you as prayer warrior


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Greetings Sojourner in Faith, In any kind of athletic participation physical fitness is critical to overall success. Athletes spend far more time off the field preparing for their time on the field in order to compete swifter, higher and stronger. Any serious athlete knows their work out must include focused effort on strengthening their core. These exercises target specific muscle groups from the back and abdominals to the pelvis. With growing strength in these areas, athletes experience not only better performance, but also suffer fewer injuries and increase balance and stability. The title of this study is “Core Strength.” It is my intention that as we study through Paul’s epistle to the believers in Ephesus that we will strengthen our spiritual core by spending time with the Master Personal Trainer. He wrote about a variety of “core issues” for followers of Jesus like how significant the church is in God’s great plan for us. He also wrote about the importance of Christian conduct and God’s great plan for the Christian family. Over the course of these weeks we will study in depth many of the core issues that believers need to not only understand, but diligently live out today. Whether you have known Jesus as the Lord of your life for many decades, are brand new to the faith, or are exploring what kind of life a true follower of Jesus is called to be, this study series is designed for you. By the conclusion of this series, we should know better how to maintain the core of our faith as we live it out in this generation. As our proficiency in these areas increases, we will be stronger, able to achieve greater heights, suffer fewer spiritual setbacks, and find far greater stability in our journey of faith. Please join me as we look deeply into this letter that has so many appropriate things to say today. With sincere blessings, Pastor Daniel

Core Strength – Time with the Master Personal Trainer Outline ..................................................................................2 Day Five Workout .................................................................3 Week One Ephesians 1:1-14 ................................................4 Week Two Ephesians 1:15-23 ............................................14 Week Three Ephesians 2:1-10............................................24 Week Four Ephesians 2:11-2:22.........................................35 Week Five Ephesians 3:1-13 ..............................................46 Week Six Ephesians 3:14-21 ..............................................57 Week Seven Ephesians 4:1-16 ...........................................68 Week Eight Ephesians 4:17-32 ...........................................82 Week Nine Ephesians 5:1-21..............................................95 Week Ten Ephesians 5:22-33 ...........................................112 Week Eleven Ephesians 6:1-9 ..........................................131 Week Twelve Ephesians 6:10-24......................................143 Contributing Editors ..........................................................155 Outline I. Salutation (1:1, 2) II. God’s Purpose for the Church (1:3–3:13) A. Predestination in Christ (1:3–6a) B. Redemption in Christ (1:6b-10) C. Inheritance in Christ (1:11–14) D. Resources in Christ (1:15–23) E. New Life in Christ (2:1–10) F. Unity in Christ (2:11–3:13) III. God’s Fullness for the Church (3:14–21) IV. God’s Plan for Faithful Living in the Church (4:1–6) V. God’s Son Endows and Builds the Church (4:7–16) VI. God’s Pattern and Principles for Members of the Church (4:17–32) 2

VII. God’s Standards for Faithfulness in the Church (5:1–21) A. Walking in Love (5:1–7) B. Living in Light (5:8–14) C. Walking in Wisdom and Sobriety (5:15–18a) D. Filled with God’s Spirit (5:18b-21) VIII. God’s Standards for Authority and Submission in the Church (5:22–6:9) A. Husbands and Wives (5:22–33) B. Parents and Children (6:1–4) C. Employers and Employees (6:5–9) IX. God’s Provision for His Children’s Spiritual Battles (6:10– 17) A. the Believer’s Warfare (6:10–13) B. the Believer’s Armor (6:14–17) X. God’s Appeal for Prayer in the Church (6:18–20) XI. Benediction (6:21–24) Day Five Workout Since our sermon series is titled “Core Strength – Time with the Master Personal Trainer”, each week in Day Five we offer a “spiritual workout” taking a verse from Pastor Daniel’s selected passage and dividing it into three “exercise routines:”  The Warm Up  The Workout  The Cool Down – T4T You’ll recognize “T4T” as the “Training for Trainers” discipleship model we learned from Pastor Ying Kai when he came to preach at Easthaven. We are to be disciples and not church-goers. So this segment puts “shoe leather” to the lessons and trains us as individual Disciples of Christ to take the Truths we’ve learned to those non-Believers living within our personal circle of influence. Christ commands us to “go.” This segment will help you become intentional about sharing with the lost. May the Lord bless and sustain you through your study of His Word! 3

Text and Outline: Week One Week One Ephesians 1:1-14 I. Salutation (1:1, 2) II. God’s Purpose for the Church (1:3–3:13) A. Predestination in Christ (1:3–6a) B. Redemption in Christ (1:6b-10) C. Inheritance in Christ (1:11–14) Begin this week’s study in prayer. Ask the Father to illuminate the passage so as to guide you into a deeper understanding and to inspire your walk among the lost. In the space below write your thoughts about the Bible meaning of the words predestination, redemption and inheritance.

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Week One/Day One Salutation (1:1, 2)

Read verses one and two. So what can we learn from a greeting? Well for one thing not only does Paul openly identify himself as the author of this letter, but he states plainly his title, or “office” as an Apostle. What is the difference between an Apostle and a Disciple? Look again at our text. Make note below of how Paul’s Apostleship came about. What are the differences between his calling and ours?

Here then is a Truth to consider. People caught up in the world system are constantly searching for meaning and significance. A lack of purpose in life is often cited in suicide notes. But the worth and value of the Believer is clearly evidenced in the Father’s explicit act of relationship by an act of His will. (We will discuss the role of your free will in days two and four of this week’s lesson.) And once the Most High God has asserted His perfect will, He will never abandon His work in you (please read Romans 11:29.) In times of stress and strain, He will remain faithful to guide you (please read 1 Thessalonians 5:24). You are His. One final thought from the text. To whom is this letter written? Paul writes to the saints (true believers, literally holy ones). But note his codicil: “who are faithful in Christ Jesus.” The promises, exhortations, and Truths in this epistle are not given to simple “church goers” but are offered to “disciples”; to those who are working out their daily walk “in fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). Stop to consider your personal faithfulness to Walk. 5

Week One/Day Two Predestination in Christ (1:3–6a)

In these verses we consider a very difficult concept for unbelievers within your circle of influence. Why does God adopt only Believers into His family and not everyone? Why would a loving Creator sentence anyone to eternal, unquenchable flames? One starting place you may consider addressing this common (and valid) objection is to bring focus to the concept of ultimate Truth. Much of what shades modern thinking is the assumed right to individual morality; that the standard of measure for behavior resides with each person. This false position might be approached by sharing Truth regarding God as Creator. He exists outside our moral reasoning; His thoughts not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). He exists independently and His authority over what He made (you and me!) is nicely illustrated by the potter and clay word picture – Isaiah 29:16, 45:9, 64:8. And it was by asserting this Authority that He imbued each human with the power to choose. He could have made us robots to act predictably (and well) at all times. But instead He gave us personal willpower. We can choose against Him, against Perfection; against what He (in His sovereign authority) establishes as the universal “right” and “wrong” applied to His handiwork. And just as we possess an innate sense of fair play – that unfairness or an injustice should be corrected – so too in the heavenly realm, offenses will not go unaddressed. Assume you shared this simple approach thus far with a lost person. What direction would you take the discussion from this point? Perhaps you have another approach to address eternal punishment. Write it here and share it with your Small Group. 6

Week One/Day Three Redemption in Christ (1:6b-10)

Have you ever used a store coupon? You cut it out from the paper or from a mailing (old school) or enter a redemption code during an internet purchase. The seller then debits the price of the item by the amount of the coupon. This is a simplified version of what Christ has done for Believers. We come to the Throne seeking freedom from the bondage of sin. We realize however, the price to be paid is perfection and we cannot cover the cost. Like Ruth, we need a Kinsman Redeemer (Ruth 3:2). How does this redemption come (v7)?

Why was it necessary for the price of redemption to be blood (and perfect blood at that)? Paul says the blood provides “forgiveness of sins”. In what ways should that particular Truth shape what you do today? “In accordance with” what, was forgiveness provided? Have you ever had a loved one disrespect you? Isn’t it true that it seems less important to “get what you want” than to be respected for who you are? Consider the Heavenly Father’s gift of Grace which He “lavished” upon us (v8). Our daily living will disclose the respect we have for Him and His gift. Stop to consider your debt to His grace. Are there areas in your life that you need to confess to show honor to Him?

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Week One/Day Four Inheritance in Christ (1:11–14)

In today’s passage the Holy Spirit illustrates one aspect of the Believer’s bond with the Father using a familiar human transaction: inheritance. It bears remark to notice how this inheritance comes. Paul writes that the starting point, the context of the inheritance is “In Him.” What does it mean to be “In Him”? In verse 11 we once again encounter the word “predestined.” Verse 5 instructed that the object of this predestination was for Believers to be adopted as sons, through the vehicle of Christ’s blood (v7). Verse 11 teaches Believers were chosen according to what? Your relationship with Christ has a Divine purpose, and was an intentional act. Stop now to consider the talents and inclinations He fashioned into your temperament and personality. They have been woven into you for only one purpose. How have these intentionally gifted tools been used by you to further the Name of Jesus; to forewarn of the Lake of Fire? Does “predestined” mean that we should neglect evangelism because God has selected them anyway?

One important aspect in the practice of human inheritance is the agency of the written Will; the document holding the promises of what is to come. In our text, what Agent serves to hold the promises until the time of inheritance comes? What does it mean to be sealed? To what end are Believers sealed?

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Week One/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The Warm Up Isolate and Meditate: v7c thru v8a: “according to the riches of His grace which He lavished upon us” (NASB). Begin your warm-up by reading the above quote. Give it at least five reps (repeat it five times). Pace yourself; go easy – put on your lead shoes and read slowly. Alternate which word you emphasize: i.e.: of HIS grace, of His GRACE. The Workout Now let’s get the heart rate up. The old timey Preachers taught grace as getting what you don’t deserve: unmerited favor. From your warm-up you saw Paul says this grace (1) belongs to Christ, (2) is opulent in its nature and (3) has been extravagantly provided to Believers. Consider your personal encounter with grace in light of these three facets. Grace is something He owns, it is His; and yet He gave it to you freely. Grace was of inestimable value even before you appropriated it in faith. Grace has been luxuriously decanted over you until a need is met. Work through each of these three truths; work at it! Dig, dig, dig! Grace is not in any way cheap. But it had to have great value as it is what the Lord applied against man’s greatest need: the need to be saved from sin. The Cool Down – T4T It is good for our spiritual muscles to dwell on these features of His grace. Certainly the lost people in your circle of influence have little understanding of what you just thought about. And yet in grace we have the keys to the rebirth; to the salvaging of the otherwise pointless narcissism of the human condition. This is a message you can unpack for others; this is something you have experienced, something you know about first-hand; something you can share. What’s more: this is something Christ has commanded you to share; He said, “Go”. 9

Week One Small Group Discussion Points

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Ask each member to share the definitions they wrote for predestination, redemption and inheritance.



Did those definitions change any as a result of the week’s work?



From the Day Two lesson, what direction did members take the discussion with the “lost person”?



From the Day Two lesson, what other approaches to discussing eternal punishment did members consider?



What is the difference between an Apostle and a Disciple?



Is there any difference between God’s active calling of Paul and our own?



Why was it necessary for the price of redemption to be blood; (perfect blood)?



Does “predestined” mean that we should neglect evangelism because God has selected them anyway?



What does it mean to be sealed? To what end are Believers sealed?

PERSONAL INSIGHTS

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SERMON NOTES

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YOU AS PRAYER WARRIOR The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 1 Peter 4:7

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Text and Outline: Week Two Week Two Ephesians 1:15-23 II. God’s Purpose for the Church (1:3–3:13) D. Resources in Christ (1:15–23) Before beginning this week’s study, pause a moment to list below the resources you have available to you in Christ. Don’t overthink it; just write what comes to mind.

Once your list is made, you might consider doing a word/topical study in those areas. Here are some websites you can explore to develop your themes: http://www.biblegateway.com http://www.preceptaustin.org http://www.bibleencyclopedia.com http://www.bible.ca http://www.blueletterbible.org http://www.biblestudytools.com http://www.mechon-mamre.org Spend a season in prayer before you turn to the first days’ lesson. As with most life pursuits, the more concerted the effort the better the results.

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Week Two/Day One Resources in Christ (1:15)

What two things did Paul hear about the Believers in Ephesus?

It is beneficial to think of these two attributes as resources; as things which supply meaning and support to the Believer. Notice each have an object they are tied to: faith and love . It seems obvious, but make a point of noting where one’s faith and love are productively spent. What does “in” the Lord Jesus mean to you? Note too, their love was for every true Believer, not just those they congregated with.

This is a good time to consider the objects to which you attach your faith and love. The world system offers many deceits and lures aimed to attract your precious spiritual resources of faith and love. Show your awareness by naming a few of these false worldly attractions.

Perhaps the most effective temptation for Believers is to suppose we can “live in both worlds”; that we can enjoy the pleasures of sin while at the same time living as a Christian. What does the Lord Jesus say about this practice (Luke 16:13)?

Can Believers expect to go on indefinitely dissipating faith and loving worldly pursuits? (Numbers 32:23, Luke12:2-3) 15

Week Two/Day Two Resources in Christ (1:16)

Paul helps us discover two more “resources” in verse 16: thanksgiving and prayer. Look again at that text. What does it mean to “give” thanks? Don’t think there weren’t disturbances at Ephesians. But nonetheless Paul makes a focused effort at giving thanks. It is hard for you to overlook faults? What would be the effect upon our relationships if Believers purposely proclaim the good things about others? Note too, Paul’s thankfulness was not a one-time passing feeling. He states he “does not cease to give thanks”. It takes effort to be thankful and even more effort to remain that way; especially to people who’ve offended you. Would you be willing to write down the name of someone who would benefit from a change in your past approaches in relationship to one of continued and sincere expressions of thankfulness?

