Category Archives: Studies

Day 13 of Ephesians

Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a] 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Ephesians 6:1-9

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Bondservants and Masters

Bondservants,[a] obey your earthly masters[b] with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master[c] and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

Whilst this section is often found controversial (and I can understand why!), I think this much is clear; God’s household is to live in its individual households based on the family traits of love and submission. This is a very helpful realisation; each of the households of the household of God must be a place where God’s love is represented faithfully. 

Moreover, in each household the design is set by God and who we are rather than anything else. In a context of ‘the days are evil’ (5:16), we need this reminder of where our design template comes from. Here is a spur to do what you are doing now: reading God’s word, meditating and praying. In our marriages, in our relationships as families, in our workplaces, our identity in Jesus is to be displayed by our reliance on his design of love and submission (v5:21).

Question:

Pick one of those three relationships described in the passage and write down three ways in which mutual love and submission could be displayed by you.

Pray:

Father, thank you that you speak clearly to your household. Please grow in me a delight in the way you love us so that this same love is seen in my household. Amen. 

Day 12 of Ephesians

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:15-21

Walking is not a simple action, although it looks simple. Living as God’s household is not a simple action either; but when it works, it is wonderfully simple in its goodness. 

As Paul starts to round out his letter to the Ephesian Christians, he turns his attention to their households: the big one of God (5:15-21), and each of their individual ones (5:22-6:9). This is so important because of the times we live in, even the nitty-gritty of our everyday lives matters. We must not waste a moment. We must be wise, navigating the world as God designed it. 

Amongst God’s household as we gather, this means that we are ‘speaking’ God’s word to each other, ‘singing and making music’ to God, ‘thanking’ God for everything, and ‘serving’ each other constantly. That is not easy, is it? That is why Paul has made sure we know the resource God has given to us to make it work; he himself will live with his household to achieve this aim (v.18).

Question:

Take one of those ‘-ing’ words of verses 19-20, and spend some time writing down what that might look like for you as you spend time with God’s household this week.

Prayer:

Father, you have welcomed us into your household. And the days we live in are limited, often broken and we desperately need wisdom. Thank you that you dwell with us by your Spirit to make your people a wise household. Amen.

Day 11 of Ephesians

 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:6-14

There must have been an immense amount of pressure in Ephesus to tiptoe through life as a Christian. After all, this new identity ‘in Christ’ would have clashed with the temple of Diana on the hill, the Roman Emperor cult that flourished, and even the Jewish synagogue down the road. 

God doesn’t call his mob to walk with a small footprint – we are to ‘walk as children of light’ (v.8). Light is hard to hide (v.9). Light exposes (v.11). Light is obviously NOT darkness (v.11). In fact, light makes clear (v.13). And so, Paul states clearly that God’s mob are not sleepwalkers through life; they leave a big footprint wherever they go, pointing to where their identity lies.

Question:

What is the difference between ‘walking’ as children of light or being obnoxious? What is the point of the walk of the children of light?

Prayer:

Father, you have taken me from darkness into light, the light of forgiveness, grace, goodness and truth. This is all your work, from love, in Christ. Please help me to walk as a child of light, reveling in the goodness of the truth of grace, and graciously exposing darkness. Amen. 

Day 10 of Ephesians

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Ephesians 5:1-5

The language of ‘household’ is consistent through this letter to the Ephesian Christians (e.g. 1:10; 2:20; 3:2). Their identity is no longer ‘Jew’ or ‘Gentile’, but ‘in Christ in God’s household.’ They have been brought into God’s family. As such they (and we) are in God’s family. And, like all families, we are expected to bear the family likeness; we are to look like our Father God, as his children (vs.1). In fact, we are commanded to bear this family likeness! 

And the likeness is clear; it is the family trait of ‘love,’ a love that is committed to self-sacrifice, mercy, grace and generosity for the good of someone who does not deserve it (cf. Eph.2:1-10). This love is unlike all false loves: the love of money, the love of sexual immorality, the love of coarse language. This love is driven by thankfulness for what God has done. This love is the family likeness that God’s mob walk in.

Question:

Why, when God’s love is so significant in our lives, do you think we chase after counterfeit and perverted loves? How might we walk better in thankfulness for that love?

