Questions for Personal Reflection and Group Discussion
Read Ephesians 3:1-13 (ESV):
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
- How is Christianity different from other religions?
- What is the mysterious message of the Christian gospel? Why does Paul call this a mystery? What does he mean by that?
- The Essene approach to waiting for “the age to come” was withdrawal. The Zealot approach was to use force to make it come. The Sadducees chose the path of compromise. What are some parallels to these three approaches in Christians today?
- Why did Jesus reject all three of these approaches? What was Jesus’s way?
- What are the implications of the fact that “the present age” and “the age to come” are currently in a period where they overlap?
- What is the mysterious power of the Christian gospel? What was mysterious about it? How did this power energize Paul’s life and ministry?
- How does Jesus’s kind of power dismantle the powers of this world?
- How can we as Christians resist living in the way of the powers and principalities of this world?
- The New Testament indicates that having an effective witness is best when done as a community, not just as individuals. Explain what is meant by this, and talk about how we can live this out as a church or as a small group.
- What did you sense God saying to you through this passage and this message?