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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: gcurley@gcurley.info

Reading: Ephesians chapter 2 verses 11-18.

SERMON OUTLINE:

(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)

SERMON BODY:

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!

Ill:

• 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

• Healthcare

• Education

• Immigration

• Climate change

• Israeli–Palestinian conflict

• Abortion

• Gender (male & female or much. Much more?)

Ill:

• 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!

Ill:

• Even the twelve disciples argued among themselves;

• And they even did it while Jesus was right there with them!

Ill:

• 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.

Ill:

• 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.

Note:

• The meassage of the Bible is one of reconciliation.

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