BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 24, Day 2: Ephesians 4:1-8

Explanatory Note:  I will be gone next week on vacation so I am posting these ahead of time and will try to get to your comments as soon as possible.  God bless!

Summary of passage:  Paul urges the Ephesians to live a life worthy of God’s calling: humbly, gently, patiently, and lovingly.  He calls for them to keep the unity of the Spirit through peace, reminding us there is only one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and of course one God and Father of all (who granted each of us grace).

Questions:

3)  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

4a)  A humble, forgiving attitude amongst others and a unity of believers, a Spiritual unity

b)  All believers share the same fundamental beliefs:  One God, One Son, One Holy Spirit in one.  “One Lord, one faith, one baptism; One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all”.  Christ died for our sins.  We have faith and trust in God and Christ.  So surrendering our beliefs should not even be an issue here.

We keep this unity by doing what Jesus did:  forgiving others unconditionally, loving others, avoiding strife.

c)  No where in this passage is “organic unity” and “organizational conformity” mentioned.  So, we must look elsewhere for this answer.

According to Wikipedia, organic unity is “the idea that a thing is made up of interdependent parts.”  Like the body is made up of organs all working together.

Organizational conformity is when everyone in an organization is doing the same thing.

Thus, the difference is organizational conformity the parts are doing the same thing. Organic unity the parts work together to accomplish a goal.

d)  To work together, to keep the peace, maintain focus on what’s important:  God.

5)  One body–we all share in the body of Christ

One Spirit–we all receive the same Holy Spirit

One hope–we all hope in Christ

One Lord–there’s only one God

One faith–we all have faith in the One God

One baptism–we are all baptized in the Spirit upon believing

One God and Father of all–There is only One, True God

Churches all work for the same goal:  to bring those lost to Christ and to grow in Christ once found.  Everything else is secondary and churches should not get bogged down in other beliefs that are not paramount.  Our differences should not hinder the common goal.

Conclusions:  Anyone else think this lesson was stretching it?  Still baffled as to what 4c has to do with anything especially since it wasn’t really applied to another question.  I was also disturbed since “organizational conformity” is a sociology term mainly used to describe businesses.  I just don’t see churches as a business.  I don’t think Paul did either.

4b I thought was also out of place.  I just didn’t get how keeping the peace involved surrendering basic beliefs (something we should never surrender).  Any other thoughts would be very much appreciated.

The only thing I truly got out of this was in verse one and two:  the reminder of being humble, gentle, patient, and loving.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 24, Day 2 Isaiah 52:13-15

Summary of passage:  God’s servant will act wisely and be raised up and exalted.  Despite the number of people who were appalled at his appearance which was so disfigured and marred by beatings, he will sprinkle (cleanse) many nations and kings will be silenced.  And the people will see and understand.

Questions:

3)  Because He will sprinkle (cleanse) many nations of sin.  He will act wisely.  He will triumph.

4)  He will appear glorious and exalted yet He will also appear suffering to the point where many were appalled at His appearance because He was beaten so badly.

5a)  His back was beaten, his beard pulled out.  He was mocked and spit upon.  He was beaten so much His appearance was unrecognizable.  They stripped Him, put a scarlet robe on him, a crown of thorns and a staff.  He was insulted and told to save himself if he were indeed God’s son.

b)  Acts 2:32:  God has raised Jesus to life and we are all witnesses

Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9:  Jesus blessed the people and was taken up to Heaven before them, disappearing behind a cloud

Acts 2:33; Philippians 2:9:  God exalted him to the highest place and give him a name above every name. He sits at God’s right hand and has received and poured out the Holy Spirit

Conclusions:  I like the contrasts here between the suffering Jesus endured yet His eternal reward.  Reading all Jesus endured for our sakes is heart-breaking and humbling but seeing His reward is uplifting and reassuring.

It’s comforting to us humans who go through various stages of suffering but know we will have our reward as well.  Most Americans and those in the developed word (and most of the developing world) won’t be physically tortured, paraded through the streets, and crucified.  But some face abuse (physical and sexual).  Just most crimes today are hidden behind closed doors.  Others are paralyzed by the fear of war and death.

The evils of the human heart are innumerable but Jesus saved us from them for all of Eternity.