Passage: Ephesians 2:11-13
Intro: There is no book in the world that challenges us like the Word of God
1. no body of truth is so radical, so upsetting to “the way it’s always been”.
2. every time we read it, it challenges our thinking, what we have come to believe.
3. for the next four weeks, we are going to look together at a issue that lies at the very heart of our faith.
4. it is the issue of reconciliation, but not just reconciliation to God.
5. easy to stop there, rejoice, we should.
6. our reconciliation to God thru Christ is the beginning of a miraculous transformation that impacts every corner of our life.
7. the corner Paul addresses here in the 2nd chap of Ephesians is critical to our effectiveness and joy as believers.
8. right after famous passage of 2:1-10, but let’s not stop there!
9. Paul is going to teach us to build Biblical community, constructed on the foundation of our reconciliation to Him.
10. get the foundation right, the building will be right.
11. Why bother? We’re comfortable.
12. joy found in effectiveness, obedience, not comfort.
I. The Bad Old Days of Alienation
1. Paul has just finished describing the most powerful change anyone can experience.
2. Eph 2:1-4, enemies of God
3. Eph 2:5-10 children of God.
4. as wonderful a summary of God’s grace as you will ever find.
Il) better than winning “PUB clearinghouse”
5. “Therefore, remember” forms a bridge and not a brand new street.
6. going to apply this truth now, bring it right into our lives and relationships.
7. “enemy of God” status of vv1-4 impacted our relationships with others as well.
PP Titus 3:3
8. seen as well in relationship between Jew and Gentile, an animosity based on birth.
9. “in the flesh” twice in v11
10. but that wasn’t the real difference, just an outward one.
11. the real difference is described in v12
il) these phrases are like the tolling of a funeral bell
12. “separate”=apart from. Describes spiritual death, separation from God and everything in God
13. “excluded from…”=left out, alienated.
Il) Disneyland, those nasty little signs that show how tall you have to be to ride.
Il) sign in Temple excluding Gentiles
14. “foreigners to last will and testament”
il) go to the reading of any will, but you don’t get anything, name not mentioned.
15. without any certainty of the future, in a world in which God didn’t exist for you
il) like being diagnosed with a disease for which there is no cure.
16. notice this situation was in the past, “formerly, at that time” Something in the past we are to “remember”
17. for Gentiles, this unreconciled status included separation from those who were closer to God; the Jews.
PP Concentric circles showing close and distant
18. recipients of promises, revelation, presence of God.
19. but because of pride, the grace of God to them became a source of division, hatred.
20. that’s the old way, the way of the past.
II. The Good New Day of Reconcilation.
1. remembering the horror of the past makes the new day that much better.
2. v13, “but now” signals a new start, a new regime
3. “you”=Gentiles (far away) have experienced an impossible change.
4. we were “far away”=alienated, excluded, foreigners
5. but “have been brought near” 3 things to notice.
6. first, this was done for us, not something we did for ourselves. Passive voice.
7. 2nd, tense means a finished event in the past.
8. 3rd, “brought near”=the undoing of all the old stuff mentioned in v12, so everything has changed.
9. what was true of us is true no longer.
Il) being released from prison. Everything changed
10. now “with Christ”, “in Christ”
PP Colossians 1:13-14
11. the righteousness of Christ passes over to me
12. no longer excluded from Israel, because the promises to the children of God are promise to me
13. filled with hope, in the arms of God, never to be forsaken.
PP Romans 8:35
14. there is a powerful reconciliation that has taken place, and we have passed from death to life.
15. the old has passed away, behold all things have become new.
16. and this means something very important.
17. the old animosities that were part of the old ways are gone as well.
PP) Concentric circles
18. this idea flows throughout this passage, we will see it in more detail next week.
19. but how can this wonderful transformation have taken place?
III. The Basis of Reconciliation
1. now here is a very important statement that we will need to remember as we continue the next few weeks.
2. the old way is gone, and a new regime has emerged.
3. but this is not something done by man, nor is the new paradigm based on anything old.
4. the old ways, including animosities based on birth, nationality, as gone for those who have been reconciled to God
5. and those old envies and hatreds have no place in the new regime brought about by the blood of Christ.
6. we have been “brought near” by one thing alone, the blood of Christ.
7. and because each of us was reconciled by that blood, and we each needed the forgiveness bought by that blood, (Ro 3:23) we have a new standing.
8. no longer is our relationship based on birth, nationality, any other physical thing.
9. instead, a whole new way of relating has been created.
10. every person to whom the blood of Christ has been applied by faith has now been brought near to God.
11. every person who has been brought near has been given the Holy Spirit of God.
12. and that means that we can relate to each other not on the basis of color or nationality or money or circumcision or uncircumcision.
13. it means the most important thing about you or I is that we have undergone this wonderful transformation that enables us to live in love toward one another.
14. freed from the old ways, including the old way of judging and dividing.
Il) PromiseKeepers Clergy Conference in Atlanta
1. next week we are going to go deeper into what separated us.
2. for now, know this.
3. that divisions and barriers and racial hatreds and nationalism is part of the old way of doing things, the way from which we have been redeemed.
4. those things are part of the unreconciled life, in which we were separated from God and from each other.
5. but that’s not the values by which we live any longer.