July 2, 2017 – Ephesians 4:25-32
Lesson Date: July 2, 2017
Focal Scripture Passage: Ephesians 4:25-32
AIM: To lead students to discover and discuss attitudes and actions that grieve the Holy Spirit and hinder His work in their lives, and to confess and turn away from such activities.
Before class: Read the notes on Ephesians 4:25-32 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Prepare the described in the “Conclusion” step. Write the following scripture references on index cards or small pieces of paper: Exodus 20:16; Proverbs 6:16-17; John 2:15; Romans 8:9; James 1:20. Ask some class members who are comfortable reading aloud to look up the verses and be prepared to read them to the class when called upon.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Tell the class about a time in your life when you experienced grief because of the death of a loved one. State that you didn’t carry out your regular activities for a few days because you were involved in funeral preparations, visiting with family members, and then the funeral itself.
Ask the students to briefly tell of times in their lives when they experienced grief. Emotions such as grief are very powerful and emotional experiences become riveted in our memories. By recalling a time of grief, your class members will be reminded of the feelings they experienced. Stress the fact that during times of grief we don’t carry out our regular activities, because our minds and emotions are consumed with the grieving process. When the time of grief ends we return to our normal activities.
Tell the class that the Holy Spirit of God indwells all Christians. God places His Holy Spirit within us because He has very important work to do in our lives. When we sin, however, we grieve the Holy Spirit, such that He can’t carry out His regular activities in us. In today’s lesson we will learn more about this.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Remind the class that we are studying the New Testament book of Ephesians. Locate Ephesus on the map.
- Chapters 1, 2, and 3 of Ephesians are primarily doctrinal, while chapters 4, 5, and 6 contain very practical instructions for living the Christian life.
- Remind the class that last week we studied Ephesians 4:17-24, in which we learned how we are supposed to walk or behave.
- Ask: “How are Christians NOT supposed to walk?” (like lost people).
- Ask: “How are we SUPPOSED to walk?” (like a new person, because we are).
- Ask: “Has your behavior this week looked more like a lost person or a saved person?”
- Do Not Lie.
- Tell the class that the first few verses in today’s lesson continue to tell us how to live like a saved person.
- Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 4:25.
- Ask: “What are we supposed to ‘put away?’” (lying).
- Tell the class that God hates lying.
- To prove this fact, ask the previously enlisted volunteers to read Exodus 20:16 and Proverbs 6:16-17.
- Ask: “According to verse 25, how are Christians supposed to speak to one another?” (in truth).
- Ask: “Why?” (because we are part of the same body – “for we are members one of another”).
- Write the word “Lying” on the marker board or chalkboard.
- Control Your Anger so You Don’t Give the Devil a Foothold in Your Life.
- Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 4:26-27.
- Tell the class that it is possible to have righteous anger without sin, as Jesus did.
- Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read John 2:15.
- Explain that righteous anger would include becoming angry at the sin and wickedness of the world, but we must remember that our selfish and fleshly anger will NOT accomplish God’s purposes
- Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read James 1:20.
- Ask: “How long can we hold onto righteous anger?” (only a short time).
- If we hold onto anger, it turns into bitterness, which causes lots of trouble (Heb. 12:15).
- Write “Anger” on the board.
- Ask: “What are we warned against in verse 27?” (giving place to the devil).
- Write “Giving Place to the Devil” on the board.
- Explain that lying and anger give the devil an opportunity to get a foothold in our life, enabling him to take advantage of us and cause us trouble.
- No Stealing or Corrupt Communication.
- Ask the class to listen for two more things that Christians are NOT supposed to do, as you read Ephesians 4:28-29.
- Ask: “According to verse 28, what should we NOT do?” (steal).
- Write “Stealing” on the board.
- Ask: “What does this verse say about WHY we are supposed to work?” (so that we can give to those in need).
- Ask: “What does verse 29 tell us NOT to do?” (allow corrupt communication to come out of our mouths).
- Write “Corrupt Communication” on the board.
- Explain that the word corrupt literally means something that is rotten, putrid, and useless, like a rotting corpse.
- Ask the students what kind of talk they think would qualify for corrupt communication.
- Read Ephesians 5:4 for more on this.
