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Sabbath School Lessons on Ephesians
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 38 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 3: What God Has Done *
Introduction: When I was growing up, it was very important to be
chosen when they picked sports teams. You never wanted to be among
the last two boys who were just "distributed," as opposed to being
wanted on the team. Our lesson this week is about God choosing us to
be on His team. Let's dive into our lesson and learn more!
- God Chose You
- Read Ephesians 1:3-4. Last week we studied verse 3. Verse
3 tells us that God the Father has given us every
spiritual blessing in Jesus. Who is the "He" in verse 4:
"For He chose us?" (I think it is still talking about God
- The verse goes on to say that He "chose us in Him."
Who is the "Him? (Jesus. The result is that "He (God
the Father) chose us in Him (Jesus)....)
- How early were we chosen? Were we the "last two"
that just got "distributed?" (The text tells us that
we were chosen "before the creation of the world.")
- When I was chosen to be on a team when I was a
kid, it was because of my merit in that sport or
my popularity with the person choosing. What was
the criteria for God the Father choosing us? (We
were chosen because we were "in Him"(Jesus).
This suggests no merit on our part.)
- Imagine being chosen to play on a team
when you had never played before, indeed,
you were not yet born. How could you be
chosen based on your merit in that case?
(That is our situation here. We were
chosen by God before we were born, before
the world was even created.)
- How does this make any sense? Why
would God chose us in Jesus before
the Creation? Why would God the
Father even need to do this before
sin entered the world? (Here is a
real mystery. There are only two
logical conclusions. Either God knew
we would sin, or He and Jesus agreed
that if we sinned Jesus would rescue
- Ephesians 1:4 continues that we were chosen to be "holy
and blameless in His sight." Are you holy and blameless?
If not, how do you get that way? (The same way we were
chosen: in Jesus.)
- Does verse 4 actually say that we are "holy and
blameless?" (This is a very subtle and interesting
point. It does not say that we are actually holy and
blameless. Rather, it refers to some future time
("to be")and it says that we appear that way("in His
sight") to God the Father.)
- Read Ephesians 1:5, but keep your focus on Ephesians 1:4-5. What kind of attitude does God the Father have towards
us? (There are a number of great words used here: "love,"
"pleasure and will," "sons.")
- What does this suggest was God the Father's view when
He and Jesus were discussing what to do with humans
before Jesus created them? (God the Father has the
same attitude as Jesus. He loves us. It is His
pleasure and it is His will that we are not only
rescued, but that we are adopted as His children.)
- Is being adopted here better or worse than being
a natural child? (The positive sense I get here
is that God chose us.)
- Since Ephesians 1:5 speaks of us being "predestined,"
let's jump down a few verses to look at a similar
reference. Read Ephesians 1:11. What destination does God
have in mind for us? How do we get to that destination?
( Ephesians 1:5 tells our "destination" is adoption by God.
Jesus clearly is the "fixer" here. He is the One who works
out God's will for us.)
- "Predestination" is the theory that we have no choice
in salvation. Some are chosen and some are not. When
Paul writes that we have been "predestined according
to the plan of [Jesus,]" what does this tell us about
our choice in the matter?
- Compare John 15:16 with Romans 3:10-11. Who is
the moving party in our salvation? (God wants us
to be saved. He has chosen us as children. We
did not choose Him. God chose us to have
salvation and eternal life as our destination.)
- Do we have a choice in the matter? Can we reject
God's destination for our life?(Let's read two texts
that bear on this. Read Romans 8:28-30 and Hebrews
10:28-31. Romans tells us those God knew in advance
are destined for salvation. I imagine God knows
everyone. The text in Hebrews is very important. God
says that if we spurn His offer of salvation, we will
face a terrible judgment. This logically means two
things: a) That we can reject His offer (thus we have
a choice); and, b) We are all given the offer. (Or at
least only those who reject the offer face judgment.)
These two texts read together teach us that God wants
everyone to be saved. He made provision for this
through His Son, Jesus. At the same time, we can
reject this offer. If we do, if we insult God by
spurning His generosity, then a terrible judgment
- Read Ephesians 1:6. What does this suggest about the idea
that only some are "predestined" to be chosen by God to be
saved? (Paul tells us that "glorious grace" is "freely
given" to us through Jesus. If this were some sort of
limited offer to certain people, then Paul could hardly
describe it as "freely given.")
- Time to Fulfill the Mystery
- Read Ephesians 1:7-10. Paul writes about "the mystery" of
"God's grace" being "lavished" on us. What picture of God
do we see here, a generous God or a stingy God? (This is
another reason to believe all are chosen by God to be
invited for salvation. The terms used seem generous,
rather than limited.)
- What is the time when Jesus puts heaven and earth
together? (It could be at the cross - when Jesus defeated
sin. It could be when Jesus fulfills the symbolism in
Hebrews of entering the Most Holy place of the sanctuary
in heaven. It could be the Second Coming of Jesus. I tend
to think it was at the cross, but as we will look at next,
God appears to be progressively putting His program into
place on earth.)
- The Deposit
- Read Ephesians 1:13-14. How did these Christians become
part of the special group which are saved? (They heard the
gospel and believed.)
- What is the proof that they believed and have been
saved? (They were marked with the seal of the Holy
- What is the mark of the Holy Spirit?
- If the Holy Spirit is not evident in your life,
does that mean you are not saved? (Yes. If you
do not have the seal, then there is no reason to
believe you are saved.)
- Ephesians 1:14 tells us that the Holy Spirit is a
"deposit." A deposit guaranteeing what? (Guaranteeing
"our inheritance." We have been adopted ( Ephesians 1:5)as
the children of God. Our inheritance is the Second Coming
of Jesus, heaven, the earth made new and eternal life!)
- Earlier we discussed the time when everything in heaven
and earth will be put together under Jesus. If we have a
deposit now, does that mean that part of heaven and earth
have come together now?
- Given that the Holy Spirit is both the "seal" of our
salvation and the "deposit" of eternal life, how
important is the presence of the Holy Spirit in your
- Do you see the result of the Spirit's presence
in your life?
- If the Holy Spirit is a deposit that began at
Pentecost, then what level of the Spirit would you
- There is this theory that the Holy Spirit is not
currently available to do the great things done
during Apostolic times. Does that make any
sense to you if the Holy Spirit is a deposit
first made hundreds of years ago?
- Friend, God chose you for salvation! Have you accepted His
offer? Is there any proof in your life of that fact?
- Next week: Praise and Prayer.
* Copr. 2005, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.