Friday, March 1, 2013


 ~ Ephesians 2:11-22
 “What unites us in Christ is greater than that which divides us.” At CBS we take our title seriously. If you will look at the word Community hidden is the word UNITY. All churches, all denominations, all religions united in Bible Study. We teach the Holy Bible and Jesus Christ as Savior and LORD. But I would invite anyone who is seeking the Truth, because Christ is the bridge builder to God.
Tonight we are talking about insiders and outsiders, those near to God and those who are far, citizens and aliens, saints and sinners.
The most notable example of separation in our time was The Berlin Wall.
World War II began in Sep 3, 1939 and in May 8, 1945, Germany signed an "Unconditional Surrender" After the conclusion of the war, Berlin was divided into four sectors. The United States, the United Kingdom and France controlled what became West Berlin, while the Soviet Sector formed East Berlin. The Soviets controlled the area of Germany that surrounded Berlin as well, leaving the three Allied Sectors of Berlin deep inside Soviet controlled Germany.
In the West a free, democratic government was set up. Life became much better in the West for German citizens. Fearful of losing many of its citizens, East Germany closed the border between the two states in 1952. That did not stop the flow of 2.5 million citizens to the West.
The Berlin Wall was built by the German Democratic Republic on August 12, 1961. It began as a simple fence but evolved over time into an intricate confinement system. For three decades the Berlin Wall divided a city, a nation, a world.  “By the time the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, there was a 300-foot No-Man's-Land, an additional inner wall, soldiers patrolling with dogs, anti-vehicle trenches, electric fences, massive light systems, watchtowers, bunkers, and minefields.”
What a wonderful day November 9, 1989 when the Berlin War was broken down! But greater still the day that Christ broke down the wall of hostility by His death and resurrection. Ephesians 2:14
 He himself is our peace Prayer
·        Separation
·        Reconciliation
·        Unification
Separated from God 
·        Sin introduce through Adam
·        Jews set Apart
·        All have sinned
In the Garden, God came down in the cool of the day and walked with Adam and Eve. Can you imagine that kind of intimate fellowship with the creator of the universe? After eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, their eyes were opened to their sin, and they tried to cover themselves and hide from God. Genesis 3:8
·        Sin is the great separator. Sin cuts people off from him, forming a barrier to isolate God from the people he loves.
Habakkuk 1:13 You are too just to tolerate evil; you are unable to condone wrongdoing.

Isaiah 5:16 “The holy God will show himself holy by his righteousness.”
·        Jews set apart
God chose Abram to come apart from his father and family as God's chosen servant. Through Abram Yahweh revealed Himself to be the One True God. What a step of faith to leave your home, the city of Ur, and travel to an unknown location! At the age of 73, Abraham with his barren wife believed that this unseen God would multiply his seed as the sands on the shore. Abraham was to be the Father of nations and a help to bring the Gentiles to Salvation.
God’s covenant of circumcision was a physical difference between the Jews and the Gentile. Not so the Jews may boast, but so they may be a blessing to the Gentiles. God planted his Word with Israel by giving Moses the Ten Commandments and through the lineage of David, He brought into the world a Savior. Salvation came to us through the Jews. John 4:22
 It was not physical circumcision that proved a man as faithful, but the circumcision of the heart, By the Spirit, not by the letter. Romans 2:29
 He himself is our peace

Ephesians 2:11-12 PAUL reminds the Gentiles that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Warren Wiersbe in his commentary Be Rich states “the one word that could best describe the Gentile is WITHOUT.”
o   Without Christ-They worshipped Dianna or Artemis, before Paul introduced the Gospel, the Ephesians were without Christ.
o   Without Citizenship-God called Abram to make of him a great nation. Israel is God’s nation.
o   Without Covenants-God made no covenant with Gentile nations.
o   Without Hope-Wooden idols and gods could offer no hope to the Gentile nations.
o   Without God-Although the Ephesians had gods and Athens had gods a plenty. The Pagan nations did not know the true God.
We have seen many views of the temple as we studied the Gospel of Mark. You will remember the large area is called the Court of the Gentiles. Notice the green arrow and the high wall that separated Jews and Gentiles. The Court of Women, also known as the Treasury, as well as the men’s court were off limits to Gentiles.
Archeologists have uncovered an inscription from the outer wall of Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem, the Temple which was destroyed by the Roman army in 70 AD. It carries a stern warning from the High Priest: “No foreigner may enter within the barricade which surrounds the sanctuary and enclosure. Anyone who is caught doing so will have himself to blame for his ensuing death.”
Paul calls the Ephesians strangers and aliens, but ladies we too are aliens, Aliens to this world. Because this world is not our home, “it’s just where we keep our stuff.” Mike Tarbush.
·        All Have Sinned
Isaiah 59:2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
Not just the Gentiles but all mankind is separated from God, outside of Christ. Separation is revealed in the lives of unbelievers. They live in darkness, giving in to lustful desires and fleshly pleasures.
1 John 1:5 “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all”
 He himself is our peace

