For Ministry Resources Youth Series : Ephesians

Lesson 03: Ephesians 03/03: Jesus Transforms Us

Lesson 03

The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to his Christian family in a Greco-Roman city that loved the arts, theater, and the power of the mind. Ephesian citizens who followed famous Greek teachers saw their imagination as something to be celebrated, but Paul wanted them to know that God had something even better in store. Our God both exalts imagination and wants to expand it.



Large Group

Large Group Instructions

PREPARATION
Materials:
Leader
Note:

Download the attached script to bring with you to the podium.

  • Play: Ephesians Countdown - Countdown
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Leader

Imagination Illustrations Examples:

Imagination is a powerful thing. Harnessing the power of pretend, children create fake friends, business leaders revolutionize their industries, and comic books come to life on a big screen.

It breaks my heart, but people tend to lose touch with their imagination as they grow up.

They think of daydreaming and playing pretend as childish hobbies.

That's not true.

Imagination is at the center of success.

When you look at some of the fastest-growing companies in the world today, imagination drives them.

Apple reimagined phones and now everyone has a touchscreen device.

Disney created new worlds out of thin air and now they're one of the most profitable businesses on earth.

Netflix reimagined how we consume media and now streaming is more popular than satellite.

Harnessing our imagination, we can access new possibilities, enrich the world, dream about our futures, walk into new experiences, and tell stories that shape people's lives.

Imagination invites us to see the world with childlike wonder — believing the best in people, letting curiosity lead the way, and taking the sting out of failure.

Materials:
Leader

If you want to succeed, you need to dream.

That's why I love the passage in the middle of Ephesians.

The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to his Christian family in a Greco-Roman city that loved the arts, theater, and the power of the mind.

Ephesian citizens who followed famous Greek teachers saw their imagination as something to be celebrated, but Paul wanted them to know that God had something even better in store. Our God both exalts imagination and wants to expand it.

When Jesus comes into our lives, he transforms us.

He doesn’t just change our eternal address either.

It’s so much bigger than that.

God changes your heart, your mind, and your imagination.

After meeting Jesus, your dreams become more vivid and your goals become more audacious. Why?

Because walking with God allows us to take our imagination to the next level.

Materials:
Leader

Contextualizing This Passage

This section of scripture records one of Paul's most famous prayers.

Unlike most of his letters, this prayer takes place right in the middle of the book.

Paul interrupts his teaching to worship God and dream about all God wants to do in the lives of His people.

According to these verses, God doesn't just want us to have a good life.

He wants us to experience a great life full of wonder and adventure.

While studying this letter to ancient Greeks, Paul gives us two truths that transform our thinking.

When you begin to grasp all God wants for you, everything changes.

Materials:
Leader

Paul makes the purpose of his prayer pretty clear. He wants them to, "grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ."

Why? Because "to know this love that surpasses knowledge" (3:17). You read that right. Knowledge of God's love is better than all the knowledge in existence.

Have you ever heard of the Library of Congress? It’s the biggest library in the world. Think of it like a real-life Wikipedia.

The Library of Congress boasts over 175 million items in its colossal collection.

They’ve collected children’s books, history books, zoological journals, and even Thomas Jefferson’s recipe for vanilla ice cream.

If you were to look at every single thought in every single volume, none of them would come close to what Paul just said.

Compared to all the truth in the world, God’s love for you is the most important.

Why? Because God's love changes lives.

Once you understand that God loves you and wants the best for you, everything changes.

Just try to wrap your head around it.

There is a God who supports you, adores you, protects you, and defends you.

Shouldn't that change how you live?

You can take bigger faith leaps because you know God will catch you.

You can dream bigger dreams because you know the Spirit will empower you.

You can go farther because God is leading you.

When you grasp God’s love, your entire worldview changes.

When you know how much God adores you, your goals begin to shift into God-sized goals.

I don't know about you, but I spend a lot of time dreaming.

I consistently daydream about new projects, new experiences, new places, and new opportunities.

It's a pretty big part of my day.

While I used to be embarrassed by this, I have discovered that it's perfectly normal to play pretend throughout the day.

As a matter of fact, it's how God wired me. It's how He wired you too.

Here is the mind-blowing truth behind this passage.

Our dreams are dwarfed by God's dreams for us. According to Paul, God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (3:20).

How astounding is that? Your dreams are small compared to God's plans for you.

Think of your biggest dream for your life.

Now multiply it by a thousand because God wants to do immeasurably more.

God wants to bring transformation to your imagination. What do you want to see in your life?

Do you have a dream? Dream with God.

Do you have a passion? Let God's love energize it.

Do you have a big goal? Ask God to empower you.

God doesn't want you to live an average life. Quite the opposite, He wants you to live life to the fullest.

A full life unfolds when we grasp His love and let God stretch our imagination.

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Leader

Let God bring transformation to your imagination.

The message Paul delivered to the ancient city of Ephesus remains just as powerful today.

Let that message change you too. Jesus blesses you, saves you, and wants to transform you.



Small Group

Small Group Instructions

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION
Materials:
Leader
  • TALK IT OUT Go through these questions with your circle. Be honest. Be open. Talk through the tough stuff.

Ice Breaker: Go around your circle and share this week’s highs and lows. What was the best part of your week and what was the lowest part of your week?

Q1: Why do you think it was so important to Paul that people understand how much God loves them?

Q2: How can grasping God’s love transform the way Christians act and think?

Q3: What are “God-sized” dreams?

Q4: How does God empower us to do more than we are capable of accomplishing on our own?

Application: What’s one dream that you think God has placed in your heart? How can you lean into God’s love and glorify Him as you pursue that dream?

Materials:
Student
  • This reading plan includes:

    1 Thessalonians 5:18 Matthew 28:18-20 1 Timothy 2:1-6 Philippians 3:4-17 John 9:13-34 1 John 5:1-12
 1 John 5: 12-21

    Do the following with each passage:

    ASK– God to connect with you here. In prayer, start by slowing down and inviting God to be present. Begin with focus and openness to see what God has for you today.

    READ– the selected section of Scripture slowly. Take note of the words and phrases that intrigue you, reading them a second time if necessary.

    REFLECT– on what grabs you. How does this passage personally relate to your own life and experiences?

    RESPOND– to the Scripture. Speak directly to God about what’s on your mind and heart. Look for ways to live out what you’ve uncovered.

About For Ministry Resources Youth Series

FMR develops a monthly youth ministry curriculum that is free to all local churches. Each monthly release includes a sermon series, small group series, Bible devotional, and supporting graphics packs that are original, practical, and ready to use.