sprout_in_dirt_squareThis Week’s Sermon: “…But now”–Ephesians 2:11-22 (Jeremy Thomas)

This Week’s Scripture Memory: “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.”–Ephesians 2:18

Next Week’s Sermon: Ephesians 3:1-13 (Juston Gates)

Next Week’s Scripture Memory: “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”–Ephesians 3:6

Devotional/Reflection: Remember. It’s an important word. I remember a friendly disagreement I had with a professor on this very word. He was discussing imperatives that occurred in a certain prophetic book. I mentioned the command “remember,” and he did not count it among the imperatives to be discussed–I honestly can’t remember the reason he gave, but I know I didn’t agree. It was repeated a number of times and it seemed if anything the most important of the commands given, not one that could be dismissed in the particular study of imperatives. The Old Testament books are replete with commands to remember, and the object of remembrance was often the exodus from Egypt. They were to remember so that they didn’t forget. In remembering, they were drawn again and again to the beauty and wonder and majesty of the gracious act of God in delivering them from bondage.

Paul picks up on a similar theme in Ephesians 2. After telling the Ephesians how they were formerly dead in their trespasses before God made them alive in Christ (Eph 2:1-10), he now tells them to remember this status. Remember what you were called by the Jews–“the uncircumcision”; remember that you were separated from God; remember that you were alienated from God; remember that you were without hope and without God in the world. Remember those truths and don’t forget them because the remembrance of how bad it was before makes the “…but now” status all the more incredible! But now you are in Christ; but now you are brought near; but now you are God’s people; but now you have access to the Father in Christ through the Spirit. No longer are you strangers…but now you are fellow citizens. No longer are you aliens…but now you are the household of God. This household, built upon Christ as the cornerstone, is set up by Paul as the new temple. Notice how the work of Christ has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, an image that is both metaphorical and symbolic. Metaphorically, two people who were hostile to one another are now brought together into the same family. Symbolically, Paul makes reference to the wall in the temple that divided Jews from Gentiles. Paul goes further, however, to say that now both Jews and Gentiles have access directly to the Father through the Spirit (Eph 2:16). This was a role given only to the high priest once a year, but it is now available to individual believers, Jews and Gentiles alike. This is because the dwelling place of God, formerly the Garden of Eden, the tabernacle, and the temple, is now the people of God through the indwelling of the Spirit in the life of each believer. So, remember who you were, in order that you might more fully appreciate and give thanks for the “…but now” (v. 13) that is possible because of “…but God” (v. 4).

Discussion Questions:

  1. What exodus event in your life is God calling you to remember?
  2. How does the present you compared to the past you reflect the change brought about by God?
  3. What is the significance, in light of this passage, of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?
  4. How does Paul’s declaration the Christ is our peace give you hope?

Additional Resources: