Study Guide: Transforming Love

Sunday June 27, 2010 | Shawna Boren

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

Ephesians 3:14-19 is perhaps one of the most powerful descriptions of love we find in Paul’s writings. The love Paul speaks of is so great he is forced to press the boundaries of language to express it.

Extended Summary:

Shawna Boren preached today from Ephesians 3:14-19. This passage is a prayer of Paul’s that wrestles deeply with how to express the profound love of God. Shawna broke it down for us verse by verse:

Verse 14: Paul kneels before the Father which is an act of submission and giving of himself to God on behalf of the church.

Verse 15: This verse makes it clear that God is the source of all families, indeed all life and all of reality!

Verse 16: Paul prays that God will empower us through the Holy Spirit in our inner being. We can’t come to faith on our own, it is by God’s power and strength that we can be reconciled to God. God transforms us from the inside out!

Verse 17: The Spirit’s work in our inner being prepares us to receive Christ in our hearts through faith. Paul then uses both a farming (“rooted”) and a construction (“established”) metaphor to describe the process of our inner change and the foundation that is being laid for our lives of faith.

Verse 18: Here we see the universal call to all of God’s people, that is everyone might grasp the incredible love of God! Shawna reminded us that God’s love is so expansive it doesn’t wait for you to change, it embraces you before you even realize it’s there. You belong to God and no one can change that fact.

Verse 19: To “know the love that surpasses knowledge” is Paul’s way of pushing out of the limitations of what we can understand with our minds and into the entire fullness of our lives. God transforms all of us, not just our ideas and theology. Paul is pressing on the limits of language to express the overwhelming love of God that seeks to fill us “to the full measure of all of the fullness of God”!

(We love discovering art that connects us to God in unique ways. Shawna used a song by Christy Nockels during her message. Find out more about Christy on her web site.)

Reflection Questions:

  1. Read each of the supporting texts. What stood out to you most from this message and the supporting texts?
  2. As Shawna was unpacking this passage, what ways of describing God’s love challenged you most? Why?
  3. How does this description of God’s love fit with your experience of what love is all about in your life?
  4. How can Paul’s prayer strengthen the way we think and act? In other words, how can this prayer encourage us as we seek to love one another?