God's Eternal Plan - Lesson 12

By Stafford North

The Church

Background for the Teacher


  1. The student can explain who is in the church and how the church is the climax of God's Eternal Plan.
  2. The student can list terms the New Testament uses for those who are in the church and can explain what each of these expressions implies about the church.


  1. Each one needs a Bible
  2. Have ready the Written Review on Lesson 11 and Worksheets for Lesson 12.
  3. Prepare some cards to hand out to some in the class so they will be ready to read some verses quickly when the time comes. There are many verses to read in this lesson.
  4. Have ready the songs "Victory in Jesus" and "We're Part of the Family."
  5. Be ready to use the board to note key words and verses.Theme: Ephesians 3:9-10 says that God made known His mystery "by the church." So the church is the climax of God's plan and through "the saved" He shows what He planned even before the world began.

Lesson Plan for Teaching the Class


  1. Welcome the visitors.
  2. Sing "Victory in Jesus," if will have time.
  3. Give answers for the Written Review.
  4. Read Ephesians 3:9-10 and connect it with the beginning of this series of lessons.We have studied God's mystery that was revealed piece by piece and which is now finally made known by the church.

Learning Experiences:

  1. Read Ephesians 1:1; Galatians 3:27; and Colossians 1:2. Q: What terms does Paul use to describe those who are "in the church?" A: "Faithful in Christ Jesus.""Holy and faithful brothers." Those "baptized into Christ." Q: How are these people the climax of the mystery? A: The mystery was to bring those separated from God by sin back into fellowship with Him. Those back in fellowship with Him are those who are saved, who are in Christ, who are in the church. So one can look at the church and see what God's plan has brought about.
  2. Read Acts 11:26. Q: What does the term "Christian" mean? A: Belonging to Christ. Read Galatians 2:20. Q: How does Paul describe his relationship toChrist and how did he demonstrate this? A: Paul said he had been crucified with Christ. Even though he had bitterly opposed Jesus, on the road to Damascus he was convinced that Jesus was the risen Lord and, once convinced, he obeyed Jesus and committed the rest of his life to serving him. Q: What are some of the evidences of how Paul demonstrated "belonging to Christ?" A: Travels. Beatings. Being stoned. Insults. Threats. Prison. Q: What are ways we can show that we take seriously that we "belong to Christ?" A: Keeping His moral law when those around us do not. Demonstrating to others how Christians have the best life in every situation. Sharing our faith with others.
  3. Read Acts 11:22; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Romans 16:16. Q: What do these verses tell us about what "the saved" were called? A: The church, the church of God, the church of Christ. These terms are all, of course, referring to the same people. Read Matthew 16:18. Q: What did Jesus mean by saying "I will build my church?" A: The term means "called out" and suggests that Jesus would call out of the world a group who would be saved.
  4. Read Ephesians 1:7-10 and 1:22-23. Q: How did God bring together all the elements of "the mystery of his will?" A: Through making Christ the head, the head of His body, the church. Q: What are some lessons we learn from the picture of Christ as the head and the church as the body? A: He is the leader and we are to do what He says. We are all members of the same body and should work together. There should not be divisions among us. Each member of the body has an important part to play in carrying out the various functions of the body.
  5. Read Ephesians 1:4-5. Q: From this reading, what other picture does God use to describe those who are "in Christ.?" A: We are His adopted children and so the picture is that of a family. Read Romans 8:16-17. Q: Here Paul emphasizes what aspect of being family? A: We are heirs, we have a great promise awaiting us.
  6. Read Matthew 3:2, 4:17; Mark 9:1; Matthew 16:18; John 18:36. Colossians 1:13. Q: From these verses, what do we learn about "the kingdom" as another expression to describe God's church? A: John and Jesus preached it would come soon. Jesus said some who heard him would see it come. It was not an earthly, worldly kingdom, but a spiritual one. The Colossians Christians have been translated into it. Jesus will build the church and give Peter the keys to the kingdom, thus speaking of the church and the kingdom in similar terms. What a privilege to be a citizen in God's kingdom!
  7. Read Ephesians 3:8-11. Let's repeat together the chapter headings which now tell the story of God's Eternal Plan which began in His mind even before creation and which, by Paul's day, had reached its climax by bringing saved people together in the church. As people saw the church, they could now admire the wisdom of God in making and working out this plan through the centuries.
  8. Study the words of "We're Part of the Family" and then sing the song.
  9. The memory verse for this lesson is Ephesians 3:10: "Through the church the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord."


  1. Knowing that, as Christians, we are the beneficiaries of God's Eternal Plan should make us excited to live as God wants us to and to share this great news with others.
  2. What new commitment will you make?

Evaluation and Assignment:

  1. Study the worksheet to prepare for the final written review.
  2. Be prepared at the next class meeting to repeat all the chapter titles as a way of reviewing God's Eternal Plan.
  3. Be prepared to draw the ten figures at the next class meeting. Study also a statement for each and a verse to go with it. The written review will just ask you to draw the pictures but you should at least be able to draw the pictures and with notes, be able to write the statement and use verses to explain this plan to someone.

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