Introduction: We have spent many weeks this quarter studying our hope
in Jesus’ Second Coming. How should that hope impact our day to day
living? Should it make us dreamy? Should we forget the here and now
to concentrate on what will be? Should we dig in and get to work to
make the Second Coming happen? Let’s turn to the Bible and find out
what it says about how we should live!

  1. Called to Consistency

    1. Read Ephesians 4:1-2. Is Paul saying we are prisoners? If
      you are a prisoner, what choices do you have on how to
      live?(Paul appears to be writing this letter to the
      Ephesians while he (not the Ephesians) is a prisoner in
      Rome. An earlier reference that supports the conclusion
      that Paul is in prison is Ephesians 3:1. Ephesians 6:20
      also lends some support.)

      1. If Paul is in prison, why would he say “as a prisoner
        …. I urge you to live a life worthy of [your]
        calling?” Why does the view of a prisoner add any
        power to his point? (As a prisoner, Paul does not
        have the choices in life that the rest of us have.
        He is urging the Ephesians (and us) to fully engage
        in those things he cannot now do. When you cannot do
        something, you become more aware of it. That gives
        Paul’s message special meaning.)

      2. What is the reason for ( Ephesians 4:1) living a “life
        worthy of the calling” we have from God? What is this
        calling anyway? (God saves us by His grace. We do not
        earn salvation. But, part of the gift of salvation is
        a “calling” to act like we are saved. Jesus
        discusses our call to a higher standard of living in
        Matthew 5:43-48.)

      3. What does verse 2 ( Ephesians 4:2) tell us our life
        should look like? What characteristics should we
        display? (Humility, gentleness and patience.)

        1. How does your scorecard rate on these three
          character traits?

        2. Is 0 out of 3 OK? How about 1 or 2 out of 3?

        3. Why are these characteristics mentioned as
          opposed to good old obedience? Wouldn’t it be
          easier to just obey rather than trying to be
          humble, gentle and patient?

        4. When verse 2 tells us to be “bearing” with one
          another, does that assume that someone is
          annoying us?

          1. What do you think “bearing” means?

          2. What does it mean to bear with one another
            in love? Does that mean that you must be
            loving and nice to someone who annoys you?

        1. Is verse 2 only speaking of dealing with people
          in the church? How much “bear” activity do we
          have to tolerate? (This text shows me the sin in
          my heart. I have always worked to be patent and
          gentle with “helpers” – those that in some way
          are under my control. But if you are a
          “manager,” an opponent (or worse) another car
          driver, well, I need to go back and read this
          text several times!)

  1. Called to Unity

    1. Read Ephesians 4:3. Wait a minute! Am I free from being
      patient and gentle with opponents and other car drivers?
      Who does this verse indicate is included within the group
      to which we need to be humble, patient and gentle? (This
      text is clearly speaking about our Christian brothers and
      sisters. The “unity of the Spirit” is within the body of
      believers. While we may well have an obligation to the
      world, these verses are speaking about our obligations in
      the church.)

    2. Read Ephesians 4:4-6. When Paul says (v.4) “one body” what
      do you understand him to mean? (This is referring to the
      church. Christ’s body is His church. Ephesians 5:23)

      1. When Paul says “one Spirit” what does he mean? (The
        Holy Spirit)

      2. When Paul says “one hope” what do you understand him
        to mean? (This is the hope we have been studying: the
        hope of Jesus’ Second coming. We hope to go with
        Jesus to live forever.)

      3. Why do all of these “ones” have anything to do with
        being humble, gentle and patient? (How can we have
        our hope set on a unity in heaven if we are not
        working together in a reasonable manner now? The
        opposite of these terms, arrogance, harshness and
        impatience, are qualities that tear a church apart.)

      4. When Paul writes of “one faith” what do you think he
        would say about all of the churches that presently

        1. How can you reconcile the “one faith” ideal with
          the “remnant” idea?

        2. Is the “remnant” idea inconsistent with being
          (v.2) “completely humble,” or is it just a
          statement of truth?

      5. Another thing that bothers me is (v.5) Paul’s
        reference to both “one Lord” and “one God and
        Father.” If we had only “one Lord” or “one God and
        Father” mentioned, I would be fine. But 1 (one Lord)
        + 1 (one Father) = 2. How can we reconcile this with
        our concept of the Trinity? (If we go back to verse 4
        we also have “one Spirit.” The concept of the
        Trinity is not easy, but these three “ones” add up to
        one. See Matthew 28:19)

  2. Called to Ministry

    1. Read Ephesians 4:11. We have just been speaking about how
      our hope in the Second Coming should create unity. Does
      this verse sound like unity to you?

    2. Let’s read on. Read Ephesians 4:12-13. How does this
      diversity of gifts create unity? (All have different gifts
      given by God. Working together, these gifts build up the

      1. What are God’s people being prepared for, according
        to these verses? (“Works of service.”)

        1. Is that what you understand the goal of the
          pastor, teacher, evangelist and prophet to be –
          to put other people to work? (The blessings of
          these various gifts are to be used to prepare
          others to do God’s work.)

        2. What lesson do we learn about how we should live
          as we hope for the Second Coming? (We should be
          working while we wait.)

      2. When verse 13 tells us that we can reach “unity in
        the faith” does that mean my faith can save you? Is
        this part of my work for you? (Those of you reading
        the lesson quarterly carefully will note some bizarre
        contradictions. In commenting on verse 13 (Thursday),
        it says about faith, “You can never give it to
        someone else.” Earlier (Monday) the lesson reprints a
        quote which ends with the statement: “God accepts our
        faith in your behalf.”)

        1. Which is correct? What does Ephesians 4:13 teach
          us about the faith of one person being
          sufficient for another? (Paul would have no
          reason to write about “all reaching unity in the
          faith” if only a few needed to have faith.)

        2. The last part of verse 13 mentions faith and
          knowledge making us “mature.” Is mature a goal?

          1. How do faith and knowledge create
            maturity? (The more you know, the more you
            understand the actions of others.
            Understanding the actions of others aids
            us in our goal ( Ephesians 4:2) of being
            gentle, patient and willing to “bear” with

    3. Read Ephesians 4:14. This verse tells us that our
      “maturity” (mentioned in v.13) helps us handle false
      doctrines. How does maturity accomplish that? (Paul says
      that maturity in faith and knowledge, helps us to avoid
      constantly changing our religious beliefs. This verse
      paints a picture of a Christian racing around pursuing new
      ideas — ideas created by crafty, scheming people.
      Maturity puts a stop to the racing about.)

    1. Friend, we have a work to do as we wait for the Second
      Coming. We need to discover the gift(s) given to us by God
      (v.11) and use those gift(s)to teach and prepare others to
      serve God. Will you join in the work?

  1. Next week: Ultimate Things