Summary: Gospel Shaped Living – Week 2: 'A united church in a divided world' - Ephesians chapter 2 verses 11-18. PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reading: Ephesians chapter 2 verses 11-18.
(A). Before They/We Became Christians:
• They were without Christ (vs 12a)
• They were without citizenship (vs 12b)
• They were without covenants (vs 12c)
• They were without hope (vs 12d)
• They were without God (vs 12e)
(B). After They/We Became Christians.
• He has brought the far-off near (vs 13)
• He brought peace to the divided (vs 14-16)
• He has made us one (vs 19-22)
Question: What do these countries or people groups have in common?
• Bengali people / Korea / Inuit people
• Kurdish people / Malaysia / Irish people?
Answer: They are all divided countries or people gropups.
• e.g. Bengali people are divided amongst two countries.
• e.g. Korea is divided into two countries
• e.g. Inuit people are divided amongst three countries.
• e.g. Kurdish people are divided amongst four countries.
• e.g. Malaysia is divided between two regions,
• e.g. Irish people are divided amongst two countries
• You can Google and get the full list of countires and people groups;
• If you want, there are a lot of them!
• It is not just war, colonialism that divides nations and people,
• e.g. In South Africa the division is or was black & white.
• e.g. In Sri Lanka the division is or was Tamil & Singhalese.
• e.g. In Northern Ireland the division is or was Catholic & Protestant.
• e.g. In North India the division is or was Muslim and Hindu.
• e.g. In Europe the division often seems to be Britain verse the rest.
• Even in Britain we boast:
• Four nationalities; English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish.
• Then there is local prejudice e.g. you find in places like Cornwall or Yorkshire.
• Declaring their independence from the rest of us!
People are divided over a number of issues:
• Here is my list of things that divide:
• Economy and politicians
• Climate change
• Israeli–Palestinian conflict
• Gender (male & female or much. Much more?)
• One of this weeks leading news stories has been Donald Trump;
• Whose actions have led him to shut down the government.
• In his determination to build his wall across America's southern border.
• I did come across this photo on FaceBook that made me laugh;
• So I will share it with you!
TRANSITION: We live in a divided world:
• Humanity is broken, fractured, divided. Deeply divided.
• Humanity is fractured along many lines;
• Language, geography, race, skin color, religion, ideology, politics, economic status.
• So we live in a divided world:
• And when people look at the Church they seem to also see a divided Church;
• According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC);
• At Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary,
• There are approximately 41,000 Christian denominations;
• And organizations in the world today.
• These groups may not always be fighting each other;
• In fact many of them often they work in harmomny together;
• But the fact that we have such diversion in Christianity,
• Speaks of disunity rather than harmony.
Quote: American author & humorist Mark Twain used to say:
• “He put a dog and a cat in a cage together as an experiment,
• Just to see if they could get along. They did,
• So he put in a bird, pig and goat.
• They, too, got along fine after a few adjustments.
• Then he put in a Baptist, Presbyterian, and Catholic;
• Soon there was not a living thing left”.
• Sadly Vhurch history bear record to Mark Twain’s observation;
• That so often Christians do not get along with each other!
• Even the twelve disciples argued among themselves;
• And they even did it while Jesus was right there with them!
• The apostle Paul had a falling out with Barnabas over John Mark,
• As to whether or not they should take him on the mission field.
• And some of the New Testament churches;
• Broke the heart of the apostle Paul with their disputes and divisions.
WE LOOKED LAST WEEK AT THE FACT THERE IS ONLY ONE UNIVERSAL CHURCH:
• Local groups of believers may choose to worship in different styles,
• They may hold different views regarding Church leadership,
• They may hold different views regarding theology;
• e.g. Reformed, charismatic, Calvinist–Arminian etc.
• But if we hold onto and believe the basic Christian doctrines/beliefs;
• As summarised in the creeds i.e. Apostles Creed or Nicene Creed.
• Then we are all Christians part of the universal Church of Jesus Christ.
• The meassage of the Bible is one of reconciliation.