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February 12, 2020 9:00 am
Today on with Janie Greer when people asked me how much David involved in the church.
My answer is always to whatever extent you want God to be at work in your life you want to benefit from one person in the church one gifting to get just a tiny fraction of what God must do in your life.
I would be so bold as to say that you got no right to ask for the help of God in prayer. If you intentionally separate yourself from the means of that line with and we are so glad you're back with us today church, we cannot doubt our preferences when it comes to worshiping a Savior who gave all his rights to rescue us. Pastor JD shows us that when we are defined by who we are in Christ and not our cultural differences we are able to lay down our preferences for the sake of their salvation. Now let's join Pastor Jeannie in the message he titled the church again in verse 11 we are going to jump right in this morning because we have a lot of things to cover our time together. Here Paul has spent the last chapter and 1/2 of the book of Ephesians bequeathing unto us the beauties of the gospel and now in the middle of chapter 2 begins to turn his attention to the body of people that the gospel creates, namely the church. The passage that we are going to look at today I think is extremely relevant to us for at least a couple of reasons. The first one sociologist who studies spirituality me in the United States say that there are two seemingly contradictory things that are true in regards to American spiritual lives. The first is that spiritual interest is at an all-time high. People seem as religiously hungry as ever, but at the same time. The second truth is that there is a decided move away from institutional religion, 81% of Americans answered yes to this? Do you believe you can be a very good Christian, without ever attending a church, 81% of Americans said absolutely Paul gets into that in these verses. The second reason that this passage is irrelevant for us. I think, is that India Paul gives us a prescription for racial and cultural unity in the church racial strife. In Paul's day in the churches that he planted was a real issue because you see for the first couple thousand years that God at work in human history.
All of God's people had been Jews and then Jesus showed up with this whole whosoever will make him program and now all these Gentiles have begun to believe and so now there they are in these new churches up almost planted and you got Gentiles sitting right next to Jews and Gentiles. As you know had their own Gentile preferences and customs and factions in music choices and their own Gentile political viewpoints and so it was a mess. Here we are 2000 years later and it's still a mess. Many people in our day. Love the concept of a multicultural society but achieving a truly multicultural society is proven to be quite difficult. I read an article not too long ago in the Atlantic magazine and it was a study done on only people who chose to live in multicultural neighborhoods because they preferred to live in multicultural neighborhoods.
They did a study on them and found that almost invariably even those people who prefer to live in multicultural neighborhoods after they moved into those neighborhoods would gravitate toward the other people in the neighborhood that look like them.
Even though the concept of it was attracted actually living out what was different. It's said he was talking about. He got up group of guys going into play basketball and you got the white guys on one in a group of black guys on the other in that almost invariably, even if you were the kind of person that like to have diversity you would almost always gravitate toward the group of guys that look most like you.
Many people who love the idea of a multicultural church are fine when it just fine. Waited until you start doing things that are culturally uncomfortable to them. I will confess to you that I'm like this. Sometimes I love the concept, but living in the reality can be quite difficult and I could just be real with you for just a minute, based on many of your Facebook feed. Some of you are all about racial reconciliation, but you don't really do anything about it. Your what one of our pastors calls us like the best slackness, which means you champion things on Facebook you don't live out on real life between virtue signal another's other kind of thing.
This passage not only shows us the importance of cultural and racial diversity in the church is also to show us how to achieve it is can it show us how to move beyond virtue signal even slacken isn't up actual gospel community now want you to hear this as we get into this this weekend. Please do not hear any of this is me saying that we are anywhere close to having this figured out this passage, or really go through has a lot to say to us and a lot to say to me, and a lot of we need to learn from. Which is why I want to begin just doing my favorite thing to do with a passage like this. I was one walk through it line by line. This will read it together with you we can unpack a little bit and then at the end after we do that were going to answer two questions verse. Why should we be deeply committed to the local church. When asked, adamant second how unity can be achieved within the church. Why should we be committed to it. How unity can be achieved, then it writes here we go. Verse 11 chapter 2 Paul says therefore remember that at one time you were Gentiles. The people that he is writing to our Ephesian Gentiles, Gentiles only met one ethnic Jews in all these Ephesian Christians. Almost all of them had been Gentiles, you were separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel. Notice, by the way, how those two phrases are put, parallel like that because in the Old Testament. One met the other in the Old Testament. If you were separated from the commonwealth of Israel. You are also separated from Christ in order to belong to God, you had to belong to Israel if you wanted to know God, you had to become a Jew. That's why stories in the Old Testament like Rahab and Ruth are essentially people that want to know God and become Jews in pursuit of it and he says to these Gentiles. That's who you were. You were when you were one of those separated people next verse, verse 13 foreigners to the covenants of promise, that's what you are you are without hope.
