Sermon Based Group Homework
For the message on September 15 , 2019
Passage: Ephesians 2:1-10
This Sunday, Mike kicked off our new series on our Identity as believers by encouraging us to live according to our true identity as a child of God.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
What titles or positions have you held at school, on teams, at work, or in your community? Which one are you most proud of? How did that title or position make you feel about yourself?
LET’S GO DEEPER
1. In Ephesians 2:8-10, Paul steers his readers away from basing their identity on their good works but rather on God’s grace. In the book of Ecclesiastes, the wisest and richest man the world has ever known explains his pursuit of value and purpose according to the world’s values. As you read the following passages, write down the things Solomon did to satisfy his deep longing for identity and the conclusions he arrived at.
Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 (ESV)
1 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” 3 I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. 4 I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. 5 I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 6 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man. 9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 4:4-8 (ESV)
4 Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. 5 The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh. 6 Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind. 7 Again, I saw vanity under the sun: 8 one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.
Ecclesiastes 5:10-16 (ESV)
10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. 11 When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? 12 Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep. 13 There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, 14 and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. 15 As he came from his mother’s womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. 16 This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind?
- Can you identify with what Solomon observed and concluded? How?
- Why is basing our identity on the things of this world – appearance, skills, wealth, and position/status – a misguided approach?
2. In Ephesians 2, Paul says that we are God’s masterpiece or workmanship. In other words, God is continuing to sculpt us into the image of Christ. He is doing this because He loves us and we are His children. There are times, however, that we may struggle with seeing our value and acceptance before God. How do the following verses reinforce your view of your value and worth to God?
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV)
18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Luke 12:6-7 (ESV)
6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Psalm 8:1-9 (ESV)
1 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? 5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. 9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
- Why do you think it’s so important to understand and accept our true identity in Christ?
- What are some reasons why you might doubt your value and significance to God?
- What are some ways that you’ve been successful in overcoming any doubts you’ve had concerning your value, acceptance, and worth before God?
TAKE IT HOME
1. What is your biggest takeaway from this sermon and study?
2. Do you have any prayer requests for your group?