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Christ's atonement

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Christ displaying the Mercy of God

Ephesians 2:1–22 LEB
1 And you, although you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all formerly lived in the desires of our flesh, doing the will of the flesh and of the mind, and we were children of wrath by nature, as also the rest of them were. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, 5 and we being dead in trespasses, he made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved), 6 and raised us together and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that he might show in the coming ages the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 it is not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we may walk in them. 11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, the so-called uncircumcision by the so-called circumcision in the flesh, made by hands, 12 that you were at that time apart from Christ, alienated from the citizenship of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, not having hope, and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you, the ones who once were far away, have become near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of the partition, the enmity, in his flesh, 15 invalidating the law of commandments in ordinances, in order that he might create the two in himself into one new man, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, killing the enmity in himself. 17 And coming, he proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to the ones who were near, 18 because through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 Consequently, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens of 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 building, joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are built up together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Let us for a moment bow our heads in prayer
(LEB)
1 Give ear, O shepherd of Israel,
who leads Joseph like a flock.
Shine forth, you who sits enthroned above the cherubim.
2 Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh,
stir up your power
and come for our salvation.
3 O God, restore us,
and cause your face to shine that we may be saved. ”
Holy Father we pray, and we confess that without your guidance, we are a flock of bleating sheep. You are the great Shepherd who arises to shepherd and protect and feed us. Today in the presence of your Holy Spirit, we rely on the Word of God to enter again into our lives, to revive and restore us again.
Holy Father, we cry out to you this morning, that You would reach down and penetrate our hearts, allow us to see the Glory of Christ so that we may once again be filled with awe of you! Holy Spirit reveal to us the glory of Jesus Christ so that we may once again rejoice in your presence.
Holy Father, whatever it takes, lead us today into repentance in order that we may once again delight in your presence. Amen
Colossians and Ephesians are often grouped together not only because they appear to have been written by Paul from the same time and place of imprisonment, but because they share distinctive emphases on the cosmic significance of Jesus’ exaltation, the implications of Christ’s enthronement above every spiritual power, and the ways the mystery of God transforms believers’ lives and relationships, especially within the household.
Colossians and Ephesians are often grouped together not only because they appear to have been written by Paul from the same time and place of imprisonment, but because they share distinctive emphases on the cosmic significance of Jesus’ exaltation, the implications of Christ’s enthronement above every spiritual power, and the ways the mystery of God transforms believers’ lives and relationships, especially within the household.
deSilva, D.A., 2004. An introduction to the New Testament: contexts, methods and ministry formation, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

PROVENANCE

Paul writes to the Colossian Christians from a prison (Col 4:3, 10, 18), but which prison? Was it written during his incarceration in Caesarea (about 58–60 C.E.) or his detention in Rome (about 60–62 C.E.) or another imprisonment. We do not know all of the specifics of Paul’s life, nor all the imprisonments he endured. Acts only speaks of Philippi (overnight), Caesarea and Rome, but in 2 Corinthians p 702 Paul speaks of having suffered several imprisonments already before the Caesarean imprisonment.

Ephesians emphasizes the resurrection and exaltation of Christ rather than his death and the cross.

PURPOSE

Unlike every other letter written by or ascribed to Paul, Ephesians gives no sense of responding to a new, specific challenge in the life of the churches in and around that city. Its existence is due not to some interloping rival teachers (there is only one general reference to the dangers of false teachings, Eph 4:14), some infelicitous change in the community’s faith or practice, or some local upheaval, but rather to the author’s desire to edify and encourage them. It is more of a prophylactic medicine or nutritional supplement than a remedy for a known malady

This morning i believe that the Holy Spirit, in the same way He used Paul to edify and encourage the saints at Ephesus, wants to edify and encourage us in order to see the greatness of Christ. In order that we may see our lives in light of Christ’s glory. We will be reading

2 And you, ⌊although you were dead⌋* in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all formerly lived in the desires of our flesh, doing the will of the flesh and of the mind, and we were children of wrath by nature, as also the rest of them were.

4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, 5 and we being dead in trespasses, he made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved), 6 and raised us together and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that he might show in the coming ages the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 it is not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we may walk in them.

