Rooted in Christ’s Privileges Preached by: Matthew S. Black Text: Ephesians 2:18-22 Series: Rooted in Christ Date: February 26, 2012, 10:30am Living Hope Bible Church of Roselle, IL Introduction: Open your Bibles to Ephesians. We are continuing our series: “Rooted in Christ”. The title of the message is: “Rooted in Christ’s Privileges”. Locked Door Illustration The other day I put my key in the lock and it didn’t work. I had no access. Thankfully my friend, who has rescued me from many perils, Jim Kassl, showed up and let me in the door! No access is not a good place to be! Probation Illustration Before I knew Christ, I had access in my life limited because of my own poor choices. I was on probation because of wrong decisions. Explanation And this is where we all are before Christ. We are dead in our trespasses and sins with NO ACCESS to God! Only through the regenerating grace of God can we have access restored by the Cross of Christ. The pathway to redemption is stained with Jesus’ blood! And this is what we find in Ephesians 2:18-22. What a Joy! What a joy today that we can say: We are sons and daughters of the Most High God! If you are to grow and change in Christ, you must know your position in Christ. That position gets you privileges. Our outline today is simple: Christ has given you access to God which gives you amazing privileges. It’s what you were made for! If you are in Christ, you are now part of: 1. God’s kingdom/city. 2. God’s family. 3. God’s temple. Ephesians 2:18–22 (ESV), “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” The Trinity Verse 18, “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” - Holy Spirit The gift of the Holy Spirit brings the conscious presence of God to the individual. Carson, D. A. (1994). New Bible commentary : 21st century edition (4th ed.) (Eph 2:11–22). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press. Edwards on the Trinity “The Father is the deity … in its direct existence. The Son is the deity generated by God’s understanding, or having an idea of Himself … The Holy Ghost is the deity … breathed forth in God’s infinite love to and delight in Himself. And I believe the whole Divine essence does …subsist both in the Divine idea and Divine love, and that each of them are properly distinct persons.” Jonathan Edwards. “An Essay on the Trinity,” in Treatise on Grace and Other Posthumously Published Writings, ed. Paul Helm (Cambridge, UK: Clarke, 1971), 118. So what does the Trinity mean to us? Why is the Trinity important? First of all, unless we worship God in the way He has revealed Himself to us, we are idolators. Secondly, to truly do what we were made to do – to soar, and to freely accomplish all that God wants us to accomplish, we must look into the face of God. We must be conformed to His likeness. Edwards put it this way: “God is glorified within Himself these two ways: (1) By appearing . . . to Himself in His own perfect idea [of Himself ], or in His Son, who is the brightness of His glory. (2) By enjoying and delighting in Himself, by flowing forth in infinite . . . delight towards Himself, or in his Holy Spirit.” “. . . So God glorifies Himself toward the creatures also in two ways: (1) By appearing to . . . their understanding. (2) In communicating Himself to their hearts, and in their rejoicing and delighting in, and enjoying, the manifestations which He makes of Himself. . . . God is glorified not only by His glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. When those that see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it. His glory is then received by the whole soul, both by the understanding and by the heart. God made the world that He might communicate, and the creature receive, His glory; and that it might [be] received both by the mind and heart. He that testifies his idea of God’s glory [doesn’t] glorify God so much as he that testifies also his approbation of it and his delight in it.” Piper, John (2010-09-15). Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God (Kindle Locations 451-459). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition. The Son Exegetes the Father Remember the Son exegetes the Father to us. He manifests and reveals all we know about God to our understanding. Look at the mercy of God inn Christ! Look at the love of God! Look at the wrath of God poured out on Christ. All that we know about the Father is revealed in Christ. Christ gives us access to the Father. He makes it possible through His death. He is the LOGOS – the very fullness of deity in bodily form. He is so compassionate that He takes on our nature! In this He is revealing the infinite compassion of the Father to us. The Blessed Spirit Stirs our Affections And the blessed Holy Spirit stirs our affections up for God. He stirs up the deep waves of love and enjoyment and addiction to God. “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none that I desire upon earth beside thee”. It is by the Son and the Spirit that we have access to the Father. We could never understand the way to the Father except through Christ! We could never love God without the Spirit stirring in us infinite yearnings for God. Now We Have Access! Look around you this morning. God’s done this. He’s put us together as one body in Christ. Not only could we not accomplish this, but none of us would have wanted it in our old, selfish nature. Aren’t you glad God knows a whole lot more than us?! God is calling out a people for His name. He is saving one person at a time and putting them together into one Body for His purposes. He’s given us access! God takes a group of sinful people—people like you and like me—people who have loved their sin, and He cleans them up. He makes them holy through the blood of His Son, and He makes them desire holiness—hungering and thirsting after righteousness. He puts them together to serve Him and to do His will on this earth. That’s why we are gathered here together this morning. We are here together. We are united by the Spirit of God. We are one body in Christ today. God is putting this masterpiece He calls the church together. He’s given us Access! What Does that Access Look Like? I. A Kingdom/City: Authority… No Longer ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS Verse 19, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints…” A. We were Illegal Immigrants. We had No Rights. We Were Like Illegal