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Join us as we explore what it means to be the Church of Jesus Christ.

Over 12 weeks we’ll be walking through chapters 1 to 3 of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. The weeks aren’t dated so you can pick up the studies at any time – this is not a regimented programme! However, if you start on 9 January and do a study a week, you’ll find yourself keeping (roughly!) in step with our Sunday preaching series. (We’ve included the dates of the Sunday messages so you can see how these studies and our preaching series fit together.)


THEME: A Chosen People Part 1 | DATE OF MESSAGE: 9 Jan | COMMENT: Welcome to week 1! Each week you'll find a link to the Bible passage below along with any useful resources. This week we're including an overview of Ephesians from the Bible Project - well worth a look!


THEME: A Chosen People Part 2 | DATE OF MESSAGE: 9 Jan | COMMENT: Here's another video from the Bible Project that takes a look at the big picture of what the Bible says about heaven and earth: very relevant to understanding what Paul is talking about in this part of Ephesians!


THEME: God's Own Possession | DATE OF MESSAGE: 16 Jan | COMMENT: There are two perspectives on every conversion story: our own, and God's. Understanding our conversion story from God's perspective may surprise us, and make the miracle of our conversion seem even more wonderful! The video on election from the Gospel Project focuses on the issue of being 'chosen' or 'predestined' (two words which Paul uses in this passage). If God chose us from the beginning of time, then did we have any choice in the matter?


THEME: Christ's Body Part 1 | DATE OF MESSAGE: 30 Jan | COMMENT: Prayer doesn't come naturally to most of us. How can we learn to pray? One way is to study the prayers we find in the Bible, and Paul's letters are full of them (this is the first of two prayers he prays for the Ephesians; the other is at the end of Chapter 3). Begin by identifying each of the things that Paul prays for the Ephesians.


THEME: Christ's Body Part 2 | DATE OF MESSAGE: 30 Jan | COMMENT: These are difficult verses, but perhaps The Message translation gets to the heart of what Paul is saying here: 'At the centre of all this, Christ rules the Church. The Church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the Church. The Church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.' It's hard to overstate the significance of the Church from God's perspective! The video from the Gospel Project gives a quick overview of what the New Testament says about the Church as Christ's body.


THEME: God's Handiwork Part 1 | DATE OF MESSAGE: 13 Feb | COMMENT: A church leader named William Haslam, who saw a remarkable revival just outside of Truro in the 19th century, called his autobiography 'From Death into Life'. That could be taken as a summary statement of these verses! The Bible Project video may not refer specifically to our passage, but ties in with Paul's comments about 'the ruler of the kingdom of the air' as well as the offer of life that's found in Jesus. It also follows on nicely from the video on 'Heaven and Earth' we looked at in Week 2.


THEME: God's Handiwork Part 2 | DATE OF MESSAGE: 13 Feb | Eugene Peterson writes, 'In fifty years of being a pastor, my most difficult assignment continues to be the task of developing a sense among the people I serve of the soul-transforming implications of grace' (Practice Resurrection). Here, Paul contrasts 'works' and 'grace'. Works are the things we do. Works means saying, 'It's all on me'. Works results in living anxiously, because we never think we've done enough. Grace, on the other hand, refers to what God does for us. Grace means recognising, 'It's all because of God'. Grace means peace, because we can rest in God's sufficiency and generosity. | GOING DEEPER: If you want to, take a look at the video which explores what Paul says here about grace in the context of the Bible as a whole.


THEME: A Reconciled People | DATE OF MESSAGE: 27 Feb | COMMENT: It may be difficult for us to identify with what Paul says about the division between 'Jew' and 'Gentile', but let's think about the broader principle that's at stake. Paul is making a powerful point about the fragmentation that exists in society between different people groups, or tribes. Most of us tend to live the majority of our lives with people who are part of our tribe, i.e. people who are just like us. There's a middle-class tribe, a professionals tribe, a mothers-with-young-kids tribe, a students tribe, and tribes defined by race, gender, social class, whatever! There's nothing wrong with being part of any of these tribes, but there is an issue with tribalism, especially when it's brought into the church. Because church is supposed to be the place where God's new society is put on display. The video explains more about what this means in practical terms. | GOING DEEPER: Paul here touches on the problem of the Jewish Law, or 'Torah'. His thinking on this subject is complex, but if you're interested, the video by New Testament scholar Tom Wright is a helpful introduction.


THEME: A Holy Temple | DATE OF MESSAGE: 6 Mar | COMMENT: In the Old Testament God dwelt in a temple. Now he dwells in a people. This should challenge our own expectations concerning the things we do together as a church. Begin by reflecting on your current expectations of our church gatherings, and now consider this: Grace Church is where God is! It's where He's at work in power, to restore, instruct and save! The video looks at the temple picture in more detail, tracing its development through the Big Story of the Bible.


THEME: The Manifold Wisdom of God | DATE OF MESSAGE: 20 Mar | COMMENT: Paul repeatedly uses the word 'mystery' which, for him, means something that was previously hidden but which has now been made known. For Paul, this is the critical moment of history, because the mystery has now been revealed. Those of us who have received this revelation now have a tremendous responsibility. As you consider what this responsibility entails, look at Paul's words and also consider his example. What does Paul model to us about what it means to live at this moment of history?


THEME: The Manifold Wisdom of God Part 2 | DATE OF MESSAGE: 20 Mar | COMMENT: The phrase 'the manifold wisdom of God' is a rich one, and to understand it we need to look at the broader context of what's going on in these verses. Remember that Paul is particularly exercised by the reconciliation of Jew and Gentile, the coming together of the most unlikely groups of people. Through Jesus Christ (and especially his death on the cross - see Week 8), God has done the seemingly impossible: he's formed a new humanity in which there's both unity and diversity. No wonder the eyes of the spiritual beings (angels or demons? Or both?) are locked on the Church!


THEME: The Family of God | DATE OF MESSAGE: 17 Mar | Another amazing prayer (we looked at the first one in Week 4)! Paul's closing lines of his prayer function as a fitting climax to the first section of Ephesians, and this is where we end ... at least for now!

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