In this verse too, Paul presents the inherent connection between thanksgiving and prayer. You’ve noticed each week the EBC study guide reserves a place to write reminders to pray. Do you maintain an active prayer list? Have you ever said “I’ll pray for you” and then forgot all about it? One reason God has us pray is to give Him an opportunity to advise us of what we can do to help (read James 2:16). It is good spiritual practice to write down what the Holy Spirit brings to your attention. Would you be willing today, right now, to commit to maintaining an active prayer list? The weekly prayer sheets are a good place to start. But please, for your own sake and for others, turn prayer warrior! 16

Week Two/Day Three Resources in Christ (1:17-19)

Today we come to an epic section of Scripture. Yesterday Paul focused on the “resources” of thanksgiving and prayer. Here in verses 17-19 he employs the vehicle of prayer to reveal more “resources” of inestimable value. Note in his prayer, that Paul first asks for the powerful resource of the knowledge of God. What two spiritual attributes does he pray for to help Believers find this knowledge? Write your thoughts about how these two would help. Next, Paul prays that their heart be enlightened (the “eyes of their heart”) (NIV/NASB) – the “perceptions of their mind” (HCSB)). One simple observation: if Paul prays for enlightenment we can safely conclude that hearts/minds may in fact be darkened. What is the current condition of your heart? Perhaps now would be a good time to stop and pray for your heart to be enlightened through the Blood of the Lamb. Paul reveals three aims, or purposes, of this enlightenment; three powerful resources which serve as the object of his prayer. “…that you may know…”  The hope of His calling  The riches of the glory of His inheritance in us  The surpassing greatness of His power toward us Here is a rich field for personal reflection. What Truths does each statement provide about God’s relationship with you?

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Week Two/Day Four Resources in Christ (1:18-23)

Look again at our passage (no really, stop and read it). In verse 18, the Holy Spirit illustrates the Believer’s access to heavenly resources using a familiar human transaction: inheritance. Among the ingredients for an inheritance to be distributed are: (1) its contents must be formally identified (the Will) and (2) the Grantor must necessarily be dead. Until such a time as both requirements are fulfilled, the inheritance is only promissory in nature. Can you think of Bible passages where the Lord “formalized the content of His Will” for His children? (Try on Genesis 17:1-7, Romans 4:13, Romans 11:11-25, Galatians 3:29)

What kind of power does Paul ascribe to Believers in verse 19? If this power is “according to strength of His might” how much power has been ascribed to you? Is there anything lacking in His power? Are there any obstacles too difficult for Him to overcome? (Jeremiah 32:27).

Who are the rulers, authorities, powers and dominions Paul cites in verse 21? As you review your list consider what difference it should make for you.

What is the gift given to the church cited in verse 22?

How does the verse 23 word-picture of the church being His body affect your role within EBC? Do you have an active role at EBC? How does your participation line up with the idea of a living body?

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Week Two/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The Warm Up Isolate and Meditate: v7c thru v8a: “according to the riches of His grace which He lavished upon us” (NASB). Begin your warm-up by reading the above quote. Give it at least five reps (repeat it five times). Pace yourself; go easy – put on your lead shoes and read slowly. Alternate which word you emphasize: i.e.: of HIS grace, of His GRACE. The Workout Now let’s get the heart rate up. The old timey Preachers taught grace as getting what you don’t deserve: unmerited favor. From your warm-up you saw Paul says this grace (1) belongs to Christ, (2) is opulent in its nature and (3) has been extravagantly provided to Believers. Consider your personal encounter with grace in light of these three facets. Grace is something He owns, it is His; and yet He gave it to you freely. Grace was of inestimable value even before you appropriated it in faith. Grace has been luxuriously decanted over you until a need is met. Work through each of these three truths; work at it! Dig, dig, dig! Grace is not in any way cheap. But it had to have great value as it is what the Lord applied against man’s greatest need: the need to be saved from sin. The Cool Down – T4T It is good for our spiritual muscles to dwell on these features of His grace. Certainly the lost people in your circle of influence have little understanding of what you just thought about. And yet in grace we have the keys to the rebirth; to the salvaging of the otherwise pointless narcissism of the human condition. This is a message you can unpack for others; this is something you have experienced, something you know about first-hand; something you can share. What’s more: this is something Christ has commanded you to share; He said, “Go”. 19

Week Two Small Group Discussion Points

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Ask each member to share their list of what resources they have available in Christ.



What does it mean to “give” thanks?



Were members willing to commit to maintaining an active prayer list?



What two spiritual attributes does Paul cite as gateways to knowledge? How can they help?



What did members glean from their reflections on the three aims of an “enlightened heart?”



Can you think of Bible passages where the Lord “formalized the content of His Will” for His people?



What kind of power does Paul ascribe to Believers in verse 19? What practical significance does that hold for you individually?



What is the gift of God to the church cited in verse 22?



How does your participation at EBC line up with the idea of a living body?

PERSONAL INSIGHTS

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SERMON NOTES

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YOU AS PRAYER WARRIOR For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer. 1 Peter 3:12

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Text and Outline: Week Three Week Three Ephesians 2:1-10 II. God’s Purpose for the Church (1:3–3:13) E. New Life in Christ (2:1-10)

Stop to make a note on what it means to have new life in Christ.

Now consider the heavenly perspective from the Throne; Why does the Spirit have Paul talk about a “new life?” See Jeremiah 17:9-10 before you write your answer.

The Heavenly Father weighs the hearts of men and finds His creation is irreparably damaged; so badly damaged that He needs to Personally intervene. As you pray in preparation for this week's lesson, consider the word "new." New life; not life reheated or warmed over. Not life in constant bondage to reoccurring sin, habits or debilitating guilt. But life that is something new; something accomplished on your behalf on Calvary. A new life; gifted to you with transforming power! Be intentional in your prayers as you work through the marvelous Truth this week.

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Week Three/Day One New Life in Christ (2:1-3)

Paul begins our study with a direct statement: "You were dead in your trespasses (NIV=transgressions) and sins". What does it mean to be “in" trespass and sin? What other verse(s) can you cite which support the relationship between death and sin?

Note the past-tense: "you were”. Believer no longer sins?

Does this mean the

Look at the phrases Paul uses at the beginning of verses 2 and 3 (v2: "in which you formerly walked" – v3: "among them we too all formerly lived"). Paul says, “formerly”; making it clear that season has in fact passed. Further, it’s no stretch to consider these repeated statements as subtle warnings. The full breadth, wealth, and productivity of the new life in Christ is not promised to the carnal Christian. At the heart of the new life is the abandonment of the old. Though it's true the Believer is saved from the eternal wages of sin, she/he must daily choose to reject its passing pleasures. Are there things in your living which pose a problem to this challenge? As you read this today, do you find yourself feeling somewhat adrift spiritually? Are you pinned-in by life circumstance or by your choices? Now is the time to assess if there are things keeping you in the “former life” and away from the “new life?” The Lord Jesus is indeed Lord of all. Take time to refresh yourself in His presence. Seek out other Believers for fellowship and accountability. We have been offered “new life in Christ” only because it’s possible to have it. 25

Week Three/Day Two New Life in Christ (2:4-5)

With only two words verse 4 captures the human condition and the love of the Creator for His children. Those two words are: “But God”. We were on a path but He intervened. The efforts we made fell short: But God. The relationships we chose were selfish: But God. The relationships we broke brought shame: But God. The circumstances of life felt overwhelming: But God. The ways we walked lead to depression and guilt: But God. The weight of our trials were insurmountable: But God. The disappointments of life were piling up: But God. The road we were on had no way out: But God. Stop and write your own “But God” experiences:

Verse 4 reveals that the “But God” life-experience becomes reality because He is “rich in mercy.” The old-timey Preachers would contrast grace and mercy by saying “grace is getting what you don’t deserve and mercy is not getting what you do deserve”. Write a current example where you exercised mercy – by not giving someone the treatment they did deserve.

What adjective does Paul use to describe the type of love God has for us? How can that be? Verse 5 says He “made us alive”. With Whom are we made alive? Work through that Truth; what feelings come to you?

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Week Three/Day Three New Life in Christ (2:6-7)

Remember from yesterday verse 5: He “made us alive together with Christ” and now today in verse 6: He “raised us up with Him”. These verses establish the Believer’s intimate and irreversible spiritual connection with the miracle of Christ’s resurrection: “together with Christ”. We are resuscitated from the death-grip of sin, but not in some abstract and unconnected way. Our salvation from the “former manner of life” is experienced “with Christ”; we walk out of the grave with Him. Take a moment to picture emerging from the garden tomb, hand in hand with the Savior. At this point Paul inserts a sobering reminder into the text about the action of grace. Write in the space below what we said about grace from yesterday’s lesson. (Go ahead, look back). It’s important to remember that our connectedness to Christ’s resurrection is not our due; not what He owed us. Were it not for the activity of His “amazing grace” we would still be in the grave. Talk to Him about that right now. What does verse 6 say, happens to Believers raised with Him?

From a practical standpoint, what does it mean to be seated in the heavenly places? Is there a particular significance to being “seated”?

Verse 7 discloses the reason for this privileged seating. To whom are the “immeasurable riches of His grace” and His “kindness” directed?

In Whom are these blessings accrued? 27

Week Three/Day Four New Life in Christ (2:8-10)

Verses 8 and 9 are signal verses to the Evangelical church. And though in yesterday’s lesson Paul mentioned the role of grace in a somewhat passing manner while he dealt with the Believers position in Christ, here he closely details it. Can you find five aspects and actions of grace in these verses?

Notice in verse 10 Paul reveals a great Truth about the Believer’s relationship with the Lord. The NASB translates that we are “His workmanship”; the HCSB translates it “His creation.” The underlying Greek framing is: “Masterpiece.” Think about this. You, yes you; the one you know all too well are the grand magnum opus of the Master. What comes to mind when you consider this declaration?

It is noteworthy that Paul makes this declaration so close on the heels of asserting the worthlessness of man’s efforts (works) to gain Divine favor (verses 8+9). In verse 10 we now learn not only is grace given freely; not only is grace the means to His forgiveness (immense notions in themselves), but in addition to all, we learn grace transports us from kindling for the fires of hell into the supreme work and object of the Father – His masterpiece. Stop and work that over. To what purpose does Paul say we are created? How would you score your performance at this purpose?

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Week Three/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The Warm Up Isolate and Meditate: v6: “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus”. (NIV) Begin your warm-up by reading the above quote. Stretch through five or ten reps. Pace yourself; go easy – put on your lead shoes and read slowly. You know how to alternate word emphasis; use that spiritual exercise technique. The Workout Now let’s get the heart rate up. If you’ve sat under Bible teaching for any length of time you’ve likely heard the expression: “positionally.” This word means that though physical reality finds you reading these words, the great spiritual Truth is that Believers already share in the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6). Believers already sit in His exalted Presence “in the heavenly realms”; that “positionally” we are with Him this instant. This is one part of the reason the old timey Preachers said, that when God looks at you, He sees Christ. Take deep breaths and consider how this might affect your outlook. We tend to see ourselves as “here” sitting in a specific place (for example, reading this line of text). As for where Jesus is, our Bible knowledge tells us He is “everywhere”, but there are times when we experience those sacred moments when we more readily “feel His Presence” or the “movement of the Spirit”. At those times Christ seems to be “here” too, with us in the place we are. But often those intimate seasons with Him seem to come and go; they do not accompany us through most days – we don’t always feel that He is “here” where we are.

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Week Three/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The instruction from this passage however, is that we are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. We ourselves are not “here”, but “there” with Him. It is less a matter of searching for His Presence “here” than it is of being intentional to view ourselves as “there”. Set your mind on things above (Colossians 3:1-2). When life tangles you up, envision your exalted status in Christ. This is a powerful tonic to overcome difficulties “here”. Remember to be deep, deliberate and daily in your meditation on the limitless, sincrushing power available to you in Christ “there”. The Cool Down – T4T Only a non-Believer would say being a Believer is easy. There is nothing simple about a fruitful, daily walk with Christ. One of the tough disciplines Believers must practice is the active work of “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). We must work to remember where we are seated – right now. We must see beyond the constraints of place and time to view ourselves transcending earthly bonds through Jesus. Embracing this perspective takes work – the stuff that Faith is made of. Sharing this idea with non-Believers makes the fight and struggle of our own lives real to them. We face the same “stuff” they do. But we have the promise of the Word to sustain us; to help us reframe our circumstance – to help us endure. The gift of our position in Christ is indeed a life-vest. All we seem to lack is compassion to throw it out to those within our circle of influence who flail helpless among the deepening waves. Be available to someone this week. Love the unlovable; for such were we. 30

Week Three Small Group Discussion Points 

What verse(s) could members cite which support the relationship Paul makes between death and sin?



Does this week’s text mean that the Believer no longer sins?



Were members willing to commit to maintaining an active prayer list?



What two spiritual attributes does Paul cite as gateways to knowledge? How can they help?



What did members glean from their reflections on the three aims of an “enlightened heart”?



Share your “But God” experiences.



From a practical standpoint, what does it mean to be seated with Christ in the “heavenly places”?



Is there a particular significance to being “seated”?



Can you find five aspects and actions of grace in verses 8+9?



What comes to mind when you consider that you are God’s Masterpiece?

