Talk the Talk: Confession

Ephesians 4:4-6

Sermon Application Questions 

  1. What is a “confession?”
  2. What is a confession in the context of the Bible? What do we want to accomplish by making a confession?
  3. What kinds of things should be in a confession, and what kinds of things should be left out?
  4. Paul makes a confession in these verses. Why? What does Paul find to be essential about God and his work?
  5. Why do you think Paul makes such a confession after verses 4:1-3? How does “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” relate to unity in the church?

Family Worship Questions

  1. Read Ephesians 4:4-6 & Discuss:
  • What are the things described as “one?” What do you think it means when Paul says there is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God?
  • Why do you think Paul follows verses 1-3 which are about unity with lots of things that are one? How do verses 4-6 support and lead to the unity of verses 1-3?
  • What do you think the statement “God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” means? What does that teach us about God?
  1. Sing: The Church’s One Foundation
  2. Pray



Walk the Walk: Calling

Ephesians 4:1-3

Sermon Application Questions 

  1. Why do you think Paul references his status of being a “prisoner for the Lord?” What impact might this have on a reader who is mindful of what Paul has given up for the sake of Christ? In other words, would a reader pay more or less attention to what Paul writes?
  2. Paul wants our lives as Christians to match our status as Christians. Why is this so important?
  3. What are some practical ways that you can demonstrate humility and gentleness in the church?
  4. Can you give some examples of church life where patience and “bearing with one another in love” are needed?
  5. If Christians are united together by the person and work of Christ, and therefore cannot be “dis-united” from him, what does Paul mean by “maintaining” unity? What does the life of the Christian, especially in the church, say about Christ, positively or negatively?
  6. From where, or from whom, does unity come?

Family Worship Questions

  1. Read Ephesians 4:1-3 & Discuss:
  • Why do you think Paul says he is a “prisoner for the Lord?” What would our lives look like if we lived like prisoners for the Lord?
  • What is the calling on them? How do we hear the call of salvation? How do we live a life worthy of being saved through Christ’s death and resurrection?
  • Define the following ideas: humility, gentleness, patience, bearing in love, maintaining unity. What are the things we can do and the ways we can act that live these ideas out in real life? What do they look like in our homes? What do they look like in our church? What do they look like with our friends?
  1. Sing: Take My Life and Let It Be
  2. Pray



Peace to the Far and Near

Ephesians 2:17

Sermon Application Questions

  1. What do you think of when you hear the word “peace?”
  2. Paul is using the word “peace” again to refer to relationships between specific individuals. Who are these individuals, and what is wrong with their relationships?
  3. Wait a minute. Jesus didn’t actually talk to the Ephesians that Paul is writing to, right? How then did Jesus “preach peace” to them?
  4. How is the “peace” represented by the gospel of Jesus Christ communicated today? Who communicates it?
  5. Think for a moment about the different areas of influence in your life, including your own thought and spiritual life. Are the preaching of peace, the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and reconciliation between God and man, a part of each area? If so, can you give some examples to encourage others? If not, can you think of some ways to begin?

Family Worship Questions

  1. Read Ephesians 2:11-22 & Discuss:
  • [Note: In verses 13-16 God through the sacrifice of Jesus makes peace, in verse 17 Jesus now announces that peace.]
  • What does peace look like? For instance what would peace in a time of war look like? What is the peace that Jesus has won?
  • Why do you think Jesus preached peace? Who are those who are far off? Who are those who are near?
  • How can we follow the example of Jesus and be peace preachers?
  1. Sing: In Christ Alone
  2. Pray



Remember: Hostility and Hope

Ephesians 2:11-13

Sermon Application Questions

  1. Why is it important to remember our lives before Christ? Shouldn’t we simply forget the way that we were? Distant memories, no?
  2. How does remembering what we used to be like before Christ help us to understand who we are now in Christ?
  3. Paul paints a pretty bleak picture for the Gentiles (who wouldn’t have called themselves Gentiles, by the way). What things did the “commonwealth” or “citizenship” of Israel have that the Gentiles did not have, and what was their attitude towards them?
  4. Wait a minute. How did the “commonwealth of Israel” have Christ? Isn’t Paul speaking largely of a time before the Incarnation? How do the “covenants of promise” fit into this?
  5. What is your view towards unbelievers? Do you have a soft heart? Hard heart? Unconcerned heart? Superior heart? Think of how your life supports (either positively or negatively) your view.

