March 5, 2017 – Ephesians 1:1-5

Lesson Date: March 5, 2017

Focal Scripture Passage: Ephesians 1:1-5

AIM: To lead students to describe the work of God the Father in salvation, and to respond to His gracious actions by either (1) accepting God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ or (2) thanking Him for that wonderful gift.

 

Before class: Read the introductory material on the book of Ephesians and the notes on Ephesians 1:1-5 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Get a variety of treats to bring to class. This may include candy bars, donuts, fruit, gum, hard candy, suckers, or any type treats you think your students will enjoy. Have more than enough for your anticipated attendance and try to have a wide variety of treats.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Tell the class you have brought them a variety of treats. Pass the treats around or invite the students to come to a table where they are located. Encourage everyone to get one treat and eat it. As they are eating, tell them you brought a variety of items because you wanted each person to be able to choose something they would enjoy.

Stress the fact that everyone chose which treat they preferred. Go around the room, asking each student why he or she chose the particular treat they did.

Tell the class we all make choices every day that we live. Today’s lesson is about a very special choice Almighty God made a very long time ago.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Introduction to the Book of Ephesians.
    1. Briefly introduce the book of Ephesians using the following outline:
      • Be sure everyone has a copy of the new Sunday School Member Quarterly.
      • Ask members to turn to the Map of the New Testament World on page 6.
      • Help them locate Rome and Ephesus on the map.
      • Tell the class that Ephesus was a wealthy commercial city and the center of worship of the goddess Diana.
      • Explain that Paul stopped briefly at Ephesus on his Second Missionary Journey, spent three years in Ephesus during his Third Missionary Journey, and stopped near Ephesus on his way back to Jerusalem to give final instructions to the elders of the Ephesian churches.
      • Stress the fact that Paul loved the believers at Ephesus very much.
    2. Direct everyone’s attention to the front cover of their Sunday School Member Quarterly.
    3. Explain that during the Spring quarter we will study the first three chapters of Ephesians. The theme of this quarter’s study is Salvation: Understand It! We will learn about God’s purpose and plan for our salvation,
    4. Next quarter (Summer) we will study the rest of the book of Ephesians. The theme of that quarter is Salvation: Live It! We will learn about living out our salvation.
  2. Saints.
    1. Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 1:1-2.
    2. Ask: “Who did the Apostle Paul write this letter to?” (the saints at Ephesus).
    3. Tell the class that people casually use the word saint in many ways, such as describing a morally good person. The Roman Catholic Church uses the word saint to refer to especially revered deceased humans, whom they believe can answer prayers and perform miracles (this is not true: only God can answer prayer and empower miracles).
    4. When we see the word saints in the Bible, however, it has a very specific meaning – it refers to those who are believers in Jesus Christ.
    5. Biblically speaking, everyone who is a genuine Christian is a saint. That means all of us in this room who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ are saints.
    6. Ask: “According to verse 2, what did Paul desire for the believers in Ephesus?” (grace and peace).
    7. Explain that grace is God’s goodness to us through Jesus Christ. Grace cannot be earned and is not deserved – it is a free gift.
    8. Many believers in the First Century (as well as today) experienced persecution. Peace would be a great blessing to them. Peace is a great blessing to us, too!
  3. The Work of God the Father in Salvation: He Has Blessed Us.
    1. Explain to the class that Ephesians 1:3-14 actually comprise one long sentence, telling about the work of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit in our salvation.
      • We are going to devote three weeks to the study of this passage.
      • Today’s lesson focuses on the work of God the Father.
    2. Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 1:3.
    3. Ask: “What has God the Father blessed us with?” (all spiritual blessings in spiritual things).
    4. Explain that the word heavenlies refers to spiritual things as opposed to physical things.
    5. Ask the students what they think those spiritual blessings might be.
    6. Read 2 Peter 1:3 for a further elaboration on those spiritual blessings.
    7. Say: “IF YOU ARE SAVED, God the Father has given you all spiritual blessings so that you have everything you need to live a godly life in this wicked world.”
    8. Ask the students for responses to this wonderful truth.
  4. The Work of God the Father in Salvation: He Has Chosen Us.
    1. Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 1:4.
    2. Ask: “What did God the Father do before the foundation of the world?” (He chose us). Ask: “What do you think is meant by the phrase ‘before the foundation of the world’?” (before He created the world or the universe).
    3. Tell the class that before creating the world, God the Father chose us “in Him” and He chose us to “be holy and without blame before Him.”
    4. These phrases make it clear that God chose to save us (because that’s the only way you can be in Him – see John 14:6 – and the only way you can be blameless before Him – see 2 Cor. 5:21).
    5. Remind the students that at the beginning of class they each chose a treat.
      • To choose means to select one thing and pass over other things. When they chose their treat they selected the one they wanted and left the rest.
      • The inadequacy of that illustration, however is that the students chose one item from among several good items, based upon their personal preference.
    6. When God chose us for salvation, however, we were not good: we had absolutely no merit or worth on our own.
    7. Say: “IF YOU ARE SAVED, it is because God the Father chose
    8. Ask the students for responses to this wonderful truth.
  5. The Work of God the Father in Salvation: He Has Adopted Us.
    1. Read Ephesians 1:5, but begin with the last two words of verse 4 (“in love”).
    2. Ask: “What did God the Father’s love cause Him to do for us?” (He decided in advance to adopt us as His children).
    3. Explain that the word predestinate means to determine beforehand or choose in advance.
      • For example, most of those present in class today decided in advance to come to Sunday School – they did not wait until the last minute and let circumstances determine their actions.
    4. Ask the class to tell what it means to be adopted (adoptive parents choose a child that is not naturally theirs by birth and make that child legally theirs; the child then becomes the recipient of his or her parent’s name, love, material resources, and future inheritance).
    5. Ask a volunteer to find and read Romans 8:15.
    6. Ask another volunteer to find and read Galatians 4:4-5.
    7. Explain that adoption is a beautiful picture of salvation, because we were once aliens and strangers who were outside of God’s family, but God the Father graciously chose to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. When He did, He gave us His name, love, resources, and future inheritance.
    8. Say: “IF YOU ARE SAVED, it is because God the Father decided in advance to adopt you as His child.”
    9. Ask the students for responses to this wonderful truth.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the class the chorus of a popular hymn proclaims, “Jesus saves, Jesus saves!” We know that Jesus Christ is the Savior, but Ephesians 1 reveals that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all played a part in our salvation. Today’s lesson has been about the work of God the Father.

