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Summary: One in Christ. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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One in Christ.

Reading: Ephesians chapter 2 verses 11-22.

• “Peace in our time! Peace with honour!”

• Were the words of British Prime Minister, Sir Neville Chamberlain,

• When he returned from conferences in Germany in September 1938.

• He was sure that he had stopped Adolph Hitler.

• Yet one year later, Hitler invaded Poland, and on September 3, 1939,

• Great Britain declared war on Germany & Chamberlain’s great peace mission had failed.

One peace treaty that has lasted and that will continue to last:

• Is the one made by the eternal God,

• And it was sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

• It is Christ’s peace mission that Paul explains in this section of Ephesians,

• And three very important words summarize this great work:

(1). Separation: What The Gentiles Were (verses 11-12)

• In the first ten verses of Ephesians 2,

• Paul has talked about God’s plan to save sinful people,

Now he will teach the Ephesians by contrast:

• He will remind the Ephesians of what and how they were (verses 11-12).

• And then he will focus on what they have become! (verses 13-22).

Verse 12: Most of the Ephesian Christians were Gentiles (non-Jews),

• And they were called by Jews “the uuncircumsision”

• This name was a description of a Gentile but also a derogatory remark!

In the Old Testament God spoke to Abraham:

• He made a covenant (a sacred promise, an agreement) with him,

• That from his family would come a great nation.

• As a sign of the covenant all Jewish men (Abraham’s decedents) were to be circumcised.

• Even today all Jewish boys when they are eight days old are circumcised.

• i.e. They had a physical operation, minor surgery;

• When the foreskins on their penis is cut off,

• A Jewish male had no choice in the matter,

• It was not an optional extra;

• It was an essential qualification;

• If they wanted to be included in this covenant, agreement.

• Unfortunately, the Jews who were circumcised;

• Looked down on the Gentiles who were uncircumcised

• And sadly this happened not just in society;

• But also in the Church (i.e. Acts chapter 10).

The Ephesian Christians mostly Gentiles:

• Knew that salvation came from the Jews.

• They also new the superior attitude that Jews had towards Gentiles.

• Knew that even some converted Jews

• Still regarded non-Jews as a kind of second class believer,

Now in these verses Paul will show that God has not only

• Made man and God to be at one.

• But has made both Jew & Gentile one!

Paul reminds the Gentile believers at Ephesus 4 things:

(1). WITHOUT CHRIST.

• Before they had become Christians;

• Most of these Ephesians worshiped the goddess, Diana,

• They had no idea concerning the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ.

• Their conversion set them free from idolatry and gave them a living saviour.

We today live in an age of syncretism (syn-cret-ism):

• People say it does not matter which religion you believe;

• After all there is only one God.

Ill:

• Different religions are like the spokes in a wheel,

• They all go to the central hub i.e. God.

• That might be a politically correct thing to say (i.e. B.B.C. Thought for today etc)

• But the Bible refutes that idea again and again and again!

Quote John chapter 14 verse 6:

“I am the way, the truth and the life.

No-one comes to the Father except by me”.

Quote Acts chapter 4 verse 12:

“Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved”.

Quote William Visser’t Hoof:

• Was the first General Secretary of the World Council of Churches:

• He was once asked;

• What he thought would be the greatest peril facing churches in the near future.

• He replied;

“Syncretism. It is a far more dangerous challenge to the Christian church than atheism is ever likely to be”

In verse 12 Paul cites the Ephesians’ Christ-less state as a definite tragedy.

• And don’t forget that every unsaved person, Jew or Gentile, religious or atheist.

• Is “outside Christ” and lost and under condemnation.

• That’s why Paul had earlier categorised people in only one of two groups;

• Verse 1&5: dead or alive!

(2). WITHOUT CITIZENSHIP.

• Starting with Abraham God built the Jewish people into a nation.

• He gave them His laws and His blessings.

• Israel was God’s nation, they were unique;

• They were in a position, a relationship that was not true of any other Gentile nation.

• A Gentile could take on the Jewish faith by becoming a convert, a proselyte,

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