Renewed - Group Discussion Questions

DEBRIEF & FOLLOW UP

• What is the Holy Spirit showing you from this last week?
• How does God desire for you to grow as a disciple or disciple maker?
• How can this group help you in your Christian journey?

Discussion Questions

• In what ways do you struggle to put off the old self and put on the new?
• How can we help one another live in light of God's grace and by the power of the Spirit?

Renewed - Day 5 - "Please Forgive Me!"

Listen

Ephesians 4:31-32 - 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Learn

I felt absolutely terrible and ashamed. I love my wife with all my heart, and I did something that really hurt her. I came home from work after a very stressful day, and she asked a very innocent question that was intended to ease my stress and show that she cared and loved me. My response was impatient, short, and quite frankly was totally inappropriate. After wallowing in self pity for a while, I came to realize that my actions were unloving and shameful. I was a long way from being kind and tenderhearted. With a broken heart I asked for forgiveness.

This last section (v. 31-32) of Ephesians chapter 4 is a summary of how Christians should live when they dump the old self and “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Paul goes on to list several “don’t do this” but “do this” as examples of righteous living. It all comes down to a pretty simple command...be kind...be tenderhearted...and forgive one another.

Where do we get the humility to forgive someone else? Remembering our own need for forgiveness from God.

Live

• Have you experienced a situation where you hurt someone and needed to ask for forgiveness? Re-read Ephesians 4:25-32 and look for words that described how you felt prior to asking for forgiveness. How did you feel after asking for forgiveness?

• Have you ever had a situation where someone asked you for forgiveness? How did you feel before and how did you feel after?

• Action - Spend some time in prayer praising God for forgiving us and giving us the power to forgive others (in Jesus).

Renewed - Day 4 - "Whoa. Clean that Room."

Listen

Ephesians 4:29-30 - 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Learn

When our boys were teenagers, two of them shared a room. The combination of sweaty boys, dirty clothes, nasty sneakers, and the occasional bowl of forgotten food stuffs (which were not even supposed to be there in the first place, but I digress) made for a foul smell. It permeated the room, the hallway, and eventually the adjacent rooms. It was rotten.

It’s interesting that Paul chose this word “rotten” which is translated as “corrupting” in the ESV. The point is this: our words can be rotten and they can be a detriment to others around us.

Paul contrasts this with “only such [words] as is good for building up … giving grace to those who hear.” It’s important to ask ourselves if the things we say build up or tear down. Do our words speak grace to others? Are our words, which Jesus said are really an overflow of what’s going on in our hearts (Luke 6:45), like the words of Jesus? And how does God see our words?

Verse 30 implores us to “not grieve the Holy Spirit.” Have we considered how God feels? He’s a person, after all. He has emotions too. We’re saved because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross, and we’re “sealed”; however, our God is a person. When we speak and act, do we seek to please Him or do we grieve Him?

Live

• Think of the most gracious person you know. What makes them so gracious?

• What things in your life can be improved upon so your “room doesn’t stink”?

• Action - Spend some time in prayer praising God for His patience and grace to us so that we might be gracious to others (in Jesus).

Renewed - Day 3 - "Get A Job"

Listen

Ephesians 4:28 - 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

Learn

I started making airplanes in 1986. It’s been honest work, but not terribly fulfilling. At the end of the day, it sometimes feels like little progress has been made. After all, tomorrow I’ll do almost the exact same thing, the exact same way. That’s how assembly lines work.

Paul instructs the Ephesians (and also us) that there is value in working with our hands. In another place he says that it is our duty to provide for our families, stating that not doing so is akin to unbelief (1 Tim. 5:8). Although, providing for our families isn’t the only reason we are to work. God wants us to be in a place to help others. Remember, we are never more like Jesus than when we’re helping others.

There are times when I “clock out” and I think to myself “What a waste of time,” but I must remember the words of Paul, that honest work is godly and being in a place to be able to help others is Christ-like. What does it look like for you to do honest work so that you can help others?

