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For Further Reflection:
- Read 1:1-2. As we see in this opening greeting, the church is a place wherepeople’s core identity is seen through the lens of God and his work, and it is a place where people genuinely desire God’s grace and peace upon each other. In what ways do you talk about your (and other’s) identity and work through the lens of Christ, and how are you desiring God’s grace and peace to shower upon every person within your congregation? Do we communicate these things in our normal, day-to-day conversations with each other?
- Read 1:3-8. List all the things that are happening “in” and “through” Christ, note who is doing the action, and notice how each action shows God’s desire for us to be brought near to himself. When is the last time you thanked Christ for getting you and your spiritual siblings out from under the crushing debt and poverty of your sin (v. 7), and into the arms of God?
- Read 1:9-14. Notice how the opening of God’s floodgates of grace is tied to the unveiling of God’s mysterious heart as revealed in the life and work of Christ. When God opens our eyes to his unthinkable Christ-centered plan that he has taken such delight in (i.e., the gospel), it is at that moment that he opens us to his life-giving grace. God’s grace is linked to the giving and receiving of his gospel. What did it take for you to see Christ’s gospel as good, and what are you doing to convince those around you of its goodness and beauty and truth? How is God’s work in the life of your church getting people to talk positively about (i.e., praise) God’s radiant glory?
- Read 1:15-19. Even though Paul can already see the fruit that the gospel is producing in the Ephesians’ lives, he still pleads to God that God would open their eyes even more to the depths and riches of his gospel. In what ways do we become content with our “saving knowledge” of Christ and lose our thirst for a deeper knowledge of God, his hope, his inheritance, and his power towards us? How are we pleading for each other to ever grow in this delightful, life-giving knowledge of God & his gospel?
- Read 1:20-23. The church is crucial to God’s plan to fill all things with the fullness of the resurrected Christ. What part does the church play in your own life? your community?