Series: Becoming Who We Are
Passage: Ephesians 1:1-14
Main Idea: Our identity in Christ inspires who we are and what we do.

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Lean In

1. If you could be a superhero with one special power, what would it be? Why?

Look Down

As a group read Ephesians 1:1-14 together.

2. List all of the things that God did for us when he saved us. From that list, what stands out to you the most about what Paul says in this passage? Why?

Look Out

In many ways, Ephesians 1:1-14 is all about our identity as Christians; who we are because of what God has done for us. Discuss the following questions with that in mind.

3. Why do you think Paul begins this passage with so much information regarding our identity as Christians? Why is the question of “identity” so important in the Christian faith?

4. Where does the world tell us to find our identity? What is the danger in looking to locate our identity in anything other than what God says? What impact do you think the increase of social media has had on our understanding of image versus identity?

Look In

5. Describe a time in your life when who you thought you were and/or what others identified you as influenced what you did.

6. Today, where are you tempted to find your identity apart from what God says in Scripture? How do those things shape your sense of who you are and influence what you do?

7. In the book Who Do You Think You Are? the author says that as humans we’re tempted to look at things other than Scripture to find our identity. He categorizes these according to the acronym “I.D.O.L.S.”
I – Items –The things we own.
D – Duties –The things we do (job, hobbies, helping others).
O – Others – What others think of us.
L – Longings – The desires we have (for our future, a relationship, title, level of income)
S – Sufferings – The difficulties we are going through.

Today, where are you tempted to find your identity apart from what God says in Scripture? How do those things shape your sense of who you are and influence what you do?

Live It Out

Look back at the list of things that God has done for us (Look Down) and compare them with the things you have been/are tempted to look to in the previous question.

8. Talk with your group about the ways owning even one of the truths from the passage could transform how you think about yourself, the decisions you make, the behaviors you live out, etc.

9. Spend some time as a group listening to the Holy Spirit for 2 things:

A. Ask God to reveal to you a part of this identity in Christ that you or someone else in your group need to receive anew today.

B. Ask God to reveal how your life group can live out this identity where you live/work/play.

Drawing on the guidance of the Holy Spirit pray for one another to become who God says we are in Christ and to live out our new identity in the coming week.


Lean In

Purpose: Introduce topic and get everyone talking.

1. If you could be a superhero with one special power, what would it be? Why?

This is a “lighter” question intended to get the conversation going.

Look Down

As a group read Ephesians 1:1-14 together.

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

2. List all of the things that God did for us when he saved us. From that list, what stands out to you the most about what Paul says in this passage? Why?

Before your group responds to this question it’s probably a good idea to address the fact that you are wading into some weighty subjects. As you lead your group it’s good to encourage people’s curiosity about what Paul is describing, but steer them away from having a theological debate about any of the ideas because that misses the point of the passage. Paul’s focus is on celebrating what God has done for us.

A helpful question for those that want to talk some about these concepts might be: What have you heard/thought about this before?

In this context election/predestination simply refers to God’s decision to save someone. The important thing to help your group unpack is that God chose us for adoption.

Look Out

Purpose: Connect observations in God’s Word with observations in our world today.

A. What are common responses people have when they walk through difficult personal circumstances – their own “valley of the shadow of death”?

B. What do you think God’s purposes might be for leading us to walk in these valleys?

C. Is there someone you know who has weathered difficult circumstances well? What made their experience stand out to you?

For part A, in difficult circumstances some may mention regret for choices they’ve made. They believe their challenge or “failure” is a result of their poor decisions. Some may question God’s goodness or his presence with them. Some may wonder what God is doing in the midst of their challenges. Some may get angry or even reject God.

For part B, ultimately, we don’t know all of God’s purposes in our circumstances. However, we DO know, as we mentioned previously in this series, that God is always working toward our sanctification. He’s always in pursuit of making us more like Christ, and valleys create opportunity for this. A related purpose may be that God uses valleys to draw us back to dependence on him because we’re reminded of our weakness and our need for Him. Additionally, our “failures” or our valleys aren’t necessarily a result of our poor decisions. Sometimes, in order to get to the green pastures, God must lead us through the valley. It’s easy to question God’s goodness in these valleys, but we only do so because we don’t see the good he is leading us to.

For part C, are there any themes you observe as your group members share? If so, reflect those back to the group.

Look In

Purpose: Internalize God’s Word and apply the truth to your personal life.

A. Is there a choice you made in your past that you feel was a mistake, but you came to see God’s presence in it and maybe even now see Him bringing good out of it? Describe that choice and the outcome to your group.

B. We learned this weekend that when we go through difficult circumstances, it doesn’t mean we made a wrong choice, but rather that difficulties are a part of life and God promises to be with us as we face them. What effect does that have on decisions you’ve made in the past or decisions you may have to face in the future?

C. How do we become more aware of God’s presence even in the “valley of the shadow of death”?

For part A, you may also encourage group members to share a “mistake” that they made, even if they don’t see God’s presence in it. As a group, you can help them process and discern God’s work in the midst of their choice(s).

For part B, hopefully this idea brings freedom from the fear of failure. God’s promise is to not only be with us always, but also to work good in our lives even in the midst of our sin and failure. Additionally, this idea can increase our trust in God’s sovereignty – that God is ultimately in control and that His good and perfect will cannot be thwarted.

For part C, your group members may suggest going to the scriptures to be reminded of God’s unchanging nature and his promises. They may suggest that other believers can help us uncover God’s presence in our circumstances. They may suggest prayer – talking to God and asking him to reveal Himself in our circumstances by His Spirit.

Live It Out

Purpose: Imagine what your world would look like if the truths from the passage were lived out.

Sometimes God can bring a reminder of His presence through other people. Take some time to pray for and minister to each other.

This might be a new practice for your group, but Life Groups are one of the safest places to learn and practice ministering to each other in the power of the Holy Spirit. If there are people who shared earlier that clearly need prayer, ask if you can pray over them. If it isn’t clear who to pray for, ask someone in the group to take a step of faith and share a request with the group.

Ask if you can lay hands hands on the person you are praying for. Open your prayer time simply asking the Holy Spirit to lead you. Take a moment of silence and listen for how He may be leading you. It takes practice discerning his leading, but this is a great place to take a step of faith in prayer as we learn.

If you are unsure, praying scripture is an excellent place to start. Ask the Spirit to give you a scripture to pray over this person. It may not mean a lot to you, but the Spirit can use that scripture to touch that person’s heart. Excess words can often get in the way, so focus in on what the Spirit brings to mind, and simply pray that.

Continue to pray for your group members as needs are shared.

After the prayer time, debrief in the group with those that were prayed over. Ask if any of the prayers or words spoken over them resonated with them. Ask how they felt God meet them through the prayer. Celebrate any ways in which God used the group to minister to each other.