Bible Study (Adult)
United in Peace, for the World, We Are Called to Strengthen the Church
How do we live a life worthy of the calling we have received as the church? God’s people are called to be the unified church, bearing witness to the matchless love of Christ. This week we discuss why are we called to be the church, how are we called to be the church, and how are we called to strengthen the church by making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace for the sake of our united mission.
Read Ephesians 4:1-6 out loud.
The Worthy Prisoner (v. 1)
- What do you think it means to be a prisoner for the Lord?
(See Luke 9:23; Romans 12:1.)
- How are we to “live a life worthy” of our calling?
The Greek word translated “worthy” is axios, which has the root idea of weight. This is the word from which we derive our English word axiom, which means, “to be of equal weight.”
In this text Paul is calling us to live lives that are equal to the great blessings described in Ephesians 1-3. We are to be like the person who said, “Christ has done so much for me, the rest of my life is a P.S. to his great work.”
- Christ gave everything for us. What is our response to his sacrifice? What does this response look like in your daily life?
The Character of Unity (v. 2)
In verse 2 Paul lists several character traits that are necessary to unity: humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance.
Often those terms seem to reflect passivity or weaknesses. Yet Jesus fully embodied each of these qualities as he went to the cross. In fact, humbleness, gentleness, patience, and forbearance are best defined as strength under control.
The Unity of the Spirit (v. 3)
God is the source of peace, and we only find genuine peace in him. He promises peace to all who believe (Romans 5:1; 15:33; Philippians 4:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:16).
How would you define the bond of peace? In what ways can we participate in maintaining the unity of the Spirit?
Complete Unity (vv. 4-6)
In John 17:20-26 Jesus prays for us.
- What does Jesus ask God in this prayer?
- How does this prayer challenge us?
- What does the prayer tell you about Jesus?
In Ephesians 4:4-6 we see the fullness of God at work. Each Person of the Trinity participates in our unity.
- The Holy Spirit brings us unity (v. 4).
- The Son reigns in our unity (v. 5).
- The Father sustains our unity (v. 6).
- Ephesians 4:2 calls us to “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” In what people or places do you find it difficult to exhibit these qualities?
- Where do you see broken unity within the church today?
- How can we as the church live a life worthy of our calling?
- According to Ephesians 4:2, in what spaces does the church need to exhibit these qualities?
- How can we pray for you?