Jewish and Gentile Believers United in Christ

11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, the so-called uncircumcision by the so-called circumcision in the flesh, made by hands, 12 that you were at that time apart from Christ, alienated from the citizenship of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, not having hope, and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you, the ones who once were far away, have become near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of the partition, the enmity, in his flesh, 15 invalidating the law of commandments in ordinances, in order that he might create the two in himself into one new man, thus* making peace, 16 and might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, killing the enmity in himself. 17 And coming, he proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to the ones who were near, 18 because through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 Consequently, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens of 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 building, joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are built up together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:1–22 LEB
1 And you, although you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all formerly lived in the desires of our flesh, doing the will of the flesh and of the mind, and we were children of wrath by nature, as also the rest of them were. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, 5 and we being dead in trespasses, he made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved), 6 and raised us together and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that he might show in the coming ages the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 it is not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we may walk in them. 11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, the so-called uncircumcision by the so-called circumcision in the flesh, made by hands, 12 that you were at that time apart from Christ, alienated from the citizenship of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, not having hope, and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you, the ones who once were far away, have become near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of the partition, the enmity, in his flesh, 15 invalidating the law of commandments in ordinances, in order that he might create the two in himself into one new man, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, killing the enmity in himself. 17 And coming, he proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to the ones who were near, 18 because through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 Consequently, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens of 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 building, joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are built up together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Ephesians 2:1–22 LEB
1 And you, although you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all formerly lived in the desires of our flesh, doing the will of the flesh and of the mind, and we were children of wrath by nature, as also the rest of them were. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, 5 and we being dead in trespasses, he made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved), 6 and raised us together and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that he might show in the coming ages the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 it is not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we may walk in them. 11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, the so-called uncircumcision by the so-called circumcision in the flesh, made by hands, 12 that you were at that time apart from Christ, alienated from the citizenship of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, not having hope, and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you, the ones who once were far away, have become near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of the partition, the enmity, in his flesh, 15 invalidating the law of commandments in ordinances, in order that he might create the two in himself into one new man, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, killing the enmity in himself. 17 And coming, he proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to the ones who were near, 18 because through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 Consequently, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens of 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 building, joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are built up together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Read
Paul here is building to an even greater truth at the end of this chapter. In order to understand the glory of Christ’s work on the cross, in order to truly enter into a place of deep thankfulness, we must be reminded of our shortcomings. Our total depravity and inability to save ourselves. Here Paul reminds us that that before we encounter Christ we are deeply sinful.
dead in our sins… according to which we formerly walked.
we lived in the desires of our own flesh - we know that our hearts desire is deceitful above all things … our hearts are evil and dead until we are renewed by the working of the Holy Spirit.
before the salvation of the cross enters into our lives, we continue forth in doing the will of our own mind and our own hearts… but we were not created to obey our own will.. we were created to live and glorify the one and only God, who through the Holy Spirit and the Holy Son made known to us His character so that we may be inspired and drawn into the deepest of adoration.
Paul here asserts that before the salvic work of Christ enters into our lives, through the gift of grace and mercy, that God has given us; we are children of wrath.
Paul continues: Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. Nature does not refer to man as originally created but refers to the fallen character of man. Under the influence of humanism, people have the notion that human beings are born into this world in a state of innocence, with no bias in their hearts or wills towards either goodness or evil
Sproul, R.C., 1994. The Purpose of God: Ephesians, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications.

Children of wrath are those who are lost, and who deserve eternal death. Wrath means the judgment of God; so that the children of wrath are those who are condemned before God. Such, the apostle tells us, had been the Jews,—such had been all the excellent men that were now in the Church; and they were so by nature, that is, from their very commencement, and from their mother’s womb.

Children of wrath are those who are lost, and who deserve eternal death. Wrath means the judgment of God; so that the children of wrath are those who are condemned before God. Such, the apostle tells us, had been the Jews,—such had been all the excellent men that were now in the Church; and they were so by nature, that is, from their very commencement, and from their mother’s womb

