The Book of Ephesians is a Theological Treasure Trove!
(Note: The message is in two parts around our sharing the Lord’s Table)
Two weeks ago in Chapter 1 we saw: Four Uniting Foundations OF MIDTOWN CHURCH
Unity In God’s Word as understood and applied consistently for 2000 years.
Unity In The Biblical Gospel Of Jesus Christ
Unity In The Biblical Indwelling Of God’s Spirit
Unity In The Biblical View of God’s Sovereignty / Authority
Our text today gives us critical truth regarding the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ and how that creates The New Testament Church / Christ’s Body.
Elements of The Biblical Gospel contained in Ephesians 2:
We all are born in a condition deserving God’s wrath for our rebellion and disobedience. We all need to be converted, BY GOD and only by God into His spiritual family. Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection are central and essential. On the cross Christ takes the wrath we deserve. In His resurrection we are united by His grace, making us alive with Him eternally.
He does it all from His unfathomable grace and love. We are the recipients of the faith to believe He has made peace for us and with us.
He saves those far from Him and near to Him, bringing us tog dies’ / ‘Local Churches’ that are built on the foundation of those He chose to reveal Himself through with Christ being the cornerstone. For 2000 years, followers of Christ have read this book and applied it the same way. God is the basis, power, determiner and enactor of our being placed into membership in the body of Christ (this body). Committed Membership is an essential environment in which we apply this Scripture.
EPHESIANS CHAPTER 2
1 Once you were dead in your condition of disobedience and sin. 2 You lived based on the order of this world, obeying the ruler of an unseen world, the spiritual force that actively empowers unbelief.
- Pointed directly at each individual in audience: ‘The Truly-Yielded In Christ’
- In order to be ‘In Christ’ you must recognize that you were once ‘Not In Christ’
- Whether overt sin or unseen attitudes, Scripture says we all obeyed Satan!
3 All of us once lived this way, serving the passionate desires and inclinations of our flesh. We were born in this condition and subject to God’s wrath, as is all humanity.
- Commonality of our condition makes us all the same degree guilty of rebellion
- Scripture states we don’t have to learn how to sin, it is our base condition
- Scripture declares every human is deserving of God’s wrath / punishment
If we accept this as The Truth about our condition BEFORE God rescues us, then we shall also recognize that we have no remedy for this situation…
4 But God in His unparalleled mercy and unending love, made us alive together with Christ, 5 even though we were spiritually dead because of our sins! It is only by God’s grace that we have been saved!
- But God!
- May all those God has bought with His blood & placed His Spirit into rejoice!
- Incomprehensible Mercy! Love that is Eternal and Omni-Everything!
- Grace: Unearned Favor! That is what saves you and I, God in His GRACE!
6 He raised us from the dead in Christ and gave us eternal life because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 For all eternity God will demonstrate the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
- God’s eternal animation of our Souls comes from our being made one W/ Christ
- Those God redeems are the eternal legacy of His favor based on His goodness
8 You are saved by God’s grace through faith. This is not your doing; it is the gift of God. 9 This salvation is not the result of anything we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, fashioned in Christ Jesus, to do the virtuous things He foreordained.
- What saves each of us is one thing and one thing only: Grace (redundant)
- This grace is understood, experienced and lived out based on faith
- We don’t do the grace part & we don’t do the faith part. Both are gifts of God!!
- If you think you made it happen…then you don’t have it!
- ‘We’ refers to those Christ has made to be His church, to continue His legacy
11 Remember you Gentiles were called uncircumcised by those who were circumcised in man made ways.12 Remember you were without the intervention of Christ. You were excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers to the covenant promises God made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope.
- Don’t ever forget how far you have come! (‘Unchurched’ is today’s equivalent)
- However you were raised you can be the recipient of God’s grace
- Until God makes us His we are truly without hope!
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 Christ himself is our peace. He united Jews and Gentiles when, in his own body on the cross, He broke down the wall of hostility that separated us from God.
- Being far from God can be overcome, In Christ!
- How does it happen ‘By The Blood’??? God sheds His own ‘Life Force’ for U!
- The person of Jesus Christ is stressed, our faith is not in doctrine, it’s in Christ!
- The surrender of Jesus’ body removed the barrier (Sin) between us & God
15 This abolished the law of commandments and statutes so He could create in Himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together, Christ reconciles both groups to God and to each other, by means of his death on the cross.
- Christ’s death on the cross rendered the Mosaic Law unnecessary
- The law divided ethnic groups, Christ’s death make one new group
- Christ’s death on the cross makes reconciliation with God and others happen
17 Christ came to announced this Good News of peace to those alien to God, and peace to those near to God. 18 Now all people can have access furnished by the One Spirit to the Father. 19 You are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people.
- The message of the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ is for all people
- The indwelling of The One Spirit connects us to God, He unites with us
- All who biblically convert to Christ’s Lordship belong equally to a community
- This is Jesus’ church, it’s a big deal
20 Together we are members of God’s spiritual family, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 We are purposefully joined together in Him, becoming a holy temple in Christ The Lord. 22 Together were are becoming the dwelling place of God’s Spirit.
- We each ‘convert’ to God’s family as an individual; surrendering to His call
- That call and our surrender is informed by those God revealed Himself through
- Christ is the apex of God’s revelation, the cross & resurrection are crucial
- True salvation only come from a biblical response to the biblical message
- This unity of being makes us God’s Temple, we each house His Spirit
- As Christ’s Church our unity is based on Scripture (not feelings or social norms)
We all are born in rebellion against God, living under the rule of Satan, deserving ‘God’s Justice’.
God came to our world, His death & resurrection unites us in eternal life with Christ.
Those God saves by grace, are an eternal demonstration of His mercy, love and kindness.
Christ’s Biblical Church are His ‘humbled handiwork’, living in grace by faith, doing God’s will.
All spirit filled believers are united to each other and to God through Christ’s death & resurrection forming God’s Spiritual Family / Christ’s Body / The New Testament Church.
Each local group of believers exists based on Scripture and in unity worship & honor their Lord.
Based on this passage what is your role in becoming saved from God’s wrath by Christ’s death & resurrection?
How do you consistently express the gratitude you have for Christ uniting you to God?
What are some examples of how you lived differently before and after surrendering your life to Jesus Christ? Have you begun the good work God has appointed you to?
If you are a member of this church, how well are you living up to the commitment you made in signing the member covenant?