- Comment that coarse and crude talk have become very common and accepted in our modern world. Profanity has made its way into all areas of life. The downward spiral of corrupt communication has rapidly increased in recent years.
- Ask: “What is our speech supposed to do?” (minister grace and edify others).
- Ask: “What kind of talk do you think edifies and ministers grace to others?”
- Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit.
- Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 4:30.
- Ask: “Who are we NOT supposed to grieve?” (the Holy Spirit).
- Write “Grieving the Holy Spirit” on the board.
- Remind the class that the Holy Spirit lives within all Christians.
- Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read Romans 8:9.
- As verse 30 states, the Holy Spirit seals us until we experience our ultimate redemption in heaven (see also Eph. 1:13).
- Remind the students that people who are grieving do not carry out their regular activities.
- Ask the class to name some of the Holy Spirit’s regular activities in the life of a Christian (sanctification, teaching, and producing spiritual growth).
- Explain that when we sin the Holy Spirit must direct His attention to convicting us of our sin, so that we will repent of it and get right with God.
- In other words, the Holy Spirit can either do corrective or constructive work in our lives. If we’re right with God He does constructive work, but if we sin He suspends the constructive work to focus on corrective work. Stated simply, sin stops our spiritual growth! That’s why it is so important that we do not grieve the Holy Spirit.
- No Bitterness, Wrath, Anger, Clamor, Evil Speaking, or Malice.
- Tell the class that all sin grieves the Holy Spirit and hinders His work in us, but the next verse specifically names 6 especially dangerous behaviors.
- Read Ephesians 4:31.
- Ask the students to identify those six sins.
- Write “Bitterness,” “Wrath,” “Anger,” “Clamor,” “Evil Speaking,” and “Malice” on the board.
- Explain the meaning of each of those words, using the following notes:
- Wrath is a translation of the Greek word thumos, from which we get our English word “thermal.” It refers to heat and passion.
- Anger refers to a deep and abiding hostility, as in one who is known to have a bad temper.
- Clamor refers to an outcry, outburst, or tumult.
- Evil speaking is a translation of the Greek word blasphemia, which means slander. Evil speech includes the corrupt communication mention in verse 29.
- Malice refers to evil, wickedness, and naughtiness. Malice is the root of all the other sins listed in the verse.
- Stress that according to verse 30 all of these things are to be “put away from” the genuine believer.
- Be Kind, Tenderhearted, and Forgiving.
- Direct the students’ attention to the list on the board.
- Comment that most of those sins involve how we treat others. The Bible makes it clear that Christians are NOT supposed to do those things.
- Tell the class the last verse of the chapter tells us how we ARE supposed to treat one another.
- Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 4:32.
- Ask the class to describe how Christians should treat one another (we are to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving).
- Explain those three words using the following notes:
- Kind means to be good and benevolent to others. Kindness will go a long way toward keeping our relationships right.
- Tenderhearted means to show compassion, sympathy, and understanding to brothers and sisters in Christ, realizing that we are all sinful human beings who still possess a sin nature.
- Lack of kindness and compassion results in broken relationships. When wrongs occur (as they certainly will), we are to forgive one another.
- Ask: “According to this verse, WHY are we to treat one another this way?” (because Jesus Christ has forgiven us).
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Read the list on the board aloud to the class. Tell the class that activities such as these grieve the Holy Spirit, preventing Him from doing the constructive work He wants to do in our lives. Encourage the class members to be honest with themselves as you ask the following rhetorical question: “Are you currently doing any of the things listed on the board?” If so, they are grieving the Holy Spirit and preventing themselves from growing in Christ.
Tell the students that they face an important decision right now that will affect their future spiritual growth. Ask: “Are you willing to confess your sins and turn away from those sinful behaviors?” For some this may involve a drastic lifestyle change, but it is IMPORTANT! Ask the students to bow their heads and talk to God right now about their sin. Stay quiet for a few moments so they will have time to pray, and then voice a closing prayer of confession, repentance, and commitment to live like a Christian should.
CONCLUSION: Give everyone an index card or piece of paper on which you have written printed the text of Ephesians 4:32. Ask them to memorize this verse. Suggest that they place the card somewhere they will see it often throughout the week.
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