Alive in Christ
Comments for Study 2
Memory Verse: 4-5
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I. Dead in Sin, Alive in Christ (1-10)
>1. What is sin?
* Ephesians 2:1 "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins"
* "As for you" -Other English translations state "And you". Both translate the fact that the previous message (God plan and purpose) is connected with the coming message (the steps God will accomplish his purpose). However, before he continues the logic we are reminded of what we were before we were in Christ in verses 2 and 3.
* "sins" -Sin is not living in God's original and intentional plan; the good, pleasing, and right way he made us to exist. Sin is not doing what aught to be done and doing what not aught to be done. Sin is more than breaking a law, it is not living according to a principle. Sin is not making the mark of perfection and righteousness. Sin is like shooting an arrow at a building and totally missing it. Sin is rebellion against God. Sin is the opposite of faith. Sin is doubting and rejecting God's love. Sin is accepting a lesser over a greater; hell over paradise. Sin is pushing God out of our live and being. Sin is misery and anguish, torment of being. Sin is rejecting the truth and believing a lie.
* Romans 3:23 states, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"
* Galatians 5:17-21 "For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."
* The good news, the gospel, is presentedl in these 10 verses. Accepting the truth laid out here is not hard, complicated, nor undesirable. Believing them personally does not require going to a special group, congregation, nor denomination.
The gift of God as spelled out here does not require getting ones life right before God dispels his grace. The only prerequisite is to be a living human.
No one is excluded from everything stated here, not because of race, age, gender, social position, occupation, gender affiliation, location, health, occupation, nor any thing that now divides and separates us. Everything stated here is for anyone who breaths. The only thing that stops anyone from accepting this good news is themself.
Once accepted I must never forget the grace of God for I, like all believers in Jesus, was dead in my sins and lived according to the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air.
>What is a transgression?
* "transgressions" -A transgression is a specific offense; whereas a sin is a more general offense. Transgression's root meaning is "missing the mark". Sin's root meaning is "falling from the way".
>Who is responsible for your sin? (1)
* "you... you... your" -Verse 1 points all to ourself. We are to blame for being dead for we all transgressions. We are the only one at fault, we cannot even blame Adam and Eve.
* Psalms 51:3-4 "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge."
* 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
>What is the result of sin? (1)
* you were dead" -Our physical body was alive, though slowly dieing. More than that our spirit was dead. Before Adam and Eve sinned they were filled with the spirit, the glory of God. When they sinned their spirit died, the spirit of God was removed, the glory of God departed, and they were naked (body only). All their children after them were born without a spirit. All humans except Jesus since were dead in their spirit; mere animal.
* Since "eternal life... (is) know(ing) the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom (God) have sent," (John 17:3) and sin is death, then transgression and sin are a result of not knowing (having a relationship with) God.
>2. What is the way of the world? (2)
* Ephesians 2:2 "in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient."
* "in which you use to live" -All followers of Jesus were at one time were living a life of sin. Even though who accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord as a young child were sinful. Psalms 51:5 states, "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me."
* "the ways of this world"-This could be considered to say, "the age of this world-system". The majority of people follow only one way. Jesus called this the broad road traveled by many. (Matt. 7:13) Those who follow this way are not confined to one culture, age, gender, marital status, religious affiliation, social status, health, and wealth. The way of the world is pleasing the sinful nature. Romans 7:5 states, "For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death." And Romans 8:5a states, "Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires"
>Who is the ruler of the kingdom of the air? (2 6:11-12; Mark 3:22-26; Luke 10:18)
* "the ruler of the kingdom of the air" -Jesus tells us who are the rulers of the kingdom of the air. He sent seventy-two out to preach. "The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "'Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.' He replied, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.'" (Luke 10:17-20) So Satan, the devil, the ancient serpent is the prince of the air. (NOTE: Luke 10:18 is a parallel passage. It says "(Jesus replied, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.'"
* Ephesians 6:11-12 "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
* Mark 3:22-26 "And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, 'He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.' So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: 'How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.'"
* "the spirit" -Satan is a created spirit, (Ezek. 28:14-15) a fallen angel who "masquerades as an angel of light." (2 Cor. 11:14)
* Satan means "the accuser". Satan is a liar. Jesus said, "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44)
* The Lord Jesus rose from the dead and in doing so he is the ultimate authority and in him we have power over Satan. (Isa. 14:12-23; Job chapters 1 and 2.)
