Summary: One in Christ. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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.
• 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,