Family Worship Questions

  1. Read Ephesians 2:11-13 & Discuss:
  • Who are the two groups of people that Paul is referring to in this passage? What is the difference between the Jews/the commonwealth of Israel and the Gentiles/everyone else? What was special about them? (Read verse 12)
  • What do you think Paul means when he says that people apart from Christ “have no hope and are without God in the world?” What does that look like?
  • What do you think Paul means by “you who once were far off have been brought near”?
  1. Sing: Come to Me
  2. Pray



The Gravity of the Situation: Death, Culture, Satan, and Self

Ephesians 2:1-3

Sermon Application Questions

  1. What are the differences between physical death and spiritual death? Which is worse, and why?
  2. Paul writes of three “things” that promote, support, and characterize our “death-walking” before we are saved. What are they, and how do they manifest themselves?
  3. How would you describe the “course of this world?”
  4. Is the “flesh” just the physical body? Why is it important to correctly understand that Paul is writing about both actions and heart attitudes/intentions?
  5. Describe God’s wrath and love. How can both be true at the same time? Where did both meet in human history?

Family Worship Questions 

  1. Read Ephesians 2:1-3 & Discuss:
  • How does Paul describe how we are/were when we are in sin? What do dead people do? think? feel?
  • What does it mean that we “walked, following the course of this world”? How do we follow the world? [The Message paraphrases this verse by stating, “You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. “(Ephesians 2:2 MESSAGE)]
  • Why is it wrong to follow the passions of the flesh or to carry out the desires of the body and mind? What things do people do when they follow these? What things do you do when you follow these? How does it change our relationship with God and with others?
  1. Sing: All I Have is Christ
  2. Pray



Resurrection: The Rest of the Story

Matthew 28:18-20

Sermon Application Questions

  1. This passage is known as the “Great Commission.” Why? What is “great” about it? And to what are the eleven disciples being commissioned?
  2. Are the words of Jesus only for the eleven original disciples? Why is it important to understand these words as reverberating down through the ages to all disciples of Jesus Christ?
  3. What does the authority of Jesus Christ have to do with the commands of Jesus Christ? In other words, why verse 18?
  4. What does Jesus tell his disciples to do? Where does he tell them to go? Who is to be under their influence, and what is to be their response?
  5. What is discipleship? Why is it so important to Jesus, and why is it so important to the mission of the church?
  6. The disciples of Jesus Christ, then and now, are to be focused on a mission of discipleship, obedient in baptism, and faithful in their teaching. What does this look like in the Christian life?

Family Worship Questions 

  1. Read Matthew 28:18-20 & Discuss:
  • What does it mean to “make disciples?” Who are people we know that need to hear the gospel? What are ways we could share the gospel with them?
  • What are the two things Jesus tells them to do in making disciples? What is baptism? What are examples of things Jesus has commanded believers? How do we live out what Jesus has commanded us?
  • Why do you think Jesus tells them “I am with you always?” What hope does that give to us?
  1. Sing: Christ Is Risen
  2. Pray



He Is Not Here: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Matthew 28:1-6

Sermon Application Questions

  1. Why were Mary Magdalene and Mary going out to the tomb? What did they expect to find? What do you think their emotions were as they went to the tomb? What questions do you think they had?
  2. Who do they encounter at the tomb? Why do you think that it is common for angels to say “do not be afraid” when they appear to people?
  3. What do you think their reaction was when the angel said “he is not here, for he has risen”? What is the importance of the resurrection? Why did Jesus have to rise from the dead? Why is it not enough for him to only die for our sins? Why do you think the angel included “as he said”?
  4. Read Romans 6:1-11. What does the resurrection mean for us as we still live here?

