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About Joy of Living
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For over 45 years Joy of Living has been effectively establishing individuals around the world in the sound, basic study of God’s Word.
Evangelical and interdenominational, Joy of Living reaches across denominational and cultural barriers, enriching lives through the simple, pure truths of God’s inspired Word, the Bible.
Studies are flexible, suited for both formal and informal meetings, as well as for personal study. Each lesson contains historical background, commentary, and a week’s worth of personal application questions, leading readers to discover fresh insights into God’s Word. Courses covering many books in both the Old and New Testaments are available. Selected courses are also available in several foreign languages. Contact the Joy of Living office for details.
Joy of Living Bible Studies was founded by Doris W. Greig in 1971 and has grown to include classes in nearly every state in the Union and many foreign countries.
Table of Contents
About Joy of Living
How to Use Joy of Living Materials
Do You KNOW You Have Eternal Life?
Questions: Ephesians 4:1-6
Commentary: Ephesians 4:1-6
Questions: Ephesians 4:7-16
Commentary: Ephesians 4:7-16
Questions: Ephesians 4:17-24
Commentary: Ephesians 4:17-24
Questions: Ephesians 4:25-29
Commentary: Ephesians 4:25-29
Questions: Ephesians 4:30—5:2
Commentary: Ephesians 4:30—5:2
Questions: Ephesians 5:3-14
Commentary: Ephesians 5:3-14
Questions: Ephesians 5:15-21
Commentary: Ephesians 5:15-21
Questions: Ephesians 5:22—6:9
Commentary: Ephesians 5:22—6:9
Questions: Ephesians 6:10-17
Commentary: Ephesians 6:10-17
Questions: Ephesians 6:18-24
Commentary: Ephesians 6:18-24
Spiritual Gifts Chart How To Use Joy of Living Materials
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This unique Bible study series may be used by people who know nothing about the Bible, as well as by more knowledgeable Christians. Each person is nurtured and discipled in God’s Word, and many develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as they study.
Joy of Living is based on the idea that each person needs to open the Bible and let God speak to them by His Holy Spirit, applying the Scripture’s message to their needs and opportunities, their family, church, job, community, and the world at large.
Only a Bible is needed for this study series. While commentaries may be helpful, it is not recommended that people consult them as they work through the daily study questions. It is most important to allow the Holy Spirit to lead them through the Bible passage and apply it to their hearts and lives. If desired, additional commentaries may be consulted after answering the questions on a particular passage.
The first lesson of a series includes an introduction to the study, plus the first week’s daily study questions. Some questions are simple, and some are deeper for those who are more advanced. The individual works through the Bible passages each day, praying and asking God’s guidance in applying the truth to their own life. (The next lesson will contain the commentary on the Bible passage being covered in the study questions.)
To Use In A Group Setting:
After the daily personal study of the passage has been completed, the class gathers in a small group, where they pray together and discuss what they have written in response to the questions about the passage, clarifying problem areas and getting more insight into the passage. The small group/discussion leader helps the group focus on Biblical truth, and not just on personal problems. The student is the only person who sees their own answers and shares only what they feel comfortable sharing.
After small groups meet for discussion and prayer, they often gather in a large group meeting where a teacher gives a brief lecture covering the essential teaching of the Bible passage which was studied during the prior week and discussed in the small groups. The teacher may clarify the passage and challenge class members to live a more committed daily life.
At home, the student begins the next lesson, containing commentary notes on the prior week’s passage and questions on a new Scripture passage.
Do You KNOW You Have Eternal Life?
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For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
But your iniquities (sins) have separated you from your God. (Isaiah 59:2)
For the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23)
There is help…
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. (1 Peter 3:18)
The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
What do I do?…
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out. (Acts 3:19)
Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. (Acts 16:31)
You CAN know…
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:12-13)
If you would like to make the decision today to repent and trust Christ as your Savior, either for the first time or as a re-commitment of your life, you may want to pray a prayer similar to this one:
Lord Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner. Please forgive my sins. Thank You for dying on the cross for me, and for coming alive again. I accept Your gifts of forgiveness and eternal life. I place my life in Your hands. I want to be Yours forever. Thank you for loving me so much.
