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Second Lesson - Ephesians 1:15-23

on Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:09 am
Second Lesson - Ephesians 1:15-23.

Have you ever struggled to breathe? Suffered an asthma attack? Been stuck under water? Had the breath knocked out of you?
When you finally were able to fill your lungs with air again, what did you feel? Did your perspective of breathing—the regular in-and-out of everyday respiration—change? Why?

Without the ability to breathe we can’t live. Oxygen is a power source for our bodies. In the same way, our study today will look at prayer as a power source for the Christian life. The Apostle Paul describes his prayer for the people in Ephesus, and asks God specifically to empower the believers there to live the Christian life well.

Read: Ephesians 1:15–23.

WATCH Session 2: Ephesians 1:15–23 (11 minutes)    LINK

Respond to the questions below

What stands out to you as you think through what J.D. Greear had to say? Any stories or sayings that grabbed you?

JD summarized Paul’s prayer in four parts. What four things did Paul want the Ephesians to see?

Look at Paul’s intro to the prayer in verses 15–16. Can you see the story? What specific actions have happened, or are happening—just in these two verses? Can you put them in order?

How does viewing Paul’s prayer as a story change the way you look at it? How could prayer-as-story affect the way you pray?

In verse 17, Paul prays that the people would know God better.
What does Paul mean here? How do we “know God”?
How does God’s Spirit make that happen?

Paul is not only praying that believers would know God better, but he wants us to know certain things about God and our relationship with Him. The first, in verse 18, is hope.
How would you define hope?
How is “the hope to which He has called you” different from hoping that your team wins the big game or hoping you get a raise?

J.D. said: “What is our hope? That we are going to be face to face with God, be filled with Him, and be like Him! And this hope reshapes how we see everything in life. It shows us what God is doing in our pain—how He is weaving that glorious tapestry. It shows us what God wants to do with our blessings: to use them for His mission. That hope enables us to overcome temptation.”
Have you found J.D.’s statement to be true?

What’s the best thing you can do for someone else to help them have this kind of hope?

Are there times when you feel that you aren’t loved by God? Why or why not?

Do you think other people feel that way, too? Why or why not?

How can this passage of Scripture change your mind about that?

In verses 19–20, we find the next main point of Paul’s prayer. What is it? (Power) How does Paul describe God’s power?

We don’t need to respond to this question online, but think of that part of your life that needs a touch of God’s power. Your attitude? Your health? Your struggle with temptation? Your relationships? How could God use His resurrection power to transform that?

Beginning in verse 20 and continuing through 23, we find the last of the main points of the prayer: The finality of Jesus’ rule. What do these verses say about Jesus?

Is there one phrase that stands out for you? What does that mean to you?

Please respond by Monday 1/8/18. Let me know if you need more time.

Thanks!
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Re: Second Lesson - Ephesians 1:15-23

on Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:25 pm
Paul wanted the Ephesians to see the hope to which they had been called, their worth to God, the power of God toward them, and the finality of Christ's role.

Paul has received word about the faith of the Ephesians and their love for the brethren, and Paul now thanks God for them and prays for them continually.

Paul prays that the Ephesians may know in their spirits the truths they had already been taught. Without the Holy Spirit, it is possible to know facts about God, but it is only by the Holy Spirit that those facts may be truly understood and internalized, affecting our lives and our actions (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Hope is a desire and expectation for something that is not currently possessed. The "hope to which He has called you" is different from our hope regarding other things because, while we may expect and desire some things, our hope to which God has called us will surely come to pass. While we may want to do something, and expect to do it, we are not sure it will come to pass, and if we feel it will definitely come to pass, we should rethink our sureness (James 4:13-16).

Knowing that we will eventually be completely conformed to the image of Christ should motivate us and give us strength to act, now, more like Whom we will eventually be completely conformed to the image of.

The only way someone can have this hope is if they are regenerated by the Holy Spirit. The only thing we can do help bring this about is by witnessing to them, telling them about God and what He has accomplished on the cross through the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ.

I know that God loves me, and He has shown that love by dying on the cross for my sins. He loved me even when I was a sinner (Christ died for my sins before I had repented of them), so I know that His love is not dependent on anything I have done. Since His love toward me is not based on anything within myself, there is nothing I can do (now that I am in Christ) that can alienate myself from God's love. Knowing that God loves me and always will, there are times when I think that He is displeased with my actions. While I know that God loves me, He may, at times, not particularly "like" me.

I am sure that there are many who, like me, know that God loves them, but, at the same time, they know that sin strains, though not to the point of breaking, our relationship with God, our Lord and Savior. Though there are also some that see sin as a small matter, having no ability to incur God's discipline upon His children, but we know that God disciplines all of His children toward righteousness (Hebrews 12:5-11). But then there are some who are so arrogant as to believe that their actions could nullify the work of God. They believe that their sins can sever them from the love of God and even remove them from being in Christ. They believe, or at least may say, that the love of God is unmeritted, but then believe that, by their lack of merit, they may lose God's love. If no one is worthy to earn His love, how can one be said, more so than others, to be so unworthy as to lose His love?

Paul describes God's power as immeasurably great and the example he gives of His power is the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus.

Though we can no longer see Him and He does not yet reign over an earthly kingdom, Jesus Christ is sovereign and everything has been placed under His control, though it may rarely seem this way.
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Re: Second Lesson - Ephesians 1:15-23

on Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:25 am
1. What stands out to you as you think through what J.D. Greear had to say? Any stories or sayings that grabbed you?

In the very beginning, as he was talking about spiritual sight, the concept of knowing vs experiencing stood out to me. The way he described tasting honey as opposed to having knowledge that honey is sweet. It gives me an even greater desire to experience more of God and truly helps to refocus.

2. JD summarized Paul’s prayer in four parts. What four things did Paul want the Ephesians to see?

  • Hope—in the form of something that will happen, not something that might—that we will be face to face with God one day and be filled with Him.
  • The deep love that God has for us and how we are the inheritance of God.
  • The power of God through the resurrection of Jesus and how God can use that same power to transform our hearts.
  • Jesus is head over the church and His goal is to build the church. We are called to recognize His power and tell others about Him so that they can also be part of God’s church.


3. Look at Paul’s intro to the prayer in verses 15–16. Can you see the story? What specific actions have happened, or are happening—just in these two verses? Can you put them in order?

Paul has heard of the faith that the Ephesians have and their love for the saints. He is giving thanks for them and prays for them.

4. How does viewing Paul’s prayer as a story change the way you look at it? How could prayer-as-story affect the way you pray?

Not sure about the prayer-as-story aspect. As opposed to what? Thanking God for the work He has done and praying for further spiritual wisdom is much more powerful than simply praying that things might go well in your life or only praying when things go wrong. Paul also desires the same things that God desires in his prayer (such as knowing as well as feeling God’s presence and power) which is another model for prayer that we should follow.

5. In verse 17, Paul prays that the people would know God better.
What does Paul mean here? How do we “know God”?
How does God’s Spirit make that happen?


Paul is praying that what we know about God intellectually should manifest as something that we also feel and experience. It’s not just about a theoretical understanding about God—even atheists have that. God’s Spirit dwells within us and gives us this experience and yearning to grow closer to God by living in accordance to His will. The Holy Spirit changes our hearts and makes God’s power known to us on a personal level.

6. Paul is not only praying that believers would know God better, but he wants us to know certain things about God and our relationship with Him. The first, in verse 18, is hope.
How would you define hope?
How is “the hope to which He has called you” different from hoping that your team wins the big game or hoping you get a raise?


Hope, in the Christian context, is knowing that what God promised will eventually come true. The difference between hoping that your team wins big is that it may or may not come true. You can be sure that His calling is something that will happen in the future. God’s promises are literally the only thing we can be sure of in the world. We have no surety of anything else that will happen in our lives. Maybe it would be more appropriate to say that we “wish” our team wins the game, or we get a raise?

7. J.D. said: “What is our hope? That we are going to be face to face with God, be filled with Him, and be like Him! And this hope reshapes how we see everything in life. It shows us what God is doing in our pain—how He is weaving that glorious tapestry. It shows us what God wants to do with our blessings: to use them for His mission. That hope enables us to overcome temptation.”
Have you found J.D.’s statement to be true?


I fail all the time and sometimes still see things in a skewed perspective (apart from God). However, without this hope, I wouldn’t be able to overcome temptation and I wouldn’t even try since there’s nothing to look forward to. So yes, I think his statement is true and it is one of the main reasons to live a life for God.

8. What’s the best thing you can do for someone else to help them have this kind of hope?

We can tell them about God and how Jesus Christ died for our sins. We can pray without ceasing for them as Paul did. These things will start the process but ultimately, God is the one that reveals this hope to people through the work of the Holy Spirit.

9. Are there times when you feel that you aren’t loved by God? Why or why not?

Like most (all?) people, I have a logical and emotional side to thinking. Logically, I know that God always loves me as He has revealed to us by sending us His son to die for our sins. Logically, he will never stop loving us based on our actions. Logically, I know that love is not just an emotion—God always desires what is best for me and that includes disciplining me when needed. However, there are times in my life when I do stumble and fail, and I think emotionally and ignore the logical side. There are times when I have felt very distant and far from God. There have been several times in my life where my emotional thinking would take over and I would feel like God doesn’t love me. Thankfully, this does not happen as often as it used to and as soon as it starts to happen now, I turn to the Bible to remind myself of God’s love and extinguish these thoughts and feelings. Essentially, turning to God helps me get back on track.

10. Do you think other people feel that way, too? Why or why not?

I think other people would feel this way too sometimes.  In this life, we are constantly under spiritual attack. Our sin is still a part of life on Earth and that sin can cause people to feel as though God doesn’t love us and that our sin is too big and too bad for even God to overcome. We know this isn’t true and that Jesus has already conquered all sin but at times, other people may still end up in this situation of feeling unloved by God.

11. How can this passage of Scripture change your mind about that?

This passage can change our mind when we’re feeling this way by keeping in mind the four things that Paul talks about (question 2). It is very important not to lose sight of the fact that God is powerful enough to conquer death and sin and He has already done so.

12. In verses 19–20, we find the next main point of Paul’s prayer. What is it? (Power) How does Paul describe God’s power?

Paul is praying that we know the “surpassing greatness of His power” which raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at the right hand of God in heaven.

13. Beginning in verse 20 and continuing through 23, we find the last of the main points of the prayer: The finality of Jesus’ rule. What do these verses say about Jesus?

Everything is under Jesus and He is the head of the church. The church is the body of Jesus and He is the risen ruler of all things in the universe.

14. Is there one phrase that stands out for you? What does that mean to you?

The phrase “the fullness of Him who fills all in all” stands out. I believe this means that after Jesus has risen from the dead, he has authority over all things. Since the church is His body, it is used to “fill all in all”, by being on display to the world as the representation of Jesus Christ.
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Re: Second Lesson - Ephesians 1:15-23

on Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:35 am
1. What stands out to you as you think through what J.D. Greear had to say? Any stories or sayings that grabbed you?
Towards the end of the video, he starts talking about church and that it is a community rather than an event you attended every Sunday. He goes on to mention that you should build your life around that community because that’s where God was. I feel like this is something people struggle to do often and that we should put a greater effort to doing so.

2. JD summarized Paul’s prayer in four parts. What four things did Paul want the Ephesians to see?
The four things that Paul wants us to see are:
Hope in the biblical sense that you are looking forward to the second coming of God
Wants us to see our worth to God
The power that God is working in us which is measured by the resurrection
That Jesus has already won and is on the throne as it is told to us by Paul

3. Look at Paul’s intro to the prayer in verses 15–16. Can you see the story? What specific actions have happened, or are happening—just in these two verses? Can you put them in order?
Heard about their faith in God and then Paul gave thanks and remembered them in prayer.

4. How does viewing Paul’s prayer as a story change the way you look at it? How could prayer-as-story affect the way you pray?

5. In verse 17, Paul prays that the people would know God better. What does Paul mean here? How do we “know God”? How does God’s Spirit make that happen?
I think that Paul praying for the people to understand God’s will and His plan for us. By reading the word of God and praying we are able to understand our purpose in his plan. And the Holy Spirit helps us fulfil our purpose by making the power of God known to us.

6. Paul is not only praying that believers would know God better, but he wants us to know certain things about God and our relationship with Him. The first, in verse 18, is hope. How would you define hope? How is “the hope to which He has called you” different from hoping that your team wins the big game or hoping you get a raise?
When you hope that your favorite sports team wins is something you don’t know might come true whereas hope in the biblical context is knowing that God’s plan/promise will come to fruition as he promised. The only thing that is certain in the world are God’s promises and no force no matter how great can stop it.

7. J.D. said: “What is our hope? That we are going to be face to face with God, be filled with Him, and be like Him! And this hope reshapes how we see everything in life. It shows us what God is doing in our pain—how He is weaving that glorious tapestry. It shows us what God wants to do with our blessings: to use them for His mission. That hope enables us to overcome temptation.” Have you found J.D.’s statement to be true?
Yes, I think that the statement by J.D is true. With the blessings he gave us to use us in His mission, we can remain hopeful and resist temptation.

8. What’s the best thing you can do for someone else to help them have this kind of hope?
Pray for them like Paul did that they may see what God has planned for them and share the word of God with them.

9. Are there times when you feel that you aren’t loved by God? Why or why not?
Yes, there are times where I have felt that God hates me but I don’t think I have had that thought for too long. I was quickly reminded by the word of God that He always loves us no matter how many times we fail. As long as we keep that in mind, God will always love you and we can overcome temptation.

10. Do you think other people feel that way, too? Why or why not?
Yes, I think that other people feel this way too because they aren’t reminded of God’s sacrifices for our sins and that God is incapable of not loving you.

11. How can this passage of Scripture change your mind about that?
Paul talks about the incomparable strength and power of God and what God has done with that power: raised Christ from the dead and seated him at the right hand in the heavenly realms far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in present age but also in the one to come. If we don’t forget all that God has done for us, and what he has planned for us we will be able to realize the unconditional love he has for us.

12. In verses 19–20, we find the next main point of Paul’s prayer. What is it? (Power) How does Paul describe God’s power?
Paul talks about the incomparable strength and power of God and what God has done with that power: raised Christ from the dead and seated him at the right hand in the heavenly realms far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in present age but also in the one to come. I think Paul describes God’s power as infinite and absolute.

13. We don’t need to respond to this question online, but think of that part of your life that needs a touch of God’s power. Your attitude? Your health? Your struggle with temptation? Your relationships? How could God use His resurrection power to transform that?

14. Beginning in verse 20 and continuing through 23, we find the last of the main points of the prayer: The finality of Jesus’ rule. What do these verses say about Jesus?
Verses 20 to 23 talk about the how Christ was raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God in the heavenly realms above all authority, power and dominion over everything in the present and future. God has placed Christ to be the head of the Church which is his body.

15. Is there one phrase that stands out for you? What does that mean to you?



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Re: Second Lesson - Ephesians 1:15-23

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