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Psalm 17:1-7 1
1 Hear, O LORD, my righteous plea; listen to my cry. Give ear to my prayer—it does not rise from deceitful lips. 2 May my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right. 3 Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin. 4 As for the deeds of men—by the word of your lips I have kept myself from the ways of the violent. 5 My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped. 6 I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer. 7 Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes.

clip_image10Background 2

Somebody wanted to kill David. It was probably King Saul. He was like a hungry lion. (verse 2) Here are some words from 1 Samuel 23:25-26. ‘Saul chased David in the wild country near Maon. David ran away. David was afraid of Saul. Saul and his soldiers were all round David. They were ready to kill him’. What happened next? A message came to Saul. It said, ‘We need you to fight the Philistines. Come and give us help’. So Saul left David and went away. God answered the words that David prayed. They are probably in Psalm 17.

Biblical Truths

Verses 1 – 5: David asks God to look at the secrets of his heart. These are things that people cannot see. Only God can see them. David says, “test me” at night.

Verses 6 – 8: Here are some wonderful Bible words. “Great love” is “chesed” in Hebrew. It means that God loves us and is kind to us. We are the “apple of God’s eye”. This means that people that hurt us also hurt God. We are special to God. Also, as a bird hides baby birds under its wing, so God hides us! We hide under his wings, like baby birds. The right hand of God here means what God does on earth.

Items for Discussion

  • What is different about a prayer at night?
  • When you are the most fearful, what is different about your prayers?
  • Since God knows even the moaning of our hearts, why is it important that we still pray?
  • What does walking with God mean to you?

 

Ephesians 4:1-16
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” 9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Background

The Book of Ephesians is in the Bible’s New Testament. Paul wrote this letter to the church at Ephesus, which he had led for over two years (Acts 19:10).

When Paul wrote the Book of Ephesians, Paul was in prison. But the letter is not a sad letter. Paul was excited about God’s good gifts (Ephesians 1:3). Paul was pleased that the Christians in Ephesus continued to serve God. Paul wanted to encourage them. And he told them about his prayers for them (Ephesians 1:15-22, Ephesians 3:14-21).

Paul reminded the Christians in Ephesus that previously they were enemies of God. But God sent Jesus to die for them. Because of Jesus’ death, they became friends of God (Ephesians 2:11-22). So, they should live lives that please God (Ephesians 4:17-32, Ephesians 5). And, they should trust God more. God had appointed teachers to help the Christians. And the Christians would learn to be more like Jesus. Troubles would come, so they needed God’s protection (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Biblical Truths

Verse 4:1 – I am in prison because I belong to the Lord. And God chose you to be his people. I tell you now to live the way God’s people should live.

Verse 4:2 – Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love.

Verse 4:3 – You are joined together with peace through the Spirit. F28 Do all you can to continue together in this way. Let peace hold you together.

Verse 4:4 – There is one body and one Spirit. And God called you to have one hope.

Verse 4:5 – There is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. F29

Verse 4:6 – There is one God and Father of everything. He rules everything. He is everywhere and in everything.

Verse 4:7 – Christ gave each one of us a special gift. Each person received what Christ wanted to give that person.

Verse 4:8 – That is why it says {in the Scriptures F30 }, “He went up high into the sky; he took prisoners with him, and he gave gifts to people.” R1

Verse 4:9 – When it says, “He went up,” what does it mean? It means that he first came down low to earth.

Verse 4:10 – So Jesus came down, and he is the same One who went up. He went up above all the sky. Christ did that to fill everything with himself.

Verse 4:11 – And that same Christ gave gifts to people–he made some people to be apostles, F31 some people to be prophets, F32 some people to go and tell the Good News, F33 and some people to have the work of caring for and teaching God’s people.

Verse 4:12 – Christ gave those gifts to prepare God’s holy people F34 for the work of serving. He gave those gifts to make the body of Christ stronger.

Verse 4:13 – {This work must continue} until we are all joined together in the same faith and in the same knowledge about the Son of God. We must become like a mature (perfect) person–we must grow until we become like Christ and have all his perfection.

Verse 4:14 – Then we will not still be babies. We will not be people who change like a ship that the waves carry one way and then another. We will not be influenced (changed) by every new teaching we hear from people who try to fool us. Those people make plans and try any kind of trick to fool people into following the wrong way.

Verse 4:15 – No! We will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. Christ is the head {and we are the body}.

Verse 4:16 – The whole body depends on Christ. And all the parts of the body are joined and held together. Each part of the body does its own work. And this makes the whole body grow and be strong with love.

Items for Discussion

  • Upon what basis should Christians be united?
  • Or in what things should Christians have unity?
  • Are there legitimate basis for not being united with other Christians?
  • In what things should Christians have diversity?
  • Does every Christian have a purpose in the body of Christ?
  • Considering the roles of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, how does the church benefit from each of these and how would it be detrimental if any of these were lacking?
  • What are signs of immaturity within the body of believers?

Discussion Challenge

  • How does the church identify each person’s Spiritual Gifts and help them maximize them?

 

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. http://www.easyenglish.info/psalms/psalm017-taw.htm
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