What’s the best gift you’ve ever received from another person?
This week, we’ll look at Ephesians 1:15-2:10. As you read, look for the gifts God offers to us.
On my latest Ephesians Bible Study video, I share about the best gift I’ve ever received. It was a present that expanded my world and blew open the door to so much more in life. It’s a gift I still use to this day. Am I overstating? Find out what it was on the video.
I don’t think I’m that good at giving gifts. I don’t like feeling obligated to give something to someone just because they gave me a gift, and I don’t want them to feel obligated to give something to me either. My stomach knots over whether they will like the gift, whether it’s appropriate, and whether the recipient will use it. I have a long way to go in giving gifts freely and with abandon.
I’m glad Jesus doesn’t have the same hang-ups I do about gift giving! Let’s check out what kind of gifts Jesus gives to us.
Read Ephesians 1:15-22.
- What gifts does God give us to help us grow spiritually?
- How have those gifts benefited you in your walk with Christ?
Read Ephesians 2:1-6
- According to Ephesians 2:4,5, what is the gift God offers to us?
- Why did God give us this gift?
- Why do we need this gift?
According to Ephesians 2:1, what does it mean to be dead because of your sins?
God gave us the promise of life, eternal life. He did this out of his love and kindness for us. He is giving us this gift in spite of how we’ve treated Him. Would you want to give a lavish gift to someone who has misused you, spit on you, ignored you, and purposely turned their back on you? That’s what Jesus did. This part of the package is called grace.
Read Ephesians 2:7-10
How would you define grace?
Grace is the conduit by which we receive this eternal extension package on life. Grace means that the gift of life God offers to you is free of charge. God recognizes you don’t deserve His gift: there is no way you could possibly work your way into His favor on your own, and you can’t possibly pay him back or give Him an equal gift for what He proposes to offer you.
- How is this different from our usual criteria for gift giving?
- Why does grace need to be free?
There’s something inside of a lot of us that views gifts as reciprocation. You send me a Christmas card, I’ll send one to you next year. I grew up hearing my aunt say, you never return a pie plate or other container empty in which you’ve received a gift of food. You always give back. We recently took care of someone’s cat. Their way of thanking us? “I owe you.” No, you don’t.
Maybe that’s part of why so many people have difficultly accepting Christ’s gift of life.
I love Ephesians 2:10.
Ephesians 2:10 describes my relationship with God after I’ve accepted His gift of salvation. Remember, I can’t do anything to earn my salvation. So then, what is the place of righteous living and good deeds?
Before sin messed up our world, God created us in His image. That means He wanted us to look like Him and act like Him. He wants us to live holy lives so we can have an intimate relationship with Him. Look at Ephesians 2:10 in the New Living Translation:
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)
God wants to enable you to become the kind of person He originally intended for you to be, before sin marred and messed up your life. You were intended for good works that would bring praise and glory to God. You aren’t doing those good things to get God to accept you. You’re doing them because that’s how He intended for you to be wired in the first place.
- Out of gratitude for all that God has done for you, how can you serve Him this week?
- What kind of person has God created you to be?
- How can you live up to His design plans for you today?
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