Going Deeper – 06.04.2023

Breaking Ground

What location or activity makes you feel most at peace? Why?

The Dig

This Sunday, we began our new series on The Book of Ephesians. In this letter, Paul writes to a community of Gentile (or non-Jewish) Christians, whom he invites to understand Christ’s story as being about God re-establishing cosmic shalom (peace, rightness, unity, & wholeness) throughout all levels of the universe & their lives.

Begin by reflecting on this concept of Shalom

What do terms like peace, rightness, unity, & wholeness mean to you? How do they overlap & differ from one another? 

Next, read Ephesians 1:1-14. Paul begins with an opening praise that, in Greek, is one, long sentence written as Greco-Roman oration. In it, Paul envisions the universe’s story as being about God reuniting all things under Christ’s Lordship & God drawing all people into one, cosmic family living in shalom. Altogether, Paul calls this the Mystery of God made known to everyone; which, as Pastor Mike explored Sunday, directly challenged the elitist, divisive mystery cult religions common to Epheusus in Paul’s day. 

What stands out to you about this passage? How does Paul envision cosmic shalom as coming about? 

What do you think Paul’s introduction here would’ve meant to this likely poor, outsider community living in the Roman Empire? How would it have been uplifting & provocative? 

Throughout Ephesians, Paul unpacks Christ’s cosmic story & its implications. In particular, he’s going to challenge us to adopt a worldview & lifestyle that’s fundamentally defined by seeking & creating peace in our communities & world. 

Where (or with whom) do you feel the most at peace in your relational world during this season? Why do you think that is?

Where do you feel the least at peace? What role have you played in creating that lack of peace? 

How might Christ’s story help you seek a healthy, shalom vision of peace in the fractured relationships you identified? NOTE: critically, shalom isn’t the false peace of ignorance, turning a blind eye, or allowing injustice to continue in silence. It’s about wholeness & rightness, which sometimes involves conflict & reconciliation. However, shalom requires engaging such things in a Christlike way & with the goal of creating a deeper wholeness for all parties involved. 

Getting Out of the Hole

Take time to reflect on the Sunday sermon & how this week’s section of Ephesians might speak into your daily life.

  • Read Ephesians 1:1-14. Note, highlight, or underline the key words & themes that speak to you in this season. In particular, note any images that bring to mind the idea or feeling of peace.
  • Next, take a moment to reflect upon your relational world. Where do you see yourself fostering peaceful relationships in your world right now (on small & large scales)? Where do you see yourself stepping over dividing lines to build peace in the world? 
  • Where are you currently struggling with a lack of peace; especially in the form of resentment, hate, judgmentalism, or retaliation? Do you think that you’re engaging these pockets of relationship in a Christlike way? 
  • Re-read Ephesians 1:1-14. Meditate on how Christ’s story might be calling you to reorient how you engage these areas of your life. 

Journal, reflect, & pray on how God might be speaking to you through each week’s teaching. Share your experience with your growth group next week!

Additional Resources*

A Journey Through Ephesus by David Gwartney

The Bible for Everyone: Ephesians by NT Wright


Coming Up This Week:* 

Saturday, June 11th: Join us next Sunday for week 2 of our series on The Book of Ephesians

* Please see mye3.org for details.