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Ephesians– overview of 2:11-13; The near and the far – God brings peace to the world, part 3.

EPHESIANS-1-190613
length: 66:34 - taught on Jun, 13 2019
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Class Outline:

Thursday June 13, 2019

 

We must remember that our unity must be based upon Christ. There must not be unity for unity’s sake or for any other reason.

 

Love your neighbor as yourself is the second commandment, following the first to love the Lord your God.

 

EPH 2:11 Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands — 

 

EPH 2:12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

 

EPH 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

 

All of them know without a doubt that their old heathen creeds were dead and empty to the soul. Greek philosophy was no more satisfying.

 

We noted the appeal of Gentile religions.

 

Greek philosophy was another appeal to the Gentiles - to their intellectual pride with various choices of Platonism, Epicureanism, or Stoicism.

 

Human pride has nuances which requires slight variations in the ideologies that will appeal to them. Philosophy’s appeal is in the pride of the intellect and because of people’s taste for variation, as well as to differ from others, having someone to argue and debate, to prove oneself superior, there has to be a variation of choice. Because of this, Platonists, Epicureans, and Stoics, and the many little sects within them, could all thrive.

 

I think this same phenomena has been the seedbed for denominations as well as Calvinism and Arminianism and a whole bunch of other isms.

 

“Deism finds God only in heaven; Pantheism only on earth; Christianity alone finds Him both in heaven and on earth.” [Harless]

 

Paul describes the Gentiles as without God in the world. Can we think God could have chosen any other man to be the apostle to the Gentiles? He, a Jew, possesses a heart of deep compassion and sorrow for them.

 

“To be without God in the world is to be in the wilderness, without a guide; on a stormy ocean, without harbor or pilot; in sickness of spirit, without medicine or physician; to be hungry without bread, and weary without rest, and dying with no light of life. It is to be an orphaned child, wandering in an empty, ruined home.” [Dods]

 

Matthew Arnold:

 

On that hard Pagan world disgust

And secret loathing fell;

Deep weariness and sated lust

Made human life a hell. 

 

The pagan, Gentile world often functioned on the spirit of “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

 

Paul said, if there is no resurrection, no life after this one, then we might as well adopt the same philosophy. 

 

1CO 15:28 If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.

 

Yet naturally, pessimism of creed leads to pessimism of conduct and there is no consistent goodness in such people. And yet, pessimism brings pessimistic people together in a type of unity, but they doubt it would last. There is no unity like the one that Jesus forged among men who accepted Him, and with Him, His love.

 

So there is Gentile religion, idolatry, philosophy, pessimism, fatalism, atheism, and a bunch of other isms. Then there is Judaism that rejects Christ, which therefore becomes a Pharisaical religion of salvation by keeping the Mosaic Law.

 

These all attack the church and they show us the background from which Gentile and Jewish believers have come. The influence of these backgrounds doesn’t just disappear. We come into the Christian life with ignorance and bias that only a consistent and methodical study of the word of God over years could ever fix.

 

Even in the church, there continued a division between Gentile and Jewish Christians, despite the revelation of the apostles.

 

The Jews came to believe that Messiah was only coming for them. God had prophesied that He was also coming for Gentiles.

 

The Jews had come to believe that the Messiah was coming only for them, and that false conclusion led them to despise the Gentile. Yet, God had foretold that He was also coming for the Gentiles, but these prophecies were conveniently allegorized.

 

ROM 9:23 And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,

 

ROM 9:24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.

 

ROM 9:25 As He says also in Hosea,

 

"I will call those who were not My people, 'My people,'

And her who was not beloved, 'beloved.'"

 

ROM 9:26 "And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ' you are not My people,'

There they shall be called sons of the living God."

 

ISA 42:1

“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold;

My chosen one in whom My soul delights.

I have put My Spirit upon Him;

He will bring forth justice to the nations.”

 

GEN 12:3

“And I will bless those who bless you,

And the one who curses you I will curse.

And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

 

Yet, without possession of the prophets and the writings and the covenants, the Gentiles were far off.

 

But, the blood of Christ brought them near. The New Covenant in His blood would be given to Jews and Gentiles.

 

JOH 18:33 Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus, and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?"

 

JOH 18:34 Jesus answered, "Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?" 

 

JOH 18:35 Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You up to me; what have You done?"

 

JOH 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm." 

 

“My kingdom” is referred to by Jesus directly after Pilate said, “Your nation delivered You up to me.” Yet, Jesus refers to His kingdom as not of this world. And then He says “everyone who is of the truth hears My voice,” not restricting the truth to Israel alone.

 

JOH 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." 

 

JOH 18:38 Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?"

 

Jesus then makes a statement which bears witness of Paul’s identification of Israel as being nearer to God and having the covenants.

 

JOH 19:11 Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me up [Jews] to you [Gentiles] has the greater sin."

 

Authority was given to the Romans because the leadership of Israel conspired to handcuff Pilate into ordering Jesus’ crucifixion. This was predetermined from before time began, but still Israel was held accountable. Possessing what they did, Israel had the greater sin than Rome (Gentiles). And due to this, Rome would sack Samaria and Judea, sack Jerusalem, and destroy the Temple. Rome would only strengthen up to the fifth century.  

 

The Jews were nearer, and so in the execution of Christ, their sin was greater. We see that being nearer doesn’t guarantee anything other than accountability.

 

In the same manner, there is an accountability of maturity. You will face more divine disciple as a more mature Christian than you did when you began in the faith.

 

EPH 2:11 Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands — 

 

EPH 2:12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

 

EPH 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

 

 EPH 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,   

 

Eph  2:15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,    

 

EPH 2:16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.    

 

 

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