Make Yourself at Home
Make Yourself at Home
Scripture: Ephesians 2:11-22
Central Theme: Our reconciliation in Christ
Objective Statement: Every believer can understand our reconciliation in Christ by observing three outcomes of being in Christ.
- Rivalries- The day after my wife and I got engaged, she went to one of her girlfriends from Florida that went to school with us and asked them this question. “Who is the rival team to the Florida State Seminoles?”. She knew that the Noles were my favorite team.
- The friend that she asked came from a die-hard Florida Gator family, and so she had asked the right person to get the kind of answer that she wanted.
- We had a football watching party with some friends of ours not long after and in walks my future fiancé wearing Florida Gator rags (t shirt) with a gigantic smile on her face.
- And to this day if you ask her what her favorite football team is, she’ll say either the Boise State Broncos or the Florida Gators.
- And this is how my marriage has been the whole time. J
- So began the rivalry. The enmity between her and I in this arena.
- You’ve felt the same thing here in Ohio.
- I may not be a gigantic Ohio State fan and you may not like that. I may start to lose you here in Findlay, Ohio.
- But when I tell you that I can’t stand the Michigan Wolverines, now we’re getting closer to being on the same page.
- For most people these kinds of arguments and allegiances are fun.
- But it is amazing how that rivalries like these can become very heated.
- But this isn’t only true of sports…consider some other things that make people have enmity between each other:
- Democrats and Republicans
- Northerners and Southerners
- Differing Races
- Differing religions
- There are all kinds of categories that people place themselves in that bring distance between them.
- Some of them are very relevant. People can be estranged from each other because of hurt and harm done to one another.
- Some of them can be over something very silly.
- Yet so many conflicts are serious and even bloody.
(1) From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? (2) Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. (3) Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
- People that are at war do not invite each other over to dinner.
- There is something that happens when you share your home.
- There is something that happens when you share a meal.
- I’m not saying that it is automatic, but when someone exhibits the gift of hospitality to those around them something changes in the relationship.
- I saw it at college, when people were defined by their friend groups by where they sat at lunch and dinner most days.
- I’ve seen it over and over again in ministry when a meal shared together helps people become closer and connect to each other.
- I’ve seen it in my own family when we invited people over on Thanksgiving and Christmas that were not a part of our family, and yet they become family as a result.
- But, as Dave Ramsey says, thanksgiving dinner tastes different when there is something between two family members.
- Enemies do not typically share holidays, get-togethers or meals.
- Enemies do not typically invite each other to their homes.
- Today we are going to look at a passage of scripture that speaks about our inheritance in Christ.
- It is very similar in pattern to what we learned read last week.
- Paul talks about what we were like before we were in Christ. Then he talks about all that we have now that we are part of God’s family.
- Outside of Christ we were estranged from God.
- We were enemies of God.
- God was at odds with us, and we were at odds with him.
- And the bad news is that we were in the wrong.
- We needed what so many people who are fighting with each other need.
- One word:
- And God did something amazing in Christ Jesus. He reconciled us.
- Today, I want you to understand that in Christ you and I can be reconciled.
- Outside of Christ, there is no reconciliation with God.
- You and I will remain at odds with God.
- But in Christ, God has provided reconciliation.
Being reconciled in Christ has given us three outcomes.
Outcome #1– We have been brought near. v.11-13
(11) Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; (12) That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
- “Wherefore remember”-
- Like verses 1-3 he goes into their past.
- He does it again here in verses 11-12.
- He is reminding them of their former identity.
- In verses 1-3 he told them that in their past they were dead, worldly, influenced by satan, and their flesh, and were the objects of God’s wrath.
- In verses 11-12 he tells them something similar, but it has more to do with their family identity.
- He called them “Gentiles in the flesh”- speaking of the fact that we were uncircumcised. They did not have the outward sign of the promise of the first covenant.
- This was a covenant that was first made to Abram and his seed. Check out Genesis 17:1-14
(1) And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
(2) And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
(3) And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
(4) As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
(5) Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
(6) And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
(7) And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
(8) And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
(9) And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
(10) This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
(11) And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
(12) And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
(13) He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
(14) And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
- Abraham was given a covenant between Him and God.
- It was for Abraham and His seed and God forever.
- Before Christ came, we as gentiles had not been given the promises that Israel had been given.
- This did not mean that everyone that was circumcised was regenerate.
- This did not mean that everyone who was jewish, and in the line of Abraham automatically went to heaven.
- It also did not mean that the gentiles could not be right with God.
- Although redemption was possible, it was through faith and connected to ethnic Israel.
- Israel did not see itself as a missionary to the nations, even though at some level that was a part of God’s desire for them.
- Part of the problem was that the jews and gentiles were very much against each other at times.
- The world has done so many things to the jews.
- Satan hates what God loves. God loves everyone. God loves Israel.
- Paul says to the Ephesians here that they are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
- Why would they be called “uncircumcision”?
- It’s not just that they were being called it because it was technically true.
- It was pujoritive.