Family Worship Questions

  1. Read Matthew 28:1-6 & Discuss:
  • What do you think Mary Magdalene and Mary felt emotionally as they went to the tomb? What do you think they felt when the angel said “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.“?
  • What does ‘resurrection’ mean? Why is it important that Jesus died? Why is it important that he rose from the dead?
  1. Sing: Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery
  2. Pray



Were You There? Spectators, Elites, and Rebels at the Cross of Christ

Matthew 27:32-44




Power, Christ, and the Church: The Work of God

Ephesians 1:19b-23

 

Sermon Application Questions

  1. What is “power?” When we use the word, what do we mean? In what contexts do we use the word? Who and what does the world think is “powerful?” Who and what does the Bible describe as powerful?
  2. Paul says that God acted in power. In what ways? How do God’s mighty acts of power in the past inform the present? The future?
  3. How would you apply the truth that Jesus Christ is enthroned in the “heavenly places” in your own life? Would you think differently? Would you act differently?
  4. There are differences between how the cosmos is related to Christ in general, and the church is related to Christ in particular. Can you think of some? Why are these differences important?

Family Worship Questions

  1. Read Ephesians 1:19-23 & Discuss:
  • Who is the most powerful person you have met? What makes them powerful? Is it strength? fame? money? What are other ways people can be powerful? What does this power allow them to do? Can they tell other people what to do?
  • What does it mean for you to be under your parents’ or a teacher’s authority? What are they allowed to do?
  • When you read this text what is the power God showed through Jesus? What is the authority he has given to Jesus? Who is under Jesus’ authority? How should this change the way we think and believe in Jesus?
  1. Sing: Behold Our God
  2. Pray



Hope, Riches, and Power: What the Christian Must Know

Ephesians 1:17-19a

Sermon Application Questions 

  1. We all like new things. Why do you think that is? Why is the “old” or “familiar” less important to us?
  2. In your Christian life, what things do you struggle with the most? What truths about God do you think about the most? The least?
  3. When you pray, what and whom do you pray for? What kind of patterns do you see in your prayers, and do those patterns align with what Paul wants believers to understand? How does Paul want believers to understand the work of the Holy Spirit?
  4. How does the Bible define “knowledge?” Is it all intellectual? All practical? What is the relationship to what we know and who we know and how we act and grow accordingly?

Family Worship Questions

  1. Read Ephesians 1:17-19a & Discuss:
  • When you pray for others what do you ask God to do for them?
  • What is Paul praying that God would do for the believers in Ephesus? Why do you think he prayed for these things?
  • What do you think it means to know God? How does knowing God change our life?
  1. Sing: His Mercy is More
  2. Paraphrase these verses into a prayer for family members, other members of the church, or friends.



Blessings: Reputation

Ephesians 1:15-16

Sermon Application Questions

  1. Why is a good reputation important? Why is a bad reputation bad? What does our reputation have to do with our message? In other words, what kinds of connections get made between what we say and who we are known to be?
  2. Is it possible to lose a good reputation? Change a bad one? How?
  3. Are you satisfied with your Christian reputation at home, work, school, in your community? How would you change or improve it?
  4. What kinds of personal habits/disciplines/practices help foster love for other believers?
  5. Can you think of some ways to demonstrate your love for fellow Christian believers? Can you think of some ways to encourage others to demonstrate their love?

Family Worship Questions

  1. Read Ephesians 1:15-16 & Discuss:
  • How do you think that Paul heard of their faith?
  • What does Paul mean by “love toward all the saints?” How can we show our love for other Christians in our families, schools, or sports teams?
  • The faith that led to action in the believers in Ephesus caused Paul to thank God for them. Who are some people whose faith and life cause you to thank God for them? How could you encourage them this week by sharing your thankfulness to God for them?
  1. Sing: All I Have Is Christ
  2. Pray



Blessings: Sealed

Ephesians 1:13-14

Sermon Application Questions

  1. How much do you think about the Holy Spirit? When you do, what do you think about him?
  2. What does the Bible say in general about the Holy Spirit? In other words, what are the various roles that the Holy Spirit plays, what does he do, etc.?
  3. Is the Holy Spirit an “automatic” gift in the sense that when we become a believer in Jesus Christ, we must receive the Holy Spirit? Kind of like a “2-for-1?”
  4. What does the gift of the Holy Spirit tell us about God?
  5. How does a knowledge of God’s sealing work through his Spirit change our lives now? How does a knowledge of the Holy Spirit as God’s “down payment” change our view of the future?

