“October 2–8. Ephesians: ‘For the Perfecting of the Saints,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2023 (2022)
“October 2–8. Ephesians,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2023
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 each of us, the strength to face adversity comes “in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (see 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. However, as President Henry B. Eyring has noted, this does not mean “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.’ … 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 of God’s children were chosen, or “foreordained,” in the premortal world to fulfill certain responsibilities in accomplishing God’s purposes on earth. As you read Ephesians 1 and Gospel Topics, “Foreordination” (topics.ChurchofJesusChrist.org), ponder how this truth applies to you.
Why do you think our day is called “the dispensation of the fulness of times”? What might it mean 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.
See also David A. Bednar, “Gather Together in One All Things in Christ,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 21–24.
According to Ephesians 2:19–22; 3:1–7; 4:11–16, why do we have prophets and apostles? Think about the messages from prophets and apostles you heard during general conference. How do their teachings fulfill the purposes Paul described? For example, how have these teachings helped you not be “carried about with every wind of doctrine”?
How is Jesus Christ like a cornerstone for the Church? How is He like a cornerstone for your life?
See also Acts 4:10–12.
It is important to note that Paul’s words in Ephesians 5:22–24 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 are meant to be “equal partners” (see “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org). Even so, you can still find relevant counsel in Ephesians 5:25–33. For example, how does Christ show His love for the Saints? What does this imply about how spouses, as equal partners, should treat each other? What messages do you find for yourself in these verses?
As you read Ephesians 6:10–18, consider why Paul named each piece of armor the way he did. What does the “whole armour of God” protect you from? What can you do to more fully put on each piece of armor every day?
To teach about this verse, Elder David A. Bednar used the example of a rope (see “Gather Together in One All Things in Christ”). Consider showing family members a rope and letting them hold and examine it while you share parts of Elder Bednar’s message. How is God gathering all things together in Christ? How are we blessed because of this gathering?
Ephesians 2:4–10; 3:14–21.
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. While Paul referred to the “wall” between Gentiles and Jews, what kinds of walls separate people today? How has Jesus Christ “broken down” these walls? How does He “reconcile [us] unto God”? (verse 16).
Your family could make their own “armour of God” using household items. The video “The Armour of God” (ChurchofJesusChrist.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.
Suggested hymn: “Hope of Israel,” Hymns, no. 259.