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PERSONAL INSIGHTS

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SERMON NOTES

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YOU AS PRAYER WARRIOR O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name. Nehemiah 1:11

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Text and Outline: Week Four Week Four Ephesians 2:11-2:22 II. God’s Purpose for the Church (1:3–3:13) F. Unity in Christ (2:11–3:13) One of the greatest outcomes in the Father’s redemptive design for mankind is His generous weaving of Believers into the fabric of Israel. In our text this week, Paul reminds us that the world was “excluded from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise”. We will study how, through Christ, the Lord God Almighty reconciled the world to Israel through the Cross; bringing unity. Unity is a cardinal feature of His redemptive design and as such should be evident in our life choices. Take time now before you begin to still yourself. Permit the Holy Spirit to calm the agitations and distractions of life as you set your mind to unearthing the great Truths of these passages.

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Week Four/Day One Unity in Christ (2:11–2:12)

Read today’s passage. Think about the name “Gentile”. A Gentile is someone belonging to a nation other than Israel. If you aren’t Israel’s direct descendant, you are a Gentle. A key point to frame this week’s study is that Abraham was father to the Nation of Israel. God accepted Abraham’s son Isaac and rejected Ishmael. He accepted Isaac’s son Jacob and rejected Esau. God later changed Jacob’s name to Israel and it is his descendants who became heirs to the promises (the covenant) made to Abraham. The promises are the Treasure of Israel, and the outward evidence of belonging to these promises is circumcision. But a Gentile is uncircumcised; left out, an alien, on the outside looking in. It would be very useful at this point to review God’s covenant and instructions to Abraham. Jack and Kay Arthur, founders of Precept Ministries International published a wonderful study series Precept Upon Precept. They recommend turning to Genesis 17 and marking with a pen every time you encounter the word “covenant” and “circumcised.” Go ahead and do this exercise and write below the aspects of the covenant you found:

How does the Law given to Moses further deepen the gulf between the Nation of Israel and the Gentiles?

Look again at your list. These are things you and I were left out of as non-believing Gentiles; things we did not qualify for. (“having no hope and without God in the world”; v12) Tomorrow we will see how God in His mercy spanned the gulf between Jew and Gentile. 36

Week Four/Day Two Unity in Christ (2:13)

Before we touch on Paul's earth-shattering statements in verse 13, let's be sure we are fluent in the other two covenants made to Israel by the Lord; again, exclusive of the Gentiles. The Abrahamic covenant is one of three. In addition there is the Davidic covenant. Use the following texts and write below summary statements about this covenant. 2 Samuel 7:12-13 and 16; 2 Chronicles 21:7; Romans 1:1-5; and Revelation 19:11-16, 20:4.

The last of the three covenants to Israel is the New Covenant. Use the following texts and write below summary statements about this covenant. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:26-27; Hebrews 10:10-18; and Luke 22:14, 19-20.

Stop to consider the impregnable fortress these Covenants represented to Israel. Here are promises of an enduring physical territory, an enduring physical king (sovereignty over the entire world) and an enduring, never before experienced spiritual intimacy with the Creator God Himself. All this given to them and no one else; this offer excluded the likes of us. Enter Jesus Christ. Read verse 13. Look what the Blood of the Lamb has accomplished. Take a moment to drink this in; be humbled by it; stop to thank the Lord for your share in: you who were "formerly far off". Write any impressions which come to mind.

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Week Four/Day Three Unity in Christ (2:14-16)

Verse 14 begins: "He Himself is our peace". Think of the word peace in light of yesterday's study of the covenants. Think of how He "brought you near". In this sense the word peace takes on interesting shades. What Truths have been added to your ideas about peace from your study of the covenants? (See Colossians 3:15 and Isaiah 9:6.)

Notice that Paul's statement inherently omits access to peace from any other source but Jesus. Have you ever sought peace in other things besides in Christ? Are you perhaps doing so today? Have you been living your Faith only at the surface but looking for answers, pleasures, or escape from difficulties using worldly solutions? This is the time to address that; talk to the Prince of Peace.

Verse 15 says Christ "abolished in His flesh the enmity", arising from the requirements of the Law. The themes in the Greek word abolished are to do away with, to nullify, to make inoperative and to reduce to inactivity. What is left to overwhelm the Believer after He has abolished it? How was the enmity abolished?

Let's close today by making note of what Christ did to the two "camps" - Israel and the Gentiles - through His work on the Cross (v16). He "made the two into one man". No longer is there distinction between Israel and Believers; there is only unity. Note your reflections on Luke 2:29-32, Romans 10:12 and Colossians 3:11.

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Week Four/Day Four Unity in Christ (2:18-22)

Verse 18 introduces the Grand Truth of our (both Israel and the Believer's) "access" to the Father. How does Matthew 27:51 illustrate this?

Read Hebrews 4:14-16. Through Christ we can "draw near" to the Throne of the Holy Father. What two things are promised for those who do? Remember these same words from Week One/Day Five?

Paul begins a wonderful word picture in verse 19 - that of building a household; and not just any household, but God's. What foundation has been laid?

Check out 1 Peter 2:4-10 to further research Christ as cornerstone (v20.) How does Brother Peter describe the Stone?

What is the purpose of the building "being fitted together" as identified in v21?

Where then is the "dwelling of God?" (v22)

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Week Four/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The Warm Up Isolate and Meditate: v13: “Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything” (The Message). Begin your warm-up by reading the above quote. Stretch through five or ten reps. Compare how it reads to your own Bible’s translation. Pace yourself; go easy – put on your lead shoes and read slowly. Draw out the themes; make connections. The Workout Now let’s get the heart rate up. Sometimes in conversation or while alone with our thoughts we may recall the time before we Believed. In those days there were activities and circumstances that the Holy Spirit helped us to view through His eyes. This look at our lives was central to the process of drawing us to the Cross. We were “once out of it.” The NASB reads that we were “far off”. This is a powerful word picture. Don’t linger on details, but stop for a moment to think how you once lived; like Paul, think in terms of distance. You were over there; away. Now look again at the second part of our verse. Paul writes that we are now “in on everything”; or as the HSCB renders it: “have been brought near.” This is where you are today. You no longer are remote and disconnected from the Creator of all things, but you have been brought into immediate and intimate connection with Him. Work through that for a moment; do the heavy lifting required to wring out the Truth of your condition. Now let’s move to the next exercise station and push against this: all happened because of Christ and His shed blood. None of this movement toward God was your personal doing apart from your declaration of faith in the finished work of Jesus. The Lord searched for you in your fallen state and 40

carried you back to Himself on His shoulders – the very picture of the Good Shepard who lays down His life for His sheep. The Cool Down – T4T Our verse is a potent statement of our spiritual reality. Meditate on all the cool things that can happen now that you are “near” and not “far away”. You can better hear, better learn, and be better prepared for the challenges of life because of your proximity to the Author and Perfecter of Faith. What a message for you to share with the lost who walk within your circle of influence. So many today feel isolated and alone. The fruits of worldly pursuit are short-lived and without exception, turn bitter. How soothing then the message of living near to God, of being sheltered in the shadow of His wings, of being hidden in the secret place of His Presence from the conspiracy of secular evil which devours and maims! What a gift; one that you hold in your hand, one that merits giving away! Who can you think of to bring this message to?

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Week Four Small Group Discussion Points

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What aspects of the covenant did you write down from Genesis 17?



How does the Law given to Moses further deepen the gulf between the Nation of Israel and the Gentiles?



Does the passage about the church and Israel affect your spiritual and political ideas about the nation of Israel?



For whose “glory” did Paul say he suffered tribulation?



What is promised to those who draw near to the Throne?



What is the purpose of the building "being fitted together" as identified in v21?



What insights do you gain from the Divine Title: “Author and Perfecter of Faith”?



Have members share what it means to them to be “brought near”.



Are there people within the circle of influence of your small group members who should be invited to come to your small group?

PERSONAL INSIGHTS

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SERMON NOTES

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YOU AS PRAYER WARRIOR I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. 2 Kings 20:5

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Text and Outline: Week Five Week Five Ephesians 3:1-13 II. God’s Purpose for the Church (1:3–3:13) F. Unity in Christ (3:1–13) This week’s topic is unity in Christ as one of the purposes of the church. This subject can be a difficult one for Evangelicals. In this country it is common enough for churches to split up over petty differences. “I like praise music”, “I like the old hymns”, “There is no place for drums or electric guitars in church” – and such like, are actual reasons people walk away from fellowship.

As you prepare to study the daily lessons, keep a weathereye out for how Paul’s explanations and personal example act as a sort of “spiritual glue” to help the church remain focused on our inheritance in the Nation (and promises) of Israel, to focus on our individual roles in executing His plan for the collective church as a whole, and to focus on the mystery of God’s revelation to men throughout the generations.

Spend time in prayer and hold onto your socks; the Word of the Lord for the unity of the church is Pastor Daniel’s topic of study this week.

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Week Five/Day One Unity in Christ (3:1-7)

Why would Paul call himself a “prisoner of Christ”? Does this title have only to do with his incarceration?

Would you call yourself a prisoner of Christ? It is important that you be able to do so? Write below your thoughts on what being His prisoner might entail. Perhaps 2 Timothy 1:8 will stimulate your thoughts.

What is the difference between being a prisoner of Christ and being a slave of Christ (Ephesians 6:6)?

What does Paul mean in verse 2 when he says God’s grace has been given to him as Steward? (Consider the duties of a Steward.)

What expectations does the Master have of the Steward? How do you stack up?

What is the mystery that was revealed to Paul (verses 3, 4, and 9)? A study of verse 6 may help your assessment.

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Week Five/Day Two Unity in Christ (3:8-9)

What was the grace given Paul in verse 8? Do you consider sharing the Good News as a “grace” given to you by God, as Paul does? Or is it more of a burden?

Have you been a faithful Steward of this grace? Write below when you last shared Christ with a lost person.

If Jesus were standing in front of you, would He look at your answer above and say “Well done, good and faithful servant.”? Consider the “unfathomable riches of Christ”. What things come to mind? What might Paul mean when he says he is “bringing to light the administration of the mystery”? What is this mystery that has been “hidden in God”?

Now might be a good time to still your soul and ask the Master to help you regain status of Faithful Steward. Today is the right time to share your personal salvation experience with someone. It’s not hard – you don’t have to rehearse; it’s your story. There is a lost person within your circle of influence; not mine or anyone else’s. Like Paul, God has gifted you with the grace to help keep this person from the eternal torture of the Lake. 48

Week Five/Day Three Unity in Christ (3:10)

Let’s look at v10: “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms” (NIV). This verse is amazing and humbling at the same time. Paul makes it clear that God is using the church (you and I) to teach and instruct an unlikely set of students: those who inhabit the unseen world. But who are these “rulers and authorities” in the heavenly realms? Read Ephesians 1:20 and name an unseen One who inhabits the heavenly places. So we see there are good authorities in the heavenly places. And since it is clear there is nothing we can teach the Master, to whom are we to teach, the “manifold wisdom of God”? Ephesians 6:12 teaches there are evil rulers and authorities in the heavenly places as well. In that sense today’s verse reveals the church (you and I) is acting as a living testimony of the wisdom of God to the demons and devils. We bear witness to the applied power of Christ for daily victory; His children living surrendered to Him. Consider this: When you stand firm in your faith amid the lure and temptations of passing pleasures, you pronounce anew, Christ’s victory at the Cross; serving to remind Satan and his crowd of the irrepressible Presence of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, each stand you take against sin points toward the inevitable and soon-coming permanent victory when the Master returns to pitch the Tempter and his crew into the Lake of Fire. Drinking deeply from this Truth will help your motivation in resisting sin! 49

Week Five/Day Four Unity in Christ (3:12+13)

The “therefore” at the beginning of verse 13 communicates an instruction to investigate what went before. What two things does he identify he has in verse 12?

Would you characterize your access to the Father in terms like boldness and confidence? Should you? If you don’t, is there someone you might confide in about this? Paul asks the church in Ephesus not to “lose heart at my tribulation”. Why would Paul’s tribulations necessarily trouble the church in Ephesus?

One way to think of this, coming as it is upon the heels of verse 12, is he tries to reassure them that he remains confident in his access to the Father in whom all tribulations are understood and controlled. Do you find yourself able to walk close to the Lord during trials because of your confidence in the workings of Christ in your life?

Another aspect of our tribulations is the affect they have upon others. There is a young wife and mother living in Birmingham, Alabama who has Multiple Sclerosis. She views her disease not as a curse, but as a means to bear witness to the greatness of Christ in her life. “Sometimes people will listen to me because they feel sorry for me. That way I can share Christ with more people.” (She’s amazing.) Paul did not say he enjoyed his tribulations, but that (1) he had confidence in the One who superintends his condition and (2) that his tribulations can open doors with fellow suffers that otherwise might have been closed. 50

Week Five/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The Warm Up Isolate and Meditate: v16 “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man”. Stretch out your spiritual ears; pause to listen closely to what you hear from the Holy Spirit as you begin four or five reps through this verse. Be diligent to read through it slowly; this will limber you up for what’s to follow. The Workout Now let’s get the heart rate up! That Paul is asking for strength in the inner man is reason enough to recognize Believers often permit their inner spiritual lives to atrophy. We must be diligent to feed and nourish our relationship to the Spirit of God within us. What Bible character(s) can you name who started strong, but let their focus on God become dimmed? List too, the apparent reason for their downfall.