Family Worship Questions

  1. Read Ephesians 1:13-14 & Discuss:
  • Who is the Holy Spirit?
  • Read John 14:26, Romans 8:26-27, & 2 Peter 1:20-21. What does the Holy Spirit do? What other verses tell us what the Holy Spirit does and who he is?
  • Why is the Holy Spirit important to how we live?
  1. Sing: I Will Glory in My Redeemer.
  2. Pray.



Blessings: Claimed

Ephesians 1:11-12

Sermon Application Questions

  1. What are some of your possessions, and how do you know they are your possessions? Are they important to you? How do you know they are important to you?
  2. Is there a danger to thinking of God as a possession? What kind of wrong attitudes and behaviors can develop?
  3. Read Deuteronomy 32 (esp. 8 and 9) and Exodus 19 (esp. 5 and 6). What do these chapters indicate to us about God and God’s people? What are God’s people in relationship to God, in Christ, and why is that important?
  4. What is “glorious” about God’s possession of his people, first the Jews who believed, and then in verse 13, the Gentiles? How should his people respond, how should his people live?

Family Worship Questions

  1. Read Ephesians 1:11-12 & Discuss:
  • How do we know if we own something? What is the price that was paid for God to buy us for his own possession? (1 Cor. 6:20)
  • What do you think Paul means when he says “to the praise of his glory” (v. 12, 14)? How does our salvation result in praise for God? How should that change how we live?
  1. Sing: Take My Life and Let It Be.
  2. Pray.



Blessings: United

Ephesians 1:9-10

Sermon Application Questions

  1. What is a “mystery?” What do you think of when you hear the word? How is mystery presented in the Bible?
  2. Does God owe us an explanation of what he is doing in our lives and in the world? If not, can you think of times when we act as though he does?
  3. Although God does not reveal everything to us, he does reveal many things. What should this tell us about what he does reveal? What should this tell us about God and his grace?
  4. What does Paul say is the focus of God’s work in the entire universe?
  5. What aspects of God’s work in Jesus Christ are accomplished now? What aspects will be accomplished in the future?

Family Worship Questions 

  1. Read Ephesians 1:9-10 & Discuss:
  • What does the word “mystery” mean today? How does that differ from how the Bible uses the word mystery? What does Paul mean by “the mystery of his will?” [Read Colossians 1:24-29] What does Paul tell us God did with this mystery?
  • [Helpful Article on uniting all things in Christ: blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2010/12/30/the-cosmic-gospel-and-the-cross-gospel/] What do you think it means to “unite all things” in Christ? What does that teach us about the importance of Christ?
  1. Sing: Behold Our God.
  2. Pray.



Blessings: Delivered

Ephesians 1:7-8

Sermon Application Questions

  1. Can you define “redemption?” Can you think of some examples of how we commonly refer to redemption, i.e. “he redeemed himself with that last-minute field goal?” How does Paul’s use of the word differ from our common use of the word? Does it differ?
  2. What accomplished redemption for the faithful in Christ Jesus? Did we redeem ourselves by making good choices, straightening things out, trying to do the right thing, etc? What was the price for our redemption?
  3. Paul speaks of redemption and forgiveness as describing the same reality (Colossians 1:14). In redemption, who is being rescued from what? In forgiveness, who is being rescued from whom?
  4. What are the “riches” of God’s grace? How much do we receive as believers in Jesus Christ? Was God, shall we say, stingy with them? And if not, what does it tell us about God?
  5. What does God give us in addition to redemption and forgiveness? Are we simply delivered and that is that, left to live our lives however we see fit? Or is there more, and why, and for what purposes (hint: look closely at verse 8)?

Family Worship Questions

  1. Read Ephesians 1:7-8 & Discuss:
  1. Sing: Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery.
  2. Pray.