March 22, 2018

Ephesians 2:11 (NLT) — 11 Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts.

Oh that we would be more concerned about the condition of our hearts than our bodies. We are usually concerned about making changes to our bodies; lose weight, get in shape, cosmetic surgery, tattoos, clothes etc. God is concerned about changing our hearts. If we spent as much time on spiritual health as we do on bodily health we would change our world. Humility would replace pride. We would be a pretty special people to be around.

Ephesians 2:12 (NLT) — 12 In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope.

Apart from Christ means no God and no hope. Never forget what life was like before Christ. No hope, no future, no peace. You were in trouble.

Ephesians 2:13 (NLT) — 13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.

The blood of Jesus washed away our sins so that we could be connected to a holy God. Sin always separates us from God. We didn’t come on our own, although it might have seemed like we make the choice, it was God who was drawing us all along. Stop now and praise Him for His wonderful grace!
              John 6:44 (NLT) — 44 For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up.
             John 15:16 (NLT) — 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.

Ephesians 2:14 (NLT) — 14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.

Jesus took away any reason for us to be at odds with each other. Yes that’s right, any reason!

Ephesians 2:15 (NLT) — 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.

No one has ‘one-upmanship’ on the other. We all need Jesus. Jesus is the unifying factor. No one can brag about their achievements or what they know or what they have or who they are or the family they were born into. The only way to the Father is through Jesus. The system of laws and regulations was rendered useless as a means of getting right with God.

Ephesians 2:16 (NLT) — 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

We are no longer two groups of people separated by our ethnic identity and our differences. We are all one in Christ; women, children, slaves, free, we are all one in God’s eyes with the same rights and privileges that come from being united in Jesus.

Christ took all of our sins like anger, hostility, and gossip and put them to death on the cross. When his body died our sin died. Don’t breathe life back into your dead body of sin. Let forgiveness rule the day. Let kindness have its way. Don’t stifle love. The Holy Spirit in us is who we need to cooperate with. The Spirit will only have us do what Christ would do. We will never be asked to show more forgiveness, kindness or grace than Jesus already showed us.

Ephesians 2:17 (NLT) — 17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near.

Near and far is all relative. If I miss my flight by an hour or by a minute the result is the same> I am left behind.

Ephesians 2:19–20 (NLT) — 19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.

The conclusion is that we are God’s family, the church. Our judgement day was moved from the future to the past. Because of Jesus we are judged to be pure and holy. We are the way God has chosen to remain visible in the world.

Be Inspired Hilltop!