Notice we are to be strengthened with power. What testimony of power can you cite in your recent living? Many would declare they’ve no real experience with power. They’ve not made their dog levitate over the couch or be the vessel for an astounding physical healing. But then showy, theatrical displays of power are not what Paul is speaking of here. He speaks of power being delivered to the inner man; via the causeway of the Holy Spirit. The aim of this power is not a Vegas routine; something to fascinate others. But it is power to obey, power for purposeful living, power for overcoming, power for assisting, power for reconciliation, power for necessary discipline, power over addiction, power for patience, power for service, power for leadership, power 51

Week Five/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

for submission to Godly authority, power to control one’s own authority, power to become bold, power to remain humble, power to respond to conviction, power to shake free from guilt, power to share the good news, power to live the good news, power to remember deliverance from the Lake, power to warn others about the Lake, power to discern Truth, power to defend against evil, power to deliver from fears, power to sooth away tears, power to begin once again, power to sustain each new step, power to remember Who He is, power to remember who you are, and power to remember Whose you are. According to what is this power conferred? It is given according to “the riches of His glory.” What comes when you hear the word “glory”? How rich is His glory? Find Bible passages which touch on His glory. The Cool Down – T4T There is large variety of power out there; forceful and even brutal at times. In contrast, we are to be as “lambs among wolves”. It’s not that Believers are weak or timid and lacking power for living. In fact if you think a moment it takes more strength to say no to the world value system than to plunge headlong into sin. It takes more courage to proclaim personal allegiance to Jesus; to boldly confess His name and to receive as your reward the scorn, contempt and rejection of your friends, family or neighbors. But to those unsaved who live within your circle of influence, you may be the only example of transformational power they will ever have. You are the vessel, the messenger showing the lost how Godly power is available through Christ to live in victory over personal corruption, self-loathing, and despair. What are you doing about your personal ministry to the lost around you? 52

Week Five Small Group Discussion Points 

Does the passage about the church and Israel affect your spiritual and political ideas about the nation of Israel?



How manifest is Jesus in the branch named “you”?



Would you call yourself a prisoner of Christ? It is important that you be able to do so?



What does Paul mean in verse 2 when he says God’s grace has been given to him as Steward?



What is the mystery that was revealed to Paul? (verses 3, 4, and 9)



Would you characterize your access to the Father in terms like boldness and confidence? (verse 12)



Why would Paul’s tribulations necessarily trouble the church in Ephesus?



Are you able to follow Paul’s example of deferring attention to your troubles except as they provide you access to fellow-sufferers?



For whose “glory” did Paul say he suffered tribulation?



Is that something that I am doing?



Have members share experiences of how their tribulations have opened doors that otherwise might have been closed.



What testimony of power can you cite in your recent living? 53

PERSONAL INSIGHTS

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SERMON NOTES

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YOU AS PRAYER WARRIOR Have regard to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer which Your servant prays before You. 2 Chronicles 6:19

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Text and Outline: Week Six Week Six Ephesians 3:14-21 III. God’s Fullness for the Church (3:14–21) Take a moment to read this week’s passage. Please re-read it. What do your meditations over it bring to mind? This passage is a prayer of Paul’s about God’s plan for the church. Can you see yourself involved with some aspect of church ministry involvement which would bring into reality what you’ve read? The Body needs all of its parts to fully function. It can “get along” and accommodate unproductive limbs; but why would we want to handicap the Work by failing to play the part in the Body we have been designed to do? Consider the encouragement of verse 20 in helping you to discover your place of ministry to the Body.

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Week Six/Day One God’s Fullness for the Church (3:14-15)

Paul begins this passage saying “For this reason…” Read Ephesians 2:6-12 and write below a short explanation of Paul’s reason: Can’t you just hear the excitement in Paul’s voice as this wonderful mystery of God is revealed? In Philippians 3:4-6 we get a glimpse into who Paul was before Christ. Verses 79 go on to reveal who he has become after his encounter with Christ. Write a list of what is different in his life.

But the excitement of this “Hebrew of Hebrews”, this “least of all Saints” doesn’t come from God’s grace and mercy being extended to the Hebrews, but from God’s grace and mercy being extended to every family in heaven and on earth through Jesus Christ our Lord. See 2 Chronicles 7:14. Doesn’t that passage take on new meaning when we know that now we are “His people called by His name?” Read Luke 12:48 and write a short statement on what it means to you to be a member of God’s family.

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Week Six/Day Two God’s Fullness for the Church (3:16)

As you re-read this prayer of Paul’s, can you see God’s plan being slowly revealed in all its glory? God not only adopted us (see Romans 8:15) but here in verse 16 we read that He granted Believers strength and power through the Holy Spirit (read Philippians 4:13). Is there anything you can’t do? And if not, why? Look-up the following verses and write about what you learn about God’s power:  Acts 1:8  Acts 3:1-12  Romans 15:13-19  1 Corinthians 2:4-5  2 Corinthians 12:7-10  1 Thessalonians 1:5-7  1 Peter 3:1-5 and  2 Peter 1:3 The Bible word translated “power” is the root for our word Dynamite. It means to be able and to have with mighty strength. Now we know after careful study of the verse above that this kind of power doesn’t come from a serious body-building regimen, but from serious conforming to Christ through a soul-building regimen.

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Week Six/Day Three God’s Fullness for the Church (3:17-19)

Continuing the theme from yesterday, let’s determine what a “soul-building” program might look like. As we see from today’s passage, there is a prerequisite to beginning this course. Write what that prerequisite is:

What we need before we start is Christ dwelling in our hearts through faith. The Bible word for “dwell” is interesting as it means to inhabit, to settle; to reside. The activities of the Holy Spirit are to help us be rooted (cause to take root) and grounded (lay the foundation) in Christ’s love. And the outworking of this is to comprehend all facets of Christ’s love. See Romans 8:35-39.

The key object of our soul-building program is to know. This means to recognize, to preserve; to be aware of and understand the love of Christ. What a worthy goal! The perfect explanation of the depths of Christ’s love is related in Romans 5:6-8. By applying ourselves to knowing His love we can be “filled up to all the fullness of God.” Just stop to think about what this is saying! If you feel short of this goal, keep applying yourself to growing in the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord. See too, Colossians 3:11.

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Week Six/Day Four God’s Fullness for the Church (3:20-21)

Do you get the idea that Paul understands what “filled up to all the fullness of God” really means? Here is the “least of the Apostles” in a Roman prison, facing death and filled with the Holy Spirit speaking strength and hope into the lives of others. Well guess what? There is nothing inside Paul that is not inside you. We have the same amount of the Holy Spirit as anyone who has prayed for Christ’s forgiveness. So question is not how much of the Holy Spirit you have but how much of you does He have? Verse 20 holds a double compounded word, which actually can read “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding superabundantly beyond all (what’s missing from the word all?) that we ask or think.” See Luke 17:6. How big is our faith, or are you like most, who would sit in a Roman prison and cry “woe is me” instead of obeying the Words of Christ in Matthew 11:28-30? We don’t have to say “I can’t wait to meet Paul when I get to heaven.” We met him face to face here in these few verses and we see his love and concern for each and every Believer. Take heart and be encouraged by Paul’s prayer! Review and meditate over it again and again. It holds sacred Truth about who you are and Whose you are.

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Week Six/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The Warm Up Isolate and Meditate: v20: “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we can ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (NASB). Take a moment to stretch your soul; centering your mind, will, and emotions to hear His Word and to act upon it. Get a bunch of reps in on this one before you continue. The Workout Let's get the heart rate up: Taking this verse, we're going to carefully and respectfully reverse some of the word-order to better experience the crescendo of promises Paul relays in the passage. Take time over each line below – view them individually; work them over - meditate on each word of each line. Note how the promises grow with each line.          

Now. Now to Him. Now to Him who is able. Now to Him who is able to do. Now to Him who is able to do (what) we ask. Now to Him who is able to do (what) we ask or think. Now to Him who is able to do all that we ask or think. Now to Him who is able to do beyond all that we ask or think. Now to Him who is able to do abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.

He is able and we are the vessel, that’s clear. But why does it seem that sometimes He doesn’t come through?

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Week Six/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

Consider the two words following this promise: “according to”. So how is our access to this immeasurable promise appropriated? Paul says the answer is right inside you: “according to the power that is at work within”. Are you living in opposition; taking comfort in un-surrendered territories? The Word clearly says you will benefit from the promises in this passage in accordance with your choices; to the extent that you do not quench and grieve the Holy Spirit. The Cool Down – T4T Those non-Believers within your personal circle of influence are attentive to personal strength; to power. It is a societal norm. Look at the rise of violent crime, of pervasive criminal and demonic power seen on the television and throughout the internet. Raw, unfiltered power is something people see and fear. And you, as Believer, possess within your personal body the Holy Spirit of God. You have direct access to the Throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). This is what your unsaved acquaintance needs. Help. And it takes power; real, unleashed and unabashed power to free men from the stranglehold of sin. Look again at our verse. What do you see? Can it be the only thing holding back the unsaved around you is your own lack of godly, Jesus-aimed power due to a stubborn and unrepentant heart toward sin? (Romans 2:5-8).

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Week Six Small Group Discussion Points

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What differences in Paul’s life did the group find between the current passage and Paul’s descriptions in Philippians 3:4-6?



Have members share their ideas about what it means to be a member of God’s family.



What did members learn about God’s power when they examined the verses on Day Two?



What things might be include in a “soul-building” program?



What is the key object of a soul-building program?



What does being “filled up to all the fullness of God” look like?



Ask members how they plan to approach nonBelievers in their circle of influence on the topic of the availability of mercy and grace to help in time of need.



Would any members care to share about instances of having a stubborn and unrepentant heart?



What does Paul mean when he says in verse 20 that God can do way, way, beyond anything we could ask or think – but only according to the power that is at work within the Believer. How is this power regulated? How does one get more power?

PERSONAL INSIGHTS

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SERMON NOTES

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YOU AS PRAYER WARRIOR In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. Psalm 5:3

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Text and Outline: Week Seven Week Seven Ephesians 4:1-16 IV. God’s Plan for Faithful Living in the Church (4:1–6) Unity in the Body of Christ V. God’s Son Endows and Builds the Church (4:7–16)

Notice the title Paul gives himself at the beginning of this passage “prisoner of the Lord.” Take a moment to think about this. What insights come to mind as to how such a self-picture would affect one’s perceptions and actions? Can you benefit from making some changes in your perceptions and actions by becoming a “prisoner of the Lord” yourself? Take a moment to pray-up your preparedness for these lessons. Ask the Master for a clearer understanding of who you are and for enabling power to become who He means you to be.

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Week Seven/Day One Unity in the Body of Christ (4:1–6)

Write out Ephesians 4:1. Take your pen and circle prisoner, life worthy, and calling. Paul was literally a prisoner when he wrote Ephesians. He refers to himself as a prisoner for the Lord? See Ephesians 3:1 to understand his motivation. First let’s look at who we are by taking a moment to read Romans 3:23. As sinners, do you suppose pride, selfish ambitions, and egos ever surface in church? (We will address in better detail this later this week).   

Who are we in Christ? Read Romans 6:1-6:23 We are dead to _________. ________ shall not be master over you! We are under grace!

Think about what this means. Do we administer grace and forgiveness well, in the body of Christ? Are you living a worthy life?  Who is your master?  Memorize Romans 6:23 – Live as one freed from sin and indebted to God for his gift of grace. What is our calling in Ephesians 4:1?

Cross reference Romans 8:28 and Matthew 28:19-20.

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Week Seven/Day Two Unity in the Body of Christ (4:1–6)

We are called to live a worthy life as a slave to Christ, but that doesn’t work well if we are serving our agenda and ourselves. “We must agree to disagree, agreeably because the work of the Lord is too important to get sidetracked.” - John Brown Keep Unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Read Galatians 5:13-26 Love your neighbor by walking by the Spirit Divisions sidetrack us from our purpose as a church.  Read Col 3:8-15. Note the emphasis on forgiveness (v13) and the perfect bond of unity (v.14) is _________.  Write down what the Bible says to do and to avoid.  Do the same for 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a To Do:

To Avoid:

Foundations of unity: Things not to fight about (Ephesians 4:4-6). Go to the EBC website and look at our statement of faith. It falls in line with the text of this lesson. Although, we are all created for a purpose, God has something different for each of us to do. (See Romans 12:4-6.) For further study, take time to pray over Ephesians 2:14-22, Romans 6:3, 12:5, 1 Corinthians 8:6, 12:12-13, Malachi 2:10.

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Week Seven/Day Three God’s Son Endows and Builds the Church (4:7-16)

God administers grace: Check out verse 7. We are unified in the fact that we are all sinners and are able to receive grace and forgiveness of our sins through the redemptive blood of Christ. See too Romans 3:23-24. In verses 8-10: It is Christ who came from and returned to the Father, thus he has all authority to give men gifting and abilities. Cross reference Psalm 68:18, John 3:13. Verses 11-13: Why are the members of the church, Christ’s body, given different gifts for ministry, such as pastoring, evangelism, and teaching? See also, 1 Corinthians 12:1828, 2 Peter 3:2, 2 Timothy 4:5. Do you know your gifting? EBC has a Place Ministry to help you discover your gifting. Each of us has different gifts because each of us has a different area to serve in (Romans 12:4-6). What are you doing to prepare for God’s work? Are you maturing in faith? Do you have regular time in the word? Prayer? What are you doing to help build others up? Romans 14:19. Paul has reached a place where he values all things as trash compared to knowing Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:7-8). By God’s grace, Christ died (so that you may have your sins forgiven), will you live for Him? What is holding you back? Do you need to seek out discipleship opportunities for yourself? Should you be mentoring others? The Body is built up by God to help support of each other for good works He has placed us on earth to perform. 71

Week Seven/Day Four God’s Son Endows and Builds the Church (4:7-16)

God equips us for service: God gave us the Bible to train us for His purpose. Along with God’s gifting, the living Word equips the members of our church for works of service in order to build up the body. Read Ephesians 4:7-16. Check out verses 14-15: We are no longer __________. We are solid in our beliefs and in our doctrine, thus not being led astray. We can speak _________ in _________. Do you need to be better equipped to speak the Truth? Read Ephesians 11-16 again. According to the scripture, you are an important part of the ministry at Easthaven Baptist Church, our body. Wow, think about it. For our church to grow (new believers being saved), we need everyone (you and me) working properly with each other just as God fit us together. Would your physical body work well without certain parts? How would our church work if you or others didn’t do your individual part? Are you are called to serve? Where? Ephesians 4:2-3 states, “showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. With this in mind, how might you handle conflict or differences in ministry after reading this Ephesians study on unity?

