10/09/11 Ephesians 4:29-5:2
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
christian anger management works.
Ephesians 4:29 – 5:2
Maybe you’ve noticed a pattern when Paul writes to a group of Christians. Usually, the first half of the letter he uses to explain Bible teaching. Paul spends the second half of most letters applying Bible truth to real life. Today’s section is second half stuff.
Which item in Paul’s list (4:31) gives Jesus and His work the biggest black eye?
In every New Testament section that teaches that believers are a body (4:4-16), we also find an emphasis on the loving relationships God wants believers to develop between themselves. This is how God creates opportunities to do His work. It’s so simple that it’s easy to miss. God’s love shows us we’re a family. It also makes us want to care about each other. The closer we grow to each other, the better we help each other out. And that is God’s Work.
Can we improve conduct without an internal transformation (4:18-19)? Explain.
4:11-16 is a critical insight into God’s master plan for His people’s growth. All too often Christian groups hire leaders to do the “work of the ministry.” They expect them to evangelize, counsel, visit the sick, pray with the discouraged. If a church family grows in size, we assume their minister is doing his job. If the church fails to grow or doesn’t meet its budget, people figure the minister is to blame. After all, they hired him to minister. But God never designed Christianity to be a one man show. No one person or team of professionals can do as much as a trained and motivated group.
What does God tell us is our number one priority as individuals and a group (4:13)?
Anger is neither right nor wrong in itself. It’s an emotion. We can use it to hurt or help – just as a knife can be a surgeon’s scalpel or a murderer’s weapon. Anger can be a powerful tool for confronting wrong (Jesus – Mark 3:5 and John 2:13-17). Selfish or manipulative anger can really hurt people. This kind of outburst becomes destructive when it controls us rather than us controlling it.
4. How does 4:29 connect to 4:25-26?
The fact that the Holy Spirit can experience grief indicates that He’s a real person with real feelings. The Bible tells us He’s a real person Himself into each believer (1 Corinthians 6:19).
5. What makes the Holy Spirit sad (4:30; Galatians 5:22-23)?
The instinct we were born with that wants to rebel against God is selfish. That’s why it builds walls and declares war.
6. Who’s more to blame: the person who intentionally gets under my skin, or the unattractive way I react (4:31)? Why?
Resentment makes us treat people the way Satan treats them, when we should treat them the way God has treated us. Satan encourages language that tears people down and destroys what Jesus has done. No matter what someone may do to us, no matter how terrible or destructive or unjustified, Jesus has paid the penalty for that sin. No matter how a person may have hurt, slandered, persecuted, or in any way harmed us, Jesus’ sacrifice paid the penalty they deserve. Unwillingness to forgive is a symptom of self–righteousness. Being forgiving is a symptom of depending on Jesus’ sacrifice to rescue us.
What’s the secret to “forgiving each other, just as God forgave you in Christ” (4:32)?
We do not forgive for our sake (although, God does bless us when we forgive) or even for their sake, but for Jesus’ sake. Doing the right thing for the right reason is hard. Paul always finds a way to change our point of view. He uses things that strike a responsive chord in believers. He points us to the way Jesus sacrificed for us. The idea behind “fragrant offering (5:2)” is simply that the sacrifice Jesus made pleases God. This does not suggest that God enjoys demanding the death sentence for sinners, or demanding His Son’s damnation. It indicates the satisfaction that comes to God when He doesn’t have to compromise His justice principle but still can rescue humanity using a Substitute.
Think about Jesus’ life. What attitude allowed him not to take things so personally? How did He show He wasn’t holding it against His enemies (5:1-2)?
“Count to 10 – slowly.” “Work out your frustrations at the gym.” “Insulate yourself. People are the problem.” There’s nothing Christian about coping skills like these. God wants us to work together with people. When we do, there will be issues. God’s Word is preventative and corrective.
1. Is the ugly truth about other people going to change them for the good, or is it admitting the ugly truth about ourselves that solves more problems?
2. How can we get to the forgiving stage faster when the hurt someone inflicts is so overwhelming?
How does this section connect to Matthew 18:21-35? What’s the connection to Genesis 50:15-21?