Ephesians 3:1-13 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given meby the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you,which is your glory.
Christians will suffer; knowing what kind of suffering it is can help you endure your own affliction as well as comfort others in theirs. How are you and others around you afflicted? From Paul’s suffering, we see that we can be afflicted for others’ good, our growth, and God’s glory. How could your affliction be used as others are watching? Don’t waste your affliction; invest it. Don’t lose heart.
Q.1 Was there anything from Sunday’s Sermon or the Big Idea that had an affect on you? Did you hear anything that raised more questions in your mind?
Q.2 What stands out to you in Ephesians 3:1-13 and why?
The Bible speak of 14 different kinds of affliction.
1) Adamic (result of the fall, sin nature, sickness)
2) Punishment (God’s judgment)
3) Consequential (foolish decisions)
4) Demonic (torment, injuries, death, etc.)
5) Victimizing (being sinned against- used or abused verbally/financially/emotionally/sexually, adultery, etc.)
6) Collective (association with those who are suffering)
7) Disciplinary (God’s rebuke and discipline)
8) Vicarious (opposed by the ungodly because of Jesus)
9) Empathetic (hurting for someone)
10) Testimonial (demonstration of the gospel so others may believe)
11) Providential (to teach a lesson about God, e.g. Joseph)
12) Preventative (warning of greater suffering)
13) Mysterious (unrevealed)
14) Apocalyptic (signs of the end of age)
Q.3 What kind of affliction have you experienced in the past or are you experiencing now? **Pray for one another in light of your answers?
Q.4 How can you use the affliction that you have experienced in such a way as to help others? **Pray for each other to receive wisdom from God about how to heal and to use the suffering we experience to help others.
Q.5 What kind of growth have you seen in your own life as a result of suffering?
Q.6 When it comes to suffering, how is Christianity radically different and far more hopeful than other false faiths or belief’s systems?
DON’T LOSE HEART.
If you’re not in Christ, bring your sin and your suffering to Jesus and receive his righteousness through faith. Hear these words to you directly from the lips of Jesus’ disciples in Mark 10:49: “Take heart. Get up; Jesus is calling you.” Run to Him or even crawl if you must. He will accept you. Cast yourself totally dependent on Him and be changed forever.
If you in Christ, hear these words today and directly from Jesus’ lips: “Take heart; your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2) and “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The same Jesus that wept is the One who will wipe the tears from your eyes (John 11:35, Rev. 21:4). Joy to us, glory to Jesus! Amen.
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