EASTER IN AUGUST
- Key Verse
- I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know . . . what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. (Ephesians 1:18-19a)
- READ THE CHAPTER
We have been gifted by Christ with the power we need to live for Him.
ReflectionsYou all have heard of Christmas in July. How about Easter in August? This chapter is a great reminder of all of the gifts that are ours because of Christ's death and resurrection for us. Paul tells us we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places and then goes on to mention a few: chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, holy and blameless before Him, adopted as sons, redemption, forgiveness, lavish grace, knowledge of mysteries, an inheritance, and sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise (verses 4-13). Easter brings far better gifts than what you find under your Christmas tree!
There is one other gift in this chapter that changed my life. I trusted Jesus as my Savior when I was 9 years old. I began to grow in my knowledge of Him when I was 16. But I was 44 before I understood what is said in Ephesians 1:19. Paul prays that the Ephesians would know what is the "surpassing (immeasurable) greatness of His power toward us who believe." In verse 20, we are told that this is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead! What an astounding truth!
Christ did not just forgive us with His death and resurrection and leave us here to cope with sin in our own power. He sent us an all-powerful Helper. Remember, Christ told His disciples, it is to your advantage that I go away, for I will send the Helper to you (John 16:7). How could it be to their advantage that Christ leave them!? Because this Helper He would send would live in them, giving them immeasurable power to have victory over sin, so that they could live their lives glorifying the Lord and bringing others to know Him. I spent many years struggling with recurring sin in my life, so grieved by my failure to overcome it. Then, the Lord showed me this power that was mine through His Spirit, and I began to have victory! Do you know this power? Are you living daily by it?
Discussion Questions1. Are the gifts listed above yours, or do you need to put your trust in Jesus' death and resurrection for forgiveness and power?
2. By whose power are you living your life? For help with understanding this power, you might consider reading Romans 6-8; checking out Re:generation, Watermark's ministry for those wanting to overcome hurts, habits and hang-ups; and you might also read Francis Chan's book, Forgotten God.
3. Can you see change in your life over the last year because of living by the power of the Helper?
WEEKLY FAMILY ACTIVITY
Galatians 3 - Ephesians 1 (July 30 - Aug 3)
Read Galatians 5:16-26.
• Look at the list of what your life looks like if you follow the sinful desires (flesh) and then look at the list of a life controlled by the Holy Spirit.
• What are your responses to the two different lists?
• Which list shows more about God's love to others?
• What are ways that you can be more diligent to let the Holy Spirit be in control more than your flesh?
• Talk through each of the qualities of being controlled by the Spirit . . . what do the words mean and how do they play out in your life?
Activity: Go to the grocery store together. Each person should pick out nine fruits. When you get home, take each quality of a life controlled by the Holy Spirit and attach it to one of the fruits. Take one fruit with you for lunch each day. Before you eat the fruit, think back about how your morning has gone. Have you allowed the Spirit to be in control? Have you shown that fruit in your life to those around you? If so, praise God that He is working in your life and pray that you will continue to choose His way over your flesh. If not, pray now that you will have a better afternoon . . . of listening to and following the Spirit.