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Ephesians– overview of 2:19-22; God’s Temple in Humanity, part 8 (churches fitted together).

EPHESIANS-1-190723
length: 64:21 - taught on Jul, 23 2019
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Class Outline:

Tuesday July 23, 2019

 

EPH 2:19-22 God’s Temple in Humanity.

 

EPH 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household,

            

EPH 2:20 having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets [of the church age], Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,

 

Some are surprised that Paul writes of himself in such a general way, as one of the apostles, but compared with his other letters, this letter is destined for several churches, addressing people with whom he had slight or even no contact, and so it is objective and general in its contemplation of the church.

 

Paul is not the only founder of churches; he is one of a band of colleagues, working in different regions, making up an extensive system of “buildings” that are “fitted together.”

 

He recognizes his fellow laborers in the humble manner of a great man of God, referring to all of them as apostles and prophets.

 

EPH 2:21 in whom the [a] whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord;

 

EPH 2:22 in whom you also [all the churches who receive this letter] are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

 

The image is that of an extensive pile of buildings, such as the ancient temples commonly were, in process of construction at different points over a wide area.

 

Aerial view of Luxor Temple complex on eastern bank of the Nile.

 

The builders work in concert, upon a common plan. The several parts of the work are adjusted to each other; and the various operations in process are so harmonized that the entire construction preserves the unity of the architect’s design.

 

Each member of one church are being built together, but it is also true that different churches are being built together. The fact that our oldest copies of this epistle does not contain “at Ephesus” in the salutation (vs. 1) would point to Paul’s intention for the letter to be circulated and therefore for Paul to be writing about the unity of various churches, of which there were several in the area of Roman Asia. It was obvious to Paul, after having to deal personally with the Jew/Gentile division that cropped up in the beginning of his ministry that came very close to dividing the Gentile Antioch church from the Jewish Jerusalem church.

 

We picture the household of God as a series of buildings: Rome, Ephesus, Colossae, Galatia, Corinth, Philippi, Thessalonica, etc. who are all built upon the same blueprint. That was the plan.

 

1CO 3:8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

 

1CO 3:9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.

 

1CO 3:10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it.

 

“wise master builder” - sophos architektōn (arche - ruler or beginner; + tekton - artificer or craftsman).

 

In Greek, architektōn had a wider application than our word “architect.” It means a master builder or craftsman. Paul refers to himself as a wise craftsman of the foundation of the church.

 

Who is the “another” who is building upon it? As the following sentence refers, it is a man. But is Paul referring to the individual Christian, or is he referring to the men, like Apollos or Timothy, who are coming after him and who are themselves building churches?

 

“Another is building” - teachers coming after Paul who would be building churches. “Be careful to build upon the only foundation, which I (Paul) laid - Christ.”

 

The context fits the latter.

 

1CO 1:10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.

 

1CO 1:11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you.

 

1CO 1:12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, "I am of Paul," and "I of Apollos," and "I of Cephas," and "I of Christ."

 

1CO 1:13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

 

1CO 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.

 

1CO 3:7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.

 

1CO 3:8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

 

1CO 3:9 For we are God's fellow workers [ordained authority in the church]; you are God's field, God's building [subject to that authority].

 

This passage is about church building. It is related to the individual building maturity within himself, as all churches that are successful according to the standard of Christ possess mature believers within them.

 

Believers will be evaluated by Christ, but that is not the immediate context of this passage.

 

2CO 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

 

2CO 5:2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven;

 

2CO 5:3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, shall not be found naked.

 

2CO 5:4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed, but to be clothed, in order that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

 

2CO 5:5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

 

2CO 5:6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord — 

 

2CO 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight — 

 

2CO 5:8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

 

2CO 5:9 Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

 

When life gets mundane, predictable, seems to lose its excitement, remember this. Our purpose on earth always exists, though we long to be home in heaven - to be pleasing to Him.

 

2CO 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

 

Paul laid the foundation in Corinth and at the time of writing, another is building upon it, let him be careful. Corinth has descended into carnality. They have accepted within their community false teachers. Who is leading them? He has not been doing the job properly, he has strayed from Paul’s blueprints, and Paul is going to have to return in order to put it all right.

 

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