How could you encourage others serving at church and build them up? Pray about how God wants to use you in ministry. 72

Week Seven/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The Warm Up Isolate and Meditate: v14: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”, (KJV). Read slowly, permit your spiritual muscles a chance to flex and stretch. Don’t be in a rush. Give it a few more reps, take the time! Breathe deeply; you can do it! The Workout Now let’s get the heart rate up. After you finished your reps (which for your benefit I hope you have) what stands out most for you in the text; did anything in particular catch your eye? Certainly Paul is warning Believers not to be naïve; that although we formerly lived uninformed about the sway and influence of our surroundings, now we are to live on the alert. The question then arises: “Be on the alert for what?” The presence of the word “doctrine” (or “wind of teaching” NIV) offers the first layer of an answer to that question: “Be alert to opinions and thinking contrary to the Word.” And that is most assuredly a powerful Truth for us to keep in mind.

However, that is only part of an answer. Kindly read the verse again (please).

There, laid out without ambiguity, is something sinister which most Believers fail to regard. Paul tells us there exists within the Believers circle of influence, men and women who intentionally, and with vulgar malice, seek to shake you from your faith. Look at the words Paul uses to describe their methods: 73

Week Seven/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer



Trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming. (NASB)



Someone has told us something different or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. (Living Bible)



By human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. (HCSB)

Now you could ask why someone would do that. Why would someone be deliberate in trying to “trap” others? Perhaps one answer is to consider a couple categories of people who answer this description. One category is people who are simply deceived by demons into proselytizing false beliefs. Your own experience tells you as much. You likely know hardworking people who insist we evolved from apes; from muck to Chuck. Evolution is not Truth. This verse however speaks of another category of people. A vile and corrupt category of men and women totally sold out to Satan; whose premeditated motivations are only to dislodge the Way in any fashion at their disposal. I once met a Witch who told me she “and a hundred others” (her words) had spilt their own blood into the ink of printed materials so that Satan’s power would influence readers. Go ahead; you are welcome to disbelieve that story. But this is the exact point Paul is making: we are not to be naïve. Just because we cannot explicitly recall experiencing this type of human being doesn’t mean we haven’t.

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Week Seven/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The verse says: “…the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” Make no mistake: these people are out there. This brings up an interesting segue. Have you recently evaluated your living for insidious signs of evil inroads? Look on the shelf where you keep your movies. What’s the nature of the video materials you keep? Do you watch movies or play games where splattering blood is a prominent feature? Do you watch movies with White Witches (an oxymoron), Black Witches, Wizards or Sorcerers? (By the way, the Bible word for Sorcerer is the root word for “Pharmacy”) You may ask what harm is there? The good-guys always win, right? The bad guys come to a bad ending. Certainly this is a morally correct outcome? Permit two observations. First, in a very real sense there is no victory, no deliverance from evil, and no “winning” apart from the finished work of Jesus upon the Cross and His vacant Tomb. So why cheer for Neo being “The One”? Next, check out Romans 16:19 where Paul says we are to “be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.” The point is not whether the bad guys lose, but how in each successive production the fabric and texture of the “evil antagonist” is portrayed more and more graphically, more and more violently – and so in reality – more authentic to the fabric and texture of real and factual evil; of demons and their master Lucifer. Consider the transformation in Halloween. Not many “innocent” costumes any more. But what do you really know about that holiday?

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Week Seven/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The Witch mentioned two pages back was saved to Christ from her former position as High Priestess of Satan for all States west of the Mississippi. Today she is a most humble person; weighed down with guilt for her former hatred of mankind in general and for Believers specifically (which is the basic operating premise of all service to the Devil.) She assured me in the most direct and hair-raising terms, that witches and warlocks in all the world pray to Satan and perform extraordinary rites each October 31st that all humans might die without Christ and that all Believers might be tempted away, into unremarkable living. These are real people, waiting to deceive; perhaps the guy next door. The Cool Down – T4T So what do we do with such an idea? What is our best defense against these cunning and crafty opponents? First off, Believers need to Believe. Be a Believer down to the last detail. Clear out your bookshelf, movies and Ouija board. Stop watching shows, which lure the flesh with sensuality. Spend time in creating a home environment focused on Jesus: in every aspect of living. Bow to His authority in every single area, remembering that sin is fun and so obedience to the Cross will hurt a little. If you doubt the existence of such people living about you and your family, approach the Throne asking the Holy Spirit to confirm the seriousness of Paul’s warning. Next, pray for protection from their influence, that you or those you love might not be “carried about with every wind” that crosses your intellect. Pray that you remain alert and on your guard.

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Week Seven/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

Last, pray for the souls of those deeply engaged in evil. Remember, Christ died for these “cunning and crafty” people too. Their own deception is real: What they do is hard for them to resist because they experience manifested power in their evil practices. They experience a patent connection with the spirit world. They operate in a world of evil power which enthralls and controls them. Pray mercy upon them; remembering, but for grace of God there go you and I.

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Week Seven Small Group Discussion Points

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What changes to perceptions and actions come with being known as a “prisoner of the Lord”?



Ask members what they do if they encounter pride, self-ambitions and egos at work? At EBC?



What is our calling in Ephesians 4:1?



What additional insights came from examination of Romans 8:28 and Matthew 28:19-20?



How is the Unity of the Spirit kept?



Does unity mean we all become the same?



Share what members wrote “To Do” and “To Avoid” from Day Two.



Why are the members of the church, Christ’s body, given different gifts for ministry, such as pastoring, evangelism, and teaching?



Ask members to share what their Spiritual gifts are. Prepare to do some extended work should some people not know.



What are members doing to prepare for God’s work?



Does each member know where they are called to work?

PERSONAL INSIGHTS

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SERMON NOTES

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YOU AS PRAYER WARRIOR But at the evening offering I arose from my humiliation, even with my garment and my robe torn, and I fell on my knees and stretched out my hands to the Lord my God. Ezra 9:5

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Text and Outline: Week Eight Week Eight Ephesians 4:17-32 VI. God’s Pattern and Principles for Members of the Church.

Hello Dear Believer. Today we plunge into a powerful passage. As you move through the text keep a weather-eye out for two key themes: Paul’s patient and specific instruction on behavior. And his revelation of the authority Believers possess to shape their daily living; as evidenced by commands such “lay aside”, “be renewed” and “let.” (These commands would not be present if the Believer did not have the spiritual resources to obey them.) Before you begin, take these next moments to clear your mind of distractions. Confess your sins and put on a heart of worship and thanksgiving before the Lord. May He bless and address needs through what you are about to study.

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Week Eight/Day One God’s Pattern and Principles for Members of the Church (4:17-19)

Paul warns the Ephesian believers to “walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk” He was telling them to set themselves apart from the rest of the world. Do you set yourself apart from the world? Do you believe that the church and the world look and act pretty much alike? That was obviously the case in Ephesus and that’s why Paul had to add this into his letter for them. There are nine traits that characterize these Gentiles or the unbelieving world. Do a study on these and look to see if there is any of this in your own life, and without judgment see if you notice this behavior within the church. #1 In the futility of their mind #2 Darkened in their understanding #3 Excluded from the life of God #4 Ignorance that is in them #5 Hardness of their heart #6 Having become callous #7 Given over to sensuality #8 Practice of every kind of impurity #9 Greediness 83

Week Eight/Day Two God’s Pattern and Principles for Members of the Church (4:20-24)

Read Ephesians 4:20-24 Think back when you first learned about Christ, heard Him speak to you and learned from Him. Write what you remember about that day or time in your life. Paul speaks again about “our former manner of life” or the “old self.” Paul uses two phrases having to do with clothing, “laying aside” and “putting on”, to describe the changes that should take place in each believer. 1. What characterizes the “old self” (v. 22)?

2. What does it mean to be corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit?

Notice how he says be renewed in the spirit of your mind. We have to first change the Way we think and view things. 3. List the qualities for which the “new self” has been created. (v.24)

Look up the word righteousness and write down the definition. Write in your own words what the “Holiness of the truth” means to you.

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Week Eight/Day Three God’s Pattern and Principles for Members of the Church (4:25-30)

Laying aside, read Ephesians 4:25-31 It’s time for an honest personal evaluation of yourself. V.25 Do you always speak the truth? Read Zechariah 8:16 V.26 Do you sin when you get angry? And do you go to bed angry? Read Psalm 4:4 V.27 Do you realize those times and work to quickly stop the devil from having his opportunity? Read Romans 12:19 V.28 Do you steal; perhaps a pencil, time from work, time from God or His tithe? Read 1 Thessalonians 4:11 V.29 Do you curse or talk dirty around willing ears at work; do you cut people down with your words? Read Romans 14:19

V.30 Do you feel it when you grieve the Holy Spirit? Are you aware? Do you know you are sealed for the day of redemption? Read John 3:33 85

Week Eight/Day Four God’s Pattern and Principles for Members of the Church (4:31-32)

Do a word study on all six of the words we are to put away from ourselves found in verse 31 write them out.

Are there any of these found in your own life?

I suggest memorizing this verse and ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of this verse at those times when we need to be reminded.

Verse 32. Let’s put to work the words of this verse in our daily walk. Let’s be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

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Week Eight/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The Warm Up Isolate and Meditate: v30: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (NASB). Give yourself time to gnaw at this verse. Go slow, give it at least five reps; don’t short yourself, don’t blow by this verse with just one reading. The Workout Now let’s get the heart rate up. How often do you think about the Holy Spirit? Do you pray to Him? Should you? Are you mindful of where He is? Let’s examine three Bible Truths about Him so we can better understand how Believers might “grieve” Him. To start with, it is most profitable to remember the Holy Spirit is fully God. He is Present with God in the second verse of the Bible and participated in the creation act. Think about those times when you stood dumbstruck with the magnificence of a starry night or precious sound of a chickadee; when we pause in total awe of the Creator who made all this world possible, this is the time to remember the source of that inexpressible power and grandeur is living inside the Believer (see 1 Corinthians 3:16). The bodies of Believers, not unlike the Lord Christ’s body, are temples because of the Presence of the Holy Spirit (see John 2:2022). How do we “grieve” the Spirit? We grieve the Spirit by defiling His Temple. To what dishonorable places do you carry His Temple? To what activities do you subject the Temple of God? Do you remain true to the sanctity of God’s Temple or have you reserved rooms for yourself packed with detestable things? Make careful study of Ezekiel 8:7-13.

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Week Eight/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

John records a helpful passage about the duties of the Holy Spirit and the several purposes behind Him being gifted to Believers. Read now, John 16:5-15 as we will spend some time together in it. Notice in verse 7 the Holy Spirit was specifically and intentionally “sent to you.” It may sound simple but reflect a moment on that thought. Imagine; God, 100% fully God, given and placed deep into every human who Believes on the Name. Whoa! But it follows then that we grieve the Spirit by living without gratitude to the One who sent this Gift; and yet further by ignoring the value of the Gift Itself. Do you spend time admiring the sacred work of the Holy Spirit in you and thanking Him for it? Do you honor Jesus’ thoughtfulness at not “leaving us as orphans” but sending the Spirit to parent us? Notice now the three things Jesus said the Holy Spirit would be busy doing: “…when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” (John 16:8) How do you suppose this tri-fold conviction is to take place? Look in the mirror. The lifestyle and compassion of Believers will instruct the world about the differences between sinful and righteous living. Sharing the good news will help the world understand and escape pending judgment We grieve the Holy Spirit by living in such a fashion as to be transparent to societal norms; when people see no difference between Believers and the lost. To live in compromise is to suppress (and grieve) the Holy Spirit. 88

Week Eight/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

Lastly read John 16:13-15. The Holy Spirit has the sacred duty of disclosing the Truth to Believers. In the world of such confusion and deceit, His is a critical role. Of course this suggests the Believer is listening. We can grieve the Holy Spirit by failing to listen to His prompts. We harden our hearts. We rationalize and overstate the busyness of our lives: “How have you been?” “Busy?” We ignore (and grieve) the Spirit when He suggests we do things outside our own interests, or beyond our ability to control or which might be new and seemingly difficult to do. Notice v13 tells us He “will disclose to you what is to come”. Does this mean everyone is a prophet? If not, write your ideas about what it means. (For one aspect of your response, consider verses 14+15.)

Looking back at your answer above, one way to grieve the Holy Spirit is to fail to listen closely to His disclosures of Christ. When we study the Word we find insights into the character of our Lord; attributes that often need perfecting in our own living. Turning a stiff neck to those promptings is rejecting the One who gave them to you. Our target verse also says we have been “sealed” by the Holy Spirit. What does this mean?

To what purpose were we sealed?

