As we continue through the Ephesian series, Pastor Ray Viola teaches through an important lesson for the church. In Christ, He has torn down the division between Jews and Gentiles; He has, through His blood broken down the ethnic and racial lines that this broken world draws and dictates. Jesus Christ is the Prince of peace and the Chief Cornerstone!
Verses 14-16 are one sentence in the NT Greek.
- 2.14 For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Peace is mentioned four times in three verses (vv. 14–15, 17 [twice]).
- John 14.27 categorically indicates that Jesus alone is the believer’s source of peace. One of the glorious titles of Messiah Jesus is that He would be called, The Prince of Peace (Isa 9.6).
It is Jesus Christ Who is the author, center, and substance of sinners being at peace with God and one another.
- Rom 5.1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Wall of partition- There was an inscription on the wall of the outer courtyard of the Jerusalem temple warning Gentiles that they would only have themselves to blame for their death if they passed beyond it into the inner courts. It was that wall in the temple that partitioned off the Court of the Gentiles from the areas accessible only to Jews.
Paul uses that wall of separation as symbolic of the social, religious, and spiritual separation that was a cause of hostility between Jews and Gentiles and kept them apart. But I would even take that thought one step further. Jesus has also torn down the walls of racial prejudice and separation. The color of your skin makes no difference to The Living God. White, brown, red, black—all are one in Christ. We have been made one new man in Christ.
I do not believe in the universal brotherhood of man and the universal Fatherhood of God. To me that is a damnable heresy. I believe a true brotherhood is composed of those who are in Christ. A man may have skin as white as the driven snow, but if he is not a child of God, he is not my brother. A man may have skin as black as midnight, and if he is a child of God, he is my brother. We are something new. We are in Christ—a new man. J. Vernon Magee
In Christ, there are no such thing as a white churches or black churches or city churches or urban churches, there is only one church, one body and One Shepherd. I would also say that in Christ there is no longer any room for economic distinctions or prejudice.
- James 2.1-5 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
- 15. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
Having abolished- Gr. Rendered inoperative. Through His death on the cross, the OT ceremonial laws, feasts, and sacrifices, which uniquely separated Jews from Gentiles, lost its power or effectiveness.
In Himself one new man- The word “new” (kainon) means new or fresh in character or quality rather than new in the sense of recent in time (neos). It refers to something completely unlike anything else. In the mystery body, the church, Gentiles do not become Jews, nor do Jews become Gentiles. Instead believing Jews and Gentiles become Christians, a whole new single entity.This is a different metaphor than the “new man” of Eph 4:24; in that passage the “new man” refers to the new life a believer has through a relationship to Christ.
Because we have been made one in Christ, we have a responsibility to maintain that peace with one another.
- Col 3.15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
- Eph 4.1-3 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Jesus Christ did not abolish the moral law of God
I must inject here a very important point that is grossly misunderstood and misinterpreted by many people. The grace of God does not abolish God’s moral law. Please note who will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
- Ephesians 5.3-7 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger (Gr. Pornos; one who engages in unlawful sexual intercourse), nor unclean person (impure, lewd), nor covetous man (greedy of gain; wanting what belongs to someone else), who is an idolater (worshipper fo self), hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
- 16. And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
- One body- John 17.21-23 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
- 17. And came and preached peace to you which were afar off (Gentiles), and (peace) to them that were nigh (Jews).
Preached peace- This peace comes via proclaiming the good news that sinners can be reconciled to God by the salvation which is through Jesus Christ.
- Acts 10.36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
- 18. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Access- Our access to God is only through faith in Christ’s sacrificial death. Please note that all 3 Persons of the trinity are mentioned here.
Through Christ, all believers have access to God the Father through the Holy Spirit because of Christ’s death on the cross.
- John 14.6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
- Hebrews 10.19,20 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.
Paul mentions four metaphors for the church: Fellow citizens (19), God’s household (19), God’s temple (20) and (4) habitation of God
- 19. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
Paul employs a term that was common to political life in ancient cities like Ephesus. Strangers (also v. 12) were complete foreigners with no rights or privileges (see Acts 16:20–23). Foreigners were non-citizens who dwelt in the city and were accorded customary privileges as neighbors. Only citizens had full protections and rights in the city. In Christ, we are full fledged citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.
- 20. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets- In other words the apostles and prophets were used by God to lay the foundation.The early church built its doctrine upon that of the apostles.
- And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers (Acts 2:42).