Immigrants with No Rights We were like illegal immigrants! A “stranger” was an illegal immigrant. An “alien” or foreigner was like a temporary resident on a passport. You only had so much time and limited rights. Explanation: Our Home Country was Hell We used to enjoy God’s creation and God’s benefits. He fed us. He gave us our breath and our life. In Him we live and move and have our being. But we were just illegal immigrants on God’s earth. Before we were in Christ our home country and eternal abode was hell and our father was the devil. We loved lies. We loved pride. We loved this world and its possessions. You Are No Longer an Illegal Immigrant You are no longer an illegal immigrant with no rights. What right have you to ask God for anything? You have every right. You are no longer a foreigner and illegal immigrant. You are fellow citizens with the saints. *****There was a time when we were strangers and foreigners in the church. But now we are strangers and pilgrims in the world! B. Now we are Fellow Citizens with the saints! Verse 19, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints…” Old Testament Theocracy Replaced: The Old Testament Theocracy has been replaced! We now have access to God. We now have rights! Roman Empire in its Zenith At the time of the writing of this letter, the Roman Empire is at the zenith of its splendor. There are no signs of its coming decline or fall. Yet Paul sees this other kingdom – and it’s not Jewish or Roman. It’s made up of every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. It is international and includes every language and family of the earth. Here is something a thousand times more splendid than the greatest kingdoms of the earth. We Have a Birth Certificate Now brothers and sisters, we no longer have to show a Green card or a Passport! We have birth certificates to the kingdom that will last when all other kingdoms and nations fall. Now We are Fellow Citizens! · Philippians 3:20 (ESV), “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ”. · Romans 8:17 (ESV) We are “heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” · Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:2 (ESV), “…Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” We are Now a Holy Nation · Now we can say to anyone in Christ: 1 Peter 2:9 (ESV), “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Because We Are Citizens, We Have Rights We have access, because we are now full fledged citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, of God’s Kingdom. We have rights afforded to us!! We have authority to call the Kingdom of Jesus our home. We identify with His people and His nation! II. A Family: Security… No Longer SLAVES. Now the language becomes more intimate. We are not just members of the same country, we are members of the same family! Verse 19, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God”. From Slavery to Family Explanation: This language is significant, because 50% of the Roman Empire were slaves. This is would have significance for a great number of the Ephesian Christians, many of whom were slaves. Some times we act like the prodigal son: “make me one of your hired servants”. We are no longer in the slave status saints of God! We are family members! Redemption: Purchased from the slave market of sin. We were once enslaved to our sins. We had many masters. No longer should we live as slaves. We have been adopted as sons and daughters of the living God. We have all the rights and privileges of sonship! Church: A Family Where You Are Accepted As a member of God’s family, you have security. You need to know if you are saved, you are not yet whole. You are still broken. You are part of the Body of Christ. This place is not a show case for saints. If you are looking for that, you’re at the wrong place. We are a place for broken people. If you are yearning to be loved and where people will meet you where you are then you are at the right place. We want so badly at Living Hope, to be a place where you don’t have to put on a mask. Leave your masks at the door. This is a place where sinners struggle. You need to know that you are accepted here. You can struggle. We must lean on each other! We are a family, a Body. Like a family every member is different. Katie and Kristen are different from each other. Just when you think you have your parenting skills perfected, God throws you a curveball!! And that’s how it is in the family of God – we are all so different. Look at how Paul compares us to a body in 1 Corinthians 12. One Body with Many Members 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 (ESV), “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” Membership in God’s Family not a Denomination The church does not consist of one particular denomination or family of churches, but all those people, men, women, and children who have been truly converted by the Holy Spirit of God – who have embraced the Cross of Calvary – who have gone through that narrow gate to “forsake all and follow Christ”. This is membership in His family. You can no longer be a friend of the world and be part of the family of God. To be a friend of the world is to be an enemy of God. Half Aborted Child, now God’s Child We were once as Ezekiel describes as an abandoned half aborted child left to die in the street. God has picked us up and made us His own. Then, what makes the family of God so special? · There is a Family Language: Praise and prayer! Day and night we pray to the Lord with out ceasing! And we say, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” · There is a Family Likeness: Christ in us! As part of God’s family, bear His likeness. We no longer look like the sinful selfish Adam! · There is the Family’s Location: heaven and earth! The church Triumphant in Heaven and the Church Militant on earth. · There is a Family Love: in Christ and for one another! · There is a Family Legacy: the Name above all names! III. A Temple: Functionality… We are No Longer in the TRASH HEAP Verses 20-22, “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Paul tells us we are God’s Temple! Peter tells us we are living stones in God’s Temple! Look over at 1 Peter 2:4… · 1 Peter 2:4-5, “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” No Longer Part of the Trash Heap! Saints of God, we are no longer part of the trash heap. We are bricks in God’s Temple. We members of