Bible Studies for Life
December 13 2018
Ephesians 2:11-22 (HCSB)
In the 1950s both Billy Graham and Martin Luther King Jr. expressed their disgust that 11 a.m. on Sunday morning was the most segregated hour in America. Both understood and taught that the Scriptures clearly teach a multiethnic inclusion in the local church. It appears we still have a long way to go.
Paul described the hostility between Jews and Gentiles. This hostility was rooted in religion culture and race. He gave a lesson on Christian unity through reconciliation. I use a simple drawing on the whiteboard to illustrate this point. I draw a cross on the board. I label the vertical post with an arrow pointing up labeling the top of the post “God.” On the cross beam I label the left side with an arrow pointing left and on the right side pointing right. On either end of the cross beam I write “man.” I explain that we are reconciled vertically to God and horizontally to man through Christ’s death on the cross.
Paul spoke about the Ephesian Christians’ past “alienation” from God (Eph. 2:11-12). As Gentiles they were separated by their flesh; they were foreigners and they were hopeless and Godless. Paul said “But now in Christ Jesus you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah” (Eph. 2:13). Alienation brought hostility but reconciliation through the cross brought peace by making us one (Eph. 2:14-15). This was what Christ preached.
Reconciliation brings about a new identification (Eph. 2:19-22).
The Gentile believers were then along with Jewish believers a new community.
Paul characterized them as citizens of God’s kingdom members of God’s family and stones in God’s sanctuary.
Tony Merida said “We are to live the Christian life together as a multiethnic temple centered in Christ rooted in the teaching of Scripture.” Our fallen human nature seeks to make distinctions between races but God makes no distinction. Christ loves all equally; He died for all and He works through all believers regardless of race.