Sermon Titled “Dwelling Place” (Ephesians 2:19-22) – Sunday 9th February, 2014
- Ephesians 2:19-22 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Paul starts verse 19 with the word “Consequently,” following on from his statement in verse 18, in which he boldly claimed that we (both Jews and Gentiles) have access to God the Father. Paul continues his message by assuring the Gentiles that they are “no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.”
So the Gentiles (we too, are Gentiles), have been granted a Heavenly citizenship and have been adopted into God’s family as co-heirs with God’s chosen people (the Jews). Think about this for a minute; as Christians, we have citizenship rights, which offer us the protection of God’s kingdom (that ultimately means that in the end times, we will be counted – and set apart – as belonging to God), and we also gain adoption rights, which means that we are now sons and daughters of God Himself and therefore entitled to the inheritance (and other blessings) that was once made available to only a select few.
On the other side of the coin however, being a citizen also entails an obligation to observe certain laws and behaviors. Likewise, being part of a family requires that each member of the household respect and follow certain rules. Since we are no longer abiding by our own self-imposed rules, we must make every effort to submit to the teachings of Christ, which inevitably point us towards doing more for others and less for self.
In verse 20, Paul says that we are part of a household that is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” Paul is essentially telling us that we (Jewish and Gentile believers), are the church, or a “holy temple’ which reflects the purity of Christ because Christ “dwells within us” (1 Corinthians 3:16).
Pastor Reimer shared last Sunday, that we are each like a stone which makes up the temple, and each stone can be described as follows:
- Chosen and shaped for position by the lord.
- Shaped into position in relationship to Jesus Christ.
- Uniquely formed, in shape, size, and material.
- Linked to one another, even if each stone cannot see the others.
- Chosen, shaped, placed – not to draw attention to self but to God.
- Placed as part of a work that started thousands of years ago.
- Still growing in the Lord, and building will continue until the Lord returns.
All of these stones are built upon a foundation of the teachings of the apostles and prophets, but the most critical piece of the foundation (the chief cornerstone), is Christ Himself. Upon the truths of His word, we are linked together, “to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (verse 22).
Finally, as members of God’s household, all different and not one of us the same, we are told to serve by using the unique gifts and abilities that we each have been given. An amazing piece of scripture to familiarize yourself with is 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; in short, it highlights the fact that we are gifted in different ways, and while it may be obvious that some are more talented than others, we are all nevertheless expected to put to use the talent/s that we have been given. Then, just as a child who is given household chores is given increasingly more responsibility (and rewards) as he/she proves to be competent and reliable, so too are we increasingly blessed and enabled by God. The key point however, is that we each make up a very necessary part of the body of Christ, regardless of how small or irrelevant our “part” may seem.
As Pastor Reimer said, the Super Bowl had 22 players, and 111,000,000 watchers – Christ calls us to stop watching and get in the game!