Q & A: State of the Church – Ephesians 3:8-16

This message was presented on December 29 as the first of two messages on the State of the Church. The answers to the Message Based Discussion Questions below are designed to stimulate discussion, not replace thinking. The message outline is provided first.

 Why did God establish authority?

1)    God established authority in the Godhead Eph. 3:8-16

a)    Gal. 3:20 God is one

b)    Eph. 3:8-16 God is three

c)    The Son and Spirit submit to the Father’s authority.

i)      The Son submits to the Father John 5:19, 26-30 [Deut. 4:39]

ii)     The Spirit submits to the Father  and Son John 16:13-14

d)    Authority is often abused and a difficult word

e)    Was the Father’s authority good? Heb. 5:6-10

2)    God established authority with man Gen. 2:15-17

What is the issue in life?

3)    God established authority in the church 1 Pet. 5:1-5

a)    Who or what is the authority at Grace?

b)    What happens when order is lacking? 1 Tim. 1:18-20

c)    There is maximum freedom and the presence of His joy Heb. 13:17

God’s authority gives you maximum freedom from disaster!

(Man submits to authorities to mirror submission to God.)

  • Understand what the Lord Jesus has revealed for you.
  • Humbly pursue what He has revealed to avoid any disaster from sin. Remember sin is lack of dependence on God. Sin is acting independent, passive indifference, and active rebellion.
  • Rejoice in His sovereign authority

Message Based Discussion Questions

1)    What did you learn about authority growing up?

  • I learned to obey dad and mom. Dad was good, but if I was rebellious, I felt it.
  • “Respect your elders.”
  • Respect and obey the police officer.
  • Respect your teachers.
  • I didn’t really think much about whether the authority was good or not, because for most examples, authority was good and I needed it!

Digging Deeper:

2)    If God has perfect authority, was His authority questioned in the Garden of Eden (cf. Gen. 3:1-6)? _yes__ Who questioned it and how was it questioned? What made them question God’s authority?

  • Satan questioned it, “Did God really say….?” Satan was rebellious and revealed his rebelliousness (Is. 14:12-14; Ezek 28:12-15)
  • Adam questioned it, when he ate of the fruit. He was independent of God in his thinking and put his eyes on the woman and just went along with what she did.
  • The woman questioned it, when she was deceived and ate of the fruit. She thought what the devil said made sense to her human mind.

3)    How long has authority been questioned in society? _since Adam and Eve_ What are examples in Genesis where you see authority questioned?

  • Cain questioned God (Gen. 4:7-8)
  • Lamech questioned God (Gen. 4:23-24)
  • The world questioned God choosing for wickedness (Gen. 6:5)
  • The world questioned God building the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11)
  • Abraham questioned God by moving down to Egypt (Gen. 12: 14)
  • Abraham questioned God by lying about Sarai (Gen. 12:13)
  • Abraham questioned God by heeding the voice of Sarai and going into Hagar (Gen. 16:1-2)
  • Abraham questioned God when he laughed about having a son by Sarah (Gen. 17:17)
  • Lot’s wife questioned God when she turned back (Gen. 19:26)
  • Joseph’s brothers questioned God by lying about Jacob did not say (Gen. 50:17)

4)    Are there any perfect churches (cf. 1 Pet. 5:1-7)? _no_ What are five things leadership must do and what are five things the people must do in order for the church to reflect godly authority?

  • Shepherds:
    • Prove themselves as having the character of spiritual leadership (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Tit. 1:5-9)
    • Shepherd as overseers for all the sheep
    • Shepherd the flock willingly
    • Shepherd the flock without dishonesty, but eagerly
    • Shepherd as examples, not lording over
  • Church must:
    • Submit to the leadership
    • Humble themselves under God’s mighty hand and receive God’s grace
    • Live as God is sovereignly in control of the church
    • Work within the system to hold leadership accountable
    • Seek spiritual growth, so leaders will rise up for fresh leadership

Making Application from the Message:

5)    What kind of baggage do people carry with them regarding authority that prevents them from maximum freedom?

  • Previous verbal, mental or physical abuse that is often projected onto other leadership.
  • Specific words or actions that are “forgiven” in word, but not in deed.
  • Failing to work on redeveloping trust.
  • Because some leadership acted a certain way, all leadership is that way.
  • Because of previous abuse, people seek isolation and independence from authority and people.

6)    How can you live out what Jesus said (cf. John 5:19-26-30)?

  • Know His Word (John 17:17)
  • Examine self for sin (1 Cor. 11:28; 2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Cor. 11:31; Gal. 6:4; Heb. 4:1; 12:15; 1 John 3:20-21; Rev. 2:5)
  • Confess sins (1 John 1:9) and repent (2 Cor. 7:9-11)
  • Die to self (Luke 9:23-24)
  • Remove personal agendas and desires (Gal. 2:20; Phil. 3:9-11)
  • Be focused on Jesus (Heb. 12:2)
  • Be dependent upon the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18)

7)    What kinds of things can your group discuss to create a more godly authority environment?

  • Be clothed with humility (1 Pet. 5:5-6)
  • Be committed to Jesus, to His change and to making disciple-makers (Matt. 4:19)
  • Pursue growth (John 17:17)
  • Disciple others to become spiritual parents (2 Tim. 2:2)
  • Make disciples of the world (Matt. 28:19-20)

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