Sermon preached on Sunday, August 12, 2012 at Garden Valley Chapel during our morning worship service based on Ephesians 2:19-22.
I invite you to take your Bible and open it to the book of Ephesians chapter two.
We have titled today’s message "The Privileges of God’s People." I hope this will deepen your understanding of what you possess as His child.
Let me begin by restating Paul’s emphasis in chapter two. It is about remembering the past to highlight the present. Think about where you were before you came to Christ and how that heightens your current state as a believer.
In times past, Paul reminds his readers:
• “being dead in your trespasses and sins…you formerly walked according to the course of this world” (v. 2)
• “we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh” (v. 3)
• “formerly…you were at that time separate from Christ” (vv. 11-12)
This was your hopeless state apart from Christ, but then in verse 13 Paul announces their current state in Christ –
13But now [Gr. emphasis – νυνὶ δὲ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ] in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
The question then becomes: How did I get here from there? What happened that changed everything in my life and for all eternity?
The answer is revealed to us in vv. 4-7 –
4But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us [a great love poured out for us in vv. 5-6 irrespective of merit and to those are undeserving],
5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
God puts His grace on display in saving us.
So that now, because of God’s work of salvation in Christ:
• Though we were at one point, “excluded from the common wealth of Israel” (cf. v. 12), are now “fellow citizens with the saints” (cf. v. 19).
• Though we were at one point, “strangers to the covenants of promise” (cf. v. 12), are “no longer strangers and aliens” (cf. v. 19).
• Though we were at one point, had “no hope and [were] without God” (cf. 12), are “of God’s household” (cf. v. 19).
• Though we were at one point, “far off” (cf. v. 13), are “near” (cf. v. 13).
If you wanted a summary statement, Peter sums it up in 1 Pet 2:10 –
10…once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.
Being “the people of God” and having “received mercy” are some of the privileges you enjoy. In fact, this very topic [i.e. the Privileges of God’s People] is what Paul is going to highlight in these verses (vv. 19-22) and they serve as a conclusion to all that has been said up to this point (vv. 11-18).
The heart is stirred and the mind awakens to this thought:
“So this is a what I possess in Christ? Glory be to God.”
I hope you will see the greatness and reality of your salvation and that it will produce in you a profound attitude of thankfulness.
Read Ephesians 2:19-22.
19Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (KJV)
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