Lesson 1: God’s Loving Movement of Grace Towards Us
(Please process through these questions before your meeting.)
· Where were you born/where have you lived?
· What was your family like?
· Where did you go to school?
· What are you passionate about?
· What parts of life have been dark and discouraging?
· What were your experiences with God? Experiences with church?
· How has your past formed your present?
Pick two questions to share with the group.
We find a powerful description of God’s loving movement towards you in a book of the Bible called Ephesians (let’s read it together):
Read Ephesians 1:1-14
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love. 5 He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
1. The Apostle Paul is so thankful in this section of Scripture. Can you identify in the passage the actions that God takes to pursue us?
2. Was there a time of life where you felt extremely alienated and would have liked to have known God’s move to adopt you?
Before time began God chose to adopt us into a personal and intimate relationship with Himself. Before Christ we were sons and daughters of disobedience. After Christ, we call Him Father! He freely and joyfully loved and chose us to be His adopted sons and daughters.
You might wonder, “How can I be a part of a family that is characterized by holiness and without blame when I am not holy and I am not without blame?” Paul says that we were redeemed by the riches of God’s grace. God is the only one who had the “riches” to pay our ransom. He is the only One who could have redeemed us from our captivity to sin. We have free access to God because we have been redeemed and forgiven.
Matt Ketterling is going to take a few minutes to help us understand this idea of adoption in the grand scheme of things.
3. Having thought about your story and God’s loving movement towards you, can you look back and identify God’s hand in your life?
Ask God to bring to your mind how He has been working in your life.
This is where your story and God’s story collide. From the beginning of time, God has been moving towards you. The fact that we are talking today about God’s grace reveals His powerful saving acts towards you. His passionate and loving desire is for you to experience every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just like Paul and the saints in Ephesus.