Welcome back to our Hope is Here Bible study. This study of Ephesians was originally developed for my church, The Father’s House, as a compliment to the Hope is Here message series this August. Check out http://www.tfhny.org for message videos and more information.
Day 13 – Loving Like Jesus
One of the most popular verses in the entire Bible is 1 John 4:8, “God is love.” This resonates with us because we all like to experience being loved. The word love in this verse is the greek word “agape,” which refers to a love without conditions. It was this very love that drove God to send His own son Jesus to die for our sins. It was this very love that compelled Jesus to submit Himself to the plan God the Father had designed to reconcile us to Himself through the death of Jesus on the cross. Think about that. Jesus, the son of God, chose to submit Himself for our sake. That is truly amazing.
Our next section of Ephesians has us exploring what it means to truly “imitate God,” as we learned a couple days ago, when it comes to our relationships with one another. If we are to operate in our relationships with family, friends, and neighbors in the manner in which Christ acted, then our lives must be characterized by “agape” love, submission, and mutual respect for one another. Living like this is not easy. People can rub us the wrong way, treat us poorly, and at many times, not deserve our love, submission, and respect. But that is the point, isn’t it? Jesus showed us this kind of love, in spite the fact that we didn’t deserve it. He chose to submit His will so that we could be saved.
As you read this passage and explore what Paul is teaching about how we should interact with one another, look at each verse through the lens of choosing to imitate Jesus in our interactions with one another.
READ – Ephesians 5:21-6:4 (ESV)
21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
1. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
REFLECT – Take a moment to answer the following questions in a journal or the notes app on your phone:
- Question 1: What does it mean to be “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ?” (see verse 5:21)
- Question 2: What would our relationships look like if we chose to love one another “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her?” (see verse 5:25)
- Questions 3: What can we learn about how we interact with those in our family? (see verses 6:1-4)
RESPOND – Take some time to pray about your relationships with each member of your family. Ask God if there is anything you need to change in your interactions with specific family members. If you identify changes that need to happen, ask God to give you strength and wisdom to live and love like Jesus.
Share your thoughts in the space below.