>How can he work in and through people? (2)
* "when you followed" -When we sin were not the leader, we were the follower. People think that they are the king of their life, they are not. The rich and powerful think that they are the leaders of the world. They are not. All are followers. Who do they follow? Mankind follows the devil, "the prince of the world." (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11) God originally gave man the world to rule over; however when man accepted the lies of the serpent (the devil) he became his follower.
* "the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient" -Colossians 2:4 states, "I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.
* God's people need to know the Bible and be full of the Holy Spirit, or they can be deceived. Ephesians 5:6-7 states, "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them."
* Believers in Jesus are not meant to be naive. "Romans 16:17-20 states, "I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you."
* Jesus warns us, "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect--if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time." (Mark 13:22-23)
>3. Can anyone claim that he was free from following the desires of the sinful nature? (3)
* Ephesians 2:3 "All of us also lived among them at one time, and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath."
* "All of us also" -All of us refers to Jew and Gentile.
* "lived among them at one time" -We actively was engaged with sin with the people of the world. We were one of them.
* Jesus is the only one that was without sin. Hebrews 4:15 states, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin."
* "gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature" -The sinful desire controls those who are not in Christ with a power that cannot be overcome. Before I was in Christ, even when I wanted to do what was right I had no power to do it. Even when on the outside I refrained from a certain activity, on the inside I was still guilty of wanting to do it. Anyone ever born in Adam has in then the ability to break every commandment and not do every decent thing. Everyone in Adam can kill if put in the right situation; can steal, can lie, can cheat, can covet, can use God's name in vain, can dishonor their parents, honor another before God, etc.
* "its desires and thoughts" -The power of the sinful nature over unsaved man is more than he can overcome. Thoughts are included in the power. Suddenly, out of seemingly no where an evil thought comes in and it is entertained. It doesn't need to be acted out to take control of us. It already has power over us.
* Humanism teaches that all men have good in them, and left by himself men will tend to do what is good and right. This is a deception of Satan. Man was made in the image of God; yet because of sin our nature is now twisted. Man left by himself will always and completely do what is wrong. Man can improve himself for short times, but in the end any gain turns out to be twice a loss. All the gains of modern civilization, has many more worse consequences than the things we made better. To ever one good effect that man does, there are two bad side affects. Man cannot improve himself outside of the will of God.
* The flesh (the body) is not in itself evil. The Word of God became flesh and yet was without sin. A old and incorrect philosophy is that man's flesh is evil and the spirit is good; and thus Jesus was not in the flesh. Jesus was in the flesh and so the flesh is not evil. Man's fallen nature is bent to sin, not his flesh.
>What did that lifestyle bring us? (3)
* "objects" -The Greek word "teknon" means children.
* "nature" -The Greek word "physis" means innate nature and naturally inborn. Like sugar mixed into hot water become sugar water, so sin is mixed into our being.
* "we were by nature objects of wrath" -Many believe the wrath of God is something that will just happen at the end of time. (Rev. 15:7, 16:19) Not so, God and sin are essentially antagonistic. Man is inborn with sin and so the wrath of God is already at work at conception, in the very being of Adam's descendants. The wrath of God has been at work in Adam's children ever sin Adam and Eve sinned. Sin is sometimes compared to cancer to describe how it spreads, defective cells spreading infection to healthy cells. The problem with that analogy is that sin is in all of our being, not just some of our being.
* Romans 1:18 "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,"
* John 3:36 "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."
* Hebrews 10:26-27 "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God."
>4. What did God do for us and why? (4-5)
* Ephesians 2:4-5 "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved."
* "but because of" -The thought is changed to something that was done as a change to the status quo of fallen people. God wanted to satisfy his love.
* "made us alive with Christ" -We were dead in sin and so God made us alive with Christ. Jesus took our sin upon him on the cross. When he died Our sin and sinful nature died if we accept his invitation to be united with him. Since Jesus rose from the dead in his glorious resurrection body, we become a new being to, born of the Spirit. We are given a new spirit, one that is linked with the Son of God. And so, what Adam and Even lost, those in Christ regain and more.
* We must be born again, anew for the old spirit is dead and the old body is dying. This is what Jesus meant when he said to Nicodemus, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'" (John 3:5-7)
>How did he do this?
