Sermons

Summary: Today, we have unity with one another and with God by the blood of Jesus Christ.

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1. Introduction (2:11-13)

a. You were once without Christ (11-12)

i. You were aliens from the commonwealth of

Israel

ii. You were strangers from the covenants of

promise

iii. You had no hope and were without God in the

world

b. You are now in Christ (13)

i. You have been brought near by the blood of

Christ

2. The blood of Christ reconciles us to one another

(2:14-15)

a. The blood of Christ breaks down barriers

i. The blood of Christ broke down the middle

wall of separation

b. The blood of Christ abolishes enmity

i. The blood of Christ abolished the enmity

(the law of commandments contained in

ordinances

c. The blood of Christ makes peace

i. The blood of Christ creates one new man

from the two, thus making peace

3. The blood of Christ reconciles us to God (2:16-18)

a. The blood of Christ reconciled them to God in

one body thereby putting to death the enmity

between the two (16)

b. The words of Christ preached peace between the

two because the blood of Christ gives both

groups access by one Spirit to the Father (17-18)

EPHESIANS 2:11-18

A story is told of an old pioneer settler in the Old West. He had a beautiful ranch and he and his family were very happy. All the people who had settled land around him were good, friendly people. They never had any trouble with their neighbors because they were all friends and got along wonderfully. One day, the old settler was sitting on his porch when a wagon pulled up. It turns out the man in the wagon was from back east and was looking for a stake to claim. So he asked the settler, “What kind of neighbors do you have?” He was kind of surprised when the old man answered his question with a question of his own. He asked, “Well, what kind of neighbors did you have back East?” The easterner told him, “They were cranky, unfriendly, and cantankerous.” The settler looked back up at him and said, “I’m afraid that’s the same kind you’ll find here.” So the man left to stake his claim somewhere else. A few days later, another wagon pulled up asking the same question. The settler answered with his same question. This time, the travelers answered that their neighbors were the most kind and loving neighbors in the world. The settler told them, “You’ll find the same kind of neighbors here.” Why did he give the two travelers two completely different answers? Because the settler was a wise man. He knew that unity with others usually starts with ourselves. When our heart is right, it’s a whole lot easier to be right with others. If these settlers fought and argued with their neighbors back East, they would probably do the same thing out West. But if their neighbors were loving and kind, it probably meant they were treated with loving kindness. Unity is a choice. It’s a choice, but it’s not something we can do on our own. If we try to do it on our own, we’ll end up looking at how much more we’ve done to unify than anybody else. Then our attempts at unity just turn into pride. The fact is, there is only one real kind of unity. And that’s the kind that’s only provided by the blood of Jesus Christ. In this passage, Paul starts by reminding the Ephesian Christians who they were before they met Christ. Look at verses 11-12:

EPHESIANS 2:11-12

When they were without Christ, they had no hope of unity. Because they were Gentiles, they were excluded from the nation of Israel. And because they were uncircumcised, they had no hope of even tagging along as a proselyte. They were strangers to God’s covenants He made with Israel. They didn’t have any hope of salvation, much less unity. They were without God. That’s who they were—helpless, hopeless, lost. But then look what happened. Look at verse 13:

EPHESIANS 2:13

Now they are in Jesus. They’re saved. They’re washed in His blood. And look how Paul puts it: he says that they have been brought nigh. They were once far off, but now they’re near. Now they are no longer strangers. They’re no longer excluded. They’re now unified with each other and with God. My prayer this morning is that each of us will be unified by the blood of Jesus Christ. In order to do that, we’re going to look at the two kinds of unity we have in Jesus Christ. The first kind of unity we have in Christ is with each other. Look at verses 14-15:

EPHESIANS 2:14-15

Unity with each other. Ever since the tower of Babel back in Genesis 11, people have been looking for unity with each other. Isn’t it funny how we can’t even get along with our neighbors, but we seem to think we can unite the world? Until I can walk up to someone’s house without getting dog-bit or a gun pointed at me, I don’t think the UN has much of a chance. That’s because people are trying to unify around the wrong things. They’re trying to unify around programs, projects, buildings, social clubs, treaties or contracts. I even remember back in the ‘80’s when a bunch of musicians tried to unify the world around a song. You remember—We Are the World…We Are the Children. Even before that, John Lennon sang that the world could live as one. All we had to do was, “imagine no religion…it easy if you try. No Hell below us, above us only sky.” The whole world wants unity. They just don’t have a clue how to get it. The Bible tells us that the only way people can have unity is through the blood of Jesus Christ. If there were two groups that hated each other more than Jews and Gentiles, I don’t know about them. It wasn’t like they just disagreed on musical styles in worship or something simple like that. They were ethnically different. They were racially different. They ate different foods. They came from different cultures. They valued different things. They were offended by different things. They were as different as two groups of people could possibly be. A friend of mine who is a youth pastor told me about his Wednesday night study a couple of weeks ago. He had his normal group of clean-cut Baptist kids there that night. A few minutes into the study, his pastor rounded up a group of skaters from the parking lot and herded them into the youth room. So here was the youth room—half clean-cut Baptist kids, half punked-out convict looking kids who had no real interest in being there except for the food. But even those two groups weren’t as different as the Jews and the Gentiles. That all changed because of Christ. His blood breaks down barriers. Paul said it broke down the middle wall of partition. That was a reference to the Jewish temple. In the last temple that Herod built that existed until AD 70, there were a series of courts. The innermost court was called the Court of Priests, where all the male members of the priestly tribe of Levi could enter. Out from that was the Court of Israel. It was for all the male Jews. Next out was the Court of Women. That was as far as the Jewish women could go. All of those courts were on the same level. So, even though they were segregated, there was some sense of equality. But then came the next court—the court of the Gentiles. To get from the court of the Gentiles to the Court of Women, you had to walk up a flight of 14 steps. At the top of the steps was a 5-foot high wall. Every few feet along the wall was a sign that said, “No foreigner is to enter…. Whoever is caught will have himself to blame for his death which follows.” Not exactly a warm welcome. That was the partition that Paul referred to. It was still physically standing when Paul wrote this. But all that it represented had been broken down by Christ. The blood of Jesus Christ breaks down the wall that separates people. Verse 15 tells us He breaks down that wall by abolishing enmity and making peace.

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