“September 30–October 13. Ephesian: ‘For the Perfecting of the Saints’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“September 30–October 13. Ephesian,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
When the gospel began to spread in Ephesus, it caused “no small stir” (Acts 19:23) among the Ephesians. Local craftsmen who produced shrines to a pagan goddess saw Christianity as a threat to their livelihood, and soon “they were full of wrath, … and the whole city was filled with confusion” (see Acts 19:27–29). Imagine being a new convert to the gospel in such a setting. Many Ephesians did accept and live the gospel amid this “uproar” (Acts 19:40), and Paul assured them that “Christ … is our peace” (Ephesians 2:13–14). These words, along with his invitation to “let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away” (Ephesians 4:31) seem as timely and comforting now as they were then. For the Ephesians, as for you, the strength to face adversity comes “in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10–13).
Paul spoke of the Saints being “predestinated” by God and “chosen … before the foundation of the world” to be His people. As President Henry B. Eyring has noted, the fact that so many people live and die without the chance to receive the gospel causes some to “conclude that God must have determined in advance which of His children He would save and made the gospel available to them, while those who never heard the gospel simply were not ‘chosen.’ But … God’s plan is much more loving and just than that. Our Heavenly Father is anxious to gather and bless all of His family” (“Gathering the Family of God,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 20–21). All of God’s children can accept the gospel and its ordinances because of the work performed for the dead in holy temples.
Although no one is predestined to be saved or not saved, modern revelation teaches that some were chosen or “foreordained” in the premortal world to fulfill certain responsibilities here on earth. This includes the responsibility that all Latter-day Saints have to share the gospel and help all of God’s children on both sides of the veil come to Christ. (See “Foreordination,” Gospel Topics, topics.lds.org.)
Have you ever wondered what “the dispensation of the fulness of times” is or what it means to “gather together in one all things in Christ”? As you ponder these phrases, read the following scriptures: Ephesians 4:13; 2 Nephi 30:7–8; Doctrine and Covenants 110:11–16; 112:30–32; 128:18–21. You may feel inspired to write your own explanations of these phrases.
Reading Paul’s teachings about apostles and prophets can help you prepare to hear the messages of modern apostles and prophets during general conference. According to Ephesians 2:19–22; 4:11–16, why do we have prophets and apostles? How have their teachings helped you not be “carried about with every wind of doctrine”?
See also Acts 4:10–12.
As you read Ephesians 5:21–6:4, what thoughts come to you about how to strengthen your family relationships?
It is important to note that Paul’s words in Ephesians 5:22 were written in the context of the social customs of his era. Prophets and apostles today teach that men are not superior to women and that spouses should be “equal partners” (see “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 145). Even so, you can still find relevant counsel in Ephesians 5:23–33, especially if you are married or preparing for marriage. For example, how does Christ show His love for the Saints? What does this imply about how husbands should treat their wives? What messages do you find for yourself in these verses?
As you read Ephesians 6:10–18, consider why Paul might have named each piece of armor the way he did. What will the “whole armour of God” protect us from? What can you do to more fully put on each piece of armor every day?
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some suggestions:
Through the latter-day Restoration, God is gathering all things in one, including all the principles and ordinances of the gospel. To demonstrate this idea, you could hide objects or written phrases around your home that represent things that have been restored in our day (like priesthood keys, temple ordinances, scriptures, and spiritual gifts). Family members could search for them and “gather” them together. Why are we thankful to live in the “dispensation of the fulness of times”?
Invite family members to share experiences in which they have felt the love and mercy of God and Jesus Christ described in these verses.
Your family might enjoy building walls out of pillows or other objects you have at home and then knocking them down. What kinds of walls separate people today? How has Jesus Christ “broken down the … wall of partition between us” and God?
Your family could make their own “armour of God” using household items. The video “The Armour of God” (LDS.org) can help family members visualize this armor, and they can find simple explanations in “The Whole Armor of God” (Friend, June 2016, 24–25). How does each piece of armor protect us spiritually? What can we do to help each other “put on the whole armour of God” (Ephesians 6:11) every day?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.