·        Jesus bridged the gap
·        Veil was torn
·        We can approach God
Physical circumcision was not required to become a Christian. Jews and Gentiles are saved the same way- by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
 Colossians 1:20  KJVAnd, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself;
II Corinthians 5:21 For He [God the Father] made Him Who knew no sin [Jesus] to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  
Our sinful condition could only be remedied by the blood sacrifice of a perfect lamb, the Son of God. When Jesus died, the veil in the temple was literally torn in two. The wall of separation was torn down. Christ changed our condition.

 Christ came to remove all barriers. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
Jesus repealed the code of law that separates Jewish and Gentile believers.

2:15 that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
thereby killing the hostility. Jesus preached peace to those who were far off and to those who were near.

On the Cross when Jesus said “It is finished”. He breathed His last breath. Mark 15:8  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. It completed the work of atonement, made the way of salvation possible, rolled away the curse from guilty people, and opened the kingdom of heaven to all true believers. Barnes notes

Corinthians 12:13 (ESV)13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Galatians 3:28 ADDS “there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Christmas in the Trenches John McCutcheon
In 1914, British and German troops were dug into trenches in France, facing one another across the barbed wire and barren ground called No Man's Land. On Christmas Eve, the British soldiers heard something familiar. They couldn’t understand the words… Stille Nacht … but they knew the melody and joined in singing Silent Night.  Suddenly in two tongues one son filled the night sky.
Spontaneously, soldiers on both sides climbed out of their trenches and met in between the lines, sharing small gifts, food, and drink. They played a game of soccer. Then they went back to their trenches. Thus Christmas, the celebration of Love, managed to bring mortal enemies together as friends for a time.
“For a few minutes Christ brought peace to that battlefield—He bridged the divide between warring armies. But for eternity He brought peace to all who will trust Him, regardless of our backgrounds.” CBS

He himself is our peace
Unification-Christ the Bridge Builder
18 For through him EVERYONE has access in one Spirit to the Father.
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
Paul is saying that a new person has been created, making all believers one in Christ and have access to the throne of God. We are reconciled through the Cross.
Although we are not directly descended from Father Abraham, we have been given a gift of citizenship into the family of God through Jesus Christ. Grafted in Romans 11
Matthew Henry compares the church to a building, founded on the doctrine of Christ; delivered by the prophets of the Old Testament, and the apostles of the New. God dwells in all believers now; they become the temple of God through the working of the blessed Spirit.

James Tissot  Painting illustrates Jesus walking out of the temple. Isaiah 28:16

I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;

V. 22 Now our bodies are temples; a dwelling place for God by the Spirit

1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Philippians 2:2Fulfill you my joy, that you be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; (Colossians 3:11  circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. )for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.

He himself is our peace.

In Berlin it’s nearly impossible to see where the Wall was. And Christ demolished the wall that separates us from God and each other by His sacrificial death. We are no longer foreigners, aliens, but citizens of God’s Kingdom and members of His household. We move from despair to hope in Christ.

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

The Lord’s Supper celebrates the destruction of that wall. When we turn to Christ, the wall of separation comes crashing down. As we receive the Bread and Cup we rejoice with relief and security, knowing that “nothing can separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ our Lord” (Romans 8:39). Sermon Central Robert Leroe

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our LORD.   Romans 8:38-39
Will you chose to trust the one true God who is the Prince of Peace?
Let’s close with a verse of How Firm a Foundation