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October 4, 2022 4:00 am
Most of us want harmony place in the world but is peace really possible today on Truth for Life. We continue our study in Ephesians Alister Greg is teaching from chapter 2 were looking at verses 14 through 18.
Nobody today is prepared to deny. In fact there is universal agreement about the condition of our world is broken where the disagreement comes as was the cause of this brokenness and what is the solution to the brokenness and here in our studies in Ephesians book I read in a long time ago a letter written a long time ago by a converted Jew by the name of Saul of Tarsus Paul the apostle we are the very heart of peace discovered in a context of hostility. I think if you listen carefully when I read this, you would see that in verse 14, I was introduced to Jesus immediately as our peace that this piece is discovered not in a program, but instead in a person. He is our peace. Verse 14 he is making peace at the end of verse 15 and he preached peace.
Verse 17 is no surprise because the Old Testament look forward to the one who would, who was the Prince of peace and what Paul is saying is I discover that Jesus really is the Prince of peace. My life was marked by hostility. I had a hatred for people. I was pursuing these people to the point of imprisonment and of death.
But I've discovered how wrong that was how warped I was and how wonderful Jesus is of this piece he made it he preached it he is. It. And so when we read the gospel records.
Of course discover that this is exactly what Jesus himself said, I'm relieved. He said his to his followers I would leave my peace with you, I will give you peace. The way you'll find it in the world.
This piece is a revolution in itself.
When he came to look over Jerusalem look records when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying would that you even you had known on this day the things that make for peace and what he was saying was of all the people in the world you should know you have the profits you have the law, you and all the lines running forward to the Messiah was to come.
And yet here you are. How often I would have gathered you the way that hen gathers her chicks.
But you wouldn't come to me not too hard to imagine Christ as a work looking over the cities of North America and saying the exact same thing see the devil is a great fabricator presently because the devil has convinced people that the answer is the problem. The problem is you people on about Jesus as if somehow another we are the ones causing the trouble by stating the truth. If only you would stop that and join in with the bumper sticker. All would be well well but we can't is not a matter of being bombastic is not a matter of being even dogmatic is not a matter of just trying to promulgate a concept on the world is a matter of truth what is truth. That was the question from Pontius Pilate, wasn't what did he say what is truth. Please tell me or did he say hey what's truth was truth and he was was Pontius Pilate postmodern hey what's truth to us whatever he wanted to be. You can find truth or truth is in the amalgamation of every concept of truth and against that Jesus stands and he says I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me. The only way to meet the God who made you is in and through he who is the Prince of peace and is staggering as it sounds. That is the claim that the Bible makes and it is that which Paul is saying here. Verse 13 you once were far off have been brought nearby the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The cross of Christ offers a real and a lasting peace, both on the vertical access and on the horizontal.
And so it is that he saying to the church at Ephesus. Essentially one day in perfection, that which God has purposed in the mystery of his will to unite all things in heaven and on earth, that which will finally be brought to fruition in a new heaven and a new earth is to be present amongst you in a kind of microcosm as you then benefiting from all that is yours in Jesus live with one another on that horizontal plane as as a result of the difference that Jesus is made easy. This was of pressing import for these people because Ephesus, as with other communities of the time was marked by separation and it was marked by hostility Jesus in the gospel had if you like invaded the community as a word being preached to the apostle Paul and separation had now been replaced with integration and hostility was now being swallowed up in community and the reason this was happening is because God purposed to create a whole new society.
That's why, in the passage that we read he talks about creating one new man, one new man that God is doing something that is he is creating a single new reconciled humanity that completely supersedes transcends all the old divisive barriers which have been broken down as a result of his work right so the church is that society the church is that society is invisible visible in variety of places here and there, but we are supposed to be an indication to a broken world of what happens when people discover that Jesus has dealt with the brokenness. Now it's not ever going to be perfect this side of eternity but to find that it isn't perfect does not give us any excuse for not doing our best to see it perfect. In other words, the problem or not to be on our side visor as a result of a lack of endeavor or willingness or as a result of our own divisive prejudices or because of things that we hold onto in our past. No process. You will be helped in this if you realize a number of things.
Let me summarize the number one that Jesus has broken down the wall. Jesus is broken down the wall. He is our peace. He's made us both one has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of facility.
What Paul is saying here concerning this wall alters absolutely everything and for the Jew and for the Gentile. It is made all things new.
Note, there was a literal wall there was a physical wall in the temple courts and some of the commentators say, but since Paul wrote Ephesians before the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70. He couldn't possibly be mentioning that they're breaking down of that wall because a war was still up what, of course, he could be. And I think he probably is essentially what he's saying is the wall may physically be still sitting there in Jerusalem by the reality is, my dear brothers and sisters in evidences that in his flesh. Jesus Christ is broken down not wall his flashes been torn and the curtain has been torn and access has been opened up to everybody and on that day.
