Another sermon that is linked to the House Group teaching on being a multi ethnic church.
Do you enjoy reading biographies? Well here in this section of Ephesians we have a short spiritual biography of the Gentiles in terms of what they were (“formerly” v 11) what Christ has done for them (“but now” v 13) as well as what they have become (“Consequently” v 19.) Three words encapsulate their spiritual journey:-
1 – ALIENTATION (v 11 – 12.)
The word that best describes this alienation is the word “without,” in that the Gentiles were without Christ, without citizenship, without covenants, without hope and without God. They did not have a lot going for them, experiencing the double alienation of separation from God and from God’s people.
2 – ALIGNMENT (v 13 – 18.)
Christ destroyed both these alienations by offering vertical reconciliation (to God) as well as horizontal reconciliation (to God’s people) as a result of his peacemaking on the cross, and by way of having abolished the ceremonial law as the basis of salvation. So Jew and Gentile have now been united in Christ as – “the one new man” (Romans 10 v 12 – 13.) By faith in his son, God now views both as one, minus any differences (Galatians 3 v 28.)
3 – ASSIMILATION (v 19 – 22.)
No longer were the Gentiles homeless refugees; along with the Jews they belonged in the church, a truth that was something of a work in progress in the early church! Such a new order is expressed by the use of three phrases:-
A – God’s Kingdom.
They were now “fellow citizens” living on equal terms under the rule and reign of God.
B – God’s Family.
They were now “members of God’s household” enjoying God’s Fatherhood and the Christian brother/sisterhood across racial and cultural barriers; with God’s family being built on the strong “foundation” of Apostolic and prophetic teaching, while being kept on track by Christ the “chief cornerstone.”
C – God’s Temple.
They were now a “holy temple in the Lord” indwelt by the Holy Spirit who was building a corporate unity (1 Peter 2 v 4 – 5.) There was no longer any need for a temple of fixed location to demonstrate God’s presence; instead he now inhabited the temple of his people throughout the world.
Pause 4 thought.
Reflect on the following quote:-
“Authentic reconciliation on the vertical dimension with God will result in genuine reconciliation on the horizontal dimension with one another. The church must not only preach the message of reconciliation, but also model it in its relationships.”
(“The message of the cross” by Derek Tidball.)
Theme: “Crossing the divide”
Reading: Ephesians 2 v 11 – 18
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Chris Hughes