Questions for Personal Reflection and Group Discussion
Read Ephesians 2:19-22:
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (ESV)
In this passage, God gives us three pictures of what the church should be:
- Fellow citizens in God’s Kingdom – v.19
- Members of God’s family – v. 19
- A holy temple to God – vs. 20-22
Fellow citizens in God’s Kingdom:
- What privileges does a citizen have compared to an alien? What does it mean to be a citizen of God’s Kingdom? What does this illustration communicate about the Church?
- During the time that the New Testament was written, the Church struggled with division between Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles). Read the verses just prior to this passage – Ephesians 2:11-18. What were some differences between Jews and Gentiles that caused friction in the early church? “Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
- Differences among Christians today can still potentially cause divisions in the church. What can we do to avoid division as a church?
- What is our source of unity according to Ephesians 2?
Members of God’s family:
- What are the implications of being chosen and adopted by God into his family?
- What is special about the relationships in a family? How does family love differ from other kinds of love?
A holy temple to God:
- What does it mean that Jesus is the Church’s cornerstone? What are the implications of this?
- What are the implications of Paul’s temple building metaphor for the church… horizontally – that is, for our relationships with one another? …vertically – that is, for our relationship with God?
- Paul compared the Church to a building – but not just any building – he said we are to be a holy temple for God. What is “holiness”? Why is it so important for the church to pursue holiness?
- How do we grow toward holiness? What is our part in becoming holy?
- What are some reasons why churches are not everything they should be?
- When the local church is functioning well, it is beautiful. Describe a church you’ve been part of that lived out many of the characteristics that God desires for His Church.
- What did you sense God saying to you through this message?