STUDY | Spend the week studying Ephesians 1:3–14 and 5:25–6:18. Consult the commentary provided and any additional study tools to enhance your preparation.
DETERMINE | Which discussion points and study questions will work best for your group.
PRAY | Pray for our pastors and this week’s message, the upcoming group time, your group members, and their openness to God’s Word.
LANDING POINT | Step into every God-shaped role He has called you to fill.
Remember the 4 Rules for Small Group Discussion
- Confidentiality. What’s said in the group stays in the group.
- No cross-talk. Be considerate of others as they share. Refrain from side conversations and texting during group time.
- No fixing. We are not in the group to fix each other. Jesus does that part.
- Sharing. Be sensitive to the amount of time you share. Don’t talk too much or too little. Every person brings something valuable to the group.
As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.
Our story began in Eden. In that garden, life was paradise, and our first parents enjoyed a relationship with God thatwas whole and unhindered by sin. Then something went terribly wrong and our story changed. Eve was deceived by the serpent and ate the forbidden fruit.
Where was Adam the whole time? He was next to his wife. He saw everything happen and did nothing. He just stood there, silent.
In his book, Men of Courage: God’s Call to Move Beyond the Silence of Adam, Dr. Larry Crabb explains how men today are affected by Adam’s refusal to act:
Since Adam, every man has had a natural inclination to remain silent when he should speak. A man is most comfortable in situations in which he knows exactly what to do. When things get confusing and scary, his insides tighten and he backs away. When life frustrates him with its maddening unpredictability, he feels the anger rise within him. And then, filled with terror and rage, he forgets God’s truth and looks out for himself. From then on, everything goes wrong. Committed only to himself, he scrambles to make his own life work. The result is what we see every day: sexual passions out of control, uninvolved husbands and fathers, angry men who love to be in the driver’s seat. And it all began when Adam refused to speak.1
God wants men to regain their voices, listen to God and speak. He calls men to speak into the lives of their wives, children, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Men need a vision of manhood with Christ at the center.
This week your group will look at Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and five God-shaped roles God has given men to fill. We’ll see that God’s desire is for men to:
- Come alive in relationships with other men.
- Recognize the fears, wounds and sin that take life.
- Discover a path to filling the God-shaped roles He has given them.2
Q: Define “manhood” in your own words.
Q: Where do you see Adam’s silence affecting men today?
Select 2-3 questions to discuss as a group.
THE FIVE ROLES A MAN FILLS
Let’s look at the five God-shaped roles God calls men to fill.
A Man as a Son (1:3–14). Ephesians begins with Paul praising God for all the spiritual blessings God gives believers through Christ. When you read the passage, you see how the Father chose you to be His son or daughter before the world came to be, how the Son forgave and redeemed you by the riches of His grace and how the Holy Spirit indwells you as a seal and guarantee of the inheritance you will receive as a child of God.
Every other role a man fills in his life is based on his relationship to God as a son. With this new identity, a man canlive a life transformed from the inside out. He is empowered to be fruitful; to be honest, self-controlled, generous, forgiving, loving, wise and a light to those around him.
Q: Why is it difficult to fill your other roles if you’re unsure of your identity?
A Man as a Husband (5:25–33). God calls many men to become husbands. Paul makes it clear that the role of a husband is the role of a servant. A husband is to love and serve his wife and family as Christ loved His church.
As Jesus gave Himself up for His church and now works for her growth and holiness, so a man is to do the same forhis spouse and family. A husband is to bless his wife by cherishing her, nurturing a relationship based in love and serving her needs above his own.
Q: What keeps you from being a servant?
A Man as a Father (6:4). Paul warns men not to harm their children. Perhaps Paul gave this warning knowing that a father has the greatest influence over the lives of his children. A father’s words and actions will encourage or discourage his children; they will bring life and blessing or deliver wounds that can greatly distort their children’s outlook on life and view of God.
A father is to be a godly, positive influence in the lives of his children. A father’s main role is to show his children what God is like as Father. In their earthly father, children should see God’s love, discipline and instruction.
Q: Explain why a father, above all others, has the greatest influence over his children?
A Man as a Worker (6:5–9). Every man should feel responsibility to provide for himself and, if he is married, his family. In this passage Paul refers to the relationship between slaves and masters. What Paul communicated to slaves is what needs to be communicated to men today. Whatever you do in your work life should be done as service to Jesus, not just to your employer or client.
God gives men responsibilities to fill in the workplace. This is wired into men. Men were created to work, and every man has a role to fill as a worker. Rather than seeing your job as a burden or drudgery, see it as a way to be a light to others and show them what Jesus is like.
Q: What’s one thing you can do this week to be a light for Christ in the workplace?
A Man as a Warrior (6:10–18). As Christians, we are at war. A battle is being fought and God wants men to move into the fight. But there’s something different about this battle. It isn’t against flesh and blood. It’s spiritual in nature.
