Family Bible Study lesson for Oct. 23: Honor God in His Church : Friday, Oct. 7, 2005
October 7 2005 by Catherine Painter

Family Bible Study lesson for Oct. 23: Honor God in His Church : Friday, Oct. 7, 2005
Friday, Oct. 7, 2005

Family Bible Study lesson for Oct. 23: Honor God in His Church

By Catherine Painter
Focal passage: Ephesians 3:14-16, 20-4:7, 11-13, 15

Be Empowered by God's Spirit

Eph. 3:14-16

"We have something new," I mused, spying the rake in our car.

"I'll keep it in a church closet," my husband Jack said. "With our church near the interstate and its steeple visible from the exits, we attract so many people asking for handouts. We always help those in need. I just plan to suggest they help us in return. There are always leaves to rake around the church."

Through the years many stopped by, pleading distress. When Jack proposed work for money, their "Theme and Variations" went: "I'm happy to rake leaves; just let me step across the street for a pack of cigarettes, and I'll be back!"

When Jack retired 21 years later, the unused rake remained a silent legacy to some who view the church as a social service agency. Others view it primarily as a membership roll, a tradition, an organization of "good" people, or simply a building with stained-glass windows.

How do you view the church? As the body of Christ, a community of all who claim Jesus as Savior and are claimed by "the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named"? (See Eph. 3:14-16.)

Seek God's Glory

Eph. 3:20-21

After defining the church, Paul prayed that Christians might "comprehend ... what is the breadth and width, height and depth"- the only New Testament reference to all four dimensions of the universe - not concerning astrology, but the theology of God's boundless love (vv. 17-19).

Paul ended: "Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think - according to the power that works in you" (v. 20), as if inviting us to fill in the blanks with things Christ does beyond all we imagine.

My list includes God's saving grace (Heb. 7:25), strength during times of testing (Heb. 2:18), my eternal security (Jude 24), and my transformation into the likeness of His glorious body (Phil. 3:21). I also marvel at being appointed to teach (2 Tim. 1:12), when many readers are better qualified.

Paul continued, "to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen" (v. 21). Picture dwelling "forever" in God's glory that dwelt in Christ before creation, and now dwells in the church through His Spirit's presence!

Live in a Worthy Manner

Eph. 4:1-7, 11-13, 15

Paul urged Christians "to walk worthy of the calling" (4:1). This "walk" is not a path, but a way of life through which others see Christ in us.

A little boy approached a woman on the beach, asking, "Lady, do you believe in God?" Surprised, she nodded. "Do you go to church?" he asked.

"I do," she replied.

"Great!" he said. "You can hold my quarter while I go swimming."

Living in a worthy manner "with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love" (4:2), we experience "unity of the Spirit," resulting in "peace that binds (us)" together (v. 3). Then we "build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in knowledge of God's Son, (growing) into ... Christ's fullness" (vv. 12-13).

Paul urged, "... speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head - Christ" (v. 15). "Every way" includes widening our friendships to love lost people. The world's demand for love is greater than its supply; otherwise, hunger and hatred would not leave their debris of misery. While we cannot supply the world's need for love, what about people living next door and working beside us?

The deeper we grow in Christ, the fuller life's view becomes. We'll never deplete our love, for "All we send into the lives of others comes back into our own."

10/7/2005 12:00:00 AM by Catherine Painter | with 0 comments

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