Ephesians / Ephesians 2:11–22
God has brought us near to Him and others, removing anything else in the way.
• Because we are deeply loved by God, He has destroyed everything that gets between us and Him and us and others.
so that’s what we want to be looking at today. How do we see Christ and His work in such a way that it causes us to love others more than our own preferences and culture?
• how have you seen separation happen through people’s preferences or identity?
On our own we separate
• This is strong language. Paul is telling us that on our own, we were hostile, alienated, without God and without hope.
On our own we easily grow hostile with others
• When we are without hope, when we are alone and alienated, it can be easy to not worry about others. It is easy to think of others simply as a means that either helps or hinders our own goals. Hostility is not just anger toward others, it is the idea of treating others as less than human.
• How have you seen people become a series of transactions instead of relationships?
On our own our different ideas become the most important part of us
• When left to ourselves we will find the most meaning in the ideas we have. But in the end the ideas that we have, while important, are not the most important part of us. Christ and His Kingdom and our life in Him is.
How do we live lives of reconciliation when everyone has different ideas?
• Holiness vs hostility
• TO choose holiness means to act differently with different tools and different relationships.
In Christ we have peace
Ephesians 2:14 ESV
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
• Christ doesn’t give peace,
• He gives Himself as peace.
• We don’t have better ideas for peace as Christians, we have better relationships
• How have you seen the church highlight the need for healthy and good relationships? How is God calling you to better relationships?
Christ recognizes us in our alienation
• And the “now” is simply that we who were once far off are now near through Christ.
• How did Christ welcome you into His Kingdom as one of His own?
All barriers can only really be broken down at the cross.
• And the distance in Christ is gone because of the cross. It is at the cross that every barrier is broken down. Christ beat death itself, where o death is your sting. Everything else is lesser. So we have reconciliation with Christ at the cross.
• ephesians 2:16 “and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.”
• The cross kills hostility between God and us and between us and others. Our reconciled lives in Christ is the hope of reconciliation for all our relationships with others.
Christ is the hope for all our relationships
Galatians 3:27–28 ESV
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Thems and Usses.
• In this passage we see the thems and usses placed together. We see gender, race, position all as one in Christ Jesus.
• All the notions, ideas, plans and strategies that keep us separate are now gone in Christ.
Not Thems and Usses but His
› As we come to Christ we are changed entirely but we still celebrate that we are all thems, we are all people who have been distant but under Christ we don’t just become usses. We become His.
Revelation 5:9 ESV
And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
• We are a church that is His from every tribe and language and people and nation. We are His, as we celebrate our usness as people who are different racially and in gender and in socioeconomics, in ideas and ideals. We are connected by being His.
What do we do?
Ephesians 2:19–22 ESV
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
• We live an “us” life, in Him.
• We surrender our “them” language to Christ.
• We repent of our “them” language to Christ
• we befriend thems to make His
• We trust that the cross of Christ is enough to bring reconciliation in relationships.
• What area is God calling you to next? To surrender “them” language? To repent of “them” language? Or to befriend “thems” in your world?