“September 30–October 13. Ephesian: ‘For the Perfecting of the Saints’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“September 30–October 13. Ephesian,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2019
Record Your Impressions
Consider inviting class members to write a one-sentence summary of something they learned in their study this week and then attach their summaries to the board. Randomly select a few summaries, and invite the class members who wrote them to share their thoughts.
Could you and your class build something together to illustrate how the Church is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets” and how the Savior is “the chief corner stone”? (Ephesians 2:20). Perhaps class members could label blocks or paper cups and assemble them into a tower or pyramid, with Jesus Christ and the apostles and prophets forming the base. Then you could demonstrate what would happen if Christ or the apostles and prophets were removed. Why is the chief cornerstone a good metaphor for Jesus Christ and His role in the Church? (For a description of a chief cornerstone, see “Additional Resources.”) Class members could search Ephesians 2:19–22; 4:11–16 for blessings we receive because of apostles, prophets, and other Church leaders. What can we do to build our lives on their teachings?
To demonstrate how doctrine can be misunderstood without continual direction from prophets and apostles, you could play a game in which you tell a short story to one class member without letting anyone else hear. Then invite that class member to repeat the story to another class member and so on until the story has been passed through several individuals. Then ask the last person who hears the story to tell the rest of the class what he or she heard. Did any details of the story change? What would have happened if the teacher could have corrected mistakes along the way? What does this activity teach us about why Christ’s Church must be “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets”?
If members of your class listened to general conference since the last time you met, invite them to share how the things taught during conference helped fulfill the purposes stated in Ephesians 4:11–16.
Perhaps you could give class members a moment to list some of the “vocations” or responsibilities they have been called to fulfill at church (see Ephesians 4:1)—for example, a ministering brother or sister, a parent, a disciple of Christ, and so on. Then they could exchange lists with another class member, read Ephesians 4:4–8, 11–16, and share how the callings and assignments on their lists help edify the body of Christ. How can we work together to become unified under “one Lord, one faith, one baptism”?
Although the Ephesians lived in a culture in which wives were not treated as equals to their husbands, this epistle still contains some valuable counsel for married couples today. You might write questions like the following on the board and invite class members to discuss them as they read Ephesians 5:22–33 in groups: How did Christ show His love for the Church? What can we do to follow His example in how we treat our spouses? You might invite class members to share examples they’ve seen of spouses acting in Christlike ways toward each other. How can we apply these principles to other family relationships?
While Paul’s counsel to “honour thy father and mother” (Ephesians 6:2) was addressed to children, it can apply to each of us, regardless of our age or family situation. Invite class members to think about how they can apply Paul’s counsel in Ephesians 6:1–3 to their own circumstances. For example, how can we honor our parents even if their choices don’t align with the teachings of Jesus Christ? You might give class members a few minutes to write down what they can do to better honor their parents.
If there are parents—or future parents—of young children in your class, they might benefit from discussing Ephesians 6:4. What does it mean to bring up children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”? Perhaps class members who have older children could share what this means to them and how they have tried to apply this counsel in their families.
What would help inspire class members to strive to put on the whole armor of God each day? You could prepare an activity in which class members match pieces of armor with the principles or virtues they represent in Ephesians 6:14–17. How can each piece of armor help protect us from wickedness? (For some help, see “Additional Resources.”) How have class members put on this armor? As part of this discussion, you might share President N. Eldon Tanner’s explanation in “Additional Resources.” What can we do to identify and strengthen any weaknesses in our armor?
To inspire class members to read Philippians and Colossians, you could tell them that one of the Articles of Faith is based on a verse found in one of these epistles. Can they find it in their studies this week?
The chief cornerstone is the first stone placed in a foundation. It serves as a reference point for the measurement and placement of the other stones, which must be aligned with the chief cornerstone. Because it bears the weight of the rest of the building, the chief cornerstone must be solid, stable, and reliable (see “The Cornerstone,” Ensign, Jan. 2016, 74–75).
- Loins girt about with truth:
This piece of armor is like a belt tied around the waist. The word girt can also mean fortified, strengthened, or reinforced.
A breastplate protects the heart and other vital organs.
- Feet shod:
This refers to protective covering for a soldier’s feet.
A shield can protect almost any part of the body from a variety of attacks.
A helmet protects the head.
A sword allows us to take action against the enemy.
President N. Eldon Tanner, who served as a counselor in the First Presidency, invited members of the Church to evaluate the strength of their personal armor by pondering their efforts to live the gospel. He then explained:
“If … our armor is weak, there is an unshielded place which can be found, a vulnerable area for attack, and we will be subject to injury or destruction by Satan, who will search until he finds our weaknesses, if we have them.
“Examine your armor. Is there an unguarded or unprotected place? Determine now to add whatever part is missing. No matter how antiquated or lacking in parts your armor may be, always remember that it is within your power to make the necessary adjustments to complete your armor.
“Through the great principle of repentance you can turn your life about and begin now clothing yourself with the armor of God through study, prayer, and a determination to serve God and keep his commandments” (“Put on the Whole Armor of God,” Ensign, May 1979, 46).