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YOU’RE FAMILY HERE! – Ephesians 2:19-22

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on March 22, 2017 under AM Bible Study |

AM Bible Study Group; March 22, 2017 from Ephesians 2:19-22

Theme: Paul expresses the benefits and blessings of being full citizens and family members of God’s household in four ways.

(All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated).

Back in high-school days, I was part of a church youth group. And in that group, I had a friend who’s home was like a second home to me. His mother and father welcomed me in; and I would often be found in the family-room with everyone else eating pizza or watching TV. I was told that, as far as they were concerned, I was ‘family’. I knew, of course, that that was only an honorary title. I was not literally a part of the family. My friend’s parents weren’t going to pay my college tuition or buy my clothes. But still, it was an honorary title that meant much to me.

But when it comes to God’s household, it’s different. We who are Gentiles and not Jews by birth, but who have nevertheless placed our faith in Jesus Christ, are not just welcomed in to God’s household in an ‘honorary’ way. We are fully brought in as true family members who now enjoy the full benefits of all the promises of God’s covenant people. This has been the point of the apostle Paul’s words to the Ephesian believers in the latter section of Ephesians 2. Verses 11-13, stress that we who were once far off are now brought near by the blood of Jesus; and verses 14-19 show how the wall of separation between Jew and Gentile has now been broken down by the obedience of Jesus on our behalf. And verses 19-22 begin with the strong consequential denotation of a logical inference (“Now, therefore”), to stress that we are true members of God’s household.

Paul’s words should be received, by Gentiles who believe on God’s Son, as saying four great things to us …

I. YOU’RE IN! (v. 19).

We cannot possibly appreciate the words that Paul speaks in this passage unless we recall just how ‘outside’ we once were. He described this for us in verse 12. From the perspective of the Jewish person who was devoted to the Old Testament ceremonial law under Moses, we 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.” And indeed, from the standpoint of the Old Covenant, that’s what we were. But by faith, we have been placed in a New Covenant relationship with God through Christ; and as Paul tells us, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (v. 19). It’s been officially declared: The dividing wall is down; and we’re now full members of the family! We’re 100% in!

Note the details. We are no longer “strangers and foreigners”. Strangers and foreigners don’t feel at home in a land that is not theirs. They feel ‘temporary’—without a sense of full welcome. They may be ‘welcomed’; but its only in a qualified or ‘honorary’ way. But now, we are “fellow citizens with the saints”. The ‘saints’ most likely refers here to the Old Testament Jewish heroes of faith that God fully accepted (whose stories we can read about in Hebrews 11); and now, we are fellow citizens along with them. And more; we are also “members of the household of God”. We’re no longer mere visitors to the family room; but are now truly family members with our own dwelling place in the house. From this world’s standpoint, we are still foreigners, of course—“sojourners and pilgrims” as Peter puts it (1 Peter 3:11). But as far as God is concerned, we walk in this world while “our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). What wonderful news that is! We have a home—an eternal place in God’s own family!

II. YOU’RE SECURE! (v. 20).

This new position we have isn’t built on a mere courtesy—as if our welcome is without true basis and can easily be taken away. Verse 20 tells us that our new relationship as official citizens and members of the household is established in the strongest possible basis—“having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone …”

The apostles we know. They were the ones that were the witnesses of Jesus, and who were commissioned by Him to pass the gospel on to us. Jesus prayed not only for them, but “also for those who will believe in Me through their word” (John 17:20). We are established on their testimony and “have obtained like precious faith” in Jesus with them (2 Peter 1:1). But this is also true with respect to the prophets of old. They too bore witness of Jesus; and it had been revealed to them that, “not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported” to us through the gospel (1 Peter 1:12). And most of all, we are established on the work of Jesus Himself—who is “the chief cornerstone” (Psalm 118:22). The testimony that Jesus is ‘the Christ, the Son of the living God’ is ‘the rock’ upon which Jesus has built His church (Matthew 16:16-18); and there is no other name given by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Our position as full members of God’s household is based on secure footing indeed through faith in Him! It’s through Him that “we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:2).

III. YOU’RE NEEDED! (v. 21).

We’re welcomed into the household—but not in a begrudging way. We’re not just merely ‘put up with’ (as I suspect I sometimes was in my friend’s home). We’re valued as needed members of the family. Paul writes of Christ as being the One “in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (v. 21). And each part of the building is necessary.

Peter also speaks of our being built together as “living stones” into a “spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5); and later on in this very letter, Paul will affirm the wonderful necessity each of us has, through faith in Christ, as members of His own body: “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16). We’re not just ‘in’ and we’re not just ‘settled’; but by God’s grace, we’re truly valued as necessary! We have a part to play; and when we each play our part, we grow together to the glory of God!

IV. YOU’RE SPECIAL! (v. 22).

Because we’ve been brought into God’s household so completely, we’re united together in Christ as something very special and sacred. Our principle of unity is Christ Himself; “in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (v. 22). Imagine that! We not only belong in God’s household; but every Person in the Trinity is involved so that we are being built together in Christ into the very dwelling place of the Father through the Spirit.

This ought to affect the way we live. As Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 we ought to live holy lives because of what we are: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

* * * * * * * * * *

We former outsiders then, who have now been brought near, enjoy the greatest privilege of ‘belonging’ that anyone could have! We’re in! We’re secure! We’re needed! We’re special! Let’s praise God for this astonishing, complete and eternal welcome into His household—and let’s live accordingly.

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