Summary: Jesus came to break down the wall of separation. Does that wall still exist in your heart? Allow God to break it down now!
Tearin' Down the Wall
When the Berlin wall came down it was a monumental event, but nothing compared to the wall which came down in v. 14.
v. 14 both = Jew and Gentile.
v. 13 'But Now'. What a contrast when Jesus comes on the scene.
v. 17 'which were afar off' = Gentiles. 'were nigh' = Jews.
God brought the two together. And now we must understand that it is all about the wall of separation between sinner and God. The wall can come down!
This passage is applies to all who are without Christ. And 'without' is the key word in v. 12.
Without Jesus, Christless.
Without citizenship, homeless.
Without hope, hopeless.
Without the Lord, Godless.
What the hand is to the lute,
What the breath is to the flute,
What the fragrance is to smell,
What the spring is to the well,
What the flower is to the bee,
Is Jesus Christ to me!
What's the mother to the child,
What the guide in pathless wild,
What is oil to troubled wave,
What is ransom to the slave,
What is water to the sea,
That is Jesus Christ to me.
A Christless life is like a song with no one to sing it, a bell with no one to ring it. A sky with no sun to shine in it. A puzzle with a key piece gone from it. A building with no cornerstone. What a tragedy to be without Christ!
No Christ, no peace / joy / love / hope / heaven!
Of all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as Jesus Christ.
v. 12 'aliens'
God had promised His people the Jews a land. Joseph wound up in Egypt, but at the end of his life he wanted his body taken home. Moses led them all home. Satan has always tried to kick them out, and succeeded for centuries, but they are back baby, and the end is near!
And God has promised us a home...though we've not yet seen it...we are aliens in a strange land, but ambassadors for another land. "I'm kinda homesick for a country..." "This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' thru!"
ill.--Hitler's Europe during WWII - a young man's family was enduring the ravages of war. They had heard about America. They longed for such freedom. It worked out for them to board a ship to the US. As he got aboard with his family his mother stayed behind and said, "It is you who are going home. I am remaining in the foreign land."
When we stand by the casket of a loved one we can say they same...they are the one who has gone home, and we are the aliens remaining in the foreign land.
ill.--sometimes, sick in a hospital bed, all we want is to get out of there and go home. But to which home? Which home should we most desire?
v. 12 'having no hope.'
ill.--1965, James Stockdale was one of the first Americans shot down over Vietnam. He spent 7 years in a prison camp in Vietcong. They tortured him unmercifully, hung by the hands for days at a time, unable to even swat at the mosquitoes. They beat him and broke his leg, then tortured him. To what did he credit with his survival? Hope! He saw his comrades die one after another when they gave up hope.
ill.--imagine the Dr. saying there's nothing they can do for you, and there's no hope for your survival. There's a sense of finality to that hopelessness.
Now when it comes to eternity, there's no finality in a sense, for it never ends, whether paradise or prison. For the Christian, we look forward to endless hope. For the lost awaits a hopeless end...which has no end!
v. 12b 'without God'.
This does not mean that God had turned from them, but the other way around.
Gen. 1-11 is the story of the Gentile nations turning their back on God. In chapter 12 God calls out Abraham to form the new nation of Israel.
Now, Godless doesn't mean they didn't worship gods. Look at human history, from the Greeks and all their mythological gods to the Romans, the Far East, and every pagan nation on the planet worshiping all forms of creation, to today's mystics and Indian beliefs in millions of gods in all shapes and sizes. Then there's America. What do we worship? Ourselves it seems!
This same Paul saw all the statues and temples in Athens, and noticed one statue labeled, "To the Unknown God." [just in case they missed one.] Paul said, "Aha! That's the one I'm preaching to you today! His name is Jesus!"