Without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought nearby the blood of Christ, for he himself is our peace, who is made us both one and is broken down in his flesh the wall of hostility literally around the Jewish Temple was a literal wall is about 10 feet high. It was made of really fixed stone and had a sign on it that read and I quote any Gentile injury.
Beyond this wall will have only himself to blame for his ensuing death, but clearly had not master the concept of the Secret Service yet, but this wall separated in the Jewish mind the good from the bad clean from the unclean essays from the unsafe.
Now let's just stop right here and acknowledge that we may be politically correct enough not to post signs like that anymore, but we still have walls in our minds. All of us that separate for us. The right kinds of people from the Romans. The good ones from the bad ones.
The safe ones from the unsafe points. Maybe those walls in our minds are racial made white, black, Asian, Hispanic, whatever, but they could also exist because of education levels maybe you only feel comfortable being around people who have a similar education level to you or went to a school similar to the one that you went to. Or maybe on the other side you don't like people who are really highly educated because you think that their untrustworthy and their snobs. It could be a wall in your mind separating the successful from the unsuccessful. Maybe it's a wall between the good-looking popular people in the you know the nerds or whatever and so you you gonna see people into different categories to be political walls.
You think people from one political philosophy are almost all good and others in the other screen they can't help but be bad. Maybe it goes from good families versus those with messed up families or maybe a single or married or happily married and divorced whatever.
Who is it that you feel unnatural kinship or bond with and who is it that you think of as other their outsiders therefore and there. Unlike you there unsay they might even be potential enemies. Just ask yourself it this way, what is it about somebody that when you meet them you don't know them and immediately when you find this out about them immediately.
Makes you kind of relax is a okay okay these are my people, what is your people. Who is your tribe. Is it primarily those who share the same skin color as you as it does to make about as much money as you that under certain rich people that just feel tense when around people, more modest income and under people, more modest income that don't like to be around people were rich. Maybe it's those who share your core political leanings.
You find out somebody is a Republican and you're like okay okay I we can talk right or you find out that they hate Republicans and you're like okay I thought we be friends that there's nothing wrong with some of these natural affinities.
Of course, but they end up erecting walls that put divisions within the church.
Paul says Christ poured down all those dividing walls because in Christ. There's really only one category of people sinners when it came to God.
We were all on the outside. There were no good people are bad people. There were no winners or losers. People who have it together dysfunctional people. There was only bad sick dead since the rebels children of Satan sons and daughters of disobedience without God and without hope in the world and Jesus blood Paul says in verse 14 has clinched all of us alike that tore down the wall by the way, think of how revolutionary this was at the very time the Paul is writing these words that wall still existed that 10 foot wall was still there in the temple inmate constructed by the command of God, and Paul who would spend more time the temple by the end of his house says that wall didn't exist anymore.
That wall is going even if it remains physically before God. All of our distinctions in society are going.
Also, even if they still exist in society.
Furthermore, verse 15, Paul says that Jesus's resurrection created a whole new race of humanity that every person who belongs to him now shares to verse 15 in his flesh, he made of no effect. The law consisting of commands and express and regulate no effect means that no power save all those Jewish regulations.
All those customs are stressed out there think it had no ability to bring salvation resurrection. So we made it of no effect so that he might create in himself one new man one 1 new race from the two distinct races.
Jew and Gentile, and that would result in peace. Christ was not raised. Paul said, as a Jew or Gentile.
He was raised as a completely new man a new man.
1/3 race so that he could create a whole new race of people. This creation of this new one kind of man Paul says it results in peace because, listen to this very closely because in his death and resurrection, Christ has removed anything that would have made us feel superior to others because he shown that had no work before God and he made relatively insignificant. Everything that distinguishes us from one another, giving us something more glorious in common that far exceeds our differences in Jesus. There's only one kind of center dead. Only one type of believer alive in Christ fully adopted into God's family, partakers of God's glorious inheritance be in hallelujah amen somebody I verse 18 for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the father once or the father spirit's father. So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers are not fellow citizens with all the other saints remembers each of you and God's household built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone verse 21 in him the whole building be put together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord and him you are also being built together for God's dwelling in the spirit. Did you notice by the way that the entire Trinity was involved in the process you have the father who is the architect of the building. It is building you have a son who is the foundation and you have the spirit who is the one that is doing all the building the whole Trinity is involved in what Paul then goes on from that verse in chapter 3, we will read it together but he goes on to talk about how pointing toward this unified multicultural body of people was one of Paul's specific like always.
