What God is doing around the world

Read Ephesians 3:1-13

  • What has been the cost for Paul to bring glory to the Ephesians?

Paul was writing to the Ephesian Christians from the confinement of Roman imprisonment. But rather than identify himself as a prisoner of the Roman government, he looks beyond that earthly power and identifies himself as “a prisoner of Christ Jesus.” He belongs to Christ and is imprisoned for the cause of Christ—his imprisonment is because of his service to Christ and is part of his service to Christ. Furthermore, Paul identifies himself as a prisoner of Christ Jesus “on behalf of you Gentiles.” He has been imprisoned precisely because of his gospel ministry to the Gentiles—and this is an ordeal Paul willingly accepts for the sake of Christ and His church.

  • In what ways is evangelism always costly?
  • What sufferings are you willing to undertake, or have you previously undertook for the glory of others?
  • What is the mystery that Paul is talking about in v2-6?

‘Mystery’ in New Testament context means something that was once hidden and that is now revealed. The mystery God has made known to Paul and the other apostles is the fact that the Gentiles have been granted the privilege of becoming fellow heirs with God’s Old Testament people. The New Testament believer joins with the original covenant community and with Christ Himself in being an heir of God’s kingdom promises (note Romans 8:17 and 1 Corinthians 3:21-23). Furthermore, the Gentiles are given the privilege of joining God’s Old Testament people in becoming members of the same body, the spiritual body of Christ the Messiah. Finally, the Gentiles have also been granted the privilege of becoming recipients of “the promise.” That is to say, we Gentile believers also have an interest in the awesome promise God made to Abraham: I will be your God, and you shall be My people (note Genesis 17:7).

  • What is the gift (the grace) given to Paul? (v7-8)
  • If you consider yourself a follower of Jesus, what are some of the ‘boundless riches if Christ’ you have experienced in your life?
  • Is Christ’s boundless riches something you find easy to share with others? Why / Why not?
  • What do you think you could change or do differently to have a richer experience of Christ’s boundless riches?
  • What, according to Paul, is the purpose of the church? (v10-11)
  • What is your attitude to the church? Do you often think about it as a collective body, or is your faith more likely to be centred on your own personal expression?
  • What kind of church are you part of? Is it truly inclusive, displaying oneness and with a strong sense of belonging?
  • What things could you do to improve your church’s inclusiveness, oneness and belonging?