Before the Session
Facilitator: In advance of the session
- Review today’s scripture text and the session activities to help better facilitate the discussion.
- Have the Bible Background Video ready to view.
- Encourage your group to listen to the Faithelement podcast ahead of the next session (Share the link via email or social media)
Introduce Introduce today’s session:
- Opening Discussion: Has your family or someone close to you experienced adoption?
Why is choosing (both being the chooser and the chosen) such a special – and challenging – part of that experience?
Read aloud today’s focal passage, Ephesians 1:1-14, and watch the Bible Background Video.
Chosen by God
Use the following questions to guide discussion.
- In the video, Nikki mentions that scholars aren’t sure if Paul wrote this letter. Did you already know this? If not, were you surprised? Does it make you view the letter in a different way?
How does Paul introduce himself at the beginning of the letter (vv.1-2), and what does this introduction say about the way he wants this letter to be read?
Discuss the meaning and significance of Paul saying that we’ve already received “every spiritual blessing” (v.3).
What does it mean that God “chose” us (v.4)
– didn’t we choose God? How does the image of adoption relate to this choosing?
- What is God’s ultimate goal for “all things in heaven and on earth” according to Paul (v.10), and how has Jesus made that possible?
Let’s look back through the passage for some larger themes:
- What role does Jesus play in this process? As the First Son, how has Jesus allowed other children to come into the family?
What role does the Holy Spirit play?
How is our redemption a part of God’s plan for all creation, and how are we also agents of that plan?
What reasons did God have for doing these wonderful things, according to Paul?
Say: This process of our salvation, as Paul lays it out, is contrary to human “wisdom” in many ways – some of us wouldn’t typically give someone what they don’t deserve. Some of us wouldn’t normally let go of things others have done to hurt us. Some of us would be afraid to let more sons and daughters in the family, because there might not be enough love or resources to go around. A human being who acted in these ways might be seen as weak, but Paul says that this pleases God and brings God glory.
- Discuss this difference in God’s ways and our ways.
Choosing and Being Chosen
Say: Paul uses the word “predestined” twice in this passage (vv.5, 11). For some people this word has theological significance – including the idea that God has chosen certain people to be saved, and nothing we can do will change that.
- How is this concept comforting in a way? How is it frightening?
Is it possible to be chosen, AND to choose? Can we choose to be chosen?
Putting it Together
- Regardless of one’s theological stance, what is Paul saying about God’s plan — was Jesus simply “Plan B” after creation fell apart? Why is our salvation even more amazing considering it was part of God’s plan from the beginning?
Return the discussion to the theme of adoption – how can we share God’s story with others using this powerful image of being personally chosen by God?
Close with prayer.
Writer: Jon Parks