Some definitions and concepts:
- Rulers and Authorities: Sometimes spoken of as earthly authorities over groups of people. These “authorities” define the “rules” – whether spoken or unspoken, laws, philosophies, political ideologies, etc. that members must adhere to in order to belong and find meaning and significance. The apostle Paul also speaks of “Rulers and Authorities in the heavenly realms” – Spiritual powers at work manipulating earthly rulers and authorities in order to enslave and divide human beings against one another.
- Wisdom: The ability to discern the path towards human flourishing. Or, how to live life in such a way that makes life work properly, makes community work properly, and even the creation itself. Rulers and authorities are distinct from one another in that they each hold unique claims to wisdom, often disagreeing heavily over which claim is correct.
- The Church: In Ephesians 3:10, Paul claims that the Church displays the manifold wisdom of God to rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. This message is an exploration of how that actually works.
Questions (There are lots. You are free to pick and choose):
- What kinds of groupings of people do we tend to belong to (i.e. political parties, clubs, cliques, etc.)? Are you heavily involved in any of these at this time? (Don’t worry, you’re not a bad person if you do :-).
- What are the “rules” for belonging and who are the authorities? According to those rulers and authorities, what is wisdom?
- Who or what would you say gives you a sense of worth, belonging, purpose, etc.?
- Would you agree that human beings in general have a sense that their lives are supposed to have purpose, belonging, and value? Where does that come from? What kinds of “rulers and authorities” are we willing to submit to in order to attain these things?
- How is the Church a display of God’s wisdom to the rulers and authorities (Read Ephesians 3:4-12)? Have you ever experienced this?
- How can the Church be a stronger display of God’s wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms?
- What is one thing you are going to do this week as a result of this conversation?