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United in Christ
Bible Passage Ephesians 2:11-22
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2022 & books Ephesians, ISAIAH.

United in Christ

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached December 22, 2022

SCRIPTURE 📖
11 Therefore, remember that you were once Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by those who are called circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

12 And that you were without Christ at that time, alienated 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 were once far off are made near by the blood of Christ.

14 For He is our peace, Who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition,

15 Having annulled in His flesh the enmity, the law of commandments contained in the decrees of men, so that in Himself He might create both into one new man, making peace;

16 And that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross, having slain the enmity by it.

17 Now when He came, He preached the gospel—peace to you who were far off and to those who were near.

18 For through Him we both have direct access by one Spirit to the Father.

19 So then, you are no longer aliens and foreigners; but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of the household of God.

20 You are being built up on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief Cornerstone

21 In Whom all the building, being conjointly fitted together, is increasing into a holy temple in the Lord;

22 In Whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.

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 the 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 (verse 11-12).

In verse 11, 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 closer to God but the Gentiles far from Him. They did not even allow Gentiles into the holiest part of the temple. It was as if a solid wall separated the two. But Christ, through his death, broke down this wall, abolished the offensive law and commandments, destroyed the hatred and made peace (verse 13-16). Not only does Jesus bring us peace. Now He ‘is our peace’. Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

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. 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 (verse 17-19).

In the temple, where the Jews worshiped 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!’

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 is built around and built into Christ (verse 20-22).

LESSONS✍🏽
🔷There are no distinctions between people who are in Christ Jesus. They are all one

🔷 Those who follow Christ will know and have eternal peace from Him

🔷 Following Christ is not skewed to customs and traditions; it is rather about morality and what is wrong and right

PRAYER POINTS🙏🏽
💥 Thank God for the great work of Christ Jesus
💥 Pray for a permanent conciliation with Christ

CONCLUSION📙
The birth, work and death of Christ pays a huge debt that brings us peace and reconciliation to the Father. It breaks every existing barrier and unites all followers. It doesn’t really pay attention to the past but current resolve to live for and like Christ.

AMEN

In series Bright Morning Reflections