* "because of his great love for us, God" -God's love is the means to the end. When we were dead and controlled by our sinful nature God still loved us. Jesus taught many parables to show the love God has for us.
* "who is rich in mercy" -God's compassion, his mercy, his sympathy, his clemency, his pity.
>How have we been saved from our past lives?
* "it is by grace you have been saved" -God's grace was dealt with in the first chapter (study) in great detail.
* "saved" -Saved from sin. Saved from the sinful nature. Saved from the world. Saved from the wrath of God. Saved from the cravings of our sinful nature. Saved from Satan's grasp. Saved from a dead spirit and soon a dead body.
* The saved person is not a robot of God. While in this world Satan still tempts us, we feel its pull, and occasionally we subject ourself to its pull. But we don't have to. We can resist the devil and he will flee through the Spirit of God that dwells within and with us. We have ever power of God at our disposal, learned in the first chapter.
>5. What did God do for us? (6)
* Ephesians 2:6 "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,"
* "God raised us up with Christ" -From the dead and into the heavenly realms. Since we are united with him our spirit is in heaven. This was dealt with in the first chapter too. Often we think of heaven as up and the Bible does consider the air the "first heaven", and space as the "second heaven". 2 Corinthians 12:2 states that the third heaven is where God is. I believe that heaven is everywhere, perhaps a different dimension than the one we are in. So that while the fleshly body is in this dimension, so the spirit is in this dimension and the heavenly one too.
* "seated us with him in the heavenly realms" -The tense is past and present. We were seated when be became united with Christ; we are still right now seated in the heavenly realms"
* Below are twenty-four realities of what God did for us
Romans 3:24 -We are justified (declared "not guilty" of sin).
Romans 8:1 -No condemnation awaits us.
Romans 8:2 -We are set free from the law of sin and death.
1 Cor. 1:2 -We are sanctified (made holy) in Jesus Christ.
1 Cor. 1:30 -We are pure and holy in Christ..
1 Cor. 15:22 -We will be made alive at the resurrection.
2 Cor. 5:17 -We are new persons.
2 Cor. 5:21 -We are made right with God.
Galat. 3:28 -We are one in Christ with all other believers.
Ephes. 1:3 -We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Ephes. 1:4 -We are holy and without fault.
Ephes. 1:5-6 -We are adopted as God's children
Ephes. 1:7 -Our sins are taken away, and we are forgiven.
Ephes. 1:10-11 -We will be brought under Christ's authority.
Ephes. 1:13 -We are marked as belonging to God by the Holy Spirit.
Ephes. 2:6 -We have been raised up to sit with Christ in the heavenly realms.
Ephes. 2:10 -We are God's masterpiece.
Ephes. 2:13 -We have been brought near to God.
Ephes. 3:6 -We share in the promise in Christ.
Ephes. 3:12 -We can come with freedom and confidence into God's presence
Romans 5:29-30 -We are members of Christ's body, the church.
Col. 2:10 -We have been given fullness in Christ.
Col. 2:11 -We are set free from our sinful nature.
2 Tim. 2:10 -We will have eternal glory.
>Through whom did he do this?
* "in Christ Jesus" -The letter repeats over and over that all this is done through and in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the center to all, he is the focal point, he is in all and of all.
>What does this mean for our future? (7)
* Ephesians 2:7 "in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus."
* "in order that" -God's had a purpose for what he had done for us.
* "in the coming ages" -Ages are also eons (aion in Greek is used 124 times & olam in Hebrew is used 439 times). An age is a period of time marking a specific type of work of God. Jesus claimed, “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matt. 12:32) The point Jesus was making concerned the Holy Spirit. Yet, we can also learn that Jesus acknowledged that there are ages with specific beginnings and endings. He referred to the one that he was in at the time and another age to come. The age we are in now started at his first coming and will end at his second coming. (Acts 15:18, Col. 1:26) The next age has been called the Millennium, meaning the one thousand reign of Christ.
* "he might show the incomparable riches of his grace" -God will show his great grace by showing that he saved us. From not until eternity we are a symbol of God's assistance to a lost race.
>What does it mean to be in Christ Jesus? (7)
* "expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus" -To be in Christ is here to receive his kindness.
* Matthew 11:29-30 "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
* Jesus humility and gentleness is a magnet to my soul.
>6. What is the gift of God?
* Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast."
* "you have been saved" -Paul repeats for the second time that we are saved by grace in these very words. God's grace has been used many times too. Here he spells it out for the second time.
* "it is the gift of God" -Salvation is a gift. This gift has not strings attacked. All we have to do is accept it. Considering just who we are, now that is grace.
* When someone gives us a gift we do not say, "Thanks. What do I owe you?" That would be an insult.
* The Reformation watchword is based on these verses: by grace alone, through faith alone, to God alone be glory.
>What does "through faith" mean?
* "through faith" -Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what cannot be seen. (Heb. 11:1) We did not see Jesus walk the earth like Peter, James, and John. We did not see his miracles. We did not see his arrest, trials, and beatings. We did not see his crucifixion. We did not see his death. We did not see his burial. We did not see his resurrection and ascension. He do not see our new spirit. We do not see it in the heavenly realms. Yet we believe these are all true. By believing we are saved.
* Believing is not a work as I once heard a man say on the radio. Believing is just accepting that it is true what we were told. Why is this so? Because as was already written in this letter, God chose us before the creation of the world. Belief is just a step towards the end result that God has planned.
* Faith too is a gift of God, for he predestined us to have faith and gave us that faith because it was part of his plan.
>Why can't we boast?
* "not by works" -Works here refer to living a good life, obeying the laws of God and doing what aught to be done. If a man were to keep all the laws perfectly he could say, "I earned my salvation." But as already stated earlier in this chapter, all are sinners from conception.
* "so that no one can boast" -Nobody can brag about saving themselves for it has never happened. Even Jesus didn't save himself for he was never in a state of sin and thus did not need to be saved from anything.
* Consider Aaron and Miriam who had been used by God. Pride arose and they opposed Moses, wanting his leadership position. "Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. 'Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?' they asked. 'Hasn't he also spoken through us?' And the Lord heard this. (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)" (Numbers 12:1-3) They became leprous until Moses prayed for them.
>What were we created in Christ to do? (10)
* Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
* "to do good works" -God has purposes for us. One was stated earlier, that he may point to us to show his grace. He also created us to do good works. These works were planned out ahead of time for us to do. Every believer in Jesus has a series of good work planned out for them. We need to decide by faith to do them or not. If we do not do them then we loose out on our reward. If we decide to do them, then we get the reward that was planned out for us in advance, when God planned for us to do them. All this planning was before the creation of the world.
>What kind of works is God looking for in you?
* "good" -The works we are to do are to have good motivation behind them. "By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)
>What does it mean to you that you are God's workmanship?
* "we are God's workmanship" -God is molding us as a potter make a clay jar. (Isa. 29:16; Jer. 18) The fact that "we" and "us" is used tells us that he is talking about the church as a whole, more so than individuals. Yet, this can apply to individuals, for God makes all.
* "created in Christ Jesus" -When God created the church (individual members of the church) he did so in Christ Jesus. There has never been a time that those is Christ were not in Jesus.
* Since we are God's workmanship we are make by the master builder and he loves what he is building. The Greek word came mean a "work of art" meaning the best by a master. When God created Adam and Even he looked and said, "very good." How much more does Jesus look at us and say, "Very, very good!"
II. One in Jesus (11-22)
>7. Who are Gentiles?
* Ephesians 2:11 "Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)"
* "Therefore" -Paul moves now to the next point, made possible and linked to the previous point.
* "remember" -We should know, understand, and not forget where we came from. Men of faith in ages past set up marker stones so that they would remember God's grace to them. Figure out a way to remember what you were like in the past and how God helped you. Write a year end testimony, make a scrap book, record a verbal and/or a video synopsis, make a drawing, paint a picture, or write a song.
* "Gentiles" -All those who were not under the covenant given to Abraham, Israel, and/or David.
* "uncircumcised" -The Jews came to call Gentiles the "uncircumcised" ever since the return from captivity in Babylon. Abraham was given the rite of circumcision as a sign of God's covenant with him. However, the Jews forgot that Ishmael and Esau were also circumcised and they passed it onto their descendants. More than that just because a person was circumcised did not mean that God was pleased with them and thus called them "Israel" for many Israelites and Jews failed to live under that covenant.
* "by birth" -Paul wanted to point out here he is referring to the flesh by bringing up conception and birth.
* "those who call themselves" -They believed that a rite made them blessed by God. They called themselves such in arrogance.
* Those who call themselves Christians should not fall into the same trap as the Jews that Paul was referring to. We should not trust on rites, rituals, and ceremony for they are all works and as pointed out earlier, we are not saved by works. Some groups trust in baptism, communion, speaking in tongues, being bitten by snakes, or belonging to a group, denomination, or movement to prove they are under God's grace. They do not know Christ and even rejected him just as the Pharisees did.
* Have you ever been excluded or felt excluded, especially in religious circles and groups? Take heart because many true believers have been treated the same way and felt the same way. In fact I can't think of one example in the Bible where a true believer wasn't excluded or a fugitive sometime in their life by others who considered themselves the blessed of God. Jesus told us that this would happen to every believer.
* Jesus "set aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two (Jew and Gentile), thus making peace." (15) Jesus accomplished this by allowing himself to be crucified on the cross and by raising himself from the dead. Jesus' work on the cross is not limited to reconciliation and salvation (16).
Israel separated themselves from God by not keeping the covenant that they made with him, unless they put their faith in God like Jacob did. Gentiles remained separated from God unless they put their faith in God as Abraham did (11). Jesus made the way for both Jew and Gentile to have a sincere relationship with God (19).
Now God dwells in his people (20-22). The Spirit in me is God. He is a reminder that I qm a child of God set to inherit the kingdom, the world (1:13-14). At times when I focus my heart and thoughts towards Christ, the Spirit reminds me that I am his and he is mine.
At times the Holy Spirit reveals in me that I need to let go and trust God. He shows me I have fears and reservations that I need to trust him. This happened yesterday during the times at church. Lord, I trust you. I give my all to you. You own me.
>What should we remember?
* Ephesians 2:12 "remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world."
* "that at that time you were separate from Christ" -We should remember that we were separated from Christ. The separation mentioned here is in the corporate sense. Gentiles were not under the covenant of Abraham, though men like Job did have an individual faith. Still even though the Lord visited Job the Lord did not make a covenant with him like he did with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Israel, and David.
* "excluded from citizenship in Israel" -The only way to be a citizen of Israel was to be born in it. Even Jewish converts were not considered citizen's of Israel.
* "without hope and without God in the world" -Those who do not have Christ in them do not have hope that lasts. Even if they put hope in something in the world, eventually that hope is proven not worth having and disappointing.
* In the Old Testament every Israelite and every Jew could know of the salvation of God for they had God who worked directly with them in many ways and through many people. The Gentiles did not have that. They only way they could have come to know of the salvation of God was through and Israelite. Now, the gospel has gone to the whole world. In the past Israel failed at spreading God's word, we should not be guilty of the same error.
* We should never become proud of our salvation. Instead we should remember what we were like when God called us and acknowledge that anything done after that is a gift of God. Jesus taught, "So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'" (Luke 17:10)
>What is the covenant of promise? (12; Gen. 12:1-3, 18:18-19, 22:15-18)
* "the covenants of the promise"
* Genesis 12:1-3 "The Lord had said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.'"
* Genesis 18:18-19 "Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."
* Genesis 22:15-18 "The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, "I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."
* God promised that the Messiah would come through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and then David. Through their seed God promised that all men would be blessed.
>Through whom have we been brought into the promise? (13)
* Ephesians 2:13 "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ."
* "through the blood of Christ" -God through Jesus brought Israel (some just say Jew) and Gentile together into one commonwealth. Jesus broke down the wall of hostility between the proud exclusive Jews and those outside of the promise. There is a saying that oil and water do not mix, and yet God mixed two objects more repelling than oil and water when he merged Israel and Gentile.
* God sees the world now as either Jew (Israel), Gentile, and the Church (Jesus' body).
>What does this mean to you?
* I will cling to Jesus for he his my only hope to be in the kingdom of God.
>8. What is the wall of hostility and how did Jesus demolish it? (14-16; Mark 15:37-38; Acts 11:18)
* Ephesians 2:14-16 "For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility."
* Mark 15:37-38 "With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom."
* The first wall of hostility was between God and man; and that was sin. Jesus death on the cross took away sin. The curtain ripping from top to bottom in the temple resembled sin that separated man from God. When Jesus died it was torn in two.
* Acts 11:18 "When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, "So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life."