And then Paul ends those 10 verses there in chapter 3. With this I mean absolutely amazing statement amazing statement. Chapter 3 verse 10. This this this unified search.
That's what this refers to in context. This is so that God's multifaceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavens. How is it that God's multifaceted wisdom is going to be displayed to the church. How is it is it by brilliant sermons that I lay out is it because of the way that I show how all the Scripture ties together note according to back verse the way that they'll see God's multifaceted wisdom is when they see a group of people who have very little in common, but have deep unity and love for Jesus Christ that brings them together and put together in a context they would be in any other place in the world. That's what demonstrates the unity effort demonstrates the multifaceted wisdom of God.
There is a way that we can do things it says here's how person I'm trying to reach. There's another way that picks up the New Testament and says this is what God's trying to do and we want to be aligned with what God is trying to do and Paul said that's where God gets glory and by the way were God gives glory, people start coming to faith in Christ. So we give you a couple things that I think are action items for us out of this passage here is number one.
Number one is pretty obvious you should be very involved in the church, the church. Paul tells us in these verses is what God is building on earth like I showed you literally every member.
The Trinity is involved in it. If every member of the Trinity is involved.
Do you really feel like it's optional for you if every one of them is involved. Each member of the church. Paul says, is a key part of the building. Each one he says is a precious stone. I love that presses the not a brick Rexall the same precious stones are all unique. Everybody is a precious stone that God is put part of his spirit into you.
A gifting of the spirit that you were supposed to demonstrate the beauty of God and exercise the gifts of God in ways that others of us cannot God places his gifts and his spirit into each of us so that we can do his work on earth. This is a concept that if you understood it would forever change how you relate to the church the place for the spirit of God has chosen to reside in the church.
The evening is come to my mouth. It's not that you're hearing wisdom dispensed every week and that's what God got for you what he's done is he taking the spirit and put it in and all the different members of his church, and so if you separate yourself in the church you are separating yourself from his power in another place Paul uses the analogy of the body, which is one of my favorites for the help clear it is that the church is like a body and Jesus is the head, something about how your body takes care of itself to bring that's represents Jesus if my left elbow decides that it itches it sends a message to the brains as I itch was my brain do my brain has not yet figured out how to send them magic brains use power to take care the itch. So instead what it does is it signal something over here my right hand to be's fingers and it says hey right fingers, brother, left elbow has a niche go take care that. And so will go to and that's how the body works when the same way when God has something that you are praying to him about doing in your life.
Usually I would say almost always he doesn't send down some kind of magic power from having to fix it. What he does.
The connection to another person in the body, the church and that becomes the instrument to which he works in your life. That means if you disconnect yourself from the church you are disconnecting yourself from the power of God. And when people asked me how much shall be involved in the church. My answer is always to whatever extent you want God to be at work in your life you want to benefit from one person in the church one gifting then you're going to get just a tiny fraction of what God wants to do in your life and thought I would be so bold as to say that you got no right to ask for the help of God in prayer. If you intentionally separate yourself from the means of that help you.
I God I need direction in my life and God says that wisdom that you look at ports in the spirit and my spirit resides in the church you want to know how to get direction. There go to church. God I need help in my marriage God I don't know what to do with my kids go to church.I'm lonely go to church.
God I don't understand you go to church my spirit. You know all those things for you, but you gotta put yourself in the place where my spirit resides. If you want God to work in your life. You gotta be a part of the church. You see, sitting on the sidelines of the church even even if you were hearing the greatest sermons in the world which were not. But even if you were uneasy only be experiencing a small fraction of what God wants you to know you cannot be involved. You gotta be very involved, this church has a bad problem with what we call ninja Christians ninja Christian preacher slip in and out.
I noticed you can sit on the aisles when I bow for prayer at the end of the service.
