Faithlife Sermons

Tearing Down Walls

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Theme: Jesus includes many peoples into one people. Purpose: To live out that unity, and break down barriers that keep people from Christ. Mission: Building Disciple's Gospel: Christ Death and pouring out of Spirit make one new humanity.

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Ephesians 2:11–22 NIV
Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

17 - Being Excluded

Story of being excluded. - Friends who went camping, Jr. High trying to find a group to be a part of. - Have you ever felt like you were being excluded?
The Big Picture - Chapter 1, to how that personally impacts us
- Last week Andrew, “We all personally were dead in our sin, But because of God’s love and Grace, He has made us alive in Christ (Salvation), and as a result God has given each of us a purpose. We in essence are individually God’s mastepriece.
- This passage, focuses on community - so big picture, small picture (individuals), to a wider circle (The Community).
Paul a Jewish Christian is encouraging the primarily Gentile Christians he is writing to....
In essance, Before Jesus came The People of God were the Israelites, and Gentiles who converted to Judaism by means of the Law. - Everyone else was excluded.
Language - Uncircumcised - This is hostile language.
Alienated from the citizenship of Israel - The Promises, Not having hope, and without God in the world.
This exclusion was Physically demonstrated.
18-Picture of the Temple - Showing the “Soreg Peribolou” The Wall separating the gentile court and the women’s court.
19-Picture of the Soreg Inscription - Found in 1871 by Charles Simon Clemont-Gannau
Translated: No foreigner (Non-Jew) is to enter the barrier and courtyard of the temple. Whoever is caught will himself be responsible for his ensuing death.
Idea being that by law you had to be ritually pure to enter the temple, and Gentiles were considered ritually impure. - Concentric Circles of God’s Holiness - The Temple as the place where Heaven and Earth meet.
But like 2:1-10, There is a before and After

20 - Jesus Includes Many Peoples into One People.

- Before, There are two groups - Jews who were near, and Gentiles who were far, but Now - Striking Claim, In Jesus their is one People or literally one humanity
By Breaking Barriers.
He does this by means of breaking down the barrier, proclaiming Peace, and Pouring out His Spirit.

21 - By Breaking Barriers

By Breaking Barriers.

- The Barrier hear is the law. -
- A little more than a month ago, I preached about how Jesus fulfills the O.T. law and in one sense by completing it.
The Sacrificial system pointed to the real-deal Jesus who died for our sins once for all.
Jesus then makes us Holy so that we can enter God’s presence with him. - He is the new temple.
So the entire law is fulfilled in Jesus thereby breaking down the barrier for Gentiles to do the requirements or anyone of that matter to identify themselves as the people of God. They simply need to put their faith in Jesus.
Kick down the wall. - Because Jesus Accomplished the requirements of the law on our behalf - both for Jews and for Gentiles.

22 - By Proclaiming the Good News of Peace.

Jesus proclaimed the Good News to Gentiles.
In the great commission he tell us to preach this good news to all nations.
We see the Apostle’s preaching to all nations.

23 - By Pouring out His Spirit.

When they did, these Jewish Apostolic Christians saw something remarkable. Both Jews and Gentiles receive the Holy Spirit.
Faith corresponding with the reception of the Holy Spirit are now the new marker of who is included to be the People of God. - Peter’s astonishment
24 - Application Point: We are called to live out this reality, to break down barriers, Proclaim the Good News, and Pour out his Spirit.

25 - Why?

Because God is Making a Masterpiece. In Chapter 1 he has planned it. In Chapter 2 he has said that you are a masterpiece. That God has saved you for a personal calling. But now we see that the Community of Believers, the Church is being made into one multi-ethnic tapestry of a masterpiece where his presence will dwell in the Holy Spirit.
He calls us citizens in God’s commonwealth. He calls us the Body of Christ, and if Christ is the new temple, then the Church is being built up into a mosaic of a temple where heaven and earth meet. So that when people encounter the Church they are seeing a foretaste of that union between heaven and earth.
Belhar Confession....
Our personal Callings then intersect the communities calling.
Ministry Fair - is about finding that purpose God has given you, and it is about connecting that calling to the Church’s calling.
Explain how about resources.
Special Request for Nursery, and Youth Group. If we are a part of that connection of heaven and earth, then we must take up the call to help young people see it, experience that. - Since I have been here I have heard about how important it is to reach young people. Let’s not just give lip service, let’s fulfill that call.
Conclusion:
Humility - See what God has done to bring us into one community that is united and is the presence of heaven and earth.
Reference the Reformed Confessions: The Reformed Confessions are statements of faith written to clarify the Gospel at times when the Church was in crisis. Heidelberg Catechism: Q&A 54-55, 76 Belgic Confession: Articles 27, 35 Belhar Confession: Articles 1-3
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