NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Explore the Bible curriculum.
Bible Passages: Ephesians 2:1-10
— How would you describe the difference between people who believe in Jesus and those who don’t?
— How does remembering what life without Jesus was like encourage believers to share Jesus with others?
Food for thought:
Some people carry a before photo of themselves prior to getting serious about exercise and healthier living. They may include the photo on their phone or in their wallet so they see it before they buy that chocolate bar or double-meat burger with extra cheese and thick bacon.
Seeing the photo of what they once were is intended as encouragement to continue living a healthier lifestyle. The photo may motivate them to run on a cold day or when they just don’t feel like exercising. By remembering what they were, they can appreciate what they now have and how they got there.
The apostle Paul painted an ugly picture for the Ephesians to remind them of what they were before Christ. He noted that they were dead, followers of this world’s ruler, disobedient, undisciplined by nature, and wrathful. He painted a dire, hopeless and worthless picture. However, Paul pointed out they changed through faith in Jesus. By God’s grace, they were now alive, seated with Jesus, His workmanship, displayers of God’s grace and prepared to carry out good works. This new portrait was filled with hope and purpose.
The further we get from what we once were, the more we need to remember the change. We can sometimes forget what it was like to be without Jesus. We forget the ugliness of sin, the lack of self-control, and the desperation of searching. Paul reminded the Ephesians of the change as a motivation for them to continue to grow in Christ and to bring others along with them.
We need to be reminded of the “before” so we don’t lose the urgency of inviting others to Christ. Others only have a “before” picture and are desperately waiting for someone to tell them how they too can have an after picture.
Explore the Bible
Explore the Bible is an ongoing Bible study curriculum that helps groups dig into the key truths of each Bible book, while keeping the group on pace to study through the Bible books in a systematic way. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/ExploreTheBible.