Sunday, October 29, 2023

Ephesians 4:7-5:2

Most of us are fans of at least one sports team… probably more than one! But there’s a big difference between being a fan of a sports team and being members of that team. Fandom often allows us to claim a sense of belonging and achievement without truly collaborating with others or putting in the effort. We bask in the glory of a team’s victory, reaping the emotional rewards, while comfortably distanced from the challenges and teamwork that actual players face. That’s fine in the bleachers, but if we let this approach seep into our whole lives, we can look at all of our relationships through the lens of the question, “what’s in it for me?” When we do that, attitudes of divisiveness, impatience, and bitterness are sure to follow.

Being a sports fan may be mostly a matter of sitting back and watching, but when it comes to being a part of God’s Kingdom, it’s more like stepping onto the field. In the church, we’re not meant to just watch from the sidelines while others lead. We’re encouraged to actively serve others in specific positions God created us for, and we’re meant to do this with hearts that pursue unity, patience, and gentleness.

Starting Out:
  1. Which sports team are you a fan of, and why?
  2. Have there been moments where you felt so connected to the game that you wished you were on the field playing rather than just watching?
Read Ephesians 4:1-6:
  1. How does the sense of unity we feel in our church community differ from the camaraderie we can feel as fans of a sports team?
  2. To actively cultivate and maintain this unity, what steps can we take in our local church community?
  3. Regarding the “seven ones” (one body, Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism, God, and Father), how do they deepen our understanding of unity?
Read Ephesians 4:7-16:
  1. Identifying and nurturing our spiritual gifts benefits the church, but in what ways?
  2. What can be done to encourage others in the church to acknowledge and utilize their gifts?
  3. By recognizing our individual roles, how can we bolster unity and avoid a mere spectator attitude?
Read Ephesians 4:17-5:2:
  1. Past behaviors and mindsets can serve as obstacles; how might they hinder our acceptance of the new life Christ presents?
  2. In what practical ways can we demonstrate kindness, forgiveness, and love to our fellow believers?
  3. How does “walking in love, as Christ loved us” impact our interactions with fellow church members?
Taking it Home:
  1. What happens when a person doesn’t have community within a church? What kinds of things hinder you personally from having that kind of community?
  2. How does this passage affect the way you look at your relationship with fellow believers?
Additional Scriptures to Engage with this week:
  • Zechariah 7
  • Mark 10:35-45
  • Isaiah 58
  • 1 Peter 4:7-11
  • Leviticus 19:9-18
  • Colossians 3:12-17