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Unity and Growth of the Church
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13: Unity and Growth of the Church (Eph 4:1-32)

I.       The Basics

A.     Setting

The previous sections explain how the church was established. In this and the following sections, Paul discusses what life as a Christian in the body of Christ should be like. This passage, in particular, stresses the necessity for unity and newness of life.

B.     Key Verses

            “There is one body and one Spirit …” (4:4)

            “And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (4:24)

II.    Observation

A.     Outline





B.     Key Words/Phrases

III. Segment Analysis

A.     4:1-6

1.      What is “the calling with which we have been called” (1)?

2.      What are the essential virtues mentioned in verse 2 and 3 that make for the ‘unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’?

3.      Elaborate on the many ‘ones’ in verses 4 to 6. For example, one body refers to one church (see Eph 1:22,23). Christ has only one church and it is important for followers of Christ to be in that one church—we call this the one true church in contrast to the false churches. See also Mt 24:24 and Jn 10:14,15.

4.      One Spirit

5.      One hope

6.      One Lord

7.      One faith

8.      One baptism

9.      One God and Father of all

10.  How is God our Father

11.  above all”?

12.  through all”?

13.  in you all”?

B.     4:7-11

14.  The word “but” in verse 7 suggests a transition. How does this paragraph contrast with the previous paragraph?

15.  A digression—It is difficult to decide if verse 8 is a quotation from the Old Testament because no passage seems to fit exactly. Two possibilities exist. First, that the verse, either here or in the Old Testament, has been slightly mistranslated and thus the closest match will be Psalm 68:18. The other is that the quotation is from some other non-Old Testament writing (see Jude 14,15 which is a quotation from a non-Old testament writing, Assumption of Moses). The explanation in parenthesis of verses 9 and 10 can be compared with Jn 3:13.

16.  Grace and gifts are apportioned according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Name the gifts as recorded in verse 11 and discuss these offices in relation to the work of the church.

C.     4:12-16

17.  What is the purpose of the diverse gifts?

18.  What does the word “ministry” mean (12)? What does this tell us about our attitude in using our spiritual gifts?

19.  What are the two primary goals of church growth, according to 13-16?

20.  According to verse 16, every part of the body needs to join with other parts while doing its share. How does this analogy apply to our service in the church?

D.     4:17-32

21.  It has often been emphasized that Jesus kept company with sinners (see Mt 9:10,11; 11:19). Thus sinners should be welcome in church. However, some have gone so far as to say that the church should not preach about sin and about what is wrong and instead use ‘positive’ teaching to guide the members. Reading Eph 4:17-32 will help us understand what God really wants in His church. To begin, describe the old nature i.e. the nature of a Gentile (non-believer).

22.  What is required of a believer?

23.  Contrast the mind of an unbeliever (17-18) with the mind of a believer (23). Account for the difference. 

24.  List some of the features of the new nature. Discuss where each of us are with regards to attaining these virtues. Encourage one another.


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