Intro to Ephesians – Sermon Discussion Questions

Hello, everyone! Here is a link to Sunday’s sermon and a few discussion questions. Feel free to comment below or use these for your community group discussions.

Introduction to Ephesians – Eric Simmons
View from the Top
1. In his sermon, Eric explained that Ephesians is “a view from the top to help us make sense of the journey”.
What questions do you have about life or Christianity that you think God might be able to answer through studying Ephesians? Consider writing these down.
Walking with the King
2. In his sermon, Eric said that Ephesians is about helping us “walk in the King’s gospel movement”.
a. Have you ever thought about the Christian faith as “walking” before? What about this analogy is helpful to you? Do you see any verses in the book of Ephesians that refer to walking?
b. Do you think of Jesus as King? As 21st century Americans, we don’t come into contact with kings very often. How does it strike you to read that Paul calls Jesus “Lord” and “Christ”?
The Gospel Movement
3. In the Bible, “the gospel” can be defined as (1) the message about the person and work of Jesus Christ, (2) the activity of sharing the message about Jesus Christ, and (3) the power of God unleashed in the message of Jesus Christ.
a. Which definition of “the gospel” would you say that you are most familiar with? Which would you like to learn more about?
b. If the gospel has power to move us toward God, how do we put ourselves within its current? Discuss your thoughts with a friend.
c. If the gospel has the power to expand exponentially, how do we share it liberally? Discuss your thoughts with a friend.

Sermon Discussion Questions – Daniel 3 (Realistic Faith)

On Sunday, Curt Allen discussed “realistic faith” in the context of Daniel 3, defining “realistic faith” as faith that does not name or claim anything, but asks God for everything, is grateful when it receives some things, but accepts that God may do nothing(or “nothing” from our limited, human perspective, at least).  This type of faith trusts in God’s character (I know God is good and is ordering my life for good) and not just his abilities (I know God is able to prevent X, Y, or Z).


In Daniel 3:16-18, Daniel’s companions told King Nebuchadnezzar that God can and will deliver them from the fiery furnace (a response of faith) but that “if not,” they would still be faithful to God.  This paradigm stretches many of us in two ways—on the one hand, do we have faith that God can and will answer specific prayers, including for healing, in our lives?  On the other hand, do we trust God’s character so much that even when praying bold prayers, we trust that the God-ordained outcome will be the right one?


Many of us are in seasons of worrisome waiting—will I find a godly wife/husband? Will I get pregnant? Will I find a new job?  What evidence do we have that regardless of the timing or outcome, God is lovingly ordering our lives for good? What examples from parenting remind us that, though God doesn’t always answer prayers like we’d prefer, his plan for us is perfect?


1 Thessalonians 5:18 instructs us to “give thanks in [but not necessarily for] all circumstances.”  How do we think through personal and societal tragedy in a way that accepts, but is not complacent about, the sin and evil in our fallen world?


What is your heart burdened with right now where you can call out to God, asking him with child-like faith to help you?  In what area might you lack trust in God’s character such that you should ask Him for help trusting in his goodness and love?

Sermon Discussion Questions (Deut. 17:14-20) on Heroes, Parents, and Jesus’ Victory

Hi everyone! Here is a link to this week’s sermon and below are a few sermon discussion questions. Feel free to comment below or to use in your community group discussions.




On Sunday, Chris concluded the “One God. One Word. One Promise” series with a sermon on Deuteronomy 17:14-20.  In it, he explained how the entire Old Testament points to Christ, the greater king of a greater kingdom.


Chris began by pointing out how we all gravitate towards heroes in our own world—mentors, inspiring corporate leaders, parents, 9/11 emergency responders, or, if you’re Chris, Mr. Rogers.  Our admiration of great men and women is a positive thing and points to God’s image in us, yet sometimes we place earthly heroes on a pedestal and expect them to meet a need in us only God can and should.  What types of heroes does our culture elevate most prominently?  How does this illustrate the values we’re tempted to adopt?  How can we “use” our culture’s heroes to point others to Jesus?