When that curtain was torn at the whole shooting match was changed and Jew and Gentile, now had access to God directly in and through the flash of the Lord Jesus Christ, so that in his death, all of the symbolism that was represented in the wall because while there is a physical wall 4 1/2 feet high. A partition the real wall around the Jew was the wall that was placed around the Jew by the law by all of those bits and pieces by the regulations about what you could eat and what you could drink and how many times you wash your hands and where you are going and how many feet you could walk on the Sabbath and how many things you hung from your head and the taxes that hang from your your code and all those other things.
They all said to the people around them. You ain't got none of this and we are really special. Okay while in actual fact they were really special because God had chosen God called Abraham out of one of the qualities and when he called his people out of Egypt, you will remember that he took them to the holy land, and on the way to the holy land. He gave them his commandments so that they might express their distinctiveness in a holy lifestyle he promised in the journeys to meet them at a holy place, and by means of the rituals and the sacrifices he portrayed for them. His willingness to forgive them and to restore them and that's just a matter of historical record.
However, it was only intended ever to be an interim arrangement. It was a Mosaic law for a select group of people in a select place for a select period of time and the rituals and the food regulations and the material sacrifices all pointed forward to the fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ. I need no other sacrifice I need no other plea.
It is been dealt with in Jesus. And so then the believing Jews and the believing Gentile discover that their relationship with God is on the same basis and on the only basis that we have access to the father through one mediator, even the Lord Jesus Christ and see loved ones. This is why the notions of our society about how you create. For example, Middle East peace, are destined for failure because the only way that you can actually get an Arab and I Jew to unite at an organic heart level. I suggest to you is in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The issue is that when the Jew and the gentle stand up and sing together. What are they saying sing the same song in Christ alone. My hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song, he is my cornerstone.
He is my solid ground. The Jew says I had all these things in my heritage but I realize that the only were pointing me to Jesus.
Now that I have Jesus this thing is been broken down, but don't misunderstand, it is not for this morning. Some people take this nisei and that's why wondering Christ we were once under law but now are under grace. Therefore, there is no law is not over dealing with your Christ is fulfilled the law insofar as he is exhausted its demands and borne his punishment and kept it in all its fullness, the law remains for the believer, a mirror in which we see ourselves. So the 10 Commandments is not a ladder up which I claim to acceptance with God. But it is a mirror in which I see the fact that I did tell lies, and that I have been covetous and that my only hope is a Christ along and that when I am wondering what it means to live in purity and in holiness and not to covet not to tell lies, and honor my father and my mother the work of the Spirit of God is to show me the moral law of God, not as a means of acceptance with God. But as that directive by which through the spirit.
I am able to seek and to follow God with all that said, the fact of the matter is that the Jew and the Gentile are now united as a result of the finished work of Christ. He has broken down wall missing a second. He has made one in place of two new see that there in verse 15 he has done this in order that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, and what Paul is saying here is that he has taken those who were once separated from one another, who were actually hostile towards one another, calling each other names you don't have it. We don't want it. All I can stuff and he has created one new man in the place of two you seek only insider outsider stuff, which marked the context of Ephesus has been obliterated in the cross of Christ.
There is no longer says Paul to the Ephesians. This distinction between those who are far away and those who are near those far away being the Gentiles in their unbelief those who are near being the Jews in their proximity to God, but the converted Jew has understood that the scaffolding within which his forefathers lived has actually been dismantled and therefore the things that he used to hold dear all, I once held dear Bill, my life upon you think about it in Philippian terms reports. As I was a Pharisee of the Pharisees.
I was a Hebrew of the Hebrews, I had a good background ice far as the law is concerned, I was fantastic. Then what is he said, but in relationships. All of these things. I now count them as nothing is refuse for the sake of Jesus nor Jesus Christ my Lord and ours. He says I have found in Christ that to which all of this stuff pointed I was up really close but I was far away. The Gentile had none of that. No circumcision, no laws, no dietary requirements no special meeting places. So what have they got to go on the exact same thing. All I have is Christ in you, see process to the Ephesians.
The divisions and the distinctions that of March 2 in bringing you to faith in Jesus Christ no longer may be tolerated.
They cannot be promulgated.