Prayer:

Father, thank you that your love for me is undeniable, historically established and permanent in its goodness. Please enable me to walk in the likeness of your character, avoiding perverted love and reveling in thankfulness. Amen.

Ephesians Day 9

Ephesians 4:17-32
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[a] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Have you ever tried to change your walk permanently? It is so hard to do, because how we walk is part of who we are. When our identity changes, our walk must change, too. You can see this when the leader of a political party becomes the Prime Minister; who they are changes, and so must the way they live life. The problem is that, under all sorts of pressure, we can often find it easier just to walk the old way. 

Paul states that this must NOT be the case (verse 17), this way of walking is no longer appropriate for the new identity God has given his people. It is the way of ‘futility’, ‘darkness’, and ‘exclusion’ (vs.17-19). They are now ‘in Christ’ in God’s mob and their walk must show this. Their lives must show how their old self is gone (vs.22), their minds are changed (vs.23), and their new identity is clear (vs.24). And this new walk is clear; just look at how simple the eleven commands are in verses 25-32.

Question:

Look through the eleven commands in verses 25-32. Pick one that is particularly relevant to you. Using the lens of verses 22-24, unpack what this new walk might look like. What was the old way? How has God’s Word renewed your mind in this area? What is the new way of walking?

Prayer:

Dear Father, you have brought me into your household, into community with you and the rest of your people. Please change my walk, creating in me new habits that reflect the new identity you gave me ‘in Jesus.’ Please help me to express this new walk within this new community. Amen.

Day 7

Ephesians 3:14-21

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Given what God has done for humans – vertically and horizontally – Paul turns to him in prayer; after all, as the ‘Father’ of the household, who else is the household dependent upon? Paul’s prayer is first for God to work in the lives of his people, to strengthen them by his Spirit and to enable them to accept the new landlord in their lives – Jesus (vs.16-17). 

Secondly, Paul’s prayer is for the Ephesians to grasp the magnitude of God’s love; the very same love that moved them from corpse to Christian (vs.17-19). The whole point of this prayer is so that God’s mob can display God to the world (vs.19). The prayer is so big that we need to be reminded of the bigness of God – he can do so much more than anything we can imagine (vs.20-21). 

Question:

Take a moment to just read, and re-read, this prayer a few times. Compare it with so many prayers we offer and hear. Ponder again how immense it is!

Prayer:

Father, you know where we live and what aches our bones and what we eat for breakfast, and you exercise power to raise Jesus from the dead so that we can have life we do not deserve. Please use that same power to make Jesus our landlord, to enable us to grasp your love, and to display your fullness to this world. Amen.

Day 6

Ephesians 3:1-13

The Mystery of the Gospel Revealed

For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is[a] that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in[b] God, who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

A friend of mine recently spoke about being on ‘the wrong side of history.’ It is a phrase we hear often, and it is used to paint someone opposed to you as someone who will be revealed as misguided, even wrong in their understanding of events. Paul could have been accused of this; after all, by now he was under house-arrest in Rome and seemingly doomed. And, yet, as he writes this little excursus on his life, he makes very clear that he is very much on the ‘right side of history,’ despite all appearances (vs.7). 

You see, history is about God’s plan to bring all the world to right standing ‘in Christ.’ That includes people from every nation, tribe and tongue reconciled to God and each other, ‘in Christ.’ When this happens in the church here and in the future, what is God shown to be (vs.8-12)? Unbelievably wise! In this sense, despite appearances, there is no need to be discouraged!

Question:

Ponder the mob of people you meet with at church – how do you display the ‘multi-faceted wisdom of God’?

Prayer:

Father, when I gather with your people, I am amazed by your wisdom – that ‘in Christ’, you have dealt with our sin, given us peace with you and each other, and so displayed to the world that you have defeated the rule of sin. Please grant me, and us, great delight and contentment in your wisdom. Amen.

Day 5 of Ephesians

This past Sunday, Pastor Earl began a six week study on the book of Ephesians. He suggested that members of the congregation go ahead and read through Ephesians so that they are prepared for the next six weeks. Today, we’ll start a 14 day journey going through the book of Ephesians, to better prepare ourselves for what Pastor Earl will be sharing in the next six weeks.