This is the second half of a two-part study on Ephesians.
The primary commentary for Lesson 11—covering Ephesians 3:14-21—is printed at the end of Ephesians Part 1, since it sums up the Scripture passage covered in the Lesson 10 Study Questions.
The commentary below is a general introduction to Ephesians Part 2, which begins with Ephesians 4:1.
The book of Ephesians focuses on God’s eternal purpose and grace. In Part 1 we began learning of the riches we have been given in Christ. We looked at humanity’s dilemma, saw the great lengths God has gone to in order to reconcile us to Himself, and saw that we have been saved not only for our personal benefit, but also to bring praise and glory to God.
In Part 2 we will see that God has not only reconciled individuals to Himself, but has reconciled these saved individuals to each other, breaking down the barriers between Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free, thus creating what is known as the Body of Christ, the church.
We will discover the nature and purpose of the church—
that it participates in God’s plan and provides a visible expression of what God is actually doing
that it is God’s display case, where He shows not only the world but also the spiritual powers who seek to disrupt the work of God that He is accomplishing what He has announced He will do.
Following naturally from these awesome truths comes Paul’s plea to guard the unity of the church and to live responsibly.
And finally, Paul deals with spiritual warfare—the epic struggle between good and evil, between the prince of peace and the prince of darkness. It is a battle that stretches from one end of history to the other, a battle that rages across the planet and rages within every human heart. In the final pages of Ephesians, we will learn how to be effective soldiers, under our Lord and Commander, Jesus Christ—and we will learn the secret of ultimate victory in this epic struggle.
As the day grows more evil, we must endure and fight the battle here on planet Earth. But we eagerly look toward the end, toward our salvation, toward the triumphant return of our Lord and Commander, Jesus Christ.
Following the final commentary in Ephesians, Joy of Living has provided several supplements to the Ephesians study written by Ray Stedman:
Spiritual Gifts: what they aren’t, what they are, and understanding them
Spiritual Warfare: the reality, the enemy, and the victory
Spiritual Gifts Reference Chart
As we are moving closer than ever to the last days, as the darkness of the demon-dominated systems of this world closes in around us, Paul’s trumpet call sounds louder than ever: “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10-11).
God has made a provision for us to defeat the schemes of the devil—and the power to defeat him begins with a humble recognition of our own weakness and of God’s great strength. God has provided the means by which we can stand in the fiery battle that rages not only around us but also within us. We can live in victory.
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Before you begin your study this week:
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
Use only the Bible for your answers.
Write down your answers and the verses you used.
Answer the “Challenge” questions if you have the time and want to do them.
Share your answers to the “Personal” questions with the class only if you want to share them.
First Day: Read the Introduction.
1. If you recently completed Part 1 of this study, what meaningful or new thought did you find in commentary on Ephesians 3:14-21, or from your teacher’s lecture? What personal application did you choose to apply to your life?
2. Look for a verse in the lesson to memorize this week. Write it down and post it in a prominent place. Make a real effort to learn the verse and its “address” (reference of where it is found in the Bible).
Second Day: Read Ephesians 4:1-6, concentrating on verse 1.
1. Paul is writing from Rome where he awaits trial (see Acts 21-22). Though a personal prisoner of Nero, the Roman Caesar, Paul never refers to himself as the prisoner of Rome. Instead, he sees only the controlling hand of Jesus Christ in his circumstances. How does he, therefore, refer to himself in Ephesians 4:1?
2. How is this truth confirmed by Jesus in John 19:10-11?
3. What does Romans 13:1 say regarding earthly governing authorities?
4. Read 1 Timothy 2:1-3. What is our responsibility to those in authority over us, and why?
5. Personal: Do you remember to pray for those in authority over you? Why not make a list of those people and set aside a regular time to pray for them?
