ is the Center of the Gospel (1:3-14)

Q) INTRO: These verses clearly show that Christ himself is the center of our faith. What are some other things that people may view as being most central to Christianity? (NOTE: You may want to list out some practical examples, such as ‘a list or rules’, or ‘a certain political agenda’).

Q) Re-read the passage and notice how many times Paul says things like “in Christ,” “through Christ,” or “in him.” What are some of the “spiritual blessings” that Paul says believers have “in Christ”?

Q) Pastor Bobby reminded us how all of the blessings we receive as Christians—election, adoption, forgiveness, etc—only come to us by virtue of our being united to Christ. What do you think happens when we forget this truth? What kind of people do we become?

Q) Re-read Ephesians 5:31-32. What is Paul saying here about marriage? What is he saying about the gospel? How does this comparison shape the way you think about the gospel?

Christ is the Center of our Community (1:3-14)

Q) These verses are spoken to the whole Ephesian community, showing how the gospel creates a community of people formed around celebrating the self-giving love of Jesus. What do you think happens to church communities who celebrate something other than Jesus? What kind of communities do they become? Have you ever experienced this in your own life?

Q) Pastor Bobby used the phrases “weavers of community” and “rippers of community.” “Weavers” are those who will disadvantage themselves in order to strengthen the fabric of the community, and “rippers” are those who will disadvantage the community for the sake of their own advantage. How has this time of COVID given you new opportunities to be a “weaver” or a “ripper”? How have you done? How does Jesus’ example help motivate us to be “weavers”?

Q) What is one way you can be a “weaver” of community, in these next two weeks?

Christ is the Center of our Mission (1:9-10)

Q) In verses 9-11, Paul says that God’s ultimate purpose is to “unite all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth”? What do you think he means by this? How would you put this truth in your own language?

Q) Paul is clearly teaching that our only hope for true unity is Christ—all things will be “united” or “brought together” in Christ. What are some other ways that we attempt to bring unity to our communities? Why will these attempts ultimately come up short, if Christ is left out?

 

Additional Application Questions

Q) How else would you like to engage with God this week?

Q) How can you tangibly care for those in your community this week, both inside and outside of the church?

Prayer

Spend time praying for yourselves, our church community, the North Shore community, and our nation and world—particularly those most vulnerable.

 
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