Summary: Apart from Christ, there can be no peace.
Peace In Christ
Text: Eph. 2:11-22
1. There are a lot of differing opinions as to what brings peace.
2. Illustration: One man said, "My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished 2 bags of chips and a chocolate cake. I feel better already."
3. However, true peace only comes through being in Christ. According to Paul:
a. Without Christ there is separation.
b. With Christ there is unification.
c. In Christ there is foundation.
4. Read Eph. 2:11-22
Proposition: Apart from Christ, there can be no peace.
Transition: First, Paul tells us that...
I. Without Christ There Is Separation (11-12)
A. Used To Be Outsiders
1. Paul begins this text by reminding his audience where they came from. He says, "Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders."
a. A more literal rendering of this verse, like the NASB is phrased "Ephesians 2:11 (NASB) remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh..."
b. When Paul uses flesh, he often points to the frailty of humanity apart from God.
c. Here, therefore, the word refers to the merely human realm in which people live in contrast to life in the Spirit or in Christ (Snodgrass, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Ephesians, 126).
d. In other words, he is saying that they were outside of fellowship with God and His people.
2. He reminds them that not only were they outsiders in regards to God, but also outsiders to God’s chosen people. He says, "You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts."
a. When a Jew referred to a Gentile as being "uncircumcised," it was a derogatory remark. Kind of like saying someone is from Michigan!
b. They were proud of the fact of being God’s people, of which circumcision was a sign.
c. In kind of a little side note, Paul adds that this circumcision, for most of them, affected only their bodies and not their hearts.
d. You see what really mattered to God was a circumcision or cleansing of the heart (Bruce, NICNT: The Epistle to the Ephesians, 293).
e. Colossians 2:11 (NLT)
When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.
3. He goes on to remind them that "In those days you were living apart from Christ."
a. They were Christless, separate from Christ, the Messiah. They therefore had no messianic hope of a Savior and Deliverer.
b. Their history had no purpose, no plan, and no destiny—except the ultimate judgment of God, of which they were unaware (The - MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Ephesians).
c. Outside of this life they had nothing of which to look forward.
4. Another thing of which he reminds them was that they "were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them."
a. What a horrible thing to be excluded from the promises of God.
b. They had no promise of eternal life.
c. They had no promise of abundant life.
d. They had no promise of God’s protection.
5. Because of this they "lived in this world without God and without hope."
a. In saying this, Paul does not deny that they had gods, for in reality they had many gods. However, what he is saying is that anyone who does not have the true God does not have a god worthy of the name (Jerome, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, vol. 8, 130).
b. The result of this is that they had no hope.
c. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 (NLT)
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.
d. They had nothing to look forward to.
B. Lost and Without Hope
1. Illustration: I am often reminded of what God did in my life during the summer of 1982. I was in Europe, more specifically Amsterdam, Holland, serving with a missions group called Youth With A Mission (YWAM). When I first got to Amsterdam I was horrified at what I saw: drugs were everywhere, sex shops, prostitutes sitting in storefront windows. I was disgusted with these sinful people and their wicked lifestyles. Then God spoke to me and reminded me of what I was like before He came into my life. He then led me to Matt. 9:36, which says, "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." I went from being disgusted with them to having a broken heart towards them.