Summary: We are united in Christ and all members of one Body. A lesson on the Church and how it should look in todays world.
The Church that Jesus Built
Text: Ephesians 2:19-22
By: Ken McKinley
Once upon a time the Lone Ranger and Tonto were riding through a canyon when suddenly they were surrounded on all sides by Indian warriors. Tonto looked to the Lone Ranger and asked, “What we do, Kimosabe?” The Lone Ranger pulls his trusty horse Silver to the east to find a hidden passage, but this passage is also blocked by more Apaches in war paint. Again Tonto asks, “What we do Kimosabe?” They try to go south but again more warriors, then North and again their path is blocked by Indians. At last the Lone Ranger looks at Tonto and asks, “What are we going to do?” Tonto answers, “What do you mean ‘WE’ paleface?”
I think that often times we like to think that we can set aside our difference without any problem, and that we are colorblind and the poster boy for tolerance, but in reality, that’s not reality. What I mean is that far too often, what separates us from one another is as simple as the color of our skin, where we live, what we drive, the clothes we wear, where we work, and we can all find ourselves making distinctions between people. But in Christ it shouldn’t be that way. In Christ we have a common ground that transcends race, social status, and backgrounds.
In our text Paul begins by drawing an important conclusion to what he’s already said. He reminds us what we were before God’s grace saved us. When we see that word, “therefore” we know that he’s tying what he’s about to say to what he’s already said. So Paul is saying here, because of all the things I’ve already said previously – “therefore” we are no longer strangers and foreigners, but instead we are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household. Strangers is the Greek word xenoi, it’s where we get our word xenophobia. Xenophobia is the intense dislike and fear of people from other countries. In the Greek, these xenoi or strangers were people who had no rights because they were outsiders. So Paul is telling us that we are no longer foreign outsiders when it comes to God. Jesus has done away with all of that, we are now citizens of His kingdom. We are no longer outcast foreigners; we are now part of the family.
That’s what Paul means when he says we are now of the household of God. It also means that other Christians are now our brothers and sisters. The problem is that often we want to be an ‘only child’ in the household of God.
Look at verses 20 and 21 (read). Paul then goes on to tell us, that not only are we citizens of Christ’s kingdom, and not only are we a part of the family of God, we are also tells us that this household that we are part of is built upon the apostles and prophets, and that Jesus Himself is the chief cornerstone.
The apostles were those who saw the risen Christ; they were able to perform miracles, and they had a unique position in the Church. They were the disciples, minus Judas and plus Paul. And when we read that they were part of the foundation, we see that this building is built on the teachings of the apostles, the prophets who proclaimed the Word of God, and that Jesus Christ is the piece that holds it all together and is the foundational piece upon which it all rests. And when we have this, and all of those who are in Christ… Paul says that we are being made into a “holy temple” IN THE LORD.
Now we need to be clear that the apostles and prophets are not themselves part of the foundation of the church. It is their teachings which are the foundation. When Peter said, “Thou art the Christ; the Son of the Living God.” And Jesus answered and said, “Blessed art thou Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” Jesus was saying that He would build His church on the confession of Peter, that Jesus is the Christ. In the literal Greek language Jesus said, “You are blessed Simon, son of Jonah, because you did not come up with this on your own, or using your own intellect, but My Father has revealed this to you. And I say to you that you are Petros, a little rock, and on this Petra, on this big rock (ie the confession), I will build my Church, and nothing, including the powers of hell and Satan, will stop the Gospel message from going forth.”