Ephesians 4–6

New Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2002), 200–2


Introduction

The Book of Mormon prophet Moroni closed his record with the invitation, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness” (Moroni 10:32). Paul’s counsel in the second half of Ephesians is similar. He taught that Saints could come unto Christ and be perfected in Him by being one in the Savior’s doctrines, obeying divinely called leaders, following the example of Jesus Christ in our families, and using God-given armor as protection from the attacks of Satan.

Prayerfully study Ephesians 4–6and 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, 351–53.

Suggestions for Teaching

Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for Ephesians 4–6.

New Testament Video presentation 18, “The Whole Armour of God” (14:43), can be used in teaching Ephesians 6:10–18 (see New Testament Video Guide for teaching suggestions).

Ephesians 4:1–16 (Scripture Mastery, Ephesians 4:11–14). The Lord has called apostles, prophets, and other Church leaders to help perfect and unify the Saints.

(20–25 minutes)

Show a piano keyboard to your class. Ask students why there are so many keys on the keyboard. Have a student who has been trained in music decide which key is the most important. Strike it repeatedly. Ask:

  • Why does emphasis on just one key fail to make pleasing music?

  • Which keys could we do away with?

Emphasize that all the keys are important but may be used in different songs. Read Ephesians 4:1–6. Explain to students that the gospel is like the keyboard. Baptism is one key, faith in Christ is another, a correct understanding of the Godhead is another. The full keyboard provides the harmony of gospel principles necessary for exaltation.

Draw the following piano keys diagram on the board. Include the words Church Leaders, Purpose, and Needed Until We Become across the top, but leave out the other words.

piano keys

Have your students read Ephesians 4:11–13. Divide the class into three groups. Ask the first group to identify the Church leaders described. Have the second group find purposes of these leaders. Have the third group determine how long we will need these leaders in the Lord’s Church. With the help of the three groups, fill in the rest of the diagram on the board. (You may wish to define some of these offices for students. Evangelists are patriarchs; see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 151. Pastors are bishops and stake presidents; see Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2:510.)

Ask: Which of these leaders could we do without? Tell students that just as we need all the piano keys, we need all the Church leaders spoken of by Paul. Have students read Ephesians 4:14 looking for what would happen if we didn’t have these leaders. Ask students to write the message of this verse in their own words, and invite some of them to share what they have written with the class.

Testify that the organization of the Lord’s Church assists us in becoming perfect and Christlike. Invite students to share examples of counsel they have received and followed from prophets, apostles, stake presidents, bishops, patriarchs, or teachers.

Ephesians 6:10–18. We must “put on the whole armour of God” to be protected from Satan’s attacks.

(25–30 minutes)
soldier in armor

Reproduce the accompanying line drawing of a Roman soldier on the board for later reference.

Bring to class several items of protective gear, such as a construction hard hat, a baseball catcher’s or hockey goalie’s face mask, a fire extinguisher, a heavy coat, or steel-toed safety boots, or draw such items on the board. Ask students to explain how each of these items provides protection.

Show the picture of the Roman soldier. Write the following question above the picture: Are we at war? Allow students to briefly discuss this question. Have students open their hymnbooks. Give them two or three minutes to find as many hymns as possible that mention conflict, and write their titles on the board. (Examples might include “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” no. 246, and “We Are All Enlisted,” no. 250.) Ask:

  • Who are we at war with? (Satan; see Revelation 12:7–11.)

  • How much experience does the enemy have in this war?

Read and discuss Ephesians 6:10–12. Point out that we should not take lightly the war Satan is waging against us (see Revelation 12:17; D&C 76:28–29). He hates us and will do anything he can to make us miserable (see 2 Nephi 2:18). President Harold B. Lee warned:

“Our most deadly contest in life is not with human enemies” (Stand Ye in Holy Places, 330).

Ask: Are we strong enough to defend ourselves against Satan without any help? Testify that the Lord has not left us alone in this battle.

Have a student go to the board. As you read Ephesians 6:13–17, have the student label each piece of the soldier’s armor with the corresponding spiritual armor as taught by Paul.

Physical Armor

Spiritual Armor

sash or belt

truth

breastplate

righteousness

footwear

the gospel of peace

shield

faith

helmet

salvation

sword

the word of God

Ask students if they can identify the four body areas that the armor protects. Teach them what each represents. You may wish to add these symbols to your picture.

head

thoughts

heart

feelings or attitudes

loins

virtue and chastity

feet

goals and the direction we are headed

To help students understand how each of these parts of the armor protects us, consider asking questions such as these:

  • What is there in our concept of salvation that can guide our thoughts? (see D&C 121:45).

  • How can our feelings and attitudes be guided and disciplined by righteousness? (see Alma 38:12).

  • What gospel truths protect our chastity?

  • How can the gospel direct the course we take in life?

Ask: How does faith in Jesus Christ shield us from Satan? Discuss how the word of God (the sword of the Spirit) defends us from Satan’s attacks.

Read Ephesians 6:18and ask students to name the final piece of armor. (Prayer.) Emphasize that removing any of the armor can weaken our defense. Share the counsel of Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the devil to enter a door that is closed. He seems to have no keys for locked doors. But if a door is slightly ajar, he gets his toe in, and soon this is followed by his foot, then by his leg and his body and his head, and finally he is in all the way. …

“… Lucifer readily becomes the master when one succumbs to his initial blandishments [flattery]. Soon then the conscience is stilled completely, the evil power has full sway, and the door to salvation is closed until a thorough repentance opens it again” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, 215–16).

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught:

“The war goes on. It is as it was in the beginning. … It is an ongoing battle. … We cannot be unclean and expect the help of the Almighty. …

“You cannot afford to partake of things that will weaken your minds and your bodies. These include cocaine, ‘crack,’ alcohol, tobacco. You cannot be involved in immoral activity. You cannot do these things and be valiant as warriors in the cause of the Lord. …

“… We are engaged in a great eternal struggle that concerns the very souls of the sons and daughters of God. We are not losing. We are winning. We will continue to win if we will be faithful and true. We can do it. We must do it. We will do it” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 57; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 44).

Invite students to share times they experienced the protection of the armor of God.