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   Week 4
Pastor Tim


Eternal
Understanding God


The church is not just a good idea, it’s a God idea.  He created it, He designed it, He thought it up.  It’s safe to say that the church is very important to him.  Reading Ephesians 5:25-32 we hear Paul compare the church to a loving marriage.  List the ways Christ’s love for the church is evident in this passage.

Take a look at Acts 20:27-29.  Paul is exhorting pastors to shepherd the Church (the local assembly of believers). He states that Christ purchased the church. How did He purchase it? 

Christ is so passionate about the institution of the church that He promises that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Do you feel your church has met up to the expectations Christ has for His church?  If yes, state why.  If not, what part do you play in changing the situation?

As Christians we are instructed to hate what God hates and love what He love, and He loves the church. List a few reasons why you love the church.

Read Ephesians 3:8-12. What do you learn that God intends the church to do - according to verse 10? In what ways can this be accomplished?




Internal
Understanding Man

In John 13:36-38 Jesus tells Peter that he will deny Him. Peter can’t believe it, he even proclaims his devotion by stating that he would lay down his life for Jesus.  But it happens, in John 18:15-18 & 25-27 he does deny Christ. What do you imagine caused Peter’s devotion to be sidetracked?

After the crucifixion, Peter humiliated, goes back to his previous occupation - fishing.  Have you ever been sidetracked by guilt or defeat in your pursuit for God?  What did you go back to doing?

A few days later Jesus, resurrected, appears to the fishing disciples and invites them to breakfast.  If you were Peter, how would you have felt being in Jesus’ presence again?

Read John 21:15-19Why do you imagine Jesus (who knows all things) asked Peter the same question three times?  What do you think that did for Peter?

Jesus also gave Peter the same command three times - what was that command? Why do you think Jesus wanted Peter to hear it repeated so many times?

How do you relate this story to Christ’s love for the church?


External

Understanding Others

We are called to be imitators of God  - describe the love the average Christian in America has for the church.  What should our love for the church look like?   What examples can you give?

Reflecting back on Ephesians 5:25-32
with the understanding that Paul is speaking about Christ and the church - why do you suppose it is so important for Christians to have healthy, loving marriages?

If married, what does your marriage say to the world about Christ’s love for His church?


Close in prayer by asking God to help you and your group love the church as He loves it.


*If you or your home group happen to benefit from these studies we'd like to hear from you. Send your comments to [email protected]