Sunday Worship Service 3-31-19 - Eph 2:17-22 What's In A Church
Ephesians 2 C Sermon 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. We don’t see reconciliation yet, he’s our peace, he made peace, and so he preached/preaches peace. First words to apostles after crucifixion, resurrection were “peace be with you”. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. Access = ongoing relationship, as in an audience before an emperor, but more because god and father. The Spirit has a secondary but important part in this passage: This is how Christ accomplishes these things in us. This is how he came and preached to those who were far off!!! Remember Acts 1 – The Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth. “I will never leave you nor forsake you … it is better that I leave so that the Comforter will come.” This is HUGE! This is the connection between the Bible, Christ, the Apostles, the early Church, the Ephesians reading this letter, and us at Covenant Church in Dublin GA!!!!! Jesus is still doing exactly what he pronounced at the beginning of Acts, what He predicted through Isaiah, (announce – what is happening in the future. Pronounce – what is happening in the present), and what He revealed/reminded the Ephesian Church about. Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” Isaiah 57:19 creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the LORD, “and I will heal him. Portrait of God’s new society/humanity – what we have now become 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. Strangers, aliens, citizens are loaded terms here. (Roman empire context) Progression from fellow citizens to members of household/family … one fatherhood, one brotherhood (emphasis here), brothers is the most common term of reference to Christians in the NT. Jesus is the central theme here still – it is through him that we (both) have access (unity) to the Father (incredible truth claim); it is in him that everything (old and new, apostles and prophets, household of people, in him all things hold together – no less his church) grows into the holy temple because he is the temple (not to mention he’s also the cornerstone of the foundation – where it all comes together – think of two sides being built but then having to join together, how’s it going to happen); it is in him that we grow together as the structure; – in a sense we become him, filling up what is lacking in his affliction, conforming to his image, we are his body, losing our lives for his sake and the gospel’s; he’s the king, we’re the kingdom. Christ the cornerstone – 39 foot cornerstone of temple in Jerusalem, the one that serves as the standard, what it all goes back to – no levels, this was how they kept each step secure to the whole, moreover both being built seemingly separate shown to now fit together by the cornerstone. Isaiah 28:16 therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’ 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. V21 seems to be talking about the Old and the New being joined together. And, then V22 speaks of us too being joined together in the joining of the Old and New (apostles and prophets), which is why it says “you also”. Dwelling place for God (v22). Members of household of God (v19). This seems to be a progression (of intimacy?). 1 Cor. 6:19; 3:16 and Eph. 2:21–22 Temple of God is identified successively as the individual Christian’s body, the local church, and the universal church. 1 Corinthians 6:19 Or 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, 1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? It GROWS together, not complete until all of the elect have come in; and then in the end, it will be declared with finality: “The dwelling place of God is with men” Rev 21:5 Disunity of the Church – it’s easy for us now, do we put up barriers of race, social class, categories of sin, ideologies and politics of men, pride and unforgiveness, division between clergy and laity, or are we constantly looking back to the cornerstone and foundation for everything we seek to build and become. It is such an offense to Christ who died to tear down the old walls for us to simply build new ones. OTOH, we may display the glory of Christ in our unity (“may they be one as we are one”), and we may grow into his holy temple as we love one another and seek other brothers and sisters among a lost generation out there of all races, classes, ideologies, and sinful conditions. One Father, one brotherhood with Christ, one Spirit … This is the Church! The Gospel: Our death-experience. Back to new human in 1-10. My personal experience with the Gospel. 1. My view of self. 2. My view of God 3. My view of others. 4. How and Why of life/love. Our experience/recognition of needing the death of Jesus to be reconciled to God is what drives/empowers our humble willingness to be reconciled to each other. If we find it difficult to give ourselves, to fully commit ourselves to a group of believers to call ourselves part of a church, a member of Christ’s body, because we’ve been hurt so deeply, because we’re suspicious of people, we need to seek strength from Jesus, spending the time it takes to pray to him as our counselor, asking Him to heal our hearts, to unite us to His Spirit, to share that Spirit with fellow believers, seeking their good, focusing on them, not hurting one another but helping, and protecting from those who would seek to harm. You’re welcomed as a family – so love deeply. You’re being built upon the foundation of scripture – so learn carefully. You’re being constructed into God’s dwelling – so live holy. You are the only building that will last forever. Enjoy it!