God’s Temple. God wants us to soar with the gifts He has given us, but you must be founded on the right foundation! A. You are built on Christ and the Apostles – the Word of God! 1. Jesus is the cornerstone of the foundation. A cornerstone was the first piece of the foundation laid, and the pinnacle of the building was measured by it, and the entire foundation was measured by it. Verse 20, “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone” · 1 Corinthians 3:11 “…No one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” When Paul talks about the cornerstone, he is delving into ancient prophecy. There would be a cornerstone laid for God’s people. It is Jesus Christ. Way back in Psalm 118 we get intimations of it. In fact this is where Paul is quoting from… · Psalm 118:22-23, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 23 This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” Jesus applied this verse to Himself in Matthew 21:42. He says in John 14:6, “I am the way the truth and the life.” Is Christ your all? Is He your cornerstone. You know that you are in Christ because everything in your life 2. The apostles are the rest of the foundation. But Eph. 3:20 gets more specific, “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone”. The cornerstone was the most important stone of the building and of the foundation. All the other stones got their direction from the chief cornerstone. Is the Word of God your all? Sufficiency of Scripture. The Scriptures are profitable. We have everything we need for life and godliness. · 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” There are many models as to who we are as human beings in this world. Some hold to: o The blank slate model. You are simply a product of your environment. The idea is to change your environment. That only works if there is not something sinister on the inside. The Scripture says our problem is not our environment. It’s our heart. o The pycho analysis model. It’s your parents fault. There’s something in your past that makes you messed up. The goal is talk about your past. o There is the biological model. You are simply a mix of chemicals. You just need some pills. o There is the self esteem model. There’s nothing wrong with you. You need to love yourself. That just ignores the problem! o The only reasonable model is the biblical model. We take responsibility for our sin. We are rebels against God. We need forgiveness. We need to appropriate Christ’s awful payment for our sins. We need to trust Him. And then, He gives us the Scriptures. The truth sets us free. The power to change is by” § A change of nature: regeneration gives you the power to change. § A renewing of your mind in the Word of God. B. You are joined to fellow believers. Verse 20-21, “20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” The idea is that God has put you in the place you are! My desire is to see each of you who is born again soar in the gifts Solomon’s Temple Built in Silence “We are told in 1 Kings 6:7 that when the great temple of Solomon was constructed, “it was with stone prepared at the quarry, so that neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron was heard in the house while it was being built.” To my knowledge, no building in history was ever built in this way. Its construction was almost silent, so holy was the work. Silently, silently, the stones were moved and added and the building rose.” James Montgomery Boice. Ephesians, 93. No noise. No hammers. So it is with the Spirit of God. John 3:7-8, “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” God’s Spirit may raise you to life and put you as a living stone in His Temple during the service. The test of regeneration is not a sinner’s prayer, but the omnipotent power of the Spirit raising us to life. What a mysterious work it is! Being Joined: This is in the passive tense. It means God picked you out and chose you. Anyone who is a builder knows. Yet he chose us not based on our fitness, but on our unfitness. He came not to save the righteous, but to call sinners to repentance. Being Joined: Jointed—shaped. God has made you and gifted you for service to him. Together. You can not please God alone! You need the rest of the body. Now what you can do is hide your sin and come to church and not grow, or you can be vulnerable to other people and grow and change! You cannot do this alone. The work of God cannot and will not go forward alone. C. You are God’s home. Atmosphere is important. Atmosphere changes everything. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” God has moved in to your heart and soul! You ought to be different now! Illustration: If you take a fish out of water, what happens to the fish? Atmosphere is important! Have you ever gone into a nice restaurant, and the only table available was smoking? Atmosphere is important! You are God’s Temple! Put the treasures of His Word in your heart. Be filled with the Spirit. We are God’s Temple 1. Individually 1 Corinthians 6:19, “…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own…” 2. Collectively 2 Corinthians 6:16, “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Christ is No Longer Here on Earth: You are His Body. You are His Temple. He is here on earth through you! Matthew 5:16 (ESV), “…Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Application: What is the atmosphere of your life? Is Christ your chief corner stone? Is everything in your life directed toward Him? You are no longer part of the trash heap! You are part of God’s Temple. You have a new functionality! Before you knew Christ, your life was being wasted. Now every good work is ordained beforehand that you should walk in it! Identity Changes Everything When Jill and I got married she took on my name. We have now begun a legacy that our children will carry on. As Christians we are not what we once were. We are in a new position and part of a new people! Conclusion: God has taken us from the prison house of punishment and the slave market of sin and made us part of his family! How do we grow and change in Christ? We start acting like sons and daughters with all the privileges! · We are no longer ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, we are part of God’s KINGDOM/COUNTRY. · We are no longer SLAVES, but we are adopted as SONS in God’s FAMILY! · We are no longer in the TRASH HEAP, we are part of God’s TEMPLE!