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Sunday, December 21, 2014 pm                Ephesians Index

 

STUDIES IN EPHESIANS (11)
Fellow Citizens
Ephesians 2:19-22

Tonight we continue our study of the book of Ephesians.  Thus far in this chapter we have addressed the grace of God and our faith responding to that grace.  Following this, Paul sought to emphasize that this salvation is available to all –both Gentile and Jew.  He did this by noting how the Gentiles were brought near by the blood of Christ and the wall of separation was broken down. (vs. 11-18)  Paul’s point is to emphasize our need for unity – we are one body. 

In our text this evening we will see some descriptions that Paul uses to show this unity.

 I.                    You are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints

a.        Strangers and foreigners is a reference to the Gentiles who were once “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.”  For our purpose, it is to say that they were without Christ.
ANYONE (of accountable age) who has not obeyed the gospel is a foreigner to God.

b.       Fellow citizens – the idea of citizens is to be members of a particular state (government). 
This expression implies:
There was IN EXISTENCE as Paul wrote the kingdom of God.  Col. 1:13 finds Paul saying that we have been conveyed into the kingdom of Christ.
Christ had given to His apostles “the keys to the kingdom of heaven” and they had used them to open it up for mankind.  (Matt. 16:19)
They were all equal in this kingdom! “Fellow citizens” is one word meaning the same or equal citizenship.

c.        Saints are holy ones or those set apart.  Under the Old Covenant, the Jews were God’s sanctified people, but not now.  ALL can now be His chosen people – cf. Rom. 2:28-29 – circumcision of the heart.
In the New Testament, “saints” was a reference to all who are saved  -
1 Cor. 1:2 -
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:”;
2 Cor. 1:1, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia:
Phil. 1:1, saints, bishops and deacons.
Within the book of Ephesians they are mentioned some 9 times, eg. Eph. 1:1, “to the saints who are in Ephesus.”  Eph. 4:12, 6:18, etc.

– not a special beatified class chose by rules that are nowhere found in scripture.

d.       Paul’s point in this description is they are all one now (cf. Gal. 3:27-29).

 

 II.                  Members of the household of God

a.        Another description tying them together – they are members of the same family.

b.       NOT second class – such as slaves and servants or visitors, but FAMILY!

c.        We are all children of God – John 1:12, Romans 8:16-17 – we are children of God and therefore heirs.
Phil. 2:15 describes us as “children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.”
1 John 3:1 says, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
1 John 5:2, how do we know we are children of God? When we keep His commandments!

d.       We are brethren – Rom. 12:1, Eph. 6:10, Heb. 3:1 – holy brethren

 III.                Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Himself being the chief cornerstone

a.        This is not just any fraternal organization, this is the church!

b.       Built upon Christ – Matt. 16:18, “upon this rock I will build my Church.” 
Eph. 1:22-23 – He is head of His body, the church.
1 Corinthians 3:11 tells us there is no other foundation than Jesus. 
Acts 4:12 Peter states that there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
He is the “chief cornerstone” – a building term describing the stone laid first in a corner upon which the rest of the house would be built.  EVERYTHING built and measured thereafter used that corner to erect the structure.  In other passages, Jesus is also described as “The chief cornerstone” – Luke 12:17,  Acts 4:11,  1 Peter 2:4-8 – all these are based upon Psalm 118:22 (see also Isa. 28:16).

c.        Built upon His word
The foundation of the apostles and prophets is a reference to His word.
The apostles were the ones who opened the kingdom - 1 Cor. 3:9-10  - Paul speaks of himself and others as fellow workers  building with wisdom.  It was the revelation of Jesus Christ that they built with (Gal. 1:11-12, John 14:26, 16:13; Eph. 3:3-5, etc.
The prophets, some during the time of the church (Eph. 4:11, 1 Cor. 12:28, Rom. 12:6) and some from the Old Law (cf. 2 Pet. 1:19-21, 1 Pet. 1:10-12) helped establish that kingdom. 
1 Cor. 12:28, Eph. 4:11-12 – notice in these passages how most of what is described is associated with the revelation of God’s word.  It is HIS word which builds us up (Acts 20:32, “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”)

d.       Consider also, 2 Peter 3:1–2,  Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,

 

 IV.                In whom the whole building, being fitted together

a.        With Christ as the chief cornerstone  we have this building - His church

b.       Paul now describes them as a building – joined together.  Recall the context as one of unity for both Jew and Gentile alike.  In building, the importance of a blueprint cannot be over emphasized.  IF ALL follow the blue-print, you will get a building that fits together perfectly.  

c.        This is similar to the analogy of a body – 1 Cor. 12:12-27, Rom. 12:4

d.       The point again is unity – working together, something that is SO needed!  Paul will emphasize this later in this letter (Eph. 4:1-6).  Unity is also emphasized throughout scripture!  John 13:34-35 (love is about unity); 1 Cor. 1:10, Rom. 12:16, Phil. 1:27, etc.

 

 V.                  Grows into a holy temple in the Lord

a.        WHEN we have unity, it promotes growth!

b.       Eph. 4:16, “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

c.        The usage of the term “temple” seems to imply a place of worship.
Under the Old Law, the temple was where Israel met with God.  IT was where the inner sanctuary that housed the Ark of the Covenant was permanently located (David & Solomon). 
In the psalms it was often referred to as the meeting place of God, where men worshipped – Psalm 5:7, 11:4, 27:4, 68:29, 138:2, etc.
ONE of the functions of the church is to come together to worship God – Acts 20:7, 1 Cor.  11:17-26, 16:1-2, etc.
We are all priests engaged in this service – 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10; Heb. 13:15-16 – we offer sacrifices of praise to Him.

d.       NOTICE that this growth is “in the Lord” simply meaning it is HIS house or temple.  Let us simply be reminded we must follow His will – Col. 3:17

e.       In whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. 
WHEN we are united as we ought to be, we have a house where God is glorified and where He will dwell.
Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!
in 1 Cor. 3:16-17, Paul says, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
When we are NOT what we ought to be, we are in danger of God not being in our midst (consider the7 churches of Asia)

 

And thus we have a picture of what God wants us to be as His church.  There are many applications that could be made based upon these things.  Let us consider our need to strive to be fellow citizens and members of the household of God, so that He will gladly dwell in our midst.