The Household of God

Ephesians 2:14-22

Spent year-and-a-half working through Isaiah on topic: The Holy One of Israel. In evening service: 6 months in James and Pursuit of Holiness. Just finished 6 months, John’s epistles, True Faith in a Relative World; could be subtitled Lifestyles of the Faithful and Holy. Conclusion: a holy God requires a holy people with whom to fellowship. Same holy God has established principles and guidelines for how that fellowship will take place – he has a Plan for the Church.

Parents go to much trouble to adopt child: time, effort, expense, preparing home, doing all sorts of things to get ready for the big day. Call up, tell child you’ll send food, clothes, money, visit regularly. NOT. Go get them, bring them home to place you prepared, care for them there, etc. God does same: he loves his children (4), brings them to life (5), saves them (8), prepares them for work (10), brings them close to him and each other (13), gives them new citizenship and new address (19). See what Paul declares, verse 19:

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,”

God doesn’t leave to imagination what he means when speaks of his “household”: “the household of God, which is the church of the living God” 1 Tim. 3:15 Bible informs us not only what qualities of household are, also how we are to conduct ourselves in the household of God – Paul’s stated purpose of writing first letter to Timothy. Here in this text – the qualities; in 1 Timothy – guidelines for conduct. This text – a general introduction to study of “The Household of God” as taught in 1 Timothy.

Clear from this portion of Ephesians that Christ’s church, God’s household, is to be: one body with one citizenship built on one foundation to serve one purpose.

A. one body (16)

hostility removed

not a truce – Korean War resulted in truce, not peace; war isn’t over, issues weren’t settled, simply a temporary end to fighting

at its root, sin is source / cause of hostility between man and God, man and man

removed cause of hostility by substitutionary death – when sin transferred from believer to Christ, are reconciled to God

Rom. 5:1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

wall broken down

not just wall in Temple separating Court of Gentiles from the rest; all sorts of regulations part of OT way of life that separated Jew from Gentile

ceremonial requirements of OT law pointed to Christ – not just Passover lamb, other sacrifices and scapegoat and rules of cleanliness and feasts had fulfillment in Christ

shadows and types no longer necessary once “real thing” has been revealed

restored relationships

all who are in Christ brought into one family

new way of talking about people: “in Christ” – only other category: “in Adam”

equivalent: saved / lost; regenerate / unregenerate; believer / unbeliever; ……

means all those “in Christ” are one body, one family, are to be on good terms with one another

“Tell me how you can stand to be in same room with that person!” “Tell me, how can God stand to be in same room with us? When we were sinners he loved us, forgave us, changed us. If God does that, I guess I can stand to be around that person.”

new kind of person – Christian, not Jew or Gentile

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal. 3:28

not two ways of salvation, not two distinct forms of worship, not two distinct people – one body of believers with one head, Christ

B. one citizenship (19)

fellow citizens

with those “near” and “far” – the great distinction of OT period now obliterated in Christ

Jews and Gentiles both are fellow citizens able to talk and eat and worship together

with saints above and below

saints above closer to inheritance than saints below but still fellow citizens

are watching us run the race and cheering us on (Heb. 12:1ff), are present when we gather in worship (v.22-24)

members of God’s household

privileges of family – access through Christ by way of Holy Spirit to Heavenly Father

means we have right and privilege of approaching God as child would his father knowing he will be welcome

recipients of the same love and privileges and blessings as the “natural-born” Son

citizens of different country

resident aliens / homeless refugees here (strangers and exiles on the earth – Heb. 11:13), citizens of heaven

Phil. 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

the kingdom of our citizenship should receive our primary investment

Matt. 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness….”

C. one foundation (20)

apostles and prophets

are the ones who laid the foundation – NT era, given additional revelation to complete that given to OT witnesses: see Eph. 3:5

content of that revelation: see v.6 & 7 – one body built on one foundation

validation / explanation of previous revelation: remember what OT says, this is what it was referring to

Gospel writers: “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet”; Peter on Pentecost; Paul before Agrippa: “saying nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said would happen” Acts. 26:22

chief cornerstone – Christ

cornerstone key piece of entire building

determined location, direction/orientation of all other parts, entire building; supported everything on top of it, rest of building referenced to it

what unifies two separate walls into one building

cornerstone particularly selected to serve that function

reference here to same prophecy of Isaiah 28:16 that Peter quoted in 1 Pet. 2:6“Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”

D. one purpose (21-22)

unified structure

building, not a lobster pot – Olsen House (Cushing, ME), open in winter? No, would be like trying to heat lobster pot

each piece precisely shaped, fitted, placed for both form and function: beauty and use both important

intended to be “a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.Eph. 5:27; in words of Peter: “you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house” 1 Pet. 2:5

we are the materials, Christ is the builder/contractor in charge of construction

He doesn’t take requests – use me next, I want to be this shape, don’t put me there next to that piece

“No one can be a living stone on the foundations of the Spiritual House, which is God’s habitation, without being a foundation to the stones above him.” M D Babcock

a holy temple

devoted to his service – don’t forget, not talking about building/sanctuary we call a church

it’s the people, the living stones; not just part of structure for a couple hours on Sunday

also not a multi-purpose building – used for God part of the time, self the rest; remember what Jesus did in the temple

dwelling place of God

individual believers indwelt by Holy Spirit, but… there’s more

purpose of temple / dwelling place of God

worship, communion between God and people

place of sacrifice – where God’s people as a body offer up sacrifice of praise to him (Heb. 13:15)

When we talk of the church, it’s Christ’s church we mean. He is the chief cornerstone (Eph. 3:20), the entire foundation, really (1 Cor. 3:11). It is Christ Jesus who unifies the church, who gathers the materials (those living stones) and builds the church, who sanctifies and cleanses the church, who nourishes and cherishes the church, who loves the church as his bride. Remove Christ Jesus as the foundation, the Gospel of Christ that tells how to be one with him, the church ceases to exist and function. It is his righteousness that makes us fit stones for his church, his blood that pleads for us before the mercy seat, is our union with Christ that makes us a household of God.

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