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Week Eight/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The Cool Down – T4T There is another Truth about the Holy Spirit which can be quenched by the Believer’s faithlessness. In Week One we learned that the “Holy Spirit of promise was given as a pledge” (Ephesians 1:13+14 NASB). The Bible word for pledge means “down payment”. The powerful actions and activities if the Holy Spirit in transforming lives is only the beginning! He has been given that we will not be left as orphans (John 14:18). The tenderhearted Savior has gifted us with the Spirit so His protective and intervening love can remain on the Faithful while He tarries in Heaven before His soon return. However, when Believers are guided by worldly insights, and pursue fleshly rewards, we come out from underneath the Spirit’s secret sheltering place (Psalm 31:20). We no longer can connect with His power and intimacy (Psalm 66:18). And tragically, from that place, those unsaved within your circle of influence fail to see any difference between your life path and the ones in Satan’s portfolio. Please pause to pray, right now. Ask the Holy Spirit to disclose areas of disobedience. The old timey Preachers would say: “Get right with God.” Ask for strength to overcome. Ask for discernment and courage in finding someone to share your burden with; someone to become accountable to. “Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you.” Psalm 32:9. 90

Week Eight Small Group Discussion Points 

Do members sincerely believe they have real power to “lay aside” or “be renewed” – or has their experiences with the difficulty of walking consistently with Christ made them skeptical?



In what ways can members share that they’ve set themselves apart from the world?



What insights did members glean from doing word studies on the nine traits that characterized the Gentiles in the Day One study?



What does it mean to be corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit?



What does the “Holiness of the truth” mean?



Ask members to share how they sense they may be grieving the Holy Spirit.



Ask members if there is someone they have not forgiven. How does that stand up to “being kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven”?



Ask members to share experiences when they did finally forgive someone, but only after a difficult struggle.

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PERSONAL INSIGHTS

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SERMON NOTES

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YOU AS PRAYER WARRIOR Give ear to my prayer, O God and do not hide Yourself from my supplication. Psalm 55:1

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Text and Outline: Week Nine Week Nine Ephesians 5:1-21 VII. God’s Standards for Faithfulness in the Church (5:1–21) A. Walking in Love (5:1–7) B. Living in Light (5:8–14) C. Walking in Wisdom and Sobriety (5:15–18a) D. Filled with God’s Spirit (5:18b-21)

This key chapter begins with a simple but intensely challenging command: “Be followers of God.” The Bible word here is: imitate, strive to resemble. These opening lines form the context for our next two weeks of study. They predict a life of effort and exertion for those Faithful to His calling. They foretell loss of preferences and obedience to principles. To follow God, one must conquer selfishness. Be intentional and careful in the words you choose as you pray yourself into the first days’ lesson. Clear your conscience before the Father that your discernment may be sharpened to better pick out the prompts of the Spirit towards more obedient (and hence victorious) living. May the Lord hold you close and surround you with His graces as you proceed.

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Week Nine/Day One Walking in Love (5:1-2)

Paul wants Believers to have the best life possible and he offers instruction as to how to make that life happen. Do you think this will be some magic formula that will come easy? Or do you think there might be some work to it? Do you think there will be any sacrifice involved? Read Ephesians 5:1 & 2: 1) Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, 2) and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. The BIG question is how do we become imitators of God?

Do you think it involves sacrifice? If so what kind of sacrifice? Changing the way you view “your stuff” or “your feelings” or “your way?” How exactly do you live a life of love? What does that look like in the real world? What about in your world? Matthew 19:5 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? (NIV) If you and your spouse are one doesn’t that mean you are to love her as much as you love yourself? I don’t know about you but I love myself a lot. Read Lev 19:18. We are to love our neighbors as much as (what)? Now read Luke12:2-3. Who’s watching? 96

Week Nine/Day Two Walking in Love (5:3-5)

Now let’s analyze, take a critical look at how the Ephesians measured up. Or let’s go one step further and see how Easthaven measures up. It’s easy to critique others but how about recognizing our own faults? Really, how many of these adjectives do we personally possess? Verse 3) But among you there must not be even a sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of because these are improper for God's holy people. should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

hint of greed, 4) Nor joking,

Let’s look at how the Amplified Translation renders these two verses: 3) But immorality (sexual vice) and all impurity [of lustful, rich, wasteful living] or greediness must not even be named among you, as is fitting and proper among saints (God's consecrated people). 4) Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God]. So is there really a problem with an off color joke, or one that makes fun of someone or some group? What about gossip? Why is that a bad deal? What difference does it make? How does, 1 Peter 1:15 enter into this discussion? Or how about 1 Peter 2:12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (NIV) Is there a correlation between how we live outside of church and how we live “in the world”? 97

Week Nine/Day Two Walking in Love (5:3-5) What difference does it make….to both those watching us and to ourselves? Is it just a show for others? Can I lose my salvation? 5) For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (NIV) NOW THE AMPLIFIED VERSION. 5) For be sure of this: that no person practicing sexual vice or impurity in thought or in life, or one who is covetous [who has lustful desire for the property of others and is greedy for gain] — for he [in effect] is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (AMP) Some people think this teaches loss of salvation? Do you? What exactly does “practicing” mean? Does this sound like something that is done occasionally or habitual? Or is it one where a person gets enticed into or one where the person looks forward to it? Is there a difference? John 8:7-8 7) When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8) Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. (NIV) And by the way where exactly is the Kingdom of Christ? Is the Kingdom of Christ (God) heaven? (As we think of heaven when we die and go to be with God.) 98

Week Nine/Day Two Walking in Love (5:3-5) Or is it anyplace Christ is (the Holy Spirit)? Doesn’t the Kingdom of Christ follow where Christ goes? Does the kingdom leave with Christ when He leaves or is the kingdom of Christ a group of people who have accepted Christ and chosen to live for Him through the power of the Holy Spirit? So the next question would be if we choose to do all those nasty things listed in vs 3-5 are we really being a part of the Kingdom of God and reaping the benefits of that type of life? Is Christ going to bless us if we live outside the domain of the kingdom? Does this apply to individuals alone or to governments too? Where do you think the United States, as a people stand? Are we living inside or outside the Kingdom of Christ?

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Week Nine/Day Three Walking in Love (5:6-7)

How many of you have ever been duped, deceived or miss led? All of us I bet: (Some in more devious adventures than others), whether it is buying a used car or a relationship. I think we have all been taught false hoods at one point or another. I look at some of the school curriculum and think that was not what I was taught. So who is right and how do we go about finding out. 6) Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7) Therefore do not be partners with them. Before we analyze these verses we have to make sure we know what Paul is talking about. I think he is talking about a very large category of things, practical living regarding deception but mainly I think he is talking about spiritual deception. Don’t get hoodwinked into a belief that is not from God. So what is the twofold warning here? 1. Don’t be deceived. 2. Don’t be a partner with those who do? So how do you accomplish these objectives? Here are a few suggestions. (Can you think of others?)  Never accept a teaching that is not in the Bible.  Does the interpretation of the verses make sense when compared with the character of God? 100

Week Nine/Day Three Walking in Love (5:6-7)

   

Is this a new interpretation that changes the fundamental beliefs you have accepted? Is there more than one group that believes this interpretation? Are you using other references besides the Bible? Are you using a reputable translation of the Bible?

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Week Nine/Day Four Living in Light (5:8-21)

So you remember being in darkness? What was that like? 8) For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9) (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10) and find out what pleases the Lord. 11) Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12) For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13) But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14) for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." What changed in your life since you accepted Christ? Was it an overnight change or did it take some time to really kick in? Is the process complete now? What other changes do you wish you would make? Some things that you know are not right but you are in a “habit” and can’t shake? What do you think you ought to do to change these actions or thoughts? What does it mean, by the way, when the bible says “but everything by the light becomes visible?” Aren’t all things visible to Christ/God/the Holy Spirit now? Do you think it is one thing that God knows now, but we don’t have to face Him now? What do you think you will feel like when we stand before Him in heaven? Do you think we might be a bit ashamed we did not live for Christ more?

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Week Nine/Day Four Living in Light (5:8-21)

So what’s the warning here? 15) Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, 16) making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17) Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. 18) Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19) Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20) always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21) Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. NIV First how do you live carefully? Can you list a few ways that help you live carefully and, by the way, what does live careful mean? How do you make the most of every opportunity? Is he talking about the daily decisions you make or the opportunities you pass over to witness who He is? Do you understand the Lord’s will for you? You know Paul lists some things for you right here: don’t get drunk on wine. (Is beer ok?) Be filled with the spirit? Can you list a few ways to stay filled with the Spirit? Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. (How do you do this?) Do you always give thanks to the Lord? (Does this have to be an outward show?)

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Week Nine/Day Four Living in Light (5:8-21)

Submit to one another. (Now this is a hard one. Does this mean you can’t have it your way all the time? Or should the other guy submit to you?)

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Week Nine/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The Warm Up Isolate and Meditate: v19: “speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music from your heart to the Lord.” Go ever so slowly now! Give this passage it’s due and that’s at least five reps. Drink it in, meditate on it. The Workout Now let’s get the heart rate up. Ever look at things within your home, your workplace, or within the Body of Believers at Easthaven and conclude, things “need some attention”? Things not being done in a way you think they should? Is the structure of authority and submission in any of these venues all amiss from your viewpoint? Are there issues with respect you’ve noticed taking hold? Are there things being done (or not) which have been bugging you? So let’s assume you’ve got an honest and relevant objection and not simply indigestion. What you say is important of course; but our passage today instructs that it may even be more important to consider the way you say it. Cross reference Paul’s message to the church at Colossae: “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16 NASB). When we turn our attentions to give instruction to others (teaching), or we intend to offer corrections (admonition) all of our motivation and delivery must first be founded upon the rich indwelling of the Word of Christ. Give that some thought. Let’s say you’ve got a legitimate beef, but if your words are

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Week Nine/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

Not guided and blended by daily intimacy with the Holy Spirit your audience may not hear what you say because your life is speaking too loudly. Before you start in with others take a close look at yourself. If you are living with compromise in your Christian Walk then you are not in any position to offer corrections to others. (Lookup Matthew 7:3-5; go ahead).

Notice too, from both passages the variety of communication Paul cites: psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. How many of these types of communication would you ever associate with a gruff or unwholesome word? Which of these invokes a threatening tone? Which of these provokes an argument? None of them do of course; which is precisely the point.

There are times when people must be spoken to. It happens at home, at work, and at church. But once you’ve passed the self-assessment of the rich indwelling of the Word of Christ and you are ready to prayerfully approach the situation – your delivery must be bounded with tender, melodious words, which project harmony and not dissonance. Note too that your words must be the overflow of “music from your heart to the Lord.” Don’t miss the perspective Paul gives. As you address the situation at hand you are in reality addressing the Lord with the music of your heart. I don’t know about you, but music is generally not what people sense from me when I am giving them a piece of (what’s left of) my mind.

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Week Nine/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The Cool Down – T4T What an example Believers could be within their circles of influence if we were, but to follow these clear directions. To discipline yourself to melodious words during conflict is the key to differentiating yourself as a Believer to the unsaved around you. This one skill would set the world around you on fire! Are you willing to ask the Father to make this approach an intentional part of your daily walk? Are you willing to practice this approach each and every time you enter into conflict? Are you willing to abandon all desire to be “right”, in trade for making music in your heart toward God as you reconcile with your Neighbor?

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Week Nine Small Group Discussion Points

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Ask members if, after they finished this week’s lessons they discovered changes in how they formerly defined “Be followers of God”.



How does one become an “imitator of God”? Doesn’t that mean we are to imitate perfection?



What practical out-workings should be in evidence if we really love our neighbors as our self?



How does 1 Peter 2:12 factor in the lives of members?



Is there a correlation between how we live outside of church and how we live “in the world”?



Is Christ going to bless us if we live outside the domain of the kingdom?



Ask members if they bring their Bibles to church. Why or why not? Is it important to do?



Ask members to reflect on the remaining changes they must make to be fully His.



What does it mean when the Bible says “but everything by the light becomes visible”? Aren’t all things visible to Christ/God/the Holy Spirit now?

PERSONAL INSIGHTS

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SERMON NOTES

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YOU AS PRAYER WARRIOR For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples. Isaiah 56:7

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Text and Outline: Week Ten Week Ten Ephesians 5:22-33 VIII. God’s Standards for Authority and Submission in the Church (5:22–6:9) A. Husbands and Wives (5:22–33) This week we enter into interpersonal areas, which would have been good to know before you married; and certainly is worth working through right now, whether single, married, or divorced. The beauty of this section of Scripture is that so much poor theology and religiosity have sprung from misuse of these verses, that it is always refreshing to systematically work through them to mine Truth. One brief example is men have been known to throw words like “be submissive” into the faces of women – like weapons – instead of speaking them tenderly in honorable recognition of her special giftedness. Please prepare yourself in prayer and let the Holy Spirit make the verses speak up for themselves.

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Week Ten/Day One God’s Standards

Eph. 5:22-33 22) Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.   

“Honey, I’m, watching the game, get me another beer will ya?” “Now this is the way it is going to be.” “I am going to do whatever I want, like it or lump it.”

Which one of these do you think Paul means when he says “submit”? Do any of these quotes sound anything like what Jesus said to His disciples? He scolded them, of course, but then again He is God and they should have listened a little better. But He also loved them enough to die for them. So what does it mean for the wife to submit to the husband? Try this in your small group. Let the women get together and come up with a meaning of submit and let the men get in a group and discuss what it means and then compare answers. One thing to remember is that Easthaven has a very good marital counseling center. So how close were the two group’s definitions? Let’s look at a few commentaries and see what scholars have to say about this verse. Adam Clark: Ephesians 5:22 [Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands] As the Lord, namely, Christ, is the head or governor of the church, and the head of the man, so is the man the head or governor of the woman. This is God's ordinance, and should not be transgressed. 113

Week Ten/Day One God’s Standards

The husband should not be a tyrant, and the wife should not be the governor. Old Francis Quarles, in his homely rhymes, alluding to the superstitious notion, that the crowing of a hen bodes ill luck to the family, has said: "Ill thrives the hapless family that shows A cock that's silent and a hen that crows: I know not which live most unnatural lives, Obeying husbands or commanding wives."