Ask: “What three things did we discover that God the Father did in relation to our salvation?” (He blessed us with all spiritual blessings, He chose us for salvation before He created the world, and He decided in advance to adopt us as His children).

Ask everyone to look at the last phrase of verse 5. Ask: Why did God the Father do these wonderful things for us?” (He did them “according to the good pleasure of His will” – simply because He wanted to).

Ask: “How should we respond to the wonderful things God the Father has done for us?” (the two obvious responses are:

  1. For those who are not saved to accept God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
  2. For those who are already saved to thank the Lord for the wonderful things He has done for us.

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Invite any who have never been saved to respond by accepting God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Encourage them to repent of their sin and place their trust in Jesus Christ right now. Encourage those who are already saved to respond to the things God the Father has done by thanking Him. Voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Encourage everyone to memorize Ephesians 1:3. Tell them next week we will learn about the work of God the Son (Jesus Christ) in salvation. Urge them to do the daily Bible readings found on page 4 of their quarterly every day this week, read their lesson near the end of the week, and then come to Sunday School next Sunday.

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Comments

  1. I am teaching a series of lessons from the book of Jeremiah using your lesson plans. I cannot find them in this new format on your web page. Is there anyway to get these old lesson plans?

  2. Do you have any lesson plans on the book of Hosea? I would love to have that so I can use it to teach my Sunday school students. Thank you.

  3. Mary Beth Bailey : May 8, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    I too will be teaching from the book of Jeremiah this summer. I love your lesson plans. Can I get your plans for Jeremiah please?

    Thanks
    MB Bailey

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