By Nature we are Children of wrath.
Nature here represents not how we were created. Adam and eve were created in the perfect image of God, they were sinless creations. Yet when they envied and sinned, sin entered into humanity.
Children of wrath simply leads us to see, that inherently we are disobedient and rebellious. were we to stand before God in this state, his judgement upon us would simply be = Guilty.
It is exactly here that Paul wants to vex our attention… and he starts the next passage...
Read .
But God being rich in mercy…
Here Paul encourages us, he takes us on this journey to see the hope of Christ. God’s mercy leads us to see that we have been saved by His grace.
God’s mercy sent his only begotten son to die on a cross to redeem us of the guilt in which we once stood.
God’s mercy is shown through the great love with which he loves us by allowing his son to butchered on a cross.
God’s mercy over us is seen, that through the cross of Christ and through the gift of grace, our trespasses have been forgiven.
He, through Christ has made us alive together with Christ.
But not only does he make us alive, he brings us into his house. he seats us in his presence. Without the grace of Christ, this would not be possible.
He makes us alive, and seats us in heavenly places… why? the harsh reality is this… it’s not for our own benefit primary. it’s not primarily for us to have a great time.
He does it so that he might show the great riches of his grace and his kindness in and through Jesus Christ.
Let’s think about this for a moment… how does God get the glory by saving us through the gift of Grace?
By saving us through the gift of grace, and establishing us in his presence and in his house… when the world sees that we have departed from our former ways, from our former desires, from our former rebellion, but is now actively seated in the presence of the Most Holy King… they will see that it is not of our own doing that got us here… but through the crucifixion of Christ we have gained access to the Father. This is what will glorify Christ, when the world sees that Christ reconciles us - not into heaven - but into the presence of God the Father. That is the glory.
That is the glory, that when the world looks at us now, they see that we are actively, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are now doing the good works that God has prepared for us… in doing the works that He as predestined us to do… we glorify Him.
And therefore…
Read
formerly you were apart from Christ… outside the inheritance of Israel. Outsided the inhertance of the new covenant.
We were strangers to the promise of the covenant, unable to partake in the blessing of new life in this covenant.
we had no hope and even worse, we were without God in this world.
BUT NOW… now Christ has risen and made it possible to us to live in the promise of this new covenant. and he did this by the shedding of his blood. and through the shedding of his blood… we now draw near.
Read .
through Christ we now have access to the Father.
through the Holy Spirit we are brought into the presence of the Father, and because of this the shedding of the blood of Christ on the Cross… those who have wholly walked into the promise and have surrendered their lives at the feet of Christ
we are no longer strangers… we are no longer orphans.. we are no longer far away. but we have been adopted into the house of Christ.
we have been given a new identity. we have been given a new Father. we have been given a new room in this house. we have received the same last name.
we have become part of this house.
You see, when we came to Helshoogte, not all of us lived with the BRUT values in mind. we had different agendas and different habits and different lifestyles.
By joining this House, our lives changed, our schedules changed. BRUT was introduced, we adapted to some of the good and some of the bad habits of this house. we were given the opportunity to abide in thus house and with this opportunity change happened. we adopted certain patterns of life, certain values that formerly were unknown to us and made them part of our lives.
In the same way, when we walk into the promised of the new covenant of Christ, we are received into his kingdom and His house. we are received as sons. we become members in this Holy Kingdom. there are certain values that must be abundantly present in our lives or otherwise we have not yet fully walked in to this house. If the same characteristics of humility, purity, servanthood, kindness, love, excellence, holiness, grace, mercy, patience and reverence that are in Christ - are not in us… then we have not yet fully grasped the glory of Christ on the Cross.
If through a moment of self-reflection you reach that point were you realize that you are still caught in your sins of the past, if you are still wondering in rebellion and drunkeness, and adultery… then you have not yet fully surrendered your life at the foot of Christ…
This is what Paul is trying to convey to us… that life outside the paramaters of Christ is … lifeless… hopeless… unsatisfying. There is nothing as rewarding as a life that is surrendered to Christ.
Today i believe the Holy Spirit wants us to focus on this…
to focus on the relationship that the Father has with the Son and the Spirit. Christ only did what he saw his Father do (). He is the visible image of the invisible God () and he is the radiance of God and the exact imprint of His nature (Hebrews 1:3).
Fellowships with his disciples.
they went up the mountain.
they ate together.
they celebrated moments worthy of celebration.
they had feasts of celebration.
they worshipped together.
The harsh reality is, that if we think that we are sons of the most holy King, in some way we must reflect the values of his Kingdom. in some way our lives must testify that we have been radically changed from our former lives into the newness of life found in Christ.
Christ came to reconcile us back into right relationship with the Father.
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