This study comes from the YouVersion Bible App…and can be downloaded to your phone. https://www.bible.com/


We all live life vertically and horizontally, that is how our identity works. Vertically, our identity describes where we stand in relation to God. Horizontally, our identity describes where we stand in relation to other humans. Vertically in Christ, Christians are now able to dwell with God. This means, horizontally we are able to dwell uniquely with other humans; in particular, others ‘in Christ’. 

In Ephesus, this was seen in the remarkable truth that enemies (Jews and Gentiles) could now live in peace (vs.14). This was unheard of in those days. But it is the reality of God’s people; those naturally divided by human markers are now united to each other in a new humanity with no divisions: no divisions of colour, education, class, employment, geography. Why? Because we are both ‘in Christ;’ the same in sin and the same in salvation!

Question:

Think about God’s people – how might we best express what this ‘new humanity’ looks like as we meet together?

Prayer:

Dear Father, you have created for yourself a new household, one where there is no division. Thank you that this household is created, organised and run by Jesus. Amen. 

Ephesians 2:11-22

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,[a] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by[b] the Spirit.

Day 4 of Ephesians

This past Sunday, Pastor Earl began a six week study on the book of Ephesians. He suggested that members of the congregation go ahead and read through Ephesians so that they are prepared for the next six weeks. Today, we’ll start a 14 day journey going through the book of Ephesians, to better prepare ourselves for what Pastor Earl will be sharing in the next six weeks.

As we are doing this study, we will skip Saturday and Sunday, and pick back up again on Monday.

This study comes from the YouVersion Bible App…and can be downloaded to your phone. https://www.bible.com/


God’s power in raising his Son from the dead can seem to be distant at times: when the land is dry, when you are dry, when life is dry. But Paul wants his readers to know how this power has worked to give them new life in an incomparably wonderful way. 

The language here is quite stark; literally, humans (all humans) are ‘dead-men walking.’ We are corpses who have no prospect of life (vs.1-3). It is the intervention of God – out of his will, his character of mercy and love – which exercises our resurrection. It is not a rescue, but a resurrection (vs.4-7). In Jesus (there is that postcode again) God deals with the judgment of our sin, and raises us to be acceptable to sit in his presence. From corpses to living people ‘in Christ,’ it is all God’s doing in Christ, as a gift, received by trusting him at his word (vs.8-10). The change is so significant that it affects how we walk, from ‘in sin’ to ‘good deeds’. What power! What a humbling gift!

Question:

What is so significant about how Christians have been changed from ‘corpses’ to people ‘holy and blameless,’ able to sit in God’s presence?

Prayer:

Dear Father, only you have the power to take a lifeless, sinful corpse and make it fit to dwell in your presence. Thank you that you have done all this in Jesus, whose perfect life is now mine, whose death paid my debt, whose resurrection shows your mercy. Help me to walk in this new life. Amen.

Ephesians 2:1-10

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Day 3

This past Sunday, Pastor Earl began a six week study on the book of Ephesians. He suggested that members of the congregation go ahead and read through Ephesians so that they are prepared for the next six weeks. Today, we’ll start a 14 day journey going through the book of Ephesians, to better prepare ourselves for what Pastor Earl will be sharing in the next six weeks.

This study comes from the YouVersion Bible App…and can be downloaded to your phone. https://www.bible.com/

Sometimes all we can do as God’s people is pray; it expresses who we are (dependent upon him) and it displays who he is! Paul can do little else in jail. But, more than this, his prayer focuses on the Ephesians knowing the one who has given them a new identity, that is the ‘title’ of the prayer in verse 17. And only God can reveal God. 

This knowledge has three parts: the hope of God’s calling (vs.18), the identity of God’s people (vs.18), and how significant God’s power is (vs.19). If there is any doubt about whether we can know this God, just look at what he has done in history through Jesus (vs.20-23). 

Now, prayers can often seem a little distant from the substance of everyday life. How might this prayer affect the way you consider yourself, as you drive home from work, see the family, eat dinner, and wake up?

Question:

How might you use the content of this prayer to pray for three people you know this week?

Prayer:

Dear Father, thank you that you reveal yourself by your Spirit, in your Son and in your Word. Help me to know you more deeply, know my identity more completely, and appreciate your power more fully. Amen.

Ephesians 1:15-23

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love[a] toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.