Third Day: Review Ephesians 4:1-6, again concentrating on verses 1-2.
1. What are we urged to do in Ephesians 4:1?
2. From the following verses, what are some things God has called us to or for?
1 Peter 2:9
3. We are also called to be witnesses for Christ, through our words and through our lives. What do you learn about this from the following verses?
1 Peter 3:15
4. a. From Ephesians 4:2, list some of the ways we live worthy of the calling we have received.
b. Read Colossians 1:10-12, and list some of the ways we live a life worthy of the Lord.
5. You may be saying to yourself, “I can’t be like that!” And no, in and of yourself you cannot, but God can. What encouragement do the following verses give you?
2 Peter 1:3
6. Personal: Knowing God, being in a living relationship with God, is how our lives are changed. Are you living in a vital relationship with Him? Is your life showing forth the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23) on an ever-increasing basis? Will you take time to talk to the Lord right now? Ask Him to help you rest in Him and to bear the fruit of the Spirit.
Fourth Day: Review Ephesians 4:1-6, concentrating on verses 3-6.
1. What are we asked to make every effort to do? (Ephesians 4:3)
2. a. Unity is oneness—not sameness, but a special oneness centered on a few core essentials. What are these core essentials from Ephesians 4:4-6?
b. Review: What did we learn about “the body” from Ephesians 1:22-23?
3. a. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-20. From verse 14, what do you learn about the body?
b. How is our diversity and yet oneness explained in 1 Corinthians 12:15-20?
c. Who decides what part of the body you are? (1 Corinthians 12:18?)
4. Personal: Do you feel like an unimportant part of the body? How do today’s Scriptures help change your view of yourself and your importance to the body of Christ?
Fifth Day: Review Ephesians 4:1-6, concentrating on verses 4-5.
1. Ephesians 4:4 states that there is one Spirit. What do you learn about the Holy Spirit from the following verses?
1 Corinthians 3:16
1 Corinthians 12:12-13
2. To what does Ephesians 4:4 say we are all called?
3. What do you learn about this one hope from 1 John 3:2-3?
4. Ephesians 4:5 tells us there is one Lord. The title, “Lord,” means “ultimate authority.” What do you learn about this aspect of Jesus from the following verses?
5. Personal: Ephesians 4:5 tells us there is one faith. Paul is not speaking of faith in general—the ability to believe in something. The faith Paul is speaking of here is the body of truth that God has revealed in His Word. There is only one body of revealed truth, only one faith. That faith is linked to the “one Lord,” because our faith is centered in the revealed truth about Jesus Christ—that Jesus was born, lived, died and rose again to save us from our sins, in fulfillment of the Scriptures. Write a short paragraph summarizing what you believe about Jesus Christ. Does it line up with what the Bible reveals to us?
Sixth Day: Review Ephesians 4, concentrating on verses 5-6.
1. Ephesians 4:5 speaks of “one baptism.” What do you learn about baptism from the following verses?
1 Corinthians 12:13
2. What does Ephesians 4:6 say regarding God?
3. What do you learn of the God the Father from 1 John 4:14?
4. a. The unity or oneness of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is beyond our comprehension. What does Mark 12:29 say regarding God?
b. What does Jesus pray in John 17:22-23?
c. What does Galatians 3:26-28 say regarding our unity in Christ?
5. Personal: As believers, we are to “keep” Christian unity (see Ephesians 4:3), not “make” Christian unity. We are a diverse group made up of males, females, and various ages, races and cultures. We may look different on the outside; however, we are one in Christ. Our unity already exists, brought about by the Holy Spirit. We maintain that unity by practicing love, acceptance and forgiveness toward others in the body of Christ. Has this lesson helped you to know what groups are truly Christian? Has this changed your attitude toward other believers who may be different in some external ways? If so, how?
