May 28, 2017 – Ephesians 3:20-21
Lesson Date: May 28, 2017
Focal Scripture Passage: Ephesians 3:20-21
AIM: To lead students to realize that God can do far more for us than we could ever ask Him, and to apply this truth to their lives by (1) asking Him to answer their prayers and by (2) serving God in such a way that they help their church glorify the Lord.
Before class: Read the notes on Ephesians 3:20-21 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Buy a large bag of candy. Ask one class member to be the person you skip when handing out the candy in the introductory activity. Get enough copies of the “Ephesians 1 – 3 Review Sheet” (attached) for your anticipated attendance. Have some pens or pencils available if needed.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Tell the class you have brought them a treat. Give everyone but the one previously enlisted class member a piece of candy. Hand out the candy, rather than risking students grabbing more than one piece. After you have given a piece of candy to everyone but one person, the one you skipped should ask if he or she can have a piece of candy. When the student asks for a piece of candy, ask: “Do you want a piece of candy?” When he or she answers affirmatively, give the person the entire bag of candy.
The person should look surprised, take only one piece of candy, and try to give the bag back to you. Refuse to accept it and insist that the student keep the entire bag. Then ask the previously enlisted student: “Did you ask for the whole bag of candy?” (no). “Did you think I would give you the whole bag of candy?” (no). Tell the class that the fortunate class member received more than he or she asked for or even thought to ask for.
Tell the class in today’s lesson we will learn that our God can do more for us than we could ever ask or even think of asking.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Remind the class that this quarter we have studied first half of the New Testament book of Ephesians.
- Remind them the Apostle Paul wrote the letter to the church at Ephesus while he was a prisoner in Rome (locate Ephesus and Rome on the map).
- Tell the class since we have reached the end of the quarter it is time for our final exam.
- Pass out the “Ephesians 1 – 3 Review Sheet,” along with pens or pencils if needed.
- Tell them this will be an “open book” exam. Ask everyone to turn to the beginning of the book of Ephesians
- Read the indicated verses and ask the students to verbally answer the questions. Ask them to write the answers on their review sheets.
- Tell the class today we are going to focus on Ephesians 3:20-21.
- Those two verses form the culmination of all the doctrinal truths we have learned in chapters 1, 2, and 3.
- Limitless Power.
- Read Ephesians 3:20.
- Ask: “What can God do?” (more than we could ever ask or think).
- Remind them of the introductory activity. Everyone received a treat, but one student got more than he asked for or thought of asking for.
- Ask: “Do you ever get discouraged when you pray and pray and pray but don’t seem to get the answer you want?” (probably so).
- Ask everyone to look back at verse 20.
- Ask: “Is God able to answer your prayer?” (yes, He can do more than we could even dream of asking).
- Ask: “What is the biggest prayer need in your life right now? Do you believe God is able to answer that prayer?” (yes).
- Tell the class the fact that God is able to do more than we ask doesn’t mean He will do everything we ask. He only answers prayers that are in accordance with His perfect will. He knows best and we do not, so sometimes we pray for the wrong things. Sometimes it is not yet time for Him to answer our prayer.
- Ask everyone to look back at verse 20 again.
- Ask: “What power does God use to do more than we ask or think?” (the power that is at work in us).
- Ask: “What power do you think that is?”
- Read Ephesians 1:19-20.
- Remind the class that the power at work in us is the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead!
- Summarize: Almighty God has limitless power. He is capable of doing more than we could ever dream of. He does that through the power working in us – the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Wow!
- Unending Glory.
- Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 3:21.
- Ask: “What is the Lord supposed to receive – in other words, ‘unto Him be’ what?” (glory).
- Tell the class that the word glory implies praise, honor, and worship.
- Read Revelation 4:11.
- Ask: “According to that verse, why is the Lord worthy to receive glory?” (because all things were created by Him and for Him).
- Tell the class this next question is crucial, and then ask: “According to Ephesians 3:21, where is the Lord supposed to be glorified?” (in the church).
- The Lord Jesus is to receive glory in His church.
- Ask: “What does this mean for us?” (we, as members of Christ’s church, are to be involved in bringing glory to the Lord Jesus Christ).
- In other words, if you’re not a member of the church or if you’re not faithfully serving in the church, you are failing to do your part to glorify the Lord in the church.
- Ask: “How long is the Lord supposed to be glorified in His church?” (forever).
- Summarize: The Lord Jesus Christ is the object of unending glory. He is to be glorified now in his church; and as we saw in Revelation, He will receive glory from His people forever.
- Glory in the Church.
- Ask the class what the church does that glorifies the Lord. In other word, what is it about the church that brings glory to God?
- Allow time for the students to give some responses (most may center on our times of worship, such as singing songs of praise).
- Tell the class there are three primary ways the church brings glory to the Lord.
- The fact that Jesus Christ saves sinners who are dead in their sin glorifies the Lord.
- The fact that the church is for all Christians – regardless of their ethnic or religious background – glorifies the Lord.
- The fact that the church has survived throughout the centuries glorifies the Lord.
- Remind them that Jesus Christ promised this in Matthew 16:18. Read that verse.
- Ask: “How long will God be glorified in His church?” (forever: “throughout all ages, world without end”).
- Summarize: Christians ought to invest their lives in their local church because that is how they can glorify the Lord for all eternity!
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the class God is able to answer our prayers, so we should pray to Him. Tell them we should live and serve in such a way that we help our local church glorify the Lord. Here are some things that prevent us from glorifying the Lord in the church:
- We can’t glorify the Lord if our church membership is in one state but we attend church in another.
- We can’t glorify the Lord if we willfully refuse to attend the scheduled services of our local church.
- We can’t glorify the Lord if we are able to serve in the church but refuse to do so.
Read the following to the class:
The palace of Versailles with its countless representations of battles, sieges, stormings, surprises, and all other forms of wholesale and retail murder, is dedicated, according to an inscription on its front, “To all the glories of France.” One might as well consecrate a slaughterhouse to all the glories of a butcher.
But what a glorious spiritual palace is the church, and how truly is it dedicated to all the glories of the Lord Jesus! Within its walls hang memorials of battles far more worthy of the historian’s quill than those of Austerlitz or Wagram; victories are there commemorated which put to the blush all the achievements of Charlemagne or Napoleon. For the contests are with evil principles, and the conquests are triumphs over iniquity and rebellion. There are no garments rolled in blood; fire and vapor smoke are not there, but rather the efficacy of atonement, the energy of grace, the Omnipotence of the Holy Ghost, the power of eternal love, all these are there, and happy are the eyes that see them. May the life of each one of us contribute a new work of celestial art to those which already represent to angels and heavenly intelligences, “the glories of Christ.”
The Lord Jesus Christ has limitless power and He is to be glorified in His church forever. Encourage the students to ask Him to answer their prayers and to serve Him in such a way that He receives glory in the church.
Lead a closing prayer of commitment to pray and to glorify God in his church.
CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Ephesians 3:20-21. Encourage them to pray and to seek to glorify God this week.
Be sure everyone receives a Sunday School Member Quarterly for the new quarter. Tell them next quarter we will study chapters 4-6 of Ephesians, which gives practical instructions on how to live the Christian life at home, at work, and in our daily struggles. Urge them not to miss a single lesson. Ask them to begin the Daily Bible Readings (found on pages 4-5 of their quarterly) tomorrow.
 Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc., 1990)
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