They cannot be elevated. You cannot hold onto these things and I'm going to try and apply this, but you can apply for yourself. We we we can we can as a church, chastise ourselves because were not what we would like to be a whatever it is what we are what we are what we long to be what God wants us to be and in some measure. At least there are to be the evidences of these very things. The basis of our unity in the Lord Jesus Christ preached both the Jew and Gentile. He preaches to those who are far away priesthood to those who were near it is been proclaimed, it may be enjoying but only as it is believed and accepted for all the Christ has done for us is is no value to us, so long as we remain outside of these broken down the wall. He's made to out of the one, and finally just said a word. Verse 18 and we both have access. We both have access and fight. You will notice in verse 18 out of the father the son and the Holy Spirit are involved in this great mystery through him that is Jesus, the son, we both have access in one Spirit, God the Holy Spirit to the father. There is the father and the remarkable thing and so hard for the Jew to believe apart from the enabling of the spirit of God and so hard for the Gentile to believe, but I haven't done this and I don't have that and how could I go in there on what basis can I go in the big sign is been up there for so long while. Jew and Gentile share the same access access to where not to a temple building in Jerusalem, but directly to the father. You see Christ death on the cross and the tearing of the curtain. Basically finished that temple finished A.D. 70. It was destroyed when people talk now about going to the temple, going to the temple. I presume they're not reading the Bible and read the book of Hebrews we have come to this place. We have come to Mount Zion. We have come to the temple. We are here in the new Jerusalem.
The access was Jew and Gentile have is not to a temple building in the Middle East. It is to God the father himself in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. All of that alienation that marked them. All of that separation that spoiled them has been dealt with in Jesus and all alienation. Alienation that is present in our culture this morning is ultimately subsumed under the flag that both Jew and Gentile are alienated by nature from God because were sinners Jewish sinners Gentile sinners white sinners black sinners Chinese sinners Japanese sinners, but sharing this reality and fight when Paul writes about it in Romans five he says if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God, so God reconciles his enemies. In other words, we all have a relationship with God.
We either are related to God as his enemy or were related to goddesses friend if while we were enemies we were reconciled. How much more than that he has made us his friends through Jesus. What I wonder where you are this morning and this continue the scumbag bacillus and with John Charlie. Now the gospel of John.
Imagine there's no heaven cheesy. If you try. Apparently I haven't tried. I don't know. Imagine there's no heaven cheesy. If you try no hell below us above is only sky.
Imagine all the people living for today by that last part is not hard to imagine his.
He was a golf tournament this afternoon on TV. The about your only watching it about 15 seconds and somebody will start on about, and he's just in the moment and interview him afterwards and how did you get on the 13th.
Oh well, I just try to stay in the moment like you had a choice where in the moment you only had that moment.
We just imagine all the people living for today. That's the issue love ones.
We are living for today with no thought of yesterday and no prospect of tomorrow by nature without hope and without God in the world and Internet hopelessness and into that alienation steps the Prince of peace takes our punishment on himself grants to is a forgiveness that is entirely undeserved and looks out over the city of Cleveland and says oh if you would only know what makes for peace you know. I hope John Lennon did not actually believe that deep down I hope it with a passion.
When he and Yoko Ono went to Scotland in that big gigantic Rolls-Royce.
The old silver shadow or silver cloud that he had painted in psychedelic colors and see if you read the books and they ran it off one of the narrow Highland roads in Scotland and both ended up in the hospital, the minister that went to see them. The local Church of Scotland minister's free church. Minnesota went to see them was was my friend David Patterson told you about David Patterson. He's the guy who told me is it steak or is it or is it meds but that's another story altogether for Dave Dave. He went to see them in the hospital and told me afterwards he had the most amazing opportunity to share the gospel with that he told him straight up. He didn't even go in and asked for autographs. He went in and did what he should do and some days when I'm thinking about it. I sailed God I hope somehow in the dying embers of his existence that he remembered what Davey told and that he didn't have to imagine anymore because he found the reality in the person and work of Jesus Christ. I don't know where you are in relationship to these things your sensible people. He had read the Bible think these things are to live in an imaginary world you want to deal with the real world and the true and lasting peace is only found in and through Jesus listing the Truth for Life. That's Alistair Begg outlining the ways that Jesus, the Prince of peace has dealt with our worlds brokenness, hoping to address the issues of brokenness is a part of what is involved in being called to ministry the network can be both challenging and rewarding.
Today we want to recommend to you a book that provides encouragement about the challenges and rewards of ministry. This book is for a different audience than you might expect book is titled partners in the gospel 50 meditations for pastors and elders. Why it's a collection of 50 devotions specifically prepared to encourage the wives of church leaders. Those were typically serving behind the scenes. This book draws from Scripture to help clarify your wife's role should look like in a local church. This is a great book to give to the women in your church and serve alongside their husbands requester copy of the book partners in the gospel when you give a firstname.lastname@example.org/donate bubble peen company. Be certain that you are truly following Jesus join us tomorrow as we take a look at the real and observable difference between true Christians and unbelievers Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life with the Learning is for Living