Confidence in the Word
|In our second Bible Focus you are invited to reflect on Ephesians 4:17-32.
The apostle Paul, writing, we need always to remember, under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit (see 2 Peter 1:21 (NIV)) addressed this letter to God's holy people in Ephesus (1:1). This letter not only assures us of our position in Christ (as we saw in our first Bible Focus), it also explains the part we each have to play in living for Our Lord in the 'nitty gritty' of everyday life. Indeed, the latter three chapters, with their emphasis on practical Christian living, form a perfect complement to the first three, in which God's magnificent scheme of redemption is outlined. It is from the second of these latter three chapters that the present Focus is taken.
Once again, as in all the practical exercises we offer to assist you to experience personally something of the power of God's Word, we strongly recommend that you not only read, but also transcribe the passage of Scripture on which the Focus is based. May you be blessed in your encounter with the Lord through the Scriptures!
Questions to Help You Focus on Lifestyle
We now invite you to answer the following questions. Although all the answers can be found within the passage of Scripture itself, because this Focus deals with many facets of Christian behaviour, we have included some questions of a more personal nature to help you concentrate on those aspects which apply to your own particular circumstances. Where we have referred to other scriptures, this is either to confirm or to amplify what is said in a certain verse, or verses.
- Look through the whole passage and make two lists, one of the characteristics of the old evil nature (verse 22), the other of the qualities produced by the Christian's new nature (verse 24).
Why are the ungodly hopelessly confused (verse 17)? What does it mean to have a mind full of darkness (verse 18)?
What do your lists say to you about:
- things that you need to throw off (verse 22) and put away (verse 25)?
- things that you must display ... because you are a new person, created in God's likeness (verse 24)?
Look at verse 30. Referring back to 1:13-14, what present guarantee do you have of your salvation? How can you avoid bringing sorrow to God's Holy Spirit?
From what you have discovered from these verses can you say you are living in the light of God's presence (see 1 John 1:7), or are you still living in spiritual darkness (see 1 John 1:6)?
(You may also like to refer to 1 Thessalonians 5:19 for another way in which we can bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit).
You may wish to extend this Bible Focus by reflecting on the further 'do's' and 'don't's' brought out in Ephesians 5:1-20. To assist you in this, we offer two further questions for your consideration:
What positive action is called for in verses 15-18? What benefits are promised as a result in verses 19-20? How would you assess your present conduct by the criteria offered of these verses? For instance, can you say that you make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days? (verse 16)?
- What is the effect of a truly godly life upon the ungodly (verses 13-14)? What lessons may we learn from these verses about the nature of Christian witness in a hostile world? How brightly is your light shining?
(Visitors from Revival! return to Main Text)
(Visitors from The Heart of the Gospel return to Main Text)
|If you have found this Bible Focus profitable, may we suggest you undertake a similar exercise using Colossians 3:1-17 There are many similarities between the two passages, but also some significant differences. In particular the first four verses offer another important aspect of the Christian's motivation for a changed lifestyle.
|We do hope you have been helped by this BibleFocus, not only to increase your Confidence in the Word, but also to be challenged and guided in developing a truly Christian lifestyle.
In our third Focus we visit the Old Testament to examine a topic which attracts much attention in Christian circles at the present time, namely that of Revival!