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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 41 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 10: The Christian Walk *
Introduction: Comparing our growth as Christians to a walk is a
wonderful way to help us understand what God desires of us. Maturing
in the Christian life is not a single act, a single sin, a single
good deed. It is the pattern and practice of our life. Let's dive
into our lesson and learn what kind of patterns and practices God
desires of us!
- Imitating God's Attitude of Love
- Read Ephesians 5:1-2. Have you seen children who walked
like their father? Have you seen daughters who talked or
dressed like their mother?
- Why do children imitate their parents?
- Why does God expect us to imitate Him? (He loves us
dearly. Children are drawn to loving parents.)
- What kind of love does God expect of us? (The self-sacrificing love - the kind that Jesus showed to us.)
- How much does God love us? As much as He loves
Jesus? (Read John 17:23. What great love God has for
- Last week we studied Ephesians 4:31-32. Review those
verses. How does Ephesians 5:1-2 follow up on that? (God
is telling us that the attitude of the world is
bitterness, rage, anger and brawling. But the attitude of
the Christian is love and self-sacrifice. That is the
attitude of our Father in Heaven and that should be our
attitude because He showed the ultimate love to us.)
- Love and Greed
- Read Ephesians 5:3. What would be a "hint" of sexual
- Consider your reputation. Are you someone who people
would believe could be (or is) immoral? (Many years
ago there was a rumor in my office that one of the
married lawyers was having an affair with a
paralegal. Someone told me that people thought I was
that lawyer. That was one of the "clarifying" moments
in my life. I was not having an affair with a
paralegal or anyone else, but I realized that I had
been far too careless in my talk and actions. Instead
of building up the Kingdom of God, my influence was
helping Satan. From that day on I determined to
change my influence.)
- Why are sexual impurity and greed listed together in
Ephesians 5:3? Are they similar in some way? (These sins
have the same root - self centeredness. You want more
money and more things because you have an unsatisfied
appetite. You want to have sex with more people for the
same reason. It makes you seem more important to have
"stuff" and to have others find you sexually desirable.)
- Have you noticed this common pattern: a man becomes
successful. He then acquires new cars, a new home and
ultimately a new wife? (The sin of never being
satisfied can touch all parts of our life.)
- How does Ephesians 5:3 relate to Ephesians 5:1-2?
(They describe completely opposite behavior. The love
of God makes us unselfish. This is completely
inconsistent with greed for money, stuff or sexual
- Love and Talk
- Read Ephesians 5:4. What caught my eye here was the phrase
"foolish talk." Other translations either translate the
Greek the same way or translate it "silly talk." What is
foolish or silly talk? (Looking at the Greek, the phrase
is roughly a combination of two words: moron + talk.)
- Can you think of some television programs that would
fit the description "moron talk?"
- What is wrong with moron talk and ribaldry (coarse
joking)? (Paul tells us that these things are "out of
place." When you speak this way it makes people
think that you are not a child of God.)
- If we find that coarse joking and moron talk are a
part of our normal pattern of talking, what kind of
talk should be substituted? (Thanksgiving.)
- Imagine the impact on your mental health.
Instead of talking dirty, try to look for things
for which you can be thankful. My bet is that
your mental health, your sense of well-being,
will dramatically improve!
- Read Ephesians 5:5-7. How important is greed, immorality
and our language? (Paul says that it is "outcome
determinative." Grace means something in our lives. Paul,
the man who hammers the point of righteousness by faith
more than any other Bible writer, tells us that if we
continue in our old lifestyle we are lost.)
- Did you notice that Paul calls those who follow this
life-style "idolaters?" Why is that term appropriate?
(I do not know a single person who has an idol in
their house or back yard and who bows down and
worships that idol. One the surface, this is an
"extinct sin" in modern culture. The essence of
idolatry was to worship something made with your own
hands. Selfishness, whether money or sex, is the same
thing. Your highest desire is for what you have made.
It is a worship of your power.)
- Will some spiritual leaders disagree? Will some
encourage selfishness? (Paul tells us that spiritual
teachers with "empty words" will disagree and attempt
to lead us astray.)
- Love and Light
- Read Ephesians 5:8-12. What is the antidote for sin?
(Light. Shine the light on sin.)
- If you have a question about sin in your life, ask
yourself if you are willing to shine the light on
your actions. If not, does that say something about
actions? (Yes. If you are not willing to share your
actions with other Christians, you have a problem.)
- Does this mean that we should tell every church
member all of our views and our actions? (A review of
Romans 14:13-22 is an important part of this
discussion. Not all believers will have the same view
of "debatable" issues. When you are dealing with
these issues, it is best not to be completely
transparent with everyone. But, if your "issue" is
something that you cannot be open about with at least
some other sincere believers, then you need to repent
and give it up.)
- Read Ephesians 5:13-14. Imagine that verse 14 refers to
baptism. What does it suggest that Jesus will do for us
after we are baptized? (That Jesus will help us to better
understand His will for our life.)
- Love and Life
- Read Ephesians 5:15-17. Have you ever heard someone say,
"What is wrong with doing it?" Have you ever said that?
When we consider how we should live, is it only a question
of what is sin and what is not? (Paul instructs us to
strive to be wise and to take advantage of our
opportunities because of the evil waiting to do us harm.)
- Read Ephesians 5:18. Why is being filled with the Holy
Spirit better than being filled with wine?
- Read Ephesians 5:19-20. What part should music play in our
- Recall that we learned earlier that coarse talk
should be replaced with thanksgiving? What role does
music play in thanksgiving?
- Friend, what is the pattern of your life? Are you on the
- Next week: Christian Relationships.
* 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.