Showing a 3-column study is not easily done in a blog format. Yes, I could scan the pages in and provide a link, but then there would be the struggle with reading my handwriting.
Periodically people have asked me for examples of my personal studies. I have shared with them my efforts to work through the book of Ephesians using this method of personal study. It is my plan to publish these studies here over then next several days.
I will begin with my re-statement of the passage. Then I will present a list of “I Will…” Statements that I wrote based on that section. Reading these sections will give you some insight into what struck me as I studied through these texts, but your time would be better spent doing your own 3-column study first. After you have written your study then reading mine will give you another set of eyes and experiences that may help you with your efforts to hear from God.
One of the reasons I selected Ephesians is my studied conviction about Paul’s third missionary journey. The three years he spent in Ephesus (Acts 19) he launched a Church Planting Movement (CPM) in the Roman province of Asia. Even his enemies became disturbed and said, “this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all” (Acts 19:26).
While Paul lived and worked in Ephesus for those years, people he trained there spread the news about God and Jesus. Colossians 1:6-8 reveals that Epaphras was one of those trained church planters who took the gospel back to Colossae: “All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.”
I believe this letter from Paul was a circular letter–one written for all those churches planted in Roman Asia. I believe it gives us glimpses of the ways God wants emerging churches to shine as lights. It reveals how we as believers should view ourselves in Christ.
In My Words
(1) Paul greets his hearers as holy and true to their commitment to Jesus.
(2) He seeks God’s grace for their lives.
(3-8) God is to be praised for the exalted spiritual place we have in Jesus. In Christ we were chosen to be godly, prior to creation. Our inclusion into his family was God’s plan and for his joy. God gets the glory due for his free gift of grace through Jesus. God bought us back from our sins by the blood of Jesus—the ultimate price of grace. His extravagant love shows remarkable insight. He revealed this to us, though it had been hidden, since it was his plan to adopt us through Jesus. God’s plan is to submit everything here and above to Jesus’ rule at the perfect time.
(9-12) Like a well-timed, well-scripted maneuver, God pulled off his plan through Jesus to select the first disciples. This plan brought God exaltation. Later believers also were chosen to Christ’s team through a faithful response to the good news and were stamped with the Holy Spirit mark of approval. The Spirit’s presence serves as a down payment confirming God will complete what he’s started—to his divine praise.
(13-14) When Paul first learned of these believers and their devotion to others he thanked God. He persisted in thanksgiving for them and seeking their blessing.
How I Will Obey
- I will ground my conversations with other believers in the mutual relationship we have with Jesus.
- I will ask God to give grace and peace to the people in the churches we plant.
- I will praise God for where I dwell spiritually—in heaven (need to internalize this truth).
- I will choose godly living since it is my eternal divine destiny.
- I will give God cause for joy—by living as his child should.
- I will praise God for his grace; accept it as a free gift (avoid legalism).
- I will realize I’m forgiven and be shaped by the high price of my forgiveness.
- I will relish God’s love and learn from him to love extravagantly.
- I will spread this news–God has pulled off the covers.
- I will submit to Jesus now since it is going to happen when the time is fulfilled.
- I will act in God’s ability to accomplish whatever his will is!
- I will bring God praise.
- I will act like God—he’s in the inclusion business.
- I will trust in God’s guarantee, the Holy Spirit proves he’s going to follow through on every promise he has ever made!