The prophets are of the New Testament era, not the Old Testament. “Prophets” follows the word “apostles” here and in 3:5 and 4.11. These men received the revelation of the mystery of the church in the present Age, which had been hidden in days past, that is, in Old Testament times. Paul writes in Eph 3.5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed (not then revealed) unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone- Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” reveals that Christ is the Rock on which the church is built. Paul makes this very clear: In ancient building practices “the chief cornerstone” was carefully placed. It was crucial because the entire building was lined up with it. The church’s foundation, that is, the apostles and prophets, needed to be correctly aligned with Christ. All other believers are built on that foundation, measuring their lives with Christ.
- For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11).
Peter states it like this:
- Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed” (1 Pet. 2:6–8).
Another important thing to note here is that Peter says that the Lord Jesus is that chief cornerstone. Therefore Peter understood that that interpretation is what The Lord meant when He said, And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18). Jesus is talking about Himself. He is the Rock on which the church is built upon, not Peter.
- Acts 4.11,12 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Salvation is in the Chief Cornerstone. Jesus Christ alone, not Catholicism, Protestantism or any other “ism.”
- 21. In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
The temple in the Old Testament was the physical representation of the divine manifestation. The sacrifices, the rituals, the festivals—these all took place at the temple because God dwelt there.
Worship and fellowship today is not limited to one location, because the church themselves have become the new temple of God. They are the habitation of God by The Spirit (see John 4:21).
In Christ we are fitly framed and builded together as living epistles through The Spirit. The words groweth and builded suggest a work in progress. The body of Christ not an organization, it is a living organism. The Living God builds us up and fitly frames our lives together by His Spirit, not by programs.
- Eph 4.16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Fitly joined together– Jesus said, I will build My church. Thus it is vital for us to recognize the sovereignty of God at work here in the local church. The participle translated “is joined together” is a Greek word that is used only here and in 4:16. It denotes that the various parts of the building are skillfully fitted to each other, not haphazardly thrown together.
In Christ as living stones, we are growing by The Spirit as a living temple. This growing is an ongoing process until The Lord Jesus calls us home. This is a very practical truth beloved.Because the building of the church is a work in progress, Inevitably, then, there will be friction between us. That friction with others in the body is a tool that God uses to develop my prayer life, longsuffering, grace, forgiveness and love.
In one sense beloved, the people who are in your life are answers to prayer and ordained by divine providence to knock the rough edges off of me. So let the hammering take place, dear brother. Don’t try to short-circuit the process, precious sister. You’re being fit together as living stones for a holy habitation in which God can dwell forever.
In 1 Kings 6, we read that as the temple was being constructed, all of the cutting of the stones took place away from the temple mount. Consequently, when the rocks arrived on site, there was not the sound of a hammer or a chisel heard.
So, too, there is coming a time when there will not be the sound of a hammer or chisel in our lives. But that will not be until we go to be with The Lord. In heaven, all of the living stones—Jew, Gentile, male, female, brother, sister—will fit together perfectly, the chiseling and shaping having been done here in this quarry called earth.
In Christ we are built together for a habitation of God through The Spirit-1 Cor 12.13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
God indwells believers, not buildings. The Scriptures clearly state that God has never dwelt in any building made with hands, and it is a pagan philosophy, which places God in a human- made structure.
God meets with His people in joyful communion wherever and whenever they are gathered together in Spirit and in truth.
Let’s talk about walls for a moment beloved: Is there a wall of racial or economic prejudice in your heart today that you need to repent of?
Is your concept of what the church is supposed to look like driven by trends, comfort, race, economics, location or the truth of Scripture?
Since we are living stones, divinely fitly joined together by The Spirit of God, let’s consider your involvement and investment in the body for a moment: While it is true that God has different gifts and callings within the body of Christ, it is equally true that when you come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, you stand before God on a par with any pastor, teacher, evangelist, bishop etc. I pray that every single person who calls KF their home church is not made to feel inferior to any other part or unnecessary is fulfilling God’s plan for us to reach the lose and make disciples.
If we are to accomplish all that Christ has ordained us to accomplish as a local church, every single person here is called upon to invest your gifts and talents for the glory of God.
This involvement and investment is a biblical one that is clearly taught in the many “one another’s” found in the NT. What degree of investment and involvement are you making in personal relationships with others in the body here? Do you feel that your relationships and investments in other peoples lives should your responsibility and Spirit driven or program driven?
God’s reconciliation is already complete. He is ready to receive you if you are ready to come. Therefore, the message that goes out is “… be ye reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20).
Repent of your sin and believe on The Lord Jesus Christ. Deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Me.
- Psalm 86.5 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee