Devotional Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21; Background Scripture: Epesians 2,3
Lesson Study: Ephesians 2:11-22
- Explain the scriptural dimension of the separation that existed between the Jews and the Gentiles before Christ came
- Compare and contrast the separation between the Jews and the gentiles in Paul’s day with the separation that exixts between Christians and non-Christians
- Suggest an evangelistic campaign that focuses more on uniting people with Christ than on music, programs, or social benefits
A single thread that runs throughour the Christian faith is that all humanity is united into a single entity, the church of Jesus Christ. Jesus prayed for that day and now more than 2000 years later, sometimes we might wonder if we have really reached that goal. There are divisive tensions within many of our local churches. Conflict occurs over worship styles, leadership, music, and seemingly trivial activities.
About a dozen years before Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians, Paul attended a meeting called, “the Jerusalem Council”. This council met to resolve a pressing question–“Is it necessary for Gentile men to be circumcised in order for them to be consider Christian believers?” The council determined that circumcision was not required of Gentiles. However; not everyone accepted that decision. As the economic status of the region grew, tensions rose again and some were teaching that Gentiles needed to follow the las of Moses. Thus, Paul revisited the issue again.
Circumcision was a source of pride for the Jews, because they considered the uncircumcised to be unclean. For the Jews, there were only two types of people: circumcised and uncircumcised. The Jews even used the term uncircumcised as a way to describe the person whose heart stubbornly opposed God’s will. By contrast, Paul’s message was about overcoming divisiveness in the church of Jesus Christ. Paul preached the message that Jesus died for all and that because He paid the price for our sins, He also has given us hope.
- In what way does our church bring the hope of Christ to people in the church community?
- How does our church promote oneness and unity in Christ?
- Is there such a thing as “healthy distinctives” among churches? If so, how do we keep these from becoming unhealthy divisions of the one body?
Paul preached that Jesus is the “peace of man” In other words, the peace that we find in Jesus Christ and the oneness that we gain through our belief in Him, things that used to divide us, should disappear.
- How can our church communicate the good news more effectively
Ephesians is a great book of Christian unity. In today’s lesson, Paul laid out the marvelous unity that Christian have in Christ.
Thought to remember: May all churches be places of peace and unity where the Spirit of God dwells.
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