(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.) Tomorrow we look at another commentary.

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Week Ten/Day Two God’s Standards

Now this from BARNS Ephesians 5:22 While Christianity, designed to elevate the character of the wife, and to make her a fit companion of an intelligent and pious husband, it did not intend to destroy all subordination and authority. Man, by the fact that he was first created; that the woman was taken from him; that he is better qualified for ruling than she is, is evidently designed to be at the head of the little community that constitutes a family. In many other things, woman may be his equal; in loveliness, and grace, and beauty, and tenderness, and gentleness, she is far his superior; but these are not the qualities adapted for government. Their place is in another sphere; and "there", man should be as cautious about invading her prerogative, or abridging her liberty, as "she" should be about invading the prerogative that belongs to him. In every family there should be a head-someone who is to be looked up to as the counselor and the ruler; someone to whom all should be subordinate. God has given that prerogative to man; and no family prospers where that arrangement is violated. Within proper metes and limits, therefore, it is the duty of the wife to obey, or to submit herself to her husband. Those limits are such as the following: 1. In domestic arrangements, the husband is to be regarded as the head of the family; and he has a right to direct as to the style of living, the expenses of the family, the clothing, etc. 2. In regard to the laws which are to regulate the family, he is the head. It is his to say what is to be done; in what way the children are to employ themselves, and to give directions in regard to their education, etc. 115

Week Ten/Day Two God’s Standards

3. In business matters, the wife is to submit to the husband. She may counsel with him, if he chooses; but the affairs of business and property are under his control, and must be left at his disposal. 4. In everything, except that which relates to "conscience and religion", he has authority. But there his authority ceases. He has no right to require her to commit an act of dishonesty, to connive at wrong-doing, to visit a place of amusement, which her conscience tells her is wrong, nor has he a right to interfere with the proper discharge of her religious duties. He has no right to forbid her to go to church at the proper and usual time, or to make a profession of religion when she pleases. He has no right to forbid her endeavoring to exercise a religious influence over her children, or to endeavor to lead them to God. She is bound to obey God, rather than any man and when even a husband interferes in such cases, and attempts to control her, he steps beyond his proper bounds, and invades the Prerogative of God, and his authority ceases to be binding. It ought to be said, however, that in order to justify her acting independently in such a case, the following things are proper: 1. It should be really a case of conscience-a case where the Lord has plainly required her to do what she proposes to doand not a mere matter of whim, fancy, or caprice. 2. When a husband makes opposition to the course which a wife wishes to pursue in religious duties, it should lead her to re-examine the matter, to pray much over it, and to see whether she cannot, with a good conscience, comply with his wishes. 116

Week Ten/Day Two God’s Standards

3. If she is convinced that she is right, she should still endeavor to see whether it is not "possible" to win him to her views, and to persuade him to accord with her; see 1 Peter 3:1. It is "possible" that, if she does right, he may be "persuaded" to do right also. 4. If she is constrained, however, to differ from him, it should be with mildness and gentleness. There should be no reproach, and no contention. She should simply state her reasons, and leave the event to God. 5. She should, "after" this, be a better wife, and put forth more and more effort to make her husband and family happy. She should show that the effect of her religion has been to make her love her husband and children more; to make her more and more attentive to her domestic duties, and more and more kind in affliction. By a "life" of pure religion, she should aim to secure what she could not by her entreaties-his consent that she should live as she thinks she ought to, and walk to heaven in the path in which she believes that her Lord calls her. While, however, it is to be conceded that the husband has "authority" over the wife, and a "right" to command in all cases that do not pertain to the conscience, it should be remarked: 1. That his command should be reasonable and proper. 2. He has no right to require anything wrong, or contrary to the will of God.

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Week Ten/Day Two God’s Standards

3. HERE COMMANDS BEGIN "in this relation," HAPPINESS USUALLY ENDS; and the moment a husband "requires" a wife to do anything, it is usually a signal of departing or departed affection and peace. When there are proper feelings in both parties in this relation, there will be no occasion either to command or to obey. There should be such mutual love and confidence, that the known "wish" of the husband should be a law to the wife: and that the known desires of the wife should be the rule, which he would approve. A perfect government is that, where the known wish of the lawgiver is a sufficient rule to the subject. Such is the government of heaven; and a family on earth should approximate as nearly as possible to that. [As unto the Lord], as you would to the Lord, because the Lord requires it, and has given to the husband this authority. (From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

So stop to write below your thoughts of these two different “Professional” opinions.

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Week Ten/Day Three God’s Standards

So why should the woman be submissive to the man? We start some of that answer in these next verses. 23) For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24) Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Paul is setting up an organizational chart. Who is responsible to whom? My first thought is of a boss and where do I fit in this power struggle. This is not the intent. This is a distribution of responsibility and organization not a power trip or a struggle to be in control. Those on the upper side of the chart have substantially more responsibility and accountability, for which they will be held accountable. So let’s take verses 23 and 24 apart: Christ is obviously the head of the Church. That is a no brainer. And what are His responsibilities? One would be to save sinners (those who have accepted His free gift) from hell, this by dying and being raised, having borne our sins. He certainly is obedient to the Father. What else? How about training the disciples? Instructing them and getting them ready to spread His message? What other responsibilities can you list? Bat this around for a few minutes and see what you come up with. If we compare these responsibilities that Christ has for the church (that is you and me and other believers) what correlating responsibilities does the husband have to the wife and family?

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Week Ten/Day Three God’s Standards

What responsibilities does the husband have? Is one of the responsibilities to set an example for the wife and the family? What kind of example? First to give of himself for the good of the family, what exactly does this mean? Maybe it is living a life of sacrifice for the rest of the family? Maybe it is putting the needs and wants of the wife and family before his? Maybe it is his responsibility to lead the family spiritually. That he would be engrossed in the scriptures to have a good understanding so to educate the family; leading in prayer and devotions. Making sure the children are well educated in the Gospel? How about fiscally responsible? Doesn’t that come under the heading of leadership: the physical welfare of the family, housing, clothing and food? Discuss with each other the example Christ gives as the head of the church and the responsibilities the husband should have being the head of the family.

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Week Ten/Day Four God’s Standards

Now we come to the explicit part/responsibilities of the husband. 25) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26) to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27) and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Interesting that Paul never told the wife to love the husband. So maybe we need to understand what the word love really means. Webster's new world dictionary says love is:  Deep and tender feelings for another  An expression of tender feelings  Feeling of brotherhood and deep friendship  A strong interest in something...music for example  Passion  Sex  Tennis score Interesting that Webster's footnote adds that love can mean deep devotion; seems to me that Webster missed the mark. The Greek word here “agapate” means much more than a feeling. It includes responsibility and benevolence.

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Week Ten/Day Four God’s Standards

From the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. God's love is manifested by providing for the physical, mental, moral and spiritual needs of His people (Isaiah 48:14,20-21; 62:9-12; 63:3,12). A little more than just a feeling isn’t it?

What does love mean to you and how do you think a husband should love his wife? What exactly does that look like?

Paul now makes the statement that husband and wife are one. 28) In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29) After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30) for we are members of his body. 31) "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 32) This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33) However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. NIV

Now I love myself a lot, but if my wife and I are one that means I should love her at least as much as I love myself. One thing that means to me is to meet her needs and try to meet all her (reasonable) wants. 122

Week Ten/Day Four God’s Standards

We are to take care of, as was stated earlier, shelter, clothing, food and protection, protection from spiritual demise or false teaching. Do you realize it is the husband’s duty to protect the family from being deceived? It’s the man’s job to keep the family on a path of spiritual growth and clarity.

Paul winds this portion of teaching with an overview. Husbands love your wife as much as you love yourself and the wife needs to respect her husband. What wife would not respect the husband if he did all he was supposed to do?

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Week Ten/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The Warm Up Isolate and Meditate: v30: “because we are members of His body.” This little passage is plumb full of meaning. Take extra reps with it. Work it through your mind. What can you glean from it? The Workout Now let’s get the heart rate up. Much has been written about the verses which precede v30. The relationship between men and women is even today, much debated. It does not help of course with some of the larger Protestant denominations taking lurid liberty with this most foundational of all relationships. But what we read in verse 22 following, down to verse 29, is in reality clear enough. We can understand the words; their meaning is not subject to excessive debate. What vexes people about these verses is not what but why. Why did God so choose to organize the sexes? This question is amplified even more when you look back to the Garden of Eden. Where was Adam during all the temptations of Eve? “She gave to her husband with her and he ate.” He was there with her, standing dumbly by. He didn’t execute his leadership responsibilities by saying “Hey Eve, quit talking to that snake!” He stood passively by and watched. As a general statement then (if Adam is any guideline and what is likely consistent with our own personal experiences) women tend to be “doers”; while men are often content to take a more passive role. If we propose that generalization, then it really seems unfair to women: why should they submit when it’s pretty clear who provides the “engine of action” in most relationships – the one who provides much of the daily direction in life. 124

Week Ten/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

One old timey Preacher said: “The woman is a natural leader that’s why God has her submit to a man. The man is naturally passive that’s why God has him lead. They both have to work at being dependent to succeed.”

These statements aside, the real help with this often contentious passage comes from Verse 30 – the one you worked over in Warm Up. We are not designed to be squabbling autonomous actors; obstinate and argumentative over the subject of submission. The Lord Himself designed this arrangement, “BECAUSE we are members of His body”. We are the working parts of the Holy Son of God and negative attitudes one against the other (attitudes against the statements Paul makes in verses 22-29) – such attitudes do not support the Work of the whole Body; they are contrary. Not the place to be. To do our part in the living Body of Christ we must follow His instructions for how we are to function.

That said, men, be mindful to do your daily work in the Word, memorize Scripture, lead devotions at home, routinely seclude yourself in prayer, spend seasons in fasting, make church a priority, take on spiritual leadership roles among the Body, and share your faith. If these things are yours and increasing, the woman will have no problems in doing her Biblical duty and following your lead. However, if she sees you are passive in growing your Faith, that you are not fulfilling your duty; her natural inclination is to take the reins that’s how she’s built. So don’t go preaching, “I’m the Man of the house” and “you have to submit to my authority” if you’re lacking the credentials. 125

Week Ten/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The Cool Down – T4T If you think there are differing opinions within Christian circles about “submission to authority” you’ve only to spend time with non-Believers. They have views which suggest Believers suppress women; that Christians are sexist, unfeeling, and oppressive.

This is why Men and Women must not only have a clear understanding of this topic; but a life commitment to spiritual growth through Bible study, memorization, prayer, fasting, fellowship and sharing your Faith. Only then will your fruit be genuine and more than just “lip service” in the eyes of those lost within your circle of influence. Un-Believers know what fraud is, because lying is the currency of the world. An authentic, empowered life is something totally different.

Here then is our challenge before the lost in our Community. There is harmony in the created relationship, “because we are members of His Body”. If each Believer does their part to nurture activities, which grow Faith, this harmony is more clearly conveyed to the world. Its elegance and emphasis on individual responsibility before the Lord is unheard of in secular experience. It will be an attractor; a light to the world.

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Week Ten Small Group Discussion Points 

Let the women get together and come up with a meaning of submit and let the men get in a group and discuss what it means and then compare answers



What does it mean to be the “governor”?



Have members collaborate, together, to create a list of comparisons of: “as Christ is governor of the church so the man is governor of the woman” and how this should affect how a man interacts with his spouse.



What responses did members have to Quarles’s lines in Day One? Did anyone take offense?



Barns states, that man “is better qualified for ruling than she”. Flush that out together as a group.



Were there any reactions to the “metes and limits” Barns identified in Day Two? Specifically item 3?



Why should the wife be submissive to the husband?



How does the “training of disciples” responsibility, factor into the husband’s role in the home? Do the men in your membership take an active role in this area?



Why do members think that Paul never instructs the wife to love the husband?

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PERSONAL INSIGHTS

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SERMON NOTES

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YOU AS PRAYER WARRIOR So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. Daniel: 9:3

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Text and Outline: Week Eleven Week Eleven Ephesians 6:1-9 VIII. God’s Standards for Authority and Submission in the Church (5:22–6:9) B. Parents and Children (6:1–4) C. Employers and Employees (6:5–9)

In these first verses of the sixth chapter, Paul sets the stage for next week’s electric passage on our battle against the evil one. How does he do that? He concentrates on harmonious relationships. One of the great Truths in life is that although difficulties can be personal, they are best weathered in community. When we live intentionally; giving careful priority to the instructions in these first ten verses, we will be better prepared to face the difficulties of life. Before you begin this week’s study, perhaps you can easily pick out a person that you are “out of sorts” with. There are many reasons why people “fall out”. But Romans 12:18 encourages us to do whatever is within our power to create peace. Pause a moment in prayer. Ask the Father to heighten your alertness to principles, which serve toward more harmonious living. May the Lord bless your every effort at harmony.

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Week Eleven/Day One Obedience

Children, obey your parents as you would the Lord, because this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, so that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land. (Ephesians 6:1-3 NASB) What comes to mind when you think about honoring the Lord?

Do you obey His commandments? How? Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Honoring your parents yields a promise. Are things going well with you? Are you trying to honor God with what you do and say? Or are you letting circumstances dictate how you treat God? What other promises can you think of that God has given to us? Do you stand on those promises?

