Summary: Pentectost 9(B) - Our gracious God grows his church. God tears down the wall of hostility. God then builds up with living materials.
OUR GRACIOUS GOD GROWS HIS CHURCH (Outline)
July 13, 2008 --
PENTECOST 9 --
INTRO: There is a certain excitement in undertaking a project. It might be a building project or study project. In either case the project has a starting point, mid-point, and completion. At the conclusion of a project we stand back and look at it with a certain sense of pride -- a feeling of accomplishment. As believers we know that it is the Lord who helps us every step of the way. Without the Lord there is no project worth doing. "Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat--for he grants sleep to those he loves" (PSALM 127:1,2).
OUR GRACIOUS GOD GROWS HIS CHURCH.
I. He tears down the wall of hostility.
II. He builds up with living materials.
I. OUR LORD TEARS DOWN THE WALL OF HOSTILITY
A. Ephesians 2:1-10 explains the grace of God in the most beautiful and simple terms found in the Bible.
1. Our text describes the effects that God’s free grace has on and for God’s people.
2. Verse 13. Gentiles are the people “once far away”. God’s grace has brought them near.
3. These Gentiles and Jews -- all people have been saved by the blood of Christ.
B. Christ is the peace for mankind, verse 14. The wall of hostility has come tumbling down, grace.
1. A wall that kept Gentiles out surrounded the temple area. A sign warned no entry for Gentiles.
2. Christ, verse 15, has also taken down the spiritual wall of hostility -- sin.
3. Verse 16. It is the cross of Christ that saves. God’s free grace is accomplished by Christ.
C. The gospel message of Jesus saves, verse 17. God’s word changes hearts. Walls are torn down.
D. The blood of Christ has removed all barriers that stand in the way of our entrance into heaven. This is God’s free and amazing grace. You and I sometimes may still wonder about God’s will in our lives. We do not nor can we always, completely understand God’s divine plans. From time to time we may have an understanding or insight what God wants. But this is not always the case. On this side of heaven our thinking is tainted and imperfect. God’s will is perfect. Wicked are our thoughts. Evil are our deeds. Sinful are our actions. "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear"(ISAIAH 59:2). Sin stands as a dividing wall of hostility.
E. Left on our own we would be lost and condemned creatures – forever. Today’s verses very clearly point out to us that our eternal salvation does not depend on us. Christ and Christ alone does the work of eternity. The cross of Christ, the blood of Christ, the sinless suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ are the only things that tear down the dividing wall of hostility. "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation"(COLOSSIANS 1:21,22). We know we are sinful. Our God sees sinlessness. The robe of Christ’s righteousness covers all of our sins. We are now “without blemish and free from accusation”.
F. God’s promises are never, ever shaken. God’s promises never, ever falter or fail. Our gracious God grows his church. Our Lord tears down the dividing wall of hostility that is in us from birth. Our hearts are changed by the power of God’s gospel. Our lives are changed by the free gift of God’s grace. We who were once far off are now brought near. We are brought into God’s kingdom by the work of Christ our Savior. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation"(2 CORINTHIANS 5:17,18). Christ has reconciled us = paid for sins. Our record is balanced.
OUR GRACIOUS GOD GROWS HIS CHURCH.
Our loving Lord tears down our wall of hostility.
II. OUR LORD BUILDS UP WITH LIVING MATERIALS
A. Jews and Gentiles once divided were now worshipping together in the same place of worship.
1. There is no difference. All were lost. Now all have been found. Verse 18.
2. God’s grace brought these two unlike nations together and kept them together for worship.
B. Verse 19. No longer are the Gentiles to be considered second-class people. They are God’s people.