Questions for Personal Reflection and Discussion
Read Ephesians 1:3-14:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
- There are many potential ways to respond to the question of who you are. Karl Marx said, “You are what you do. You’re a worker. You are your job.” Sigmund Freud said, “You are your desires.” Postmodernists say, “You are your social location. At 7am, you’re a dad making breakfast. At 9am, you’re a financial planner. At 5pm you’re a friend at the Y.” Materialists say, “You are your genetics.”
How does the source of a person’s identity impact (1) how that person views themselves and (2) how they live?
- God created humanity with a plan in mind. What was driving God as he created the world and particularly us humans?
- What are the implications of us being adopted by God himself as sons and daughters (see Ephesians 1:5)? What difference does it make in your day-to-day life that God the Father chose you out of love? How does it impact the way you face challenging situations in life?
- What do you think Paul is communicating about the Ephesian Christians when he calls them “saints” (Ephesians 1:1)?
- Explain the concept of “redemption” from Scripture. Using the imagery of redemption, talk about what Jesus did for us.
- The Heidelberg Catechism asks: “What is your only comfort in life and death?” and answers: “That I am not my own but belong – body and soul, in life and in death – to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.” One would expect a person to feel stifled or limited by belonging to someone else, so why doesn’t it feel that way for those who belong to Christ? Why is it actually a comfort?
- Talk about the role of the Holy Spirit as Paul describes it here.
- How does it feel to know that God has loved you for all eternity, that you belong to Jesus, who chose and redeemed you out of love, and that the Spirit is sealing you as God’s possession?
- What are some ways that these truths could change the way you go through life?
- What did you sense God saying to you through this passage and this message?