Note to the Teacher
We are following the Ephesians passages in the lectionary. You can do this series in the month of August, as originally planned, or you can place this anywhere in the year that you may need a four-week worship series.
Paul’s writing asserts that Christians are created to live in community with one another, and that can only happen when we do so in Christian love. Hence the name for our series: ...in Love. This week we are beginning to think about what it means to build people up in love. The first three chapters have focused on more theological things like the mystery of God’s grace that has been revealed. This passage begins with a big, fat “therefore” (unless you’re reading in the NIV, then you get an oddly placed “then” in the first sentence.) That transitional word marks a turn to the practical side of things, which will occupy the last three chapters that we are exploring over these next several weeks.
The goal of building up is to allow the body of Christ to become unified through the power of God’s leadership. This does not mean that they become uniform identical; rather, they each lend their own uniqueness to the task at hand, and are united through God into the body of Christ. This chapter contrasts a singular mature person (vv.12–13) with plural children (v. 14): individualism is a sign of childishness; unity is a sign of maturity. Therefore, we are to build each other up in ways that unite us in the call to Christ.
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1. Building up unity over uniformity
Take a moment as a group to go around letting each person share their name and something that makes them unique. Before you start, tell the students that as they listen, you want them to think of how the person might use the uniqueness they share to serve God.
After each person shares, have students offer how that person can use their unique gifts as part of the Body of Christ.
2. Read Scripture
This scripture passage is a little long. To help students stay engaged, consider having several students read 2-3 verses each.
Read: Ephesians 4:1-16.
Pair up and give each pair one or two of the qualities in vv2-3 (humility, gentleness, patience, bearing one another in love, maintaining unity, peace). Ask them to answer the following questions and report back to the group:
Look together at verses 14-15.
The passage talks about each of us doing our part to build one another up in love. How can you do that this next week?
Take this lesson to the next level by getting student’s hands and imaginations involved using the activity Make a Robotic Hand to Help you Understand Ephesians from the Youth Worker Collective available at https://youthworkercollective.com/make-a-robotic-hand-to-help-you-understand-ephesians-4/
Close in prayer spending specific time asking God to help you build each other up.