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No foreigners
Bible Passage Ephesians 2: 11-22
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & book Ephesians.

No foreigners

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached December 8, 2023

SCRIPTURE 📖
11 So then, remember that at one time you gentiles by birth were called “the uncircumcised” by those who called themselves “the circumcised.” They underwent physical circumcision done by human hands.

12 At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from citizenship in Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise. You had no hope and were in the world without God.

13 But now, in union with the Messiah Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.

14 For it is he who is our peace. Through his mortality he made both groups one by tearing down the wall of hostility that divided them.

15 He rendered the Law inoperative, along with its commandments and regulations, thus creating in himself one new humanity from the two, thereby making peace,

16 and reconciling both groups to God in one body through the cross, on which he eliminated the hostility.

17 He came and proclaimed peace for you who were far away and for you who were near.

18 For through him, both of us have access to the Father by one Spirit.

19 That is why you are no longer strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household,

20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, the Messiah Jesus himself being the cornerstone.

21 In union with him the whole building is joined together and rises into a holy sanctuary for the Lord.

22 You, too, are being built in him, along with the others, into a place for God’s Spirit to dwell.

BACKGROUND
For centuries there had been bitterness and tension between Jews and Gentiles, mainly because of the way proud Jews looked down on Gentiles. Jews had circumcision as a sign that they were God’s people; Gentiles did not. Because they were not God’s people, Gentiles enjoyed none of Israel’s privileges through the covenants and promises. They had no hope for a Messiah and no knowledge of God (verses 11-12). So some of our communities are at loggerheads with one another. Some claim to be first settlers, allodial owners of the land, title owners, and kingpins of the activities of the community. In some communities, some families are inferior and are called strangers, etc.

Jews were ‘circumcised’. Gentiles were ‘not circumcised’. God gave the custom of circumcision to Abraham. It became part of the Jewish religion. He gave it as an outer sign of his choice of the Israelites. People could see that they were His special people. Paul refers to this circumcision as ‘the circumcision that men’s hands do’. He seems to be saying that the physical sign is not important. What happens inside us is important. In that way, Jews and Gentiles are the same.

The Jews, having been chosen to receive God’s law, considered themselves close to God but the Gentiles were far from Him. They did not even allow Gentiles into the holiest part of the temple.

In the temple, where the Jews worshipped God, there were different courts (sections).

These were:
a) the Court of the Gentiles;
b) the Court of the Women;
c) the Court of the Israelites;
d) the Court of the Priests;
e) the Most Holy Place.

Between the Court of the Gentiles and the rest of the temple, there was a wall. The Jews did not allow the Gentiles to pass this wall. There were warning signs on the wall. The message to the Gentiles was this. ‘If you go past this sign, you will die!’

Indeed there was that separation and distinction in everything that was done. But Christ, through His death, broke down this wall, abolished the offensive law and commandments, destroyed the hatred, and made peace (verses 13-16).

No longer are the ‘near’ Jews more privileged than the ‘far off’ Gentiles. In Christ there is no longer a distinction between Jews and Gentiles, for all who believe are God’s people. Similarly, All have equal status as citizens of God’s heavenly city, all are members of His family, and all come into His presence through the one Spirit (verses 17-19).

The new temple in which God dwells is not a building like the old Jewish temple. It is a spiritual dwelling place. Apostles and prophets form the foundation, other believers form the main building, and all are built around and built into Christ (verses 20-22).

LESSONS✍🏽
🔷 People of God must be proud of their relation with God, and not their titles and powers within the community

🔷 The work of Christ breaks every wall and distinction among people but brings them together as equals before Him

PRAYER POINTS🙏🏽
💥 Thank God for the work of Christ
💥 Pray for the unity of the body of Christ

CONCLUSION📙
Love, peace, harmony, and unity should exist among all believers since they all have the same goal of Christ. There are no longer any boundaries for we are all one in Christ.
AMEN

In series Bright Morning Reflections