Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Sermon Notes Ephesians 2:14-22

Ephesians 2:14-22
He is Our Peace
September 7, 2014
Lynchburg, Virginia

         Paul goes to great length to assure the Ephesians that they have full privileges in God through Jesus Christ. There is no longer any room for a sense of superiority on the part of the Jews who were chosen as God’s people, or inferiority on the part of the Gentiles who lived outside of God’s plans.
         In Jesus Christ, there is one new man. This is meant to give peace to both Gentiles and Jews. Keep in mind the high theology that we have already discussed. God comes to us in the Spirit of His own accord. He chooses us and because He chooses us, we become His workmanship in Jesus Christ.
         There is no room for boasting in this because it is a gift. The Jew does not boast that he was chosen because he was so good. God makes it clear that the Jews were a stubborn and stiffnecked people. Perhaps God chose them to prove that if He could save them, He could save anybody. The Gentiles do not get to boast as if they figured out God’s goodness to them in Jesus. The Apostle says that they were without God and without hope in the world. God revealed Himself to them and they responded in faith. So, both Jew and Gentile are in the same place when it comes to God’s revelation. Without God initiating His grace and kindness to them, they are lost.
         Keep in mind also, the immediate problems that cropped up soon after the Fall of mankind. Adam and Eve hid from God so there was division between God and men. Adam and Eve were also divided in their marriage, Adam refusing to be accountable in accusing Eve and Eve failing to take her own responsibility. Furthermore, their children, Cain and Abel, were unable to get along. Cain killed Abel and we see the essential problem of man against man.
         So, we remember that in Christ, we are restored to God and to one another. This one another part is very important. If we say that we love God but hate our brother, then we are liars. The enemies of God will know us by our love for one another. Why? Because they are unable to fulfill this law of love. They are children of disobedience and one of things that so clearly marks them this was is strife between brothers.
         Now, when I say this, I want us to understand that, in Christ, we still have a choice, whether to be sowers of discord, or spreaders of peace. Christ is our peace. In Christ, we are to be a people of peace. We are expressly called to peace among the brothers, all those who are in Christ. The things that divide us should pale compared to the person that unites us. For Jesus Christ, Himself, is our peace.
         The peace principle is a big one. It should be one of the great marks of faith. If a man is not peaceful, then this is a good sign that he does not have Jesus. Why? Because Jesus is our peace. Those who have Jesus, have peace.
         As I usually do, I want to make a small qualification. We grow in grace and sanctification. Baby peace does not look like old man peace. Jesus is our peace but we can grow in Jesus and thus grow in peace. Second, a temporary loss of peace does not mean that we do not have peace. A man may be unsettled by circumstances for a moment, such that he forgets who he is or whom he serves. He may find himself out of sorts. Out of sorts from what? From Jesus, from his brothers and sisters in the Lord, from peace. So, if you are out of peace, then the needed things is to remember who you in Christ Jesus and that He is your peace.
         Then you can settle back in and rest in peace. You can be joined together with God again and with that brother, or sister in peace.

14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Root word for peace means, to join. Peace is a joining together.
This is a significant picture. Jesus is the one in whom we are joined together. We are joined at several levels.
In Jesus, we are joined to God. Jesus is our peace with God. Our sin is nailed to the cross in Christ and therefore there is no standing debt against God to keep us from Him.
Furthermore, we are joined man to man. This context talks about the joining of Jew and Gentile. There is a sense in which these two disparate parts can be joined, then anyone can be joined. These pieces, Jew and Gentile, don’t fit together. There are too many discrepancies. There is too much division. There is too much history. They simply cannot go together. And yet, we are told that Jesus is the peace between Jew and Gentile.
Furthermore, they are not simply joined. You can take some really good superglue and join things that ought not be joined together. At times, you can make this look good. At other times, it looks like a monstrosity. But that is not the case here. Two unlike things are joined together and we are told they are fitly framed together.
That is a great picture. These two disparate things cannot be fitly framed in their original condition. The Jew had the law of ordinances. The Gentile was without God and without hope in the world. The Jew would never forsake Yahweh. The Gentile could not remake himself into a Jew. So, God had to do something miraculous by remaking both men into one new man, Christian.
The law and ordinances are fulfilled in Jesus. The barrier of entry into the inner temple was removed for the Gentile. Thus, one new man can worship God in Spirit and in Truth. Thus, God joined them together in peace.

