Ephesians 2:14-22 The Beautiful Church That Jesus Has Created
This week, Gerry Sandel will be putting out three Sunday School devotionals which pertain to Mark 13. Mark 13:1-2 says, “And as He came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
I wonder how the disciples felt when they heard Jesus’ words?
Were they shocked and saddened?
Were they in disbelief that something like this could happen to the Temple?
Could they even imagine a world where there was no Temple in Jerusalem?
On this particular day the disciples attention had been drawn to the beauty of the Temple on Mount Zion.
They had never considered that there would be a day when there was no Temple.
Yet, that is exactly what Jesus told them would soon happen.
The disciples would come to see that God was creating a new spiritual temple in which His Spirit would dwell.
Therefore, His disciples would not be like Haggai’s generation when God came saying through the prophet, “Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes?” (Haggai 2:3)
On the contrary, Jesus’ disciples would come to see that the temple that Jesus would create would surpass the glory of this earthly temple in every way.
The apostle Peter describes this in 1 Peter 2:4-5, “As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house; to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
He continues in 1 Peter 2:9-10 saying, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
As I considered our passage this week it has made me appreciate what Christ has done in creating the church.
He strengthens the church
He purifies the church
He calls the church out of the world and makes it holy
How the entire Trinity is involved in the creation and life of the church
Our text this morning is Ephesians 2:14-22,
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
In Dr. Steven Lawson’s book entitled, ‘The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther’, he begins with these words, “Whenever God moves powerfully in His church, He first raises up a pivotal leader, a chosen instrument through whom He brings needed reformation and revival. Such a heroic figure stands as an evangelical Atlas, uniquely empowered by God to uphold a new work in a new day by giving it spiritual direction and dynamic impetus.”
These introductory sentences compel you to read further.
They make you long to get to know this man through whom God moved so powerfully,
to learn about this man who became a pivotal leader
to study this man who was God’s chosen instrument to bring reformation and revival
Luther was surrounded by large cathedrals, innumerable relics and countless icons. So many people, like the disciples in Mark 13, got caught up in the beauty and wonder of these things. Many thought that these things helped a person to draw close to God. And yet, these things did not give Luther a clearer view of spiritual things. Instead, they hindered him from seeing the truth of God’s Word and the beauty of Christ.
Far from giving Luther any peace, these things made him loath God. He said, “I did not love, yes, I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners, and secretly, if not blasphemously, certainly murmuring greatly, I was angry with God. Therefore I raged with a fierce and troubled conscience.”
Years later, while considering Romans 1:17 Luther’s eyes were opened for the first time to the gospel. It was in that moment that he realized that ‘the righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, namely, the passive righteousness with which a merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live” Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.”