How does loving one another honor God?

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Week Eleven/Day Two Hold your tongue open your heart

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master. (The Message) Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”. Pray to be able to speak more gently with those who are in contact with you. How will that affect them? And you? Are you walking in the way of the Master? Are you taking the time each day to let God lead you from His Word? Psalm 119:9-11 says “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” How are you treasuring God’s Word in your heart?

Are you actively memorizing scripture? Psalm 119:9-11 is a good place to start. Ask God to help you find scripture that you should memorize, it will help you when in times of need and struggle. 133

Week Eleven/Day Three Don’t do the minimum to get by

Ephesians 6:5-8 Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters, but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. Don’t just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ’s servants, doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you’re really serving God. Good work will get you good pay from the Master, regardless of whether you are slave or free. (The Message)

When no one is looking are you doing your best? It is easy to ‘just get by’ when you are not being watched. When you are working as God’s representative, it gives a new perspective on service.

Pray today that you will do your best and honor God with your work/studies/responsibilities.

Others will notice and may be inspired to ask you about your change in attitude. This may be an opportunity to share your ‘story’.

List some things that you can do a better job with.

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Week Eleven/Day Four Who’s in Charge?

Ephesians 6:9 Masters, it’s the same with you. No abuse, please, and no threats. You and your servants are both under the same Master in heaven. He makes no distinction between you and them.

If you are given the responsibility to be the leader, do you allow God to lead you?

If we are all the same in God’s eyes, then as the leader we are still accountable to God.

List some examples of good leaders. How about some that have influenced you personally?

Did someone lead you to the Lord? Leaders don’t have to be the boss, they can show the truth.

How are you taking those opportunities to lead others to the Lord?

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Week Eleven/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The Warm Up Isolate and Meditate: v7: “With good-will render service as to the Lord and not to men.” Now take a moment to work this verse over – let’s say seven reps (the perfect number). Before you begin this week’s workout, take a moment to lookup Colossians 3:23 for additional insights.

The Workout Let’s get the heart rate up. The Holy Spirit spurred Paul to instruct, that there are at least three key guidelines that Believers must follow when “doing” for others – whether at home, the workplace, church, school or other interactive settings. The first has to do with heart attitude. “With good-will”, does not mean reluctantly, or sluggishly. It does not mean, “only after much badgering.” It means “do for others” with good intentions, “do for others” with a sweet spirit, and “do for others” with a conforming and harmonious attitude. Stop here to consider about how much “good will” you put into your responsibilities at home or at work (or as Colossians 3:23 says: “with all your heart”). Do you find yourself crabby when you get home because you’re “tired” and “worked all day” and deserve to rest when you come home? Do you expect others to do all the work at home; work such as dishes, the wash, or picking up around the house? Messes that you help create? Or do you “pitch in” with “good will” to get the common chores done? Are there some changes needed here? Stop to ask the Lord for renewal of “good will”.

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Week Eleven/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

Another take-away from this passage is the word “service”. Not only does God expect us to be genuine and transparent of heart in our “doing”, but we are to be “doing” with the viewpoint of a servant. We are to see our mission on earth, through the lens of putting the interests and timetables of self on the back burner and placing others first. This can be difficult; especially if this practice has not been your habit. Jesus is fully aware of what the Holy Spirit is asking Believers to do with this command and spoke to it directly. So you too, when you do all the things, which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’ Luke 17:10 A third guideline emerging from this passage serves to remind, Who we must keep in mind as we “do for others”. This is funny because if we think of it at all, we generally find we act for ourselves, with our own intentions, independent of any deliberate thought of God – people routinely act in their own self interests. And although you know what the passage says – and have heard these words before – they are revolutionary and deserve your complete attention. When we are “doing for others” we must do “as to the Lord and not to men”. No matter what you do, no matter the circumstances of your “doing”; no matter the wage you’re earning, no matter the position you hold, your every action is not to be for men. Everything we do is for the Lord. Such is God’s intention. We are not to be what Paul calls in Ephesians 6:6, “men pleasers”. Our every action from saying yes, to helping around the house, to saying yes to filling a need in church – we are not doing it for us; we belong to Him and our “doing” must reflect this. 137

Week Eleven/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The Cool Down – T4T Just think what those in your circle of influence will think when your actions are daily and purposefully placed at God’s disposal; when you fight yourself down and bury your personal interests and not show selfish annoyance at the “inconvenience” of someone else’s need; when you are seen as patient and agreeable in the face of your personal plans being frustrated by the needs of others? Such compliance and unselfishness is novel to a narcissistic society where everyone is in it for themselves. Being a Godly servant is in sharp contrast to world values and will only help to attract the lost. How do you score on the “grateful for interruptions to your personal plans” test? Can your initial reaction to the need of others be described as selfish? Can you recognize when you are responding selfishly? Do selfish responses remain unchallenged or are you content to do just what you want? Do you think you are alive today to please yourself? Don’t be insulted. These are just questions. Sit with this a moment to listen to what the Spirit may prompt.

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Week Eleven Small Group Discussion Points 

What comes to mind when you think of honoring the Lord?



Ask members to brainstorm the ways Christ has loved them.



Expand that discussion by applying His command that we love on another in the same way.



How does loving one another honor God?



Ask members to share how they fair in offering a “gentle answer” in the face of wrath? Brainstorm ways to tip the balance back to gentleness.



Why should Believers memorize the Bible? (Psalm 119:9-11). How are you at treasuring God’s Word in your heart?



What leadership role does each member have?



Have a discussion about how to identify if the Lord is asking a Believer to accept another and more challenging leadership role?



Are Believers always to be looking toward more responsibility; more leadership?



Share the way members deal with interruptions to their personal time, by the needs of others.

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PERSONAL INSIGHTS

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SERMON NOTES

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YOU AS PRAYER WARRIOR When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Revelation 5:8.

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Text and Outline: Week Twelve Week Twelve Ephesians 6:10-24 Key Verses: Ephesians 6:11-12 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. We were not created to live this life alone; we were created to live in fellowship with God and to walk with Him daily.

Unfortunately, trust is something we all struggle with, from Adam and Eve through today. Because of that lack of trust we are all faced with a life alone, until we acknowledge that we are a sinner and need to reconcile our sins with God through the payment of our sins by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. After we make that step we are then faced with a new challenge, “the schemes of the devil”.

We are defenseless, unless we clothe ourselves each day with God’s armor, all of it. Paul calls it the “full” armor of God.

We must be completely armed. Not one or two pieces. We must be prepared and have the armor before the battle begins, not during it. We are already on the battle ground.

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Week Twelve/Day One Stand Firm

Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, What is truth? Who is Truth? Jesus said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through me”. 1. Are you secure in Jesus? Is he your Lord and Savior? Do you start your day with Him? Pause and ask Jesus to lead you so that you are able to recognize His prompting. 2. Are you protected? The Roman breastplate was typically made of bronze, backed with leather. It was designed to protect the vital area. A blow through this was usually fatal. Are you protecting your heart from the world? Are you avoiding the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life? Look up 1John 2:15-16. What do you really love? wounding your heart?

Is it

Whose righteousness do you have? Are you relying on your own good works? “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20 The breastplate of righteousness is not ours, it is given to us - to put on. 144

Week Twelve/Day Two Put your shoes on- grab your shield

And having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. How are you preparing yourself? What are you doing with your free time?

Putting on shoes does not mean you are going to escape warfare. They are designed for that very purpose: action, protection, to keep you moving; for spiritual combat. "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” Romans 16:20 The Roman shield was the maneuverable part of the warrior's armor. It was designed to protect him from arrows and javelins, flaming and otherwise. Faith is more than belief. Faith involves trust and reliance. I may "believe" that a stool can hold me. I exercise my faith in the stool when I rely on it by sitting on it! You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder. James 2:19 There are also three primary "legs" supporting our faith: 1. Prayer. Are you praying daily? 2. His Word. Are you in a Bible reading program? 3. Fellowship. Do you attend Church regularly?

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Week Twelve/Day Three My Protection

And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Wearing a helmet is for protection. Simply owning one is not enough, we must wear it. The helmet is essential and it is designed by God. Salvation is something we receive and cannot earn. Do you wear the helmet of salvation? It is a free gift, no one can take it away. Your helmet was purchased just for you. You are entitled to it because of Jesus. Forget your helmet and you're vulnerable. Satan will put lying thoughts in your head. How many of your sins did Jesus die for at the cross? All of them. The sword is the offensive part of our armor and it is also for our defense. It is two edged. So is the Word of God. It gives us authority to defend the truth and ability to proclaim God’s love. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. "The Sword of the Spirit" has some unique characteristics. Most ancient armies had a long sword with a single edge. The Romans developed a short sword that was only 24 inches long and was sharpened on both edges. They conquered the world with it. The key to their effectiveness was training and practice. The unique sword was a liability unless practice and training were implemented. 146

Week Twelve/Day Three My Protection

What is the lesson for us? How can we hone our skills? 1. 2. 3. 4.

Home Bible study/daily devotionals Listen to daily preaching online or radio Small group study attendance Teach a small group Bible Study. The way to really learn the Bible is to teach it.

How are you going to get more involved?

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Week Twelve/Day Four Our most powerful weapon of all…prayer!

Ephesians 6:18-20 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. Prayer is the most important activity a Christian can engage in. How much time do you spend in prayer each day? Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators spent 10% of his day in prayer. One of the key elements of prayer is worship. How would you feel if our worship service was two plus hours long? You can't get ‘loud and clear’ communications with headquarters with excessive static on the line. Approach your prayer and worship time with total agreement with God on your sins. Confess them, forgive others, be a servant, etc. Keep a journal on your prayer list and progress. How is God answering your prayers? Praise God for your answers. Keep a battlefield record and also keep your Headquarters abreast of your awareness of victories! Don't be discouraged; that is a victory for the enemy. Realize that God finds many ways each day to ask you, "Do you trust me?". Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 148

Week Twelve/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer

The Warm Up Isolate and Meditate: v24: “Grace, be with all who have undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ.”, (HCSB). This is the last of our warm ups. Give it all you got! Work through this short passage five or six reps before continuing; you want to be ready with your own insights going into the Workout. The Workout Now let’s get the heart rate up. It is fitting that Paul’s benediction concerns grace and the Believer. We’ve talked at length about grace these past twelve weeks. However, as you read this last line of Ephesians, notice Paul first introduces, and then adds a condition to, a special endowment of grace. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. (NIV) Now this measure of grace is conferred not simply to those who love the Lord Jesus Christ, but to those with a particular variety of love for Him: an “undying love”. The KJV says “sincere”. Stop to work that over. Most Believers can quickly respond “yes” when asked if they love the Lord Jesus. But Paul levies a formidable constraint: this special grace is for those who love with “undying love”. This begs the question. How fickle is your love for Him? Which things in your personal living space come before Him? What are the areas you hold back; evidence that your love for Him ebbs and flows? That Paul calls this love “undying” draws attention to the choices we make between things competing for our love. Our love for Christ cannot be termed “undying” when our affections are lured away by intentional choices to forsake Him. 149

Week Twelve/Day Five Core Strength: Time with the Master Personal Trainer Sin is desirable; that’s why we do it. But Paul’s instruction here suggests a consequence of divided love. When we trade our love of Christ for other things, when our love for Him is divided, this particular measure of grace he speaks of is not for us. We miss out on a special provision of grace. That is the sticking place. Think for a moment what an extra measure of grace might mean to you, your family, to others around you. Perhaps you are dealing with a specific conflict that quite possibly could be resolved were you to drink in this measure of grace made available to those who have “undying love”, grace made available because you purposed not to partake in sin, not to trade your love of Christ for anything. What might this mean to successful living, to victory over sin, to the spiritual impact upon yourself and others around you? The Cool Down – T4T “For by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:8) is likely not a familiar statement to those non-Believers in your circle of influence. And yet this “unmerited favor” was given to pull mankind (one Believer at a time) out of the otherwise inescapable path to destruction. We should never tire of reviewing this theme in our prayers and conversation. Today’s passage however serves not only as a reminder that God saves us (thank you, Jesus), but that He also stands at the ready to sustain us; to come alongside to nurture and encourage. We are not left “as orphans”, (John 14:18). All mankind seeks such provision. Man’s boundless yearning for help over daily struggles is evidenced by excesses in entertainment and dissolving moral barriers. People need the Lord for Salvation. People need the Lord to get through each day. Make it your project today to share these ideas of saving and sustaining grace. 150

Week Twelve Small Group Discussion Points 

Have members review each of the elements of armor.



How can one gird the loins with Truth?



Are you wearing the breastplate to protect your heart from the world?



Perhaps you’ve experiences where misplaced love wounded your heart. Seek support in your small group and don’t be afraid to share the lessons you learned.



What does “the preparation of the gospel of peace” mean?



What are you doing with your free time that you’ve neglected your preparation time?



Are you praying daily? Do you use the, “You as Prayer Warrior” sheets in this study guide? Why not?



Are you deliberate in reading your Bible? Do you have a structured approach? Should you?



Have members deliberate over this statement: “The way to really learn the Bible is to teach it.”



Have an open discussion about what’s stopping you from becoming a small group leader?

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PERSONAL INSIGHTS

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SERMON NOTES

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YOU AS PRAYER WARRIOR Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2

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Contributing Editors In random order The following people prayerfully and unselfishly labored to provide content to this Study Guide. All contributions were overseen and finalized by an ordained SBC minister. Bobby Koehler Justin McKerrow Judy Thornton George LaFemina Frank Shelt Bob Thornton

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