Passage: Ephesians 1:3-14
Guide for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection
It’s easy to see in our society the brokenness and disunity among us. We wonder what could possibly help bring us back together. Paul declares the “mystery of [God’s] will” in Ephesians 1:9-10, which is that all things would be reconciled through the blood of Christ.
The aim of the reconciliation is to unite all things in Christ – things in heaven and on earth. This means that, in the end we won’t escape earth and the things that God has created, but God intends for creation to be restored back to him through Christ. God’s grace intends to destroy the evil things that oppose this unification and bring together the heavenly and earthly things all under his reign.
The grounds for Christ’s reconciliation is redemption through his blood. By the death of Christ, his life has been exchanged for ours. At the center of Christian community is the substitution of Christ on our behalf, which compels God’s people to live out this same sacrificial exchange. Our community is different because of Christ who holds us together by his love.
Thus, we must turn to Christ as the center of our lives and community since – as Pastor Bobby said – “he is all the heaven on earth that we need.”
- The Aim of Christ’s Reconciliation (1:10)
- The Grounds for Christ’s Reconciliation (1:7)
Group Discussion & Personal Reflection Guide
Re-read the passage (Ephesians 1:3-14)
The Aim of Christ’s Reconciliation (1:10)
Q) What are some commonly expressed ideas about what heaven will be?
Q) What does Ephesians 1:10 indicate is God’s final goal and how does that alter some of those common views of heaven?
Q) Bobby gave some examples of how we can begin to reunite the earthly and heavenly things (e.g. praying in the midst of stressful math homework and dreaming about an eternally renewed co-worker). How else can we practically begin to bear witness to the reunification of the earthly and heavenly things?
The Grounds for Christ’s Reconciliation (1:7)
Q) Re-read Ephesians 1:7. How does thinking about the death and blood of Christ as an exchange out of love help you better understand God’s goal of reconciling all things?
Q) What can you imagine a Christian community would look like that was regularly living out the principles of substitution and sacrificial love?
Q) What gifts, passions, experiences, and skills has God given you that you might use to serve others?
Q) Take some time to reflect on how you might be trying to create your own “heaven on earth.” What might you be making central in your life? What would change if you put Christ at the center and started living out of this idea of exchange and putting yourself out for others?
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?
Spend time praying for yourselves, our church community, the North Shore community, and our nation and world—particularly those most vulnerable.