In his letter to the Ephesian Saints, the Apostle Paul taught that the Lord established His Church and called leaders to both perfect and unify the Saints. He also encouraged Church members to leave behind their former lives and begin new lives as followers of Christ. Paul then taught the Saints how to strengthen their family relationships and encouraged them to “put on the whole armour of God” (Ephesians 6:11) in order to resist Satan’s temptations.
Consider the following two scenarios:
At school your teacher asks the class to express their views on a controversial topic. As students share their opinions, you realize that most of them support a position that is different from the teachings of the Church.
Lawmakers in your country are considering legalizing behavior that Church leaders have taught is wrong.
Why might situations like these be difficult for a member of the Church?
As you study Ephesians 4:1–16, look for a truth about how you can know what is right and what is wrong in a world of changing values and beliefs.
Read Ephesians 4:1–6, looking for what the Apostle Paul taught about the Church and its doctrine.
In Paul’s day, as it is in ours, there is only one true Church of Jesus Christ upon the earth (see D&C 1:30).
As recorded in Ephesians 4:7–10, Paul taught that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we have all been given the opportunity to receive the gift of God’s grace (His enabling power to save us). He also taught that Christ had given other gifts to mankind.
Read Ephesians 4:11, looking for what offices the Lord gave, or established, in His Church. (Ephesians 4:11–14 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to mark or note it in a distinctive way to help you locate it in the future.)
The titles of the offices of the priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ today may not be the same as the titles used in Paul’s day, and the early Church of Jesus Christ may not have had every calling that the Church has today. For example, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “an evangelist is a Patriarch” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 140). Also, a pastor is a shepherd, or one who leads a flock—a fitting description of modern-day bishops, branch presidents, stake presidents, and district presidents. You may want to write or note in your scriptures the modern-day equivalent of these terms.
Write the following incomplete truth in your scripture study journal: The Lord has called apostles, prophets, and other Church leaders to help … (You will be adding to this statement.)
Read Ephesians 4:12–13, looking for what Paul taught about why the Lord gave the Church apostles, prophets, and other leaders.
Notice that the Lord gave members of His Church apostles, prophets, and other Church leaders to perfect the Saints. Add this phrase to the incomplete truth you wrote in your scripture study journal. Also write in your scripture study journal a few ways in which apostles, prophets, and other Church leaders help to perfect us.
Read Ephesians 4:14, looking for another reason why the Lord gave His Church apostles, prophets, and other leaders.
From this verse we learn that the Lord also gave the Saints these leaders to protect them from false doctrine. Add this phrase to the statement you wrote in your scripture study journal.
From Ephesians 4:11–14 we learn the following truth: The Lord has called apostles, prophets, and other Church leaders to help perfect the Saints and protect them from false doctrine.
Consider what can happen to a boat that is tossed about on the water during a violent storm.
Reread the two scenarios from the beginning of this lesson. Then answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How can a boat that is tossed about on rough waters and by violent winds be likened to someone who is “tossed to and fro” (Ephesians 4:14) by the changing winds of false teachings and public opinions?
How do the teachings of apostles, prophets, and other Church leaders help followers of God navigate these troubled waters and return safely to Heavenly Father?
In your scripture study journal, write how an apostle, prophet, patriarch, bishop, or teacher has helped you improve or grow spiritually or helped protect you from false doctrine and deception. If the person you chose is a local leader, consider writing this person a letter of gratitude describing how he or she has helped you.
Read Ephesians 4:15–16, looking for the way in which our Church leaders should teach us the truths of the gospel.
To help you practice explaining the doctrine taught in Ephesians 4:11–14, teach a family member or friend why the Lord established His Church and called leaders to serve in it. Be sure to use Paul’s teachings in Ephesians 4:11–14 as part of your teaching. When you are finished teaching, ask the person you taught to sign your scripture study journal.
Many of the people whom Paul wrote to in Ephesus may have been recent converts to the Church. As you study Ephesians 4:17–32, look for what Paul taught these Church members they needed to do as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Read Ephesians 4:17–20, looking for words or phrases that describe the spiritual state of Gentiles who had not joined the Church. Notice what Paul said was the reason the other Gentiles were in this spiritual state.
Read Ephesians 4:21–24, looking for what had helped members of the Church become different from other people. Consider marking or noting what you find in your scriptures.
What did Paul say an individual who had been taught the truth should “put off” (Ephesians 4:22)?
We “put on the new man” (Ephesians 4:24) when we diligently live the gospel of Jesus Christ daily by developing faith in Christ, repenting of sins, receiving saving ordinances, and keeping the commandments. From Paul’s teachings we can identify the following truth: Disciples of Jesus Christ put off their old, sinful ways and put on new, righteous ways.
Read Ephesians 4:25–32, looking for the things disciples of Christ need to “put off” (verse 22) or “put away” (verse 31) and the things disciples of Christ need to “put on” (verse 24). You may want to mark or note in your scriptures what you find. Note that the Joseph Smith Translation of Ephesians 4:26 begins “Can ye be angry, and not sin?” (in Ephesians 4:26, footnote a).
In your scripture study journal, draw a picture of or describe a scenario that illustrates the possible behavior of someone who needs to put off his or her sinful nature in one of the areas Paul described. Also draw a picture or describe a scenario that illustrates how that same individual might act if he or she came unto Christ and became a new person. You may want to draw upon your own experience or the experiences of others as you complete this assignment.
Remember that putting off our old ways and fully following Jesus Christ is a continual process and not a one-time event.
We read in Ephesians 5 that the Apostle Paul taught Church members that they should use the Savior’s relationship with the Church as a guide in their family relationships and with others. The phrase “submitting yourselves one to another” in Ephesians 5:21 means placing others ahead of ourselves, and the phrase “the fear of God” refers to our love and respect for God.
Read Ephesians 6:1–4, looking for Paul’s counsel to children about their relationship with their parents.
Ponder how your family relationships would be strengthened by following this counsel.
After urging the Church members to “put on the new man” (Ephesians 4:24) to become righteous and holy, Paul counseled them to put on other things for protection.
Read Ephesians 6:11–13, looking for what Paul taught that the Saints of God should put on.
What were the reasons Paul gave for why we should “put on the whole armour of God” (Ephesians 6:11)? You may want to mark or note these reasons in your scriptures.
Read Ephesians 6:14–17, looking for the various pieces of spiritual armor that Paul said make up the whole armor of God.
How can putting on these pieces of armor help us to avoid sin? What can you do to put on the whole armor of God each day?
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Ephesians 4–6 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: