Together

The gospel radically connects people who otherwise have almost nothing on common.

In Christ, soccer players share a meal with stock market analysts and farmers. In Christ, West Africans are friends with New Yorkers who are friends with Red Sox fans.

Christ brings us together.

Ephesians 2:11-22 shows us how Christ helps us to overcome the walls of separation that seek to divide us, and what it means for us to be together in Christ. This post is going to challenge you to examine separation, reconciliation, and unity in the body of Christ.

Ephesians 2:11-22 (HCSB)
11 So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” ⌊which is done⌋ in the flesh by human hands. 12 At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. 14 For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh, 15 He made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. 16 ⌊He did this so⌋ that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it. 17 When ⌊the Messiah⌋ came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

19 So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. 21 The whole building, being put together by Him, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord. 22 You also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.

SEPARATION

Read verses 11-12 again. These verses describe the condition of people who are separated, either from other people or from God.

  • Find six phrases in verses 11-12 that describe the condition of separation that the Gentile believers had before they placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. (Hint: some of the separation was between them and the Jewish believers; some of the separation was between them and God.)
  • There are many things that separate groups of people today, such as:
    • Language
    • Education
    • Economics
    • Skin color
    • Interests
    • Religious background
    • Country of origin
    • Many, many more
  • Be honest. Have any of the above been a challenge for you to overcome? Are there some that God is still working on you about?
  • Why is separation such a bad thing?

RECONCILIATION

God does a miraculous work in our lives to bring salvation to us. It is the blood of Jesus Christ (verse 13) that covers over all of our sin. The blood He shed for us on Calvary provides the means for us to have a right relationship with God and with other people. By faith through grace He saves us. When we are saved, the hostility that our sin caused between us and God is gone. And, when we are saved, the man-made walls of hostility between us and other people crumble. In Christ, we are reconciled to people and to God.

  • Read verses 13-18. Think about the importance of each of these words or phrases to describe how we are reconciled in Christ:
    • brought near (v 13)
    • peace (vv 14-15, 17)
    • one (v 14)
    • hostility is gone (vv 14, 16)
    • access (v 18)
  • Take a moment to verbalize a prayer of thanksgiving to God, thanking Him for the reconciliation you have in Christ. Let verses 13-18 guide your prayer.

UNITY

Throughout Ephesians 2:11-22, the theme of unity abounds. In verses 19-22, we see the unity described in real-life situations as brothers and sisters in the family of God. We are each an important part of the family that God is building.

  • We are no longer foreigners and strangers
  • We are fellow citizens with the saints
  • We are members of God’s household
  • Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets
  • Jesus is the cornerstone (everything else depends on Him!)
  • God’s church is being fitted together in Him
  • God’s church is growing into a holy sanctuary in the Lord
  • We are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit

PERSONAL APPLICATION

  1. How will you apply these verses to your life this week?
  2. Take a few moments to pray, asking God to use these verses to guide your life this week as you think about issues related to separation, reconciliation and unity.

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