What are you building?
The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus who were Gentiles that became followers of Jesus. The admission of the Gentiles into the early church was an important time in church history as we read in Acts 15.
Paul continues in verses 11 and 12, writing about the desperate plight of those who are outside of the promises of God. This is the former condition of all who have not put their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. Before you and I trusted in Jesus as Lord; before God reached down and drew us in, we were spiritually dead and without hope.
I think the reason we see weak churches filled with believers who are more interested in their own welfare than the commission that God has given us, is because we have forgotten how desperate we were before Jesus. If we remember where we came from, we will never have a problem praising God and being grateful for what He has done in our lives.
But then we have verse 13, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
But now in Christ! Everything changed when Jesus died and rose again. The blood of Jesus is the full and final payment for our sins and we have been brought near.
The Gentiles were not allowed to come into the temple. They were restricted to what was called the “court of the Gentiles”. But when Jesus died on the cross, the temple veil inside the holy place was torn by the hand of God, signifying that now all people had access to the throne of God. Jesus tore down the barriers of religion and race by his death on the cross (Ephesians 2:14). Jesus removed the barriers between races and he ushered in the new covenant (verses 15 and 16).
When Jesus preached the sermon on the mount, he said in Matthew 5:17, “…I have not come to abolish them (the Law) but to fulfill them”. The Law of Moses was for the Jewish people, but it pointed to Jesus and the need for a perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of Sins.
This does not mean that the moral requirements of God’s law do not apply to us, rather, the the blood of Jesus atones for our sins as we confess and repent of our sins.
But more than the fulfilling of the law, verse 15 says, “His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two”
The purpose of God was to create in Jesus one new humanity, that is the body of Christ, the church. JB Philipps in his paraphrase, uses the term “fused together”, meaning God has taken all ethnic people groups and fused us together in Christ. Welded together into one body.
This is incredible but also a warning that in the church there is absolutely no place for racism.
In verse 19, Paul writes that we all were once foreigners and strangers, but through Christ we are made fellow citizens of one new nation (1 Peter 2:9).
But Paul takes it one step further, we are not simply citizens; we are members of the family, adopted into God’s family. There is a huge difference between being a citizen and being family. Many believers are citizens, but don’t know what it means to be family.
The church is not a building or a place we go to attend an event, the church is family, living life and being on mission together.
In verses 20-22, Paul uses the analogy of a building being built. Verse 22 gives the indication of an ongoing work which is not yet completed. Paul writes that the foundation of this building is found in the Bible. All the Word of God points towards God’s redemption story in Jesus Christ.
Sadly, many churches have moved away from the Bible as being the central foundation and authority of the church. But the church will cease to exist if we discard the authority of God’s Word.
Remember the parable of the wise and foolish builders in Matthew 7. The wise man built his house on the rock and the foolish man built his house on the sand. The storms of life came up and destroyed the house built on a weak foundation, but not the one built on the rock. The church is a spiritual building that needs to be built on the solid foundation of God’s word.
Churches that are built on weak teaching and saying feel-good platitudes, will fall when the real tests come. The body of Christ needs to be built up on the sure foundation of God’s word.
These verses are all about construction, the building up of the body of Christ as a temple for God to dwell by the Holy Spirit. This is the purpose of everything, the glory of God and the presence of God with man.
As part of the family, the Body of Christ, we get to be a part of the construction team, working with God’s power to see the Kingdom of God grow and expand as we invite others from the outside in. We get invited to spend our time building things that have eternal value and impact, not focusing on things that have temporary value that will eventually be consumed by fire.
Be a part of what God is doing through the church. That may mean going to your neighbor or going to the ends of the earth.
When the pandemic restrictions are lifted, let us be careful not to get trapped back into the craziness of building temporary temples. Too many people are happy just to be in the building, but the real joy of being a follower of Jesus comes from being on the construction team.
You may be an accountant, lawyer, waiter, cash register attendant, teacher, medical professional, custodian, painter or any other role in life, you are equally positioned to be a part of the building of the Kingdom of God. Never look at your days as being insignificant.
Choose today to live with passion and purpose, living a life of eternal significance, don’t waste a moment of the time God has given you.