Please begin with prayer.
Did you know that God created you, loves you, sent Jesus to die for your sins, and then after all that, He wants to use you to complete His plan for mankind. Anything less than a loving God would have left us on a dunghill for all of time, but God wants us to an intricate part of His plan. As we live out our lives for the cause of Christ, there are several pitfalls that we must watch out for in order to be that intricate part of the plan. As you work through this study, ask God to help you examine your heart for "snares" that the Satan may have set to trip you up and keep you from being effective for the Lord.
Answer the following questions. They will be discussed at the meeting in the fifth week.
Read Ephesians 2:4-5
Read the first two words of this passage. Who is it that is rich in mercy? _____
What is the result of the mercy within the heart of God?
The love that God has in His heart for each of us, caused Him to send Jesus. Why was it necessary for God to send His Son?
What essential element did God exhibit that allows us to stand redeemed before him? (See verse 5)
Snare #1- It is easy for us to forget that all people have sinned and are in need of Jesus. The people we work with or come in contact with each day need Jesus just like we do. It is only by God's mercy and love that any of us could ever be made right before God. Satan can plant seeds of minimize the importance of people in our lives. Every person matters to the Lord.
In Ephesians 2:6, the salvation provided by Christ bound us together with Christ. If you were willingly toed together with your best friend, what would you have to learn to live together?
Can you do these same things as you are "bound" together with Jesus? How?
Also in verse 6, we see that we are "raised up" to heavenly places. This is not because of anything that we did. It is because we are bound to Jesus, and acquire access to Him by being "bound" to Him. Do you feel bound to Jesus, and in what ways does this impact you?
Snare #2 It is easy for us to forget to whom we are "bound" as we walk through each day. This is always dangerous because if we forget who we are bound to, we will forget who we are serving. Satan uses this to minimize God's priorities and plans in our life. God desires that Christ and the believer are bound so closely that the believer's purpose is that of Christ.
In Ephesians 2:7, God trough Christ desires to show us two things through our relationship with Christ. What are the two things, and what do they mean?
In verses 8 & 9, Paul again tells us, "For by grace you are saved through faith; and not of yourselves: it is a gift from God; Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Is there anything you can do yourself… any act or attitude that can lead you to your own salvation?
Is there any reason to think that the good things we do on this trip have anything
to do with our receiving salvation? Do these "good works" some how elevate us to some special level?
Finally, read Ephesians 2:10. The word workmanship is the Greek word "poiema" or poem. We are God's poetry which ebbs and flows within His divine plan. Reread verse 10 and substitute the word poetry for workmanship. How does this help you understand your relationship with Christ and God's plan for your life?
Snare #3 We need to understand at a profound level that we are created for an intentional purpose by God. Satan wants to demean us and belittle us. He would like to minimize us while God desires to elevate us as part of His plan. Do not let Satan trick you into thinking that you are anything thing less than a child of the King!
The passage also says that we were created in Christ Jesus unto good works? What does this mean?
Finally, this passage uses an interesting verb and than an even more interesting preposition. The passage says that we are to "walk" "in" good works. It does not say that we are to do good works. It does not say that we should make good works a part of our lives… especially on mission trips. Why do you think that the word walk was chosen? How about the word "in"- why this word? What difference does it make?
Snare #4 It is easy for us to see that for that week we will be on a "mission trip". The truth is that if we are walking in good works, it is a way of every day life- not just this week. We do not need to leave the country to be on a mission trip. Good works are what we are about each day. If we are "in" good works, they are the all encompassing reason and the way we live for Christ. They become one of God's expressions of His love for man, and He uses us to accomplish that end. Satan wants to keep us distracted from walking and being in good works. In this way he minimizes our effectiveness for God's purpose in our lives.
Please read each of the four snares. As you close in prayer, ask God to help you with the ones that can trap you. He is so faithful!
By: John R. Wallace, Jr. Adapted from Jon Courson's Application Commentary
For the 2006