Bible Study

Bible Study: Christ the King (A) – 2011

November 20, 2011

Ephesians 1:15-23

Paul’s exuberant prayer of thanksgiving for the church in Ephesus is like the joy of a parent who observes a child’s development from one milestone to the next. His joy is that their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ could be seen and testified of in their love for fellow believers. This is the intersection between the vertical and the horizontal relationships. Growth in the Christian life is not seen in the many ecstatic experiences of the spirit but in works of mercy and charity done out of an attitude of love.

How would you practice love in the electronic world would of today where the points of contact are getting limited every day?

Second, Paul prays in anticipation for their continued growth. He prays for their deeper understanding of Christian faith. The spirit of wisdom is necessary to distinguish between good and evil in the world so full of archetypes. The spirit of revelation is important for growth in the knowledge of Christ. This is the kind of knowledge that enlightens the heart and enlivens the hope of our calling in Christ. It is through this calling that we receive the right of sonship and/hence become co-heirs of the heavenly blessings with Christ.

  • Reflect on your prayer life today. Take a few minutes to write your own prayer for a church that you know but you are not a regular member.

Matthew 25:31-46

St. Matthew’s description of the judgment at the second coming of Jesus reminds me of my first experience at the airport ready for my first ever international flight. Once I got my boarding pass and checked into the waiting room, my friends with whom I had been talking just a few minutes past seemed very near yet very far from me. Even though I could see them right across the glass wall partition made a permanent separation between us. Those waiting to board the domestic flights were completely cut off from us waiting for international flights. To interact with them one had to go through the whole checking in process all over again.

  • Do you think Matthew’s imagery of the sheep and goats is effective today? If not, how can you describe it in your own context?

That the Son of Man will separate his people like a man separates sheep from goats tells of the similarity in difference that exists in God’s family, the church. Even though the goats and sheep look alike, and share a great deal in their characteristics, they are distinctively different from each other. Like the shepherd who is familiar with his flock and conscious of their unique differences, the Son of Man will separate the righteous from the wicked.

  • Think of a moment when you performed an act of mercy to the needy. What were your presuppositions, or what was your attitude?

Yet even though the criteria of separation is whether one has done works of mercy and charity to those in great need in the present world or not, Matthew does not so much intend to glorify the deeds for the sake of them. The inner motive in performing such works of mercy is most important for Jesus. For it is not that the people who were thrown into damnation never fed the hungry nor welcomed the stranger in their lifetime. Probably in doing so, they failed to discern the brother/sister in the persons because their attitudes were not right.

  • Why do you think both groups asked the King the same question? Take a few minutes to discuss the question in verses 39, 44.

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Christopher Sikkema