Walk Series – Week 8 (Ephesians 2:11-13)
Intro: (Luke 15) Prodigal son story – Gentiles are the prodigal, Jews are the older brother.
Text: Ephesians 2:11-13 (NKJV)
“Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh--who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands-- 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
God removed what once was a mystery and has now been revealed, God removed what was once far off and is now near, God removed what once was a barrier and has now been removed. God removed what once was unequal and has now made all equal. God removed what once was far away and is now very close. We can all continue to have the chance to stay away by just deciding not to get close to God His children or experience a real relationship. Or you or I can realize we do not have to be far off any longer. You can be “brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Last week I mentioned The Four Spheres we can relate to in Ephesians – (1) In his relationship to God, (2) In his relationship with God’s family, the church. (3) In his home life and (4) in his relationship to the world. In this section of the scriptures Paul was reminding the Ephesians what life is like since Christ came: you see He brought with Him Reconciliation and peace. Now we no longer have to be “Far Off” with a right relationship with God we can be close.
1. Historical View:
Everyone who was not a Jew was a Gentile. There was a time when all of us who are Gentiles were "far off" and separated from God, a time when great division separated us from heaven. When? Before Christ, before Christ there was a great gulf, a great distance that separated most of the world from God. From an historical view. Before Christ, God dealt with man through the Jewish nation. Since Christ, God has been moving on a world-wide scale to include both Jews and Gentiles who are willing to follow Christ. God takes both Jew and Gentile believers and He makes them the citizens of His new race, His new nation, His new creation.
God’s purpose in calling the Jews as His holy people was to send them as His missionaries to the Gentiles, to call all nations back to Himself in grace and love. The Jews, however, were no more faithful to their greater light than the Gentiles were to their lesser. Sadly, many Christians are not faithful to their still greater Light, “the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man” John 1:9.
We were far off and separated from God; however Christ brings us near to God.
2. Individual View:
From an individual view, the Jewish nation was made up of individual Jews, and the Gentile nations are made up of individual Gentiles.
We were barricaded from God by the Jews. God Himself had caused the Jewish nation to be born of Abraham. He had challenged the Jews to be the missionary force to the world, proclaiming that He and He alone was the only true and living God, and that He was going to send the Messiah to save the world. But the Jews failed in their mission. They became exclusive, super-spiritual, prideful, and boastful in their religion and failed to reach out to the other people of the world. They took their own name, Jews, and called themselves by that name, but they classified everyone else in a package by the name of Gentile. They took the major ritual of their religion, circumcision, and called themselves by that name, but they classified everyone else as the uncircumcised.
We were "without Christ." This means that we as Gentiles neither knew nor expected the Messiah, that is, the anointed One of God. As Gentiles we had no hope of the coming Saviour for the world.
We were "aliens" from God's people, that is, from Israel. This means that we as Gentiles were not citizens of God's people—the nation of people being built by God for Himself. As Gentiles we had no destiny.
We were "strangers from the covenant and promises of God." This means that we as Gentiles were not the covenant people of God. God did not approach the Gentiles directly with the covenant relationship. The Jews alone had a covenant relationship with God.
We had "no hope." This means that we as Gentiles lived in all the fears and the anxieties of life and in constant expectancy of death. We had no hope of a life beyond this world beyond human history.
We were "without God in the world." This means that we as Gentiles stood alone in this world. We had no source of strength or hope beyond that which we ourselves could muster or which others like us could provide. There was nothing to which we could look beyond ourselves. We had "gods many, and lords many", but we were alienated from the only living and true God.
The Gentiles were without God in the world because they did not want Him. The Lord did not reject the Gentiles, “for there is no partiality with God” Romans 2:11. They did not have God’s law given to them on stone tablets as did the Jews, but they had it written in their hearts and consciences. They had the revelation of His nature “evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse”. The Gentiles rejected God by suppressing the truth about Himself that He had made abundantly evident. The problem was that, “even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened” “With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.” Ephesians 4:17-19 (NLT) Live no longer the way they did! Christ fixed that.
3. New Creation View:
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
From a new creation view, God is no longer dealing with earthly divisions of nations. He is dealing with a new nationality of people, a new body of people who make up the true citizens of His Kingdom. These citizens are individuals from all the nations of the world who now approach God through the Lord Jesus Christ. God promises to spiritually recreate any person who approaches Him through Christ. God causes that person to be born again; He makes a new man out of him. God further promises the new man that he will become a member of God's new body and new nation of people—His true church. It is these believers—those who believe in Christ—who are to constitute the true family of God and to inhabit the new heavens and earth which God is to create in the future. The new creation view brings the person close to God in a relationship with Him and the Church.
A right relationship with God and a right relationship to the church should make us desire to see those far from God brought back into a right relationship with God and the Church.
We were far off and separated from God, we were barricaded from God: we were Gentiles and uncircumcised, we were without Christ, we were aliens from God’s people (Israel), we were strangers from God’s covenant and promises and we were without hope and without God.
All differences were set aside in favor of common unity in the Holy Spirit of God. “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on the character of Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28 (NLT)
God had to provide a Perfect, Ideal Man for men, a Man who could stand as the Pattern for all men. If He could provide the Ideal Man, then He could die for man and His death would stand for the death of all men. This God has done. God has loved man with a perfect love—a love so strong that He was willing to substitute His Son for man. Only God and God's Son could love that much. This is the first reason Christ had to die, to shed His blood for man. “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NLT)
John 15:13 (NLT) “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” You must come close in a relationship with Christ to really see what kind of friend He is, and what kind of friend you should be! “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.” Romans 2:28-29
You don’t have to be the prodigal son any longer; you don’t have to be far off!
Romans 1:18-21 (NLT)
“God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.”
In : Sermon
Tags: "worthy walk series"
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