Live

• Do you see your career as godly and honest work?

• How does honest work in your life translate into providing help to others?

• Action - Spend some time in prayer praising God for giving you your job and the ministry opportunity through it (in Jesus).

Renewed - Day 2 - When Anger Explodes

Listen

Ephesians 4:26-27 - 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.

Learn

Unrighteous anger is kind of like dynamite. Once the wick is lit it’s just a matter of time before that person blows up in an outburst of anger and sin. When that happens it’s not pretty, nor is it God glorifying. This is why God tells us in verse 26 “Be angry and do not sin...” God wants us to have healthy anger. For us to have healthy anger we need to understand that there is righteous anger and unrighteous anger.

Righteous anger is anger that is moral, holy and God glorifying. Righteous anger is often fueled by hating things that are evil or sinful. God has righteous anger. Time and time again we see in Scripture God getting angry at sin or at people who sin. Even Jesus got angry (see Matt. 21:12-13). God’s wrath is an expression of his righteous anger directed towards sin and sinners. When we hate sin and things that are evil we are imaging God by displaying righteous anger. But there is another kind of anger - unrighteous anger. This is the kind of anger Paul warns against. Unrighteous anger is anger that is immoral, unholy and doesn’t glorify God. Unrighteous anger is often fueled by selfishness and sinfulness.

When Paul says, “Be angry and do not sin” he is saying it’s ok to have righteous anger but be careful how you express your anger. This means there is a way to display and communicate anger that is righteous and a way to display and communicate anger that is sinful. When something unjust happens, and you speak out against the injustice with words of truth spoken in love you are expressing righteous anger in a healthy, holy way; however, if someone lights your wick and you explode on them you are sinning in your anger.

In verse 27 Paul said, “give no opportunity to the devil.” The point is clear: when we get angry and sin, we are being more like Satan than Jesus. The good news is that whenever we sin in our anger we can ask God and whoever we sinned against for forgiveness knowing that the cross of Jesus makes forgiveness possible.

Live

• Have there been times in your life when you sinned in anger? If so, what happened?

• Is there anyone you need to seek forgiveness from because of your sinful anger? If so, who? What does it look like to ask that person to forgive you?

• Action - Spend time in prayer praising God for making forgiveness of unrighteous anger possible.

Renewed - Day 1 - Speaking Honestly

Listen

Ephesians 4:25 - 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

Learn

When I was a kid my dad would take me to the junk yard to look for car parts. We would scavenge through rows and rows of wrecked vehicles looking for the one part that he needed. It was like a graveyard: each vehicle sat, slowly being overtaken by oxidation and rust. As the rust on a vehicle grew, the weaker the structural integrity of the car became.

Paul makes two connections here in verse 25. First, similar to rust, which erodes and destroys, are lies or “falsehood” to those we are called to love. Lies are destructive to any relationship. Second, similar to all the parts on a car, is the church body. We have many parts and each part represents a person. He refers to this concept in his statement about us being “members one of another.”

Apart from the redeeming work of Jesus, we would have a similar fate as those cars in the junk yard. We would face erosion and destruction; however, by God’s grace we have been saved. We have received new life in Christ, yet at times we forget this truth and can find ourselves living as though we are still broken rather than restored.

God through His word is calling us to walk in truth and in the new life we have been given in Christ. Earlier, he called the disciples of Jesus to “put off old self” (v.22), “to be renewed in the spirit of [their] minds” (v.23) and to walk in the “new self” (v.24). Another aspect of this new self is honesty. Speaking truth to one another because, unlike the vehicles in the junk yard, we have been rescued. We have been given new life in Jesus and are called to live in light of His grace and truth.

Live

• How does knowing that God is a truthful make you feel?

• What falsehood in your life do you need to put away?

• Action - Spend some time in prayer praising God for his grace and truth.