15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 
How did Jesus abolish the enemy and slay the enmity? The enmity was the law of commandments in ordinances. This was a barrier to the Jew because the Gentile could not fully practice the law without becoming a Jew. It was barrier to the Gentile because this law in ordinances was expressly for the Jewish people. The Gentile would have to become a Jew outwardly to participate. This system was only temporary until Christ. Thus, when God abolished the system in Christ, it removed the barrier to peace so that Jew and Gentile could be joined in Him.
The enmity was abolished in that it was no longer necessary. This was a benefit to the Gentile.

16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 
The enmity was slain in that it no longer prevented the Jew from entering the holy of holies. Because Jesus perfectly fulfilled all the sacrifices, there was no barrier to full fellowship with God in the inner sanctuary. Both Jew and Gentile could now enter into the holy of holies with boldness, the same way, through Jesus.

17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 
Both the Gentile and Jew need peace preached to them. This is the good news. There is nothing that now separates man from God for God has become man and has ascended to God.

18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 
We have access to God the Father through Jesus. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is also the same Spirit that brings us near to the Father and binds us together in peace.
This is significant because the Jew thought they had access by the law and the sacrificial system. But in Jesus, the sacrificial system is ended. So, there is no access to God that way. Furthermore, if one thought he had access to God, the Father, through the law, even the law of commandments, he was mistaken. The law did not give one access to the Father. It was God’s graciousness, whereby one’s faith was considered righteousness, that gave one access to God.
So, the law without the sacrificial system, is an absolute barrier. It can then only condemn.
Three Uses of the Moral law
1.   Reveal Sin- see ourselves in reality.
2.   Restrain Evil- deacon of God to punish the evil-doer.
3.   God’s will for obedience.
Note- None of these uses are for salvation!

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 
The Gentiles are not strangers or foreigners. Strangers and foreigners can be brought closer to God but they cannot enter the holy place. The point here is that they do not have to be naturalized, that is, they do not have to become Jews. There is a new nation, a new people of God, that they can be joined to. This is what he now calls saints. These are the new citizens of the kingdom of God. In Him, in Christ, there is no longer Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female but one new man, Christian.
Galatians 3: 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.  23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.  24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 
Gal. 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
No longer Moses’s house. But the household of God in Christ Jesus.

20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 
Jew and Gentile are built upon the foundation of Apostles and Prophets but Christ is first in this foundation. He is the Chief Cornerstone. The household of God cannot be built without Jesus. But it also cannot be built without the Apostles and Prophets. These are all necessary building materials to erect the household of God.
This building, Jesus as cornerstone, Apostles and prophets as part of the foundation, Jew and Gentile as building stones, fits together perfectly. It is fitly framed. This can only be done supernaturally.
This is why all attempts to build a superstructure of the brotherhood of man fail. They attempt to build with stones not fitly framed. Only in Christ can we be fitly framed. We cannot build a one world order. There can be no peace in science, or modernity, or education. Only in Christ, can man be fitted to God and man to man.
Without Jesus, there is no peace. Only in Jesus can the dividing walls be broken down.
So, the enemies of Christ claim that He is divisive. To demand only peace in Jesus, without peace with others, is itself seen as divisive. How can you have peace in Jesus if a large portion of the world rejects Jesus as the Messiah? If you insist that He is the Messiah, isn’t this created unrest and lack of peace?

22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
In Christ, in His Church- This is the place where we, too, are fitly framed together through the Spirit.
What are we doing in Christ in His Church? We are the new Holy Place. We are the Temple of the Lord where the Spirit dwells.
This house of God is meant to be a place of peace because Jesus is our peace. This is the place of peace between God and man and between man and man.
This is why peace is something that ought to be considered important. Do you have peace with God? Do you have peace with your brothers?

If you do not have peace with your brothers, are you fooling yourself about peace with God?

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