Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 9 - Ephesians 4

Today's reading in our daily plan is Ephesians 4. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • In this chapter Paul begins offering instruction on how we should live our lives.
  • In verses 4-16 he talks about how the church is one body and that God has given gifts to each person in His "body."
  • He lists five leadership roles (in verse 11) God gives some people to fill, and explains that the leaders in the church are to equip the people of the church to do the ministry of the church. The ultimate goal is that the church will be built up and people will be brought to unity in faith and knowledge and spiritual maturity in Jesus.
  • As Paul continues he shows that because following Jesus makes us a new creation we need to live differently then we used to. He gives us three steps for being transformed: (1) Put off your old self,  (2) Be made new in the attitude of your mind,  (3) Put on the new self.
  • The chapter finishes with various behaviors that Paul tells us we must do.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • The leaders (like, for instance, the staff) are kind of like "player-coaches." They do ministry, but more essentially they prepare and equip others to do ministry. Ministry belongs to the people of the church. That means God has called you to serve and make a difference in His church!
  • We are to live a life worthy of the calling we have received. This means we need to put off our old self and put on our new. This the act of putting on and off yourself is like the act of changing clothes, which requires a conscious choice. Similarly, being made new in our attitudes is a choice to learn about God and replace all our selfish attitudes with loving ones.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Where are you volunteering in the church? If you don't have a ministry, you need to get one! That's part of God's purpose for your life.
  • Which part of verses 25-32 do you find hardest to live? Think of an effective way to make that attitude or behavior a reality in your life. For instance, if you struggle to get rid of anger try this: when you get mad, bring your closed clenched fists into an open hand to receive God’s peace and joy. And then ask God to fill you with what you need: strength to be kind, compassionate and forgiving of others.