God created us to do His work—to BE His church—and stay as focused on Christ as when we first became Christ-followers.
Think back for a moment; when you were little, did your family make you the center of attention? Were you spoiled? Do you still (perhaps in your mind) expect to be the center of attention? Are you disappointed when all eyes are not on you?
We believers belong to Christ; God created us to live with our focus on Him and our purpose in Him. I Corinthians 3:16 says that each of us is a temple of God and that God’s Holy Spirit dwells within us. Verse 17 continues to say that the temple of God is holy and that is what we are. So God wants us to keep our focus on doing Christ’s good works. Some of us have gotten things mixed up. Christ is no longer the center of our lives. We discontinued putting our complete trust in him. We end up seeing God as someone everyone else needs while serving a God that makes very little difference in our own lives. It is so easy to get caught up with the church body’s work. We have particular tasks we are asked to complete. In the process of getting the work done, it is easy to let our focus become tasks and other people. Sometimes we see these people as problems instead of seekers. We forget our primary purpose is to be Christ-centered in all we do. Our task is to be available to God every minute of every day in every way.
Read Luke 15:1-2
1. Who were the church leaders of that day? Were they keeping their focus on God’s commands or on man’s laws? How do you know this?
Read Acts 19:9-12, 17, 20
2. Were the obstinate correct in publicly maligning Paul’s teaching? What was Paul’s response?
3. How do we know God approved of Paul’s work?
Read Ephesians 2:8-10
4. Why did God not make a way for us to work our way to heaven?
5. How do you feel knowing that you can’t work your way to heaven? Are you relieved? Are you sorry that all the good things you have done do not pay your way?
6. Although we are not saved by our good works, verse 10 says we were created to do good works. What good works do you feel that God is calling you to do?
Read Revelation 2:1-5
7. List the five specifics that Ephesians had done well? (v. 2b & 3)
8. What did God hold against the Ephesians?
9. What is required of that church to resume right standing with God?
10. What happens if they do not obey?
11. Do you ever feel like the Ephesians? Have you left your first love? Was there a time when you had more passion for Christ and being His church?