Ephesians 1–3

New Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2002), 198–99


Introduction

Jesus Christ gives us rich gospel blessings to show His great love for us. The doctrines of foreordination, the grace of Jesus Christ, and gospel fellowship are a few examples of this love.

Prayerfully study Ephesians 1–3and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 348–51, 355–57.

Suggestions for Teaching

Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for Ephesians 1–3.

Ephesians 1:3–12. In the premortal world Heavenly Father foreordained His faithful children to receive certain responsibilities and blessings on this earth. In order to fulfill our foreordained callings and realize the promised blessings, we must remain faithful.

(15–20 minutes)

Hold up a cloth or bedsheet or hang one from the ceiling. Invite students to imagine that the sheet represents the veil of forgetfulness that separates premortal life from earth life. Have them suppose they could step through the veil and recall premortal experiences. Ask what they would want to learn about themselves, and allow them to share a few ideas. Explain that although we may not know many details about our individual premortal existence, there is one important doctrine we do know about. Ask three students to read the following scriptures aloud and summarize for the class what each teaches: Jeremiah 1:4–5; Acts 17:24, 26; and Abraham 3:23.

Write the word foreordain on the board. Invite students to discuss its meaning. It might be helpful to separate the word and consider its two parts: fore and ordain. After a brief discussion, provide this definition: “God’s premortal selection of His valiant spirit children to fulfill certain missions during their mortal lives.” Invite students to suggest the kinds of missions someone might be foreordained to perform. Remind them to refer to the scriptures the three students read.

Share this insight from the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was. I suppose I was ordained to this very office in that Grand Council” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 365).

Select, read, and discuss verses from Ephesians 1:1–12. You may want to use some of the following comments and questions:

Ephesians 1

v. 1

Notice who Paul was writing to. How much of the gospel had these people already been taught? (As Saints they would have had an understanding of basic gospel principles.) This might be a good place to emphasize that all of Paul’s Epistles were written to members of the Church.

vv. 2–3

What do these verses tell us about Paul’s understanding of the nature of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ?

v. 4

What phrase describes foreordination? What are we foreordained to become?

vv. 5, 11

Notice the definition of predestinated as given in footnote 5a. If we keep our covenants, what great blessing have we been promised?

Testify to your students that as they serve faithfully in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Heavenly Father will place them where they need to be in order to fulfill their foreordained callings. Conclude with the following testimony and counsel from President James E. Faust of the First Presidency:

“In this great hall and listening this evening are thousands of future leaders of the Church who have been called out of the world and chosen by the Lord before the foundations of the world, as described by Abraham. … I believe the Lord has brought forth special spirits who were reserved from before the world was to be strong and valiant in this difficult time of the world’s history. …

“With all my heart I urge you … to be worthy and true” (in Conference Report, Sep.–Oct. 1995, 63–64; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 47).

Ephesians 2:1–10. We are saved by Jesus Christ’s grace through our faith in Him.

(25–30 minutes)
plan of salvation

Draw the accompanying diagram on the board. Have students examine the picture, and ask:

  • Which elements are necessary for us to receive eternal life? (All of them.)

  • Which of the elements did man provide? (Our first parents, Adam and Eve, provided the Fall in accordance with God’s plan.)

  • Which elements are available because of the Savior?

Explain that all the elements of salvation are provided through Jesus Christ. We cannot progress to eternal life without the Savior. Have students read Ephesians 2:4–6looking for words that describe the help our Savior provides. Have them read verses 5, 7–8 looking for the significant word that occurs in all three verses.

Read the first two paragraphs of the definition of “grace” in the (Bible Dictionary (p. 697) and list on the board the elements of grace. Ask: What must we do to receive the full benefits of grace? (Exercise faith, repent, do our best to keep the commandments.) Read Ephesians 2:8–9 and emphasize that grace is a gift. Help students understand that the Lord provides gifts for us that we cannot provide for ourselves. Ask them to look again at the drawing, and ask:

  • Why can’t we be saved without His grace?

  • In addition to the gifts included in the diagram, what other blessings does the Savior provide us through His grace? (Answers might include health, answers to prayers, help in daily life.)

Have students read Helaman 14:13 and compare it with Ephesians 2:8. Ask: What does the Book of Mormon add to our understanding of being saved by grace through faith? Read Ephesians 2:10 and discuss the good works God has ordained that we should do.

Point out that the Savior does so much for us each day. Without Jesus Christ we could not become like Heavenly Father. We may express gratitude to Him by daily recognizing His hand in our lives. Conclude by singing “I Stand All Amazed” (Hymns, no. 193), paying particular attention to how Jesus Christ’s grace is described.