* The second wall of hostility was between Jew and Gentile. In front of the temple were courts, separated by walls. The Jews and the Gentiles were separated by a wall of hostility at the temple. (1 Kings 6:36) When the Holy Spirit came on both Jew and Gentile, the wall of hostility was displayed as had been broken down so that the two were equal in Christ. Jesus destroyed the Mosaic law with his body; the law that was used to exclude Gentiles. The Gentiles were grafted into the promise given to the patriarchs through Christ. Now there in Christ there is not Jew or Gentile. Anyone who tries to separate the two again with the law is not of the Messiah.
>What does it mean that we are one body?
* "His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two." -Whether Jew or Gentile does not matter in Christ, for we are all one, the same in Christ.
* "and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross" -Jesus fulfilled the law and so the law was put to an end. The law not only included the ten commandments, but all laws from circumcision onward. With no law, then Jew and Gentile are the same when they are in Christ.
* We should not let anything separate us from other believers, including ourselves. Not everyone will understand or accept that all the laws and rites in the Old Testament are fulfilled. In fact today there is a growing movement by a new set of Pharisee Christian who are trying to force others to observe the law again. They say they are doing it to make Christ more appealing and desirable to non-converted Jews. In the end are they really bringing anyone to Christ, who put to death the law in his body? Not until the middle of the tribulation will Israel realize and accept the Messiah and what he did. As the messenger told Daniel, "The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, "It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed." (Daniel 12:7)
* The apostles, while traveling with Jesus, at times argued about who was the greatest among them. Many times Jesus taught them to humbly serve one another as an expression of their love for one another. Even during the last supper they argued about who was the greatest. At that time Jesus washed their feet as a servants and said, "A new Command I give you: As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34)
>9. Who initiated the union? (17)
* Ephesians 2:17 "He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near."
* "He" -Jesus taught the gospel to all those who came to him by faith, Jew or Gentile. Jesus continued to spread the good news after his ascension to this very day.
* "to you who were far away and... were near" -The Gentiles were far way from God in their understanding of God and religious practices. The Jews were given the Scriptures, prophets and priests; thus making them nearing to understanding and knowing God.
* If we consider ourselves a follower of Jesus we can follow him in his preaching.
* A wall of hostility exists between those in Christ and those not in Christ. (Gen. 3:15) That wall will not go away; instead they will be sent away. (Luke 13:27)
* The unsaved had more light than the unsaved Gentile. What light? Read Rom. 3:1-2 and 9:3-5.
* "came and preached peace" -The peace Jesus preached was between God and man and Jew and Gentile. Jesus' preaching was not just with his lifestyle, it was also with his lips.
* Jesus has removed barriers that we created between each other. The barriers include: cultural, racial, gender, age, inelegance, political ideology, social status, appearance, speech, health, wealth, etc. The cause of these barriers is sin. Jesus destroyed the barrier on the cross.
>What does it mean to you to have access to God the Father?
* Ephesians 2:18 "For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit."
* I compare this to a person with low social status being given access the the president at anytime of the day or night. Anytime he wants to commune with the president he can phone, write, or walk in off the street without Question and in honor. The access I have to the Father is through prayer in the Spirit.
>How is this done while Jesus is away?
* "by one Spirit" -Through the power of the Spirit we are in Christ and given every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm. This includes access to the Father.
* John 14:16-17 "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you."
* Romans 8:26-27 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."
>10. To whom is our allegiance? (19)
* Ephesians 2:19 "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household,"
* "citizens" -Christians, Jews and Gentiles are members of God's kingdom.
* "God's household" -We are members of the family of God.
>What does it mean to be built of the apostles and prophets?
* Ephesians 2:20a "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets"
* The apostles were taught by Jesus. They intern taught the next generation, the first to hear this letter read. The apostles remembered what Jesus taught them and reflected back to what the prophets had written.
* No man can say, "I done this on my own." We are indebted to the generation of saints before us.
>Who holds us together? (20)
* Ephesians 2:20b "with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone."
* "cornerstone" -The corner stone of a building is the first and most important. All other blocks are laid in relation to the cornerstone. Take away the corner stone and the whole building comes down.
>What does it mean to you that God is in you? (21-22)
* Ephesians 2:21-22 "In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."
* "holy temple in the Lord" -There is not need for a temple in Jerusalem for God's people are the temple. People call churches "God's building" when in fact the people are God's building. God dwells in us.
* We should respect the body that God has given us, understanding that he is with us in our bodies.
* 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."
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