Complete Reconciliation

ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  25:48
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vv. 11-13:
Gentiles made up the majority of the Ephesian church, and there was animosity between The Jews and the Gentiles, alienating the two.
The Jews looked down on the gentiles. They saw them as outcasts.
They were considered unclean, and cut off from God.
They considered the gentiles to be without hope, and unable to partake of God’s promises.
As such, they were excluded from citizenship in Israel.
The issue of circumcision was one of the main issues for the Jews.
Because of the uncircumcision of the gentiles, they were considered unclean and unworthy by the Jews.
This wasn’t just an isolated issue for the Ephesian church, it was widespread.
The Galatian church had a mixture of jewish and gentile Christians, yet there was this same major problem.
The Jewish Christians were insisting that the gentiles must first become Jews in order to be Christian. Among other things, this included circumcision.
The fact is, the Christian Jews still considered themselves superior to the gentiles, because they bore this external sign of God’s covenant.
However, in no way was circumcision a proof of faith.
Circumcision only affected the body. It had no effect on the heart, it did nothing to change a man.

Its the inward change that matters

Romans 2:25-29
Romans 2:25–29 NKJV
For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
Paul is reminding them of these things, not to stir up problems, but to make a point.
There was a time when they were without God and were without hope.
But when the change came, it did not come by humans hands. Their faith did not come by works of the flesh.
Galatians 5:6
Galatians 5:6 NKJV
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
Galatians 6:15
Galatians 6:15 NKJV
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.
Colossians 2:11
Colossians 2:11 NKJV
In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,
Far off is a common term in Jewish writings to describe gentiles as those who are apart from God.
Though they were once alienated from God, they were brought near to Him by the blood of Christ.
The notion that circumcision had anything to do with it is entirely false. It was the shedding of Christ’s blood that absolved their sin, nothing else.
For without the shedding of blood, there is no remission.
vv.14-18:
The law; however, made a definite distinction between Jews and Gentiles. Dietary laws, ceremonial laws all made a distinction between the two.
Ezekiel reminded the priests that there job was to teach the Jews the difference between the holy and the unholy.
Ezekiel 44:23
Ezekiel 44:23 NKJV
“And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
There was a wall in the Jewish temple, separating the court of the Gentiles from the rest of the temple areas.
Archeologists have discovered the inscription from Herod’s temple, which says this:
“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.”
Jesus, on the cross, destroyed this wall.
Where once there was strife and separation, God has brought peace. He has leveled the playing field.

Jesus leveled the playing field

Colossians 3:11
Colossians 3:11 NKJV
where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
By doing so, He has provided peace.
There should no longer be any competition or strife over who can and cannot be saved. No one is more worthy than another.
All are equally unworthy of this gift, and all have equal access to it, for God is Lord over all.
Romans 10:12-13
Romans 10:12–13 NKJV
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
God didn’t do this to elevate gentiles to the same status as Jews, nor was it a question of the Gentile becoming a Jew to become a Christian, but the Jew admitting he was a sinner like the Gentile.

Regardless of your background, you must admit that you are a sinner

Romans 3:22-23
Romans 3:22–23 NKJV
even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Rather than conform one to another, God made something new and different out of both of them. He conformed them to Christ.

Believers become a new creation, conformed to the image of Christ

Romans 8:29
Romans 8:29 NKJV
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
It is no longer Jew and gentile, it is now simply Christian, regardless of a believer’s background.
This doesn’t mean that the church has become Israel. The church is the body of believers, while Israel currently is not.
So, not only were Jews and gentiles reconciled to each other, they were reconciled to God.
So now we have true peace though Jesus Christ.

Jesus brings true peace

John 14:27
John 14:27 NKJV
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Philippians 4:7
Philippians 4:7 NKJV
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The peace of Christ is a message that was preached to all who could hear.
He came to this earth and taught, preached, suffered and died so that His word would be heard, and that the lost (no matter who they are) might be reconciled to God.
He shed His blood and paid the penalty for our sinfulness. He fulfilled the law, thereby putting to death its impossible requirements.
He created a change of heart that the law could never do. The believer now has a heartfelt desire to be obedient to the Lord, rather than a heartless duty to the law.
We have the gift of the Holy Spirit, who gives us direct access to the Lord.
The enmity is dead, the wall of separation is destroyed, the veil of exclusion is torn (we now have direct access to God).
Reconciliation is complete!
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