Catch up on how things have been since the last time your Impact Group met. Allow anyone new to introduce themselves. Then ask group members to:
Ask for a volunteer to read Ephesians 1:3-14 to the group, praying a short prayer that – however much they’ve come to know Jesus, they’d know him better as a result of your time together.
If you’re not gathered in person, the leader should project the video for the group through sharing their screen. If you’re using Zoom, make sure you have optimized your screen share for video.
Suggested questions to help your discussion.
Paul says throughout this section that Christians are chosen (verses 4 and 11) and predestined (verse 5 and 11). What does he mean by this?
Firstly, Paul is reminding the Ephesians that – whatever their background – each of them is now part of God’s ‘chosen people’. This had been a title for the nation of Israel – but, whether they are Jew or Gentile, the ancient story of the Old Testament is now the Ephesians’ story. The promises of holiness and life that God offered his ‘chosen people’ are now theirs too. They have been brought by Jesus into a body of eternal significance, with an eternal future.
Secondly, Paul is emphasising that God doesn’t appoint people on the basis of their goodness, social status or nationality. None of the Ephesians chose God; he chose them! The Father’s choice in Christ was made before the world began – before any of them (or us) had done anything at all. We have no grounds to boast before God or each other.
Thirdly, in verses 11-12, Paul uses the strongest possible language to emphasise that all those who respond to the gospel of Christ (verse 13) receive the blessings of being God’s ‘chosen’. God has predetermined, for example, that all those who place faith in Jesus become ‘holy and blameless’ (verse 4) and his adopted children (verse 5) – two of the benefits of being his chosen people. God invites everyone to place faith in Christ – then declares that all who do so will be welcomed as his chosen people forever. He has determined it so.
Sometimes Christians tie themselves in knots around these verses. Some wrongly conclude they are pawns being guided by an impersonal, deterministic force. Others worry about ‘unchosen’ friends or family. Paul’s intention is not to worry us, but to give us a solid basis for our confidence. If our welcome into God’s chosen people rests on the work of Jesus, and the purposes God determined before the creation of the world, we really do have a firm foundation for our confidence.
We all tend to put our own plans and relationships ahead of welcoming strangers.
Now would be a good time to share any requests for personal prayer. Ask for volunteers to lead the group in prayer, praising God as the one who welcomed us at such cost.
Watch this video telling how CUs have welcomed students in the past:
Start getting in the mindset to welcome new students through discussing these questions.
Here are some ideas to start thinking about now!
UCCF is running a series of webinars for those involved in planning a CU’s welcome season. If you’re part of the team, sign up here to be alerted to these webinars.
You may have people in your Impact Group who are new to reading the Bible.
Confirm the time that you’ll meet next week, and ask someone to close your time together in prayer.
Taking it further – links you might like to share with your Impact Group
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