Ephesians Lesson 12
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Ephesians 4:1-6 — Why the Church Exists
The noted English historian, Alexander Kinglake, was interested in the claims of Christianity—but he was also very skeptical about the truth of the resurrection and the reality of the new life in Christ. He once suggested that every church should bear an inscription over the door: IMPORTANT IF TRUE. Though Kinglake’s suggestion is cynical, there is validity in his suggestion. If what the church has to offer is true, it is important—vitally and eternally important! If Jesus truly has been raised from the dead, if He offers all of humanity a new quality of life on earth, as well as eternal life in the world to come, then there is nothing in the world more important than the message of the church.
We who have Christ living in our lives know beyond any doubt that the message of the church is true—and infinitely important. And that is what Paul wants to teach us in Ephesians chapter 4.
As we already saw when we examined Ephesians 3:1, Paul is writing from Rome where he awaits trial. Though a personal prisoner of Caesar, Paul never refers to himself as the prisoner of Rome. Instead, he looks beyond the chains, the guard, the imperial legal system, and the emperor himself. He sees only the controlling hand of Jesus Christ in his circumstances. He is, therefore, a prisoner of Christ.
The last two verses of Ephesians 3 make it clear what the calling of the church is. Paul writes, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” The calling of the church is to declare by our word and to demonstrate by our lives the character and the work of Jesus Christ who lives within us. We are to talk to others about the reality of a life-changing encounter with a living Christ, and to demonstrate that change by an unselfish life of loving, forgiving, and serving others.
That is why the apostle goes on to say, in Ephesians 4:2-3, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” He moves from grand, exalted, doctrinal truth to the realities of our everyday existence. He links the eternal plan of God to our daily grind. In order to carry out God’s eternal plan, we have to get along here on earth—in our families, in our churches, in the situations of our lives that are irritating, annoying, and downright frustrating. The unity of the Spirit is our witness to the world of the reality of our living, resurrected Lord.
The Lord’s Witnesses
The Lord Himself told us about our calling as members of His church. Just before He ascended, He told His disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). There is the calling of the church: we are to be witnesses of Christ.
This calling is always addressed to the individual Christian. Therefore the responsibility to fulfill this calling of the church belongs to every true Christian: We are all called—individually. We are all indwelt by the Holy Spirit—individually. We are all expected to fulfill our calling in the world—individually. The expression of the church’s witness may sometimes be corporate, but the responsibility to do so is always individual.
In Scripture, the only message that the church has for the world is the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is not to say that the church has nothing to say about politics or social justice or civil rights or abortion or any other issue on the earthly scene. Christians are called to demonstrate compassion, and the Christian who can shrug off his fellow human being and say, “I’m indifferent to the needs of others,” is not truly Christian—he is horribly sub-Christian.
But we must recognize that the gospel is not a social agenda. It is a transcendent message of new life, eternal life. This is what men, women, and children need to hear. In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul calls us back to those great purposes of God for which the church was established. The church was not placed in the world with a mandate to correct the evils of society, but to declare and demonstrate the power of God in Jesus Christ. The great and beautiful paradox of the church is that the more it focuses on its true spiritual mandate, the more effective it is in correcting the ills and evils of society. But the more preoccupied the church becomes with a social agenda, the less effect it has in the world.
So we must focus on our message—the simple story of what Jesus Christ has done in our own lives. Ask any Christian what is the greatest event in his or her life, and invariably, without hesitation, that Christian will reply, “The moment I came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.” So if you then ask that person what is the greatest message he or she can give to others, that Christian will naturally reply, “The good news of how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!”
Christians are not to witness in arrogance and rudeness, not in holier-than-thou smugness, not in sanctimonious presumption, but in a spirit of Christ-like meekness. And Christians cannot bear witness to the peace, love, and forgiveness of God while living out the warring, factionalism, and grudge-bearing of ugly church fights.
Our calling, our purpose, our reason for existing as the church of Jesus Christ is to live out the character of Christ in our personal and corporate lives, and to tell forth the good news of Jesus Christ everywhere we go.