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Summary: In order to reveal the miracle of unity that exists in Christ, Paul lays down the harsh reality of how divided the fall has left us. He doesn’t want the Ephesians (or us) to miss the weight of this thing. He doesn’t want a “no big deal” attitude to arise

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Dakota Community Church

October 16, 2011

Unity of the Body - 1

Ephesians 2:11-22

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men) — 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

To this point in the letter to the Ephesians Paul has been defining the gospel, clarifying exactly what it is and what it is not. He will continue to add reminders – to keep the gospel central throughout the rest of the writing but now he begins to put meat on the bones.

What do business relationships look like in light of this gospel?

What does marriage look like in light of the gospel?

How do parents and children interact with each other in light of the gospel?

First though; beginning in the verses above, Paul starts to describe how we relate to each other believer to believer. Paul starts now – in light of the gospel – to describe the Church, to lay down the pattern of behavior for the Body of Christ.

To do this he begins by reminding the Ephesians of the way things used to be:

…at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

In order to reveal the miracle of unity that exists in Christ, Paul lays down the harsh reality of how divided the fall has left us.

He doesn’t want the Ephesians (or us) to miss the weight of this thing.

He doesn’t want a “no big deal” attitude to arise where the unity of the Body is concerned.

Unity Illustrations:

In an old Peanuts cartoon Lucy says to Charlie Brown, "I would have made a great evangelist." Charlie Brown answers, "Is that so?" She says, "Yes, I convinced that boy in front of me in school that my religion is better than his religion." Charlie Brown asked, "Well, how did you do that?" And Lucy answers, "I hit him over the head with my lunch box." (Convinced against his will…)

Then there’s the man who was rescued after being stranded all alone on the deserted island. His rescuers asked him what the three structures were that he had built on the island. He said one was his house, one was his church, and one was the church he used to go to.

There are so many things that threaten and sometimes destroy unity within the Body of Christ and Paul wants us to know that in light of this great gospel these things should not be.

Jesus has paid a great price to make us one body.

Consider where we come from and realize what God has done to unite us.

1. Divided by circumcision

…remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men) Eph. 2:11

The Jews had great contempt for the Gentiles, and considered them fuel for the fires of hell.

It was unlawful to assist a gentile woman in childbirth because that would helping to bring another gentile into the world.

If a Jew married a gentile many families would hold a funeral for that individual because they were now dead to them.

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