This is a Bible study I did recently in my jail ministry. This study is also a good family Bible study. Paul was in prison because of his ministry for Christ. While there he continually prayed for the many churches he had established. His concern for the saints in Ephesus was their lack of growth in spiritual wisdom and faith.
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit for wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. Ephesians 1:17 (NIV)
In chapter 2, Paul provides a roadmap for growing in their wisdom and faith.
Where we came from:
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the craving of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. Ephesians 2:1-3 (NIV)
All of us were unfit to be in God’s presence earlier in our lives. We may not have broken any laws in society, but we were guilty of being disobedient to God. We could do nothing, but God can and did provide a solution.
God provides the solution.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7 (NIV)
God’s gift to us is our salvation in Christ Jesus.
How do we receive this gift from God?
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8, 9 (NIV)
We must believe and trust in what Jesus has done for us on the cross. He took our sins upon Himself and clothed us with His righteousness so we can stand before God without sin (our sins forgiven).
Our lives need to change.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good words, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
God has a plan for us while we remain on this earth. Paul’s prayer in chapter 3 reveals to us, God’s plan for our life. Words in parenthesis are for the final prayer.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen (us) you with power through his Spirit in (our) your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in (our) your hearts through faith. And I pray that (we) you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that (we) you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV)
God wants our lives to be lived for Him, and He will provide us with the strength to do it.
Pray for growth in wisdom and faith. Include Paul’s prayer in chapter 3 using the words “we/us” and “our” (in parenthesis) instead of “you” and ‘your” following parenthesis.