Summary: The ultimate workmanship of God is a human being who despite being dead in his transgressions and sins has been made alive in Christ.
“Let the Walls Fall Down”
Ephesians 2:11-22 November 30, 2008
OPEN: Ephesians is about the church. Paul is writing it to the church at Ephesus to be circulated among other area churches to show them how to be the church! He will concentrate later on- on some of the moral implications of being in Christ. He has emphasized the blessings that are found in Christ, the power that
is found in Christ; & he has reminded these Christians from whence they came– “you were dead in your
sin.” But all of this has been to show the church how to be the church! God is about building His church! But, as any good construction worker can tell you, before you can build . . . some things have to go
CONTEXT: - we are God’s workmanship – created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God
prepared in advance for us to do. The word workmanship is an interesting word in Greek. It comes from “poiema” from which we derive our English word poem. It really means “a work of art.” A poem is a thing of grace, a thing of beauty. God wants your life to be a thing of grace and a thing of beauty. The poet seeks to express Himself in beautiful terms. He works at his art until every nuance of expression is just the way he wants it to be. You and I are God’s works of art – his masterpieces. That’s what grace accomplishes in your life. Notice is says “in Christ Jesus” The ultimate workmanship of God is a human being who despite being dead in his transgressions and sins has been made alive in Christ. Michalangel was once asked what he was doing as he chipped away at a shapeless rock. He replied, “I’m liberating an angel from this stone.” That’s what God is doing with us. We are in the hands of the great Maker – the ultimate sculptor who created the universe out of nothing and he has never thrown away a rock on which he has begun a masterwork.
Ill of Scupture by Albin Polasek. – the way the world sees itself. Man creating himself. Man carving himself – shaping himself out of the cold stone into the figure he wants himself to be. It’s the height of arrogance - the clay shaping itself into its own predesigned image in total disregard to the Creator. Interesting note on this piece is that the artist was unable to find a model for the sculpture suitable to his liking so he posed for himself. One version of this sculpture shows numerous scars on the leg where the self-sculpting man made several errors. There is not way for man to shape himself into what he should be. Lifeless cold stone can’t shape anything – it needs to be shaped by someone else. The artist’s idea is only a figment of his creative imagination.
The reality comes into being though for those who have discovered grace. This passage is really all about how grace shapes us into the kind of people God wants us to be. It’s about how grace is at work in your life. Grace is the chisel that God uses as he chips away at the jagged edges of our life. Grace changes everything. It changes our destiny, our thought life, our relationships, our relationship with God and with one another. Grace changes everything.
Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those
who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men) - remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, The passage starts out with two words that ought to be underlined in all of our Bibles: “Therefore, remember” Paul starts out this passage by saying, “therefore remember” He wants to take us back – before Jesus came into your life. Remember where we would be without grace. Remember the dramatic change that grace has introduced and accomplished in our lives. The first portion of chapter two provides a dramatic contrast. - From death to life. - From following Satan to following Christ - From living to satisfy the sinful nature to living for Christ. - From being an object of God’s wrath to becoming a recipient of God’s grace. - From spiritual poverty to possessing the incomparable riches of his grace. He says, “Remember how you lived.” Remember that you lived separated from Christ – It was as if there was a wall between you and God . And not only was there a wall between you and God, there was also a wall between you and the people of God. Paul is talking to Gentiles, here. . . (like us) Study human history and it would be difficult to find a more exclusive separation than that between the Jews and Gentiles in Biblical times. It would be hard to adequately describe for you in today’s terms the disdain that Jews had for Gentiles (& vice versa- no doubt). It was not lawful for a good Jew to aid a Gentile woman in giving birth because that would bring another heathen into the world. The divide was racial- but extended far beyond race. It was political- but extended far beyond politics. It was religious- but extended far beyond religion. In some ancient Jewish writings some Jews refer to Gentiles as being created as fuel to keep the fires in hell burning. Not only were there walls in people’s minds that divided one person from another, but there were literal walls that alienated us.