Summary: In salvation there is neither Greek or Jew, but we are one in Christ - His church. And our call is to be Jesus to the world.
Live Out Loud – Our PEACE April 29, 2007
Ephesians 2:11-22 Sunday AM
Recap: We’re in a series entitled – Live Out Loud. Our goal in this series is to learn how to live in the grace and power of Christ in us so we might experience the abundant life Jesus promised. To help us, we’ve been reflecting on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians b/c it addresses the basic elements of the Christian life – God, Jesus, H.S., salvation, church morality, marriage, parenting, work, and warfare. Christian Cliff Notes
Note: When we started the series, I said Ephesians is divided into (2) parts. The first (3) chapters address our POSITION in Christ – who we are – our doctrine and beliefs; while the last (3) chapters deal w/ our PRACTICE in Christ – what we should do – our duty and behavior.
Trans: Now dealing w/ doctrine isn’t a glamorous venture, but it is necessary. Doctrine is the foundational truth we based our values, beliefs, and behavior on. So if we don’t know why we believe what we believe, then we will not be concerned w/ how to live.
Insert: So far we’ve discussed our salvation – that it was planned by the Father, purchased by the Son and is being preserved by the H.S. Next, we looked at Paul’s prayer that we’d do more than get saved; we’d GET IT! We’d understand whose we are and what we have as a result of coming to Christ. Then last week we took a peak at God’s amazing grace – that while we are spiritual dead and separated from Christ, God who was rich in mercy and abounding w/ love provided the CURE in offering Christ.
Trans: Today we’re going to continue our study in the doctrine of God’s grace as we reflect upon our new peace as a result of our salvation in Christ.
I Breaking the BONDAGE
Insert: People are funny. We’re all looking for a place to belong and connect, and wherever it is, we want it to be an exclusive club. Whether it is a fraternity or sorority, a Sunday School class, a country club, or a gang of thugs, we all seem to be searching for that exclusive group we can call our own. And then we want to build a hedge b/w ourselves and others. This past Friday I was humored by a group of 5th graders at WHMS. I was subbing for the band teacher and I had a group of 10 yr olds jockeying for one another’s attention and approval. They wanted to be in the cool club, but they didn’t want everyone else in it w/ them so they put self up and others down.
Setting: In Ephesians 2, we find Paul addressing an interesting issue that was plaguing the early church – some of the Jewish believers thought they were better than the Gentile believers’ b/c of their spiritual heritage and they were attempting to hold the Gentile believers in Religious Bondage.
Insert: Have you ever been in bound? It’s not fun being controlled. (Finger lock)
Note: There is something in man’s nature that wants to control others. Everyone wants to control and no one wants to be controlled. That is why sin is a paradox. The sinner wants the freedom to be controlled by sin.
Note: Now it is no secret the Jewish believers felt they were superior to the Gentiles b/c they were God’s people and heirs of the promise to Abraham. They were being religious “Sneetches” thinking they had stars on ‘thars’ while the Gentile had none. This ideology was building a barrier in the Ephesian church. So Paul wrote to clear the air and set the record straight.
Insert: Man has always found a way to allow their religion (what should unite us) to divides us. Throughout history religion has incited war and all kinds of inappropriate human activity. Even w/in the ranks of Christianity walls are erected b/c of our denominational beliefs about God.
Story: Just in the last three weeks I have met two families w/ a Catholic heritage who have mentioned the struggle they have experienced w/ the protestant church b/c of their heritage. Let’s face it; its human nature to be exclusive and have an “I’m better than you” attitude.
Trans: When Jews starting copping an “I’m better than you!” attitude, Paul jumped into the middle of the fray and said. “Hold on a minute!” You might have been God’s chosen people, but now in Christ there is a new sheriff in town. Things aren’t quite what they used to be – they’re better!
Note: Truth is the O.T. is clear that God initially chose Israel from all the peoples on the earth for His own possession and purpose. It started when God decided to make a covenant w/ a man named Abraham b/c Abe believe in God and his faith was recognized as righteousness. When Abraham trusted in Jehovah, God made a promise to make Him a great nation and to use this people (Israel) to touch every nation of the world w/ the truth/hope of God.