Summary: Ephesians 2
Ephesians 2 - The Change of Relationships - July 30, 2006
Good morning. Join me in turning to the book of Ephesians, chapter 2. We have been going through this letter of Paul the Apostle, written to Christians in the town of Ephesus, the capital city of Turkey or Asia Minor as it was known back them. Paul writes to those who have left idol worship -- as the town was the center of the worship of the goddess Diana -- to those who have come to trust in Christ for salvation.
We mentioned that chapters 1-3 deal with doctrine, and chapters 4-6 deal with duty. 1-3 deal with who we are, and 4-6 with how we live. We look at verses 1-4 and we see the key idea: we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ in the heavenly realms. We see that we live on a spiritual plane, and we look beyond just the blessings of health and money and family. We see that on a spiritual, supernatural level God has given us every possible blessing.
We see that the Father chose us for salvation. The Father is the one who initiated our salvation and made it possible. We see it is Christ who has redeemed us, offering us forgiveness by dying in our place on the cross. We see the Holy Spirit seals us, identifying us as a Christian. The Holy Spirit is also our guarantee, our downpayment, our security that we WILL receive all that God has promised we will receive. And because of all of these blessings, our response is to give praise to God. To load him down with our praises.
In the end of chapter 1, Paul has seen the faith and love of these Ephesians believers put into practice, and so he prays all the harder for them. He doesn’t pray for them to GET anything new, because they have already received every spiritual blessing. Paul is praying for the believers to KNOW what they have already been given.
Paul’s prayer is that we would KNOW God on an experiential basis, more and more; that we would ANTICIPATE with hope the calling we have received to salvation; that we would understand the glorious inheritance we have been given; and that we would know the incomparably great power of God. So powerful, that the only thing that comes close to helping us understand it is that this was the power that raised Christ from the dead after he died for our sins, in our place.
In chapter 2 and see Our Position in Christ. In verses 1-10, we see ourselves positionally. We see who we WERE - dead in sins, led astray by the world, the devil, and our flesh, our sin nature. But Paul reminds us we have been given victory by God. We have gone from being a corpse to being made alive, to becoming a masterpiece, a great work of art, showing God’s glory, and we are to do good works so that God may continue to get more and more glory as others see our good works and glorify the Father in heaven.
Today we want to look at the end of chapter 2, verses 11-22. We want to see today RELATIONALLY who we have been made to become. Let’s stand and read the passage together. READ 2:11-22. PRAY!
We mentioned in verses 1-10 we see POSITIONALLY who we have become: a masterpiece of God’s glory. Then we come to verse 11, and it says “therefore” - because we are created to be a masterpiece of God’s glory, how should we live out these good works which we are called to do. And there’s just one problem - we always have to live our lives in a context, in relationships with others. “Being good” wouldn’t be that hard if we didn’t have to put up with other people! But let someone cut in line in front of you, take your parking spot, pass you on the interstate and cut in front right before the two lanes go into one at the construction zone - you’ll quickly remember how HARD it can be to deal with people.
Paul deals here in chapter 2 with relationships. And once again, he uses the same format he does in the first part of the chapter. In verses 11-12 he deals with WHO WE WERE before our reconciliation; verses 13-18 deal with the IMPACT of Christ’s reconciliation; and verses 19-22 deal with who we ARE TO BE after our reconciliation. First, Relationally . . .
1. Remember Who You Were
Paul writes to the Ephesians, residents and citizens of Turkey, Asia Minor, and he uses one key word to describe them: Gentiles. Basically it is a general word to describe any people groups. It is the word ETHNOS - from which we get our term “ethnic”. Basically he calls them an ETHNIC GROUP. But the key is the opposite of being a Gentile. It was being a JEW! And to any unconverted Jew, being a Gentile was a great disgrace and dishonor. The Jews saw themselves as the chosen race, the people of God. The Jews had this mistaken view that “Gentiles were created by God to fuel the fires of hell.” In fact, there was one key characteristic about every Gentile that showed the Jews that Gentiles were “second-class citizens: circumcision. Every Jewish male was circumcised on the 8th day. It was a ritual that went all the way back to Abraham. The cutting away of the foreskin on the male genitals was a sign of their identification as being set apart for God.