Jesus has already overcome our enemies for us. Therefore, men are to wear the armor He gave us and take a stand against the enemy. God calls men to put on truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, the Word and prayer, and to be true warriors for Christ and His kingdom.
Q: Where are you strong in the armor of God? Where are you weak or vulnerable?
Select 2-3 questions from this section to answer.
THE FATHER’S RESOURCES
How is a man to fill each of these roles? The truth is that men cannot fill these roles without God’s help. They, like every person, need resources outside of themselves. Thankfully, God the Father is rich in resources and delights to give them to us when we ask Him.
What do you need so that God can most use you? What do you need so that He can most change you? Above all else, God wants to give you His heart. That’s why He has given men (and all believers) four unique resources to receive and enjoy. In Christ, the Father gives you:
Understanding your identity as a child of God gives you value in life. Experiencing the Father’s love gives you security in your relationship with Him. Feeling the Father’s pleasure motivates you to do more for Him and have more of His pleasure. Knowing your place in the world gives you honor and authority to own the unique God-shaped roles the Father has given you.4
Q: Which of the Father’s resources do you feel you lack Why?
Q: How would you be different if you felt full in the area where you’re lacking?
FIGHT THE BATTLE
God doesn’t expect perfection from men. He knows that the struggle to be a true man of God is beset with challenges and, often, failure and setbacks. God is less concerned about men getting it all together and more concerned with stirring a passion in their hearts for Christ and receiving the good gifts that the Father wants to give them through His Son.
God wants us to fight our spiritual battle for true manhood (or womanhood):
- In weakness. Admit that, on your own, you are incapable of filling the roles that God has for you. Receive His resources and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth, testify to Christ’s work in you, convict you of sin and guide you in living for God.
- In humility. See the reality of your situation. There is both good and bad in you. You bear the image of God,and there are good, glorifying ways in which you reflect God to others. There is also bad in you, though.There are areas in your heart and life that still need work. God is still working to clean out the sin in you.
- In repentance and faith. Repentance and faith are the key to unlocking all the resources God has for you. To repent is to acknowledge your sin and turn from it. To exercise faith is to believe that what God has for you is better than sin.
Q: Name one struggle you would like to see change.
Q: Why is it important to remember the good and bad in you?
Select 1 question from this section to ask your group.
MEN WHO MOVE
God is calling men in your community and all over the world to speak and live their lives as true men. He doesn’t want silence. He wants movement and action. He doesn’t want pride. He wants humility. He doesn’t want a show. He wants the real deal. He wants men who are honest, compassionate, serving and strong in Him—not themselves.
Real men move. Yes, they struggle, but they struggle forward. It’s time for men to speak, act and move forward. Men, God is calling you to step into the roles He has carved out for you. Will you join Him?
Q: How would your community be different if more men were honest, compassionate, serving and strong in Christ?
Q: What’s one practical thing you can do this week to move forward?
Praise God for the way that He made you as a man or woman. Ask His Spirit to reveal areas in your life where you can fill the God-shaped roles He has created for you. Ask the Spirit to reveal any ways that sin is blocking you from receiving the Father’s gifts. Pray for courage to speak and not remain silent.
Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:
- Read Colossians 3:12–17 and reflect on how these qualities reflect true manhood.
- Ask the group to share any stories or lessons learned where they see God at work in their lives.
The Scope of Ephesians 1:3–14
“This entire section presents a grand sweep of God’s saving purposes. It begins with our election from ‘before the creation of the world’ (v. 4) and climaxes with the pronouncement of God’s will to bring unity to the cosmos under Christ (v. 10).”5
Submission in the Home
“Paul works within [the framework of the home] to suggest a model that makes Christ the ultimate authority—his viewpoint is based on mutual love. In these sections of Ephesians, Paul addresses wives and husbands, children and parents, and servants and masters. As he does so, he follows a similar pattern:He first calls on the subordinate—according to Graeco-Roman values—to submit to authority, and then reminds the superior to exercise authority considerately, in ways that honor Christ.”6
Jesus, Our Defense
“In one sense, the ‘whole armor of God’ is a picture of Jesus Christ. Christ is the Truth (John 14:6), and He is our righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21) and our peace (Eph. 2:14). His faithfulness makes possible our faith (Gal. 2:20); He is our salvation (Luke 2:30); and He is the Word of God (John 1:1, 14). This means that when we trusted Christ, we received the armor. Paul told the Romans what to do with the armor (Rom. 13:11–14):wake up (Rom. 13:11), cast off sin, and ‘put on the armor of light’ (Rom. 13:12).”7
1. Larry Crabb, Men of Courage: God’s Call to Move Beyond the Silence of Adam (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013), Amazon Kindle.
3. Dave Patty, Father God: Daring to Draw Near (Lexington, KY: 78 Press, 2017), 23-34.
5. Douglas J. Moo, “The Letters and Revelation,” in NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message, ed. D. A. Carson (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015), 2399.
6. John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Eph 5:22–6:9.
7. Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 59.