You gotta get up and you sorta slip out the back. You never get to know anybody you're not really involved in anything know ninjas are cool magical, but they make really bad church members need to direct the building analogy is like a power brakes outside about construction site of sorta left over, and useless in all the other bricks are making a beautiful structure and get this unsightly heap of bricks on the middle the field that's, what the disconnected church member is holding things God wants to do which are not connected and nobodies ministry to you and you not minister to them so gotta get involved okay that's number one.
Joint get involved Mossad like Chris's number two, number two, the summit should be known for its unity and diversity.
So what I want to reemphasize today is that one of the best ways that we can demonstrate the wisdom and the power of God is by being known for our unity in diversity again. Ephesians 310. It's how we display multifaceted wisdom of God to our community. I think I've told you a group of people all share one culture getting together is not miraculous that happens in any football game.
Any rock concert any political rally when you got a group of people who have little in common except for a common experience of grace that points to the magnitude of the gospel.
It points to the power of the new man created in the resurrection they ought to look at us from the outside and just genuinely bewildered say why do these people love each other. Why did they get along. I've often use the example with you up two of Jesus's disciples went when it was Jesus disciples of users put their name but for a couple of minutes. It includes another detail in the details are not just random one of them is called Simon the zealot zealot was a particular political party back in the days of Jesus there political issue that bids like we do today. They were different ones but they were just as strident about bears and there was a group of Jews that believe that they should work together to throw off Roman oppression room occupiers and it was their duty to get rid around on the other side good reviews. That said, you know what God is appointed this for this time, we should work with them. We should be peaceable with them so they worked with the Romans, Simon the zealot would've been on one side of that discussion. Matthew the tax collector collected taxes for the Romans.
He would've been on the other side. And Jesus chose both of them to be part of the 12 not told you you cannot convince me they did not have some spicy conversations around the campfire and I try to get this image of Jesus. Just sit there asking provocative questions about them to get them going back and forth.
But what you find is that in these disciples even though they had these differences in how things ought to be done.
They came together united around something larger and that was their love for Jesus and eventually that circles can include people like Nicodemus, Nicodemus, the Pharisee ruler and see the right side him would be gone for the woman at the well caught in adultery. Samaritan's had five husbands right next to her that John ate the woman caught in adultery at the well and you got a group of people that don't look anything alike share anything in common but what they have is a love for Jesus. That is what shows the world that the resurrection is real and that the gospel is deep and its powerful they look at us and they say why.
Why would you love each other so much nuns who tell you that, unity is fun to talk about and it is hard to achieve. Then it takes commitment to give you a handful reasons just need for personal reflection and observation.
I think it's so hard.
First of all, Satan. Satan hates us, unity, especially in the church. This is how God gets his best glory so you can better believe Satan wants to do everything he can to obscure it and we start home at this he will pull out every weapon in the book, try to confuse and try to distort and try to make you angry because at its core. This is a spiritual battle.
It is about the glory of Jesus, and you should always be aware that he is working in us to try and on to the good things here. Once in your life. We believe the world we pray our daily messages are wonderful moments to a local community fee charges all over the country are experiencing obstacles that may be keeping them from effectively reaching their community. Yeah that's exactly right. That's one of the reasons that we are offering as a premium to allow the series about that we've never made available anywhere else.
The stories from inside the summit church age stories that talk about how a church was revitalized. I know a lot of churches that are theologically accurate churches there faithful churches, but is filter stuck. Stuck in the past.
Maybe they've lost sight of the unchanging purposes of God for them after I come talking to some listeners right now that would say that's that's the church that I go to, as I did with our church here. I would encourage you to look back, not back to when you started to go to the church or even the founding of your church will impact the purposes of Jesus for that church. Ephesians tells us that God had a plan to make his name known to extend his salvation into families in your community long before you and I were ever a part of that church. And that's what you fall back on as you say, even when we are faltering. He is going to be faithful. Every church is planted is planted with the same purpose as the fulfillment of Jesus promise in Matthew 1618 he said I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. The success of the church is on on that promise, and not the talent of a pastor, so I'd love to to encourage you with the stories of how that happened. Summit church you reach out us.
We would love to put this in the book in your hand. Hidden graces eight surprising stories that led to a dying church is revitalization. Be sure to get in touch today so we can get you a copy of our new way of thinking done it for this history is how 866-335-5228 663-3524. You can get email@example.com inviting you to join us again tomorrow.
That's the reason unity in our church so confident life with Jeannie Greer