One in Christ

March 17, 2024 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Ephesians - Gospel Truths Lead to Gospel Living

Topic: The Gospel, The Church, Christian Living Scripture: Ephesians 2:11–22

In Ephesians 2:11–22, Paul shows how the work of Christ creates one united identity among believers, foreshadowing the fullness of the union believers will share with God and one another for eternity. Our study is divided into 3 sections:

  1. The Need to Remember (v11-13)
  2. The Need for Peace (v.14-18)
  3. The Need for Commitment (v.15-18)

In 2:11-13, Paul exhorts the Gentile believers in Ephesus to remember the depth of their separation from God, exhorting them to 'remember' their alienation and separation form God and His covenant people. Then he comes in again with the glorious contrast, “But now,” followed by our present corporate blessings of being reconciled to God and His people (2:14-18). By dying on the cross, Christ achieved peace between Jews and Gentiles and so removed the source of their hostility with one another. In 2:19-22 we see that Christ’s work of peace removes the believing Gentiles’ status as “strangers and aliens." He concludes with the consequence, that we are now being built together into a holy temple where the Lord Himself dwells in the Spirit.

Getting Started

1. According to one research organisation, 83% of people forget names at one time or another. Can you remember when you forgot the name of someone important? How did you recover? Share your story.

  • Read Ephesians 2:11-22

2. What insight, principle, or observation from Sunday’s sermon did you find to be the most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling?

Digging Deeper

3. What is the significance of the references to Old Testament ideas like the “commonwealth of Israel” and “covenants of promise” in relation to the Gentiles’ spiritual past (v.12)? Why did the Gentiles’ past identity as “the uncircumcision” render them hopeless before God?

4. By dying on the cross, Christ achieved peace between Jews and Gentiles and so removed the source of their hostility with one another (v.14). What was the source of this hostility, and what does it mean for it to be abolished? In what sense are Jewish and Gentile believers “one new man”?

5. The Ephesians’ secular citizenship provided them with the responsibilities, rights, and benefits of the Roman city. Paul borrows this political language to describe the church as a new community formed by Christ. How does the language of Ephesians 2:19 emphasize the corporate nature and relationship of this new community?

The Heart of the Matter

6. How do you reconcile Paul’s command here to remember your spiritual past with his comments in Philippians 3:13-14 about forgetting the things behind?

7. Some would argue that the early church did not have official “membership.” Why should we?

8. Why is racial prejudice always sinful? How can we as a church guard against it?

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