- It was a way of saying, “You’re not like us. You’re not jewish. You’re not one of God’s chosen.”
- It was very common even in scripture.
- David calls Goliath an “Uncircumcised Philistine”.
- Saul asks his armor bearer to kill him when he was wounded because he’d rather die by them than by the “uncircumcised”.
- By the way, notice that he says that they “are” called uncircumcision.
- To this day there is enmity from some jews to gentiles and some gentiles to jews.
- Has anyone ever heard of the Holocaust? Anti-semetism?
- As a result, we were aliens- estranged- strangers- from not only Israel as a nation, but also from the promises of God that came through Israel.
- We were truly practically without God, and therefore without hope.
- Look at the similarity to the last passage…
(13) But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
- Because of Jesus Christ, and in Christ Himself, we have been brought near to God.
- We have been included in the life and love of God.
- The sin that created a separation from God has been paid. We have been cleansed and forgiven. How? By the blood of Christ Himself.
- In being “made nigh” we can now have a relationship with God, because the enmity is gone, and justice has been satisfied.
- Those without Christ are apart from, separated from God.
- Gentiles can now, because of Christ, be reconciled to God without the ceremonial law.
- The blood of Christ has paid the price for me to be brought near to God. This means I can have a relationship now with the creator of the universe.
- Even though we were not close to the revelation of God, the covenants of God, or the chosen people of God, we now are brought near to God and to His people.
- Those who are far, have been brought near.
- We have been brought near. This is the first outcome. Now for the second.
Outcome #2– We have been given peace. v.14-18
(14) For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
- “He” here is talking about Jesus Christ.
- Jesus Himself is our peace.
- Jesus brought resolution to our enmity with God by becoming a propitiation for our sins.
- He purchased it with His own blood.
- “and hath made both”- Both Jew and Gentile
- “one”- Jew and gentile
- Where were jew and gentile being made one? In the assembly. In the local church.
- “middle wall of partition”- The wall in the temple that separated jews and gentiles has been torn down. The veil in the temple that separated men from the presence of God in the holy of holies- these have been torn down.
(15) Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
- The enmity between God and man, and the enmity between jew and gentile no longer has to be present. It has been abolished.
- Even the ceremonial law and ordinances have been abolished. Why?
- So that Jew and gentile can be made into one “new man”- the local body of believers- and there is now peace!
- In the body of Christ, there is now reconciliation between God and man, and jew and gentile.
- Paul was very much a part of seeing this happen.
(4) And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. (5) But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. (6) And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
(7) And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. (8) And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; (9) And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
(10) Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? (11) But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
- So the early church, being lead of the Holy Spirit, wrote a letter to the gentiles.
(23) And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:
(24) Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
- Here is the word we have been talking about this whole time.
- The word is reconcile…
(16) And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
- God brings both jew and gentile to God by his reconciling, sacrificial, propitiating death on the cross.
- He thereby destroys the enmity between God and man, and between jew and gentile.
- You and I are no longer enemies of God. We are no longer estranged from His promises, or privileges. We are not without hope. We have been given peace because of the blood of Jesus.
- Because of Christ’s blood we have been brought near, we’ve been given peace, and finally…
Outcome #3– We have been made family. v.17-22
(17) And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. (18) For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
- The subject of verses 17 and 18 is the “he” in verse 16 that speaks of Jesus.
- He came and preached/proclaimed to those who were far away (gentiles) and to those who were near (Jews).
- Now because of Jesus, both Jews and gentiles have access to God the Father.
- If we both have access and adoption by One Spirit (the Holy Spirit that regenerates and indwells us) to the Father, that means we are sons. If we are sons, then we are also brothers and sisters.
(19) Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
- We are no longer strangers and foreigners. We are not out of town guests to the promises of God. We are not unwelcomed and uninitiated. We are part of the family.
- We’re part of the same spiritual home.
- We are family.
- We’re a household of faith.
- The house is the local, New Testament church.
- Paul is mixing metaphors here in a beautiful way. We are assimilated into the household of God and into the nation of God.
- We are not who we used to be but are now part of (citizens) what God is doing- the local church.
(20) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (21) In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: (22) In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
- The local church was built on a foundation of the Old Testament and New Testament testimony of God and of Jesus Christ, upon which Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone.
- He is the most important part of the foundation that directs the whole thing.
- And the filling and directing of the whole building is the Spirit of God.
- God has made enormous efforts to bring us to himself and to each other. He desires unity in the local body. We are family!
- We now have access to God through the blood of Christ. We’ve been reconciled. We’ve been brought near by the blood of Christ.
- We have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. We have been assimilated into this family of people who also have that same Spirit.
- As we live in the assembly, in the local body, we must do so with the Word of God as the key foundation.
- The point of our study and proclamation of the Word of God is to be made like Christ through obedience to what His Word says. This will bring about unity in the family as we all submit to what God is speaking to us through His Word.
- Because of the blood of Jesus Christ
- We have been brought near to God and to each other,
- We have peace with God and with each other,
- And we are now family – sons and daughters of God, and brothers and sisters one of another.