Chris pointed out that all Old Testament leaders were both admirable in some areas and fell short of their calling in others.  For us, our first “leaders” or heroes in life are our parents or parent figures, and they (like all humans) reflect the same dynamic—admirable in some areas yet failing in others.

  1. For those of us who had positive experiences with our parents, what about our parents reflected the heart of Jesus (whether they intended it or not)?  How is Jesus an even greater hero?
  2. For those of us who had negative or neutral experiences with our parents, what about Jesus gives us a better model of parenthood to aspire towards?  What about our parents was Christ-like, even if it those aspects were less prominent or obvious?


Chris explained that Jesus is the greater and better hero of the Bible toward which all Old Testament victories (e.g. of Joshua, Samson) and accomplishments (e.g. of David, Solomon) pointed.  Is it new to you to see the story of David and Goliath, for example, as primarily a picture of Jesus’ victory rather than primarily a message of personal empowerment?  How should Jesus’ victory, illuminated from hundreds of different angles in the Old Testament, give us comfort and joy in challenging circumstances today?

Colossians 3 – New life, new desires.

This past week as we studied Colossians 3:1-11 we learned that our union with Christ is the driving force behind our desire and resolve to fight our sin. Because Christ is our life, we now have a new identity and thus are dead to sin and alive in and through Jesus. The regeneration we’ve experienced creates in us new desires for holiness.

In my message, I quoted from A New Inner Relish by Dane Ortlund as he interacted with an essay by C.S. Lewis about our desire to obey God. In the essay, C.S. Lewis argues that instead of separating people into two classes, those who obey God and those who don’t, we should see that there are actually three options. Here is Lewis’ description.

There are three kinds of people in the world. The first class is of those who live simply for their own sake and pleasure, regarding Man and Nature as so much raw material to be cut up into whatever shape may serve them. In the second class are those who acknowledge some other claim upon them – the will of God, the categorical imperative, or the good of society – and honestly try to pursue their own interests no further than this claim will allow. They try to surrender to the higher claim as much as it demands, like men paying a tax, but hope, like other taxpayers, that what is left over will be enough for them to live on. Their life is divided, like a solder’s or a schoolboy’s life, into time ‘on parade’ and ‘off parade’, in ‘in school’ and ‘out of school’.

But the third class is of those who can say like St Paul that for them ‘to live is Christ’. These people have got rid of the tiresome business of adjusting the rival claims of Self and God by the simple expedient of rejecting the claims of Self all together. The old egoistic will has been turned round, reconditioned, and made into a new thing. The will of Christ no longer limits theirs; it is theirs. All their time, in belonging to Him, belongs also to them, for they are his.

Therefore, Ortlund concludes, “The fundamental distinction among people is not between those who obey God and those who don’t. The essential distinction is between those who want to obey and those who don’t.”

As those who have been given this new desire through our salvation, let us fight our sin this week as set our minds on things that are above!

This Sunday, we’ll study Colossians 3:12-17 and look at what we are called to put on as Christians. I encourage you to read these verses in the next few days and if you have any questions related to the text, please email me at jordan@redeemerarlington.com and I’ll try and answer them in my message.

See you on Sunday!


Questions about Colossians 1:19-20

19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

About four people asked me the same question/s about Colossians 1:19-20.

“How do we account for the universality of reconciliation suggested in verse 20, given the sound doctrine of God reconciling to Himself individual souls?”

“What does it mean for Jesus to reconcile all things specifically in heaven?”

Here was my response:

Verse 19 is a tricky one to interpret because of the greek word “eis” which the ESV translates “to”. “Eis” has a wide range of meaning which would include “to” but also would include “by the means of” or “in the sphere of”.

So the sense that Paul is trying to communicate is not that Jesus is the offended party and in need of being reconciled with the heavenly realm.

The sense Paul is communicating is that Jesus is the “means” by which the enmity between the heavenly realm and the earthly realm has been reconciled.

In other words God is reconciling all things in heaven and earth through Christ.

Hope that makes sense? If not, I will try again. Please post a comment here or email me.


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