We are reading the second half of Ephesians Chapter 2 and last week closed with these words - "Israel - I give you the promises - the prophets - the Word of Light - the promise of the Messiah - now go and share all this with the world."
We too must be careful that we do not fall into the same trap. Our ministry must be to others - because we learn here that outside of Christ man cannot get through to GOD. Outside of Jesus Christ man remains a stranger and an alien - sojourners.
Israel was called by God to be the light of the world – to take the light of God – the word of God – the truth of God to others in the world – but this she did not do.
Think of Israel herself - for some 2,000 years she had no home - having rejected the Messiah, they became sojourners - aliens - strangers - hunted down and having to turn for their lives, everywhere they went - persecuted during a series of pogroms. Now, they are back in their land - but they are still looking for their Messiah.
There was a day when people said - John Chapter 1 - "We have found the Messiah."
But for many, at the moment, they are "without God" - ATHEOS is the word in verse 12.
I remember listening to someone - who told me all that she believed - and I kept silent waiting for something significant to emerge from that mouth. Nothing came that pointed to faith - and I had to say - "Do you know that all you have told me you believe, the devil believes and trembles!" There had been no encounter with the risen and living Lord Jesus Christ.
It is possible to have temples and buildings and shrines and meetings and services and doctrines - and be without Jesus Christ.
See too how not only has the barrier been demolished - but how the gulf has been bridged.
You are now in a JEW - JESUS CHRIST. To write that at that time to Gentiles was radical teaching. Walls and barriers which divide have been demolished - and HE brings us into one body - which means sharing one BLOOD. This is astounding.
On the Cross - Jesus Christ dealt with those issues which made Jews different from us Gentiles.
Verse 19 - Consequently - see the building now - built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets - with Christ Jesus Himself holding everything together. Look where the apostles and prophets are - not lording it over people - but in the foundation upholding and supporting.
That is the whole purpose of an apostolic and prophetic ministry - to uphold and support - to prevent people from sinking - what a revelation Paul shares with Gentile believers.
The good works which a disciple of Jesus Christ does - or performs - is something which God prepared for us to do.
We are in a position to meet people's spiritual needs – with the help of God.
This is what Jesus calls us to do - and remember, Jesus does not just tolerate us - He chooses us - He calls us - God the Father adopts us into His Family - we are His sons - His chosen children.
Workmanship – the word is POEMA - from which we get the word poem. We are God's creative masterpiece - when we yield - when we are pliable in His holy hands - and note the word "WE".
It is what we are together - in fellowship - as we lose our individual identity in Christ.
Whenever God wants to change the shape - HE applies pressure - like clay in the Hands of the Potter.
That is why we have to be careful at times when we might discover these words coming into our minds.
"Why am I having to go through all this? Why am I experiencing all this hassle - all this opposition - all this pressure?”
This is God producing a new poem. Here is a revelation from God - revealed by the Holy Spirit to Paul - so that the Church could be informed and edified.
Remember too - it is being written - it is all being revealed - in prison in Rome.
If you want to ascend to the highest you have to be prepared to experience the lowest.
God wants all this down in writing - there is authority when you have something down in writing in a document. There is a degree of permanence - and it is reasonably easy to refer to.
There is a line running right through this passage - it divides.
We see two categories of people.
It separates those who are dead from those who are alive - spiritually speaking.
Re-read Chapter 2 – we see these two groups - those who are in their sins - or those who are seated with Christ having been raised up by God - in Christ, Jesus or outside of Christ.
There is no in between - there is no other spiritual position.
Paul is saying - you either have this disease which is a KILLER - or you have the CURE OF GOD which God Himself provides and supplies and offers so generously.
Paul begins with Praise - moves into Prayer - and then in our passage today Preaches. On he goes to preach and explain further - what we so need to know.
“Lord God Almighty – my loving heavenly Father – continue to show me what you wish me to do – how to serve – how to reach out to those who are in need – how to minister to those who are downcast and sad – I look to You and to Your Word – for help and strength – through Jesus. Amen.”
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