Introduction. Think spiritual! Repetition will be used to stress and reinforce this thought.
As we provide summary for Chapter 2 of Ephesians, it is important for us to remember that we are studying an epistle that is spiritual and relational in its focus. It is important to to acknowledge that “the church” may meet in a brick and mortar structure, but a building is only a building. It is the spiritual “body of Christ” that carries the banner of the message of Jesus and His love for a fallen world. The title of this chapter could be called “Things That God Has Done For Fallen Mankind.” Paul compares the church to a temple. He reviews the what, why, and how that relate to this spiritual temple of salvation.
I. Consider our spiritual past. (2:1-3, 11-12)
Ephesians 2:1-3,11-12,New King James Version (NKJV)
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Consider a life-saving act that God did for fallen mankind, that we could not have done for ourselves. He “made us alive;” we were dead in our trespasses and sin (vs 1). A dead man can’t give life to himself. Before we were “made alive,” we were:”
Dead in sin (2:1); Influenced by Satan (2:2); Controlled by lust (2:3a); Under God’s wrath (2:3b); Pagans without God (2:11); F. Separated from Christ (2-12a); Without hope in this present world (2-12b).
II. Consider what God did when He saved us (2:4-6).
Ephesians 2:4-6 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Consider these actions, past tense, that God has done for us, who were formerly fallen mankind. He made us alive together with Christ; and, He did that by His grace (vs 5). By placing us in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, God caused us to be in the presence of Jesus, wherever Jesus might be. By placing us “in Christ Jesus,” we have also been placed, spiritually in the Presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and anyone else who has also been placed in that Spiritual Presence. See the following words of John 17:20-23, NKJV:
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
Consider the things that God did for us. He loved us (2:4); He liberated us (2:5); He lifted us (2:6).
III. Consider why God did these things (2:7). He did it so that he might display us as trophies of His grace.
Ephesians 2:7 New King James Version (NKJV)
7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
The note in the Ryrie Study Bible say, “Believers will be an eternal display of the grace of God.”
My note: God will be “showing us off.”
IV. Consider how God did saved us (2:8-9, 13)
Ephesians 2:8-9, 13 New King James Version (NKJV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Without the grace of God, fallen mankind would have remained in that fallen state. The salvation, the grace, and the faith are all a packaged gift of God. There is nothing that , in and of ourselves, could have saved us. Per Romans 12:3, NET Bible, “For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith.”
Our salvation was obtained: Through his special favor (2:8a); Through faith (2:8b-9); and Through blood (2:13).
V. Consider our present state, now that we are saved (2:10, 14-22)
Ephesians 2:10, 14-22New King James Version (NKJV)
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
We were created in Christ Jesus, “for good works.” God planned this action before the foundation of the world, and broke down the wall of separation that divided Gentiles and Jews. He created one man from the two, which is the spiritual body of Christ. We, who were fallen mankind, have now become the people of God; only God could have caused that to happen. We were made to be the dwelling place of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and all other saints of God.
Consider the following words of John 14:16-20, NKJV. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
We are now the products of grace (2:10). We have been created in Christ to do good works; this was planned before the foundation of the world. We are now the partners of Israel (2:14-18). Christ destroyed the barrier separating Jews from Gentiles. He has joined into one body, a new person, both Jews and Gentiles. We are mow the people of God (2:19). We are now the pillars of the temple (2:20-22), with the foundation being the apostles and prophets, and the cornerstone being Jesus, Himself. It is important for us to know that this “temple” is one of spiritual composition. There is not a denominational name that has been posted “above the front door.” This temple is the true body of Christ. It is composed of saved, born again, believers in Jesus. The true body of Christ may be identified as being mortal members of denominational congregations, but it may also be found in cell groups, home churches, and church plants. The key to this understanding is that this temple is a spiritual body of believers of Christ. There are no pews, altars, or pulpits. Neither are their any stained glass windows or statues. And, there is no steeple. The temple, the true church, is the spiritual body of Christ. It is made up of the people who have been born again and indwell the Spirit of The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Consider that salvation is by grace, and is a gift. Consider whether God will choose someone for salvation, whether He will not, and whether He will choose a person to be condemned to hell. You may very well be confronted by these questions. We need to be ready to provide answers that are based on scripture.
Now, let us enter into worship and praise, as we are blessed by the orchestra and five hundred member choir of the Prestonwood Baptist Church (Southern Baptist Convention), of Fort Worth, Texas (USA). The Senior Pastor is Dr. Jack Graham.
I Can Go Into the Holy Of Holies