Wednesday 20th Oct 2021Lighthouse

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Main Scripture: 

 

In him (Christ) the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

Ephesians 2:21-22

 

Thought: For both Jesus Christ and the apostles unity among the believers was paramount. Again and again, they appealed to the believers to love one another. Here Paul gives us the big picture what it means to be gods building. Equally as important as the little picture and the details and the Divisions among them were to be worked out, and unity or oneness sought out and guarded. 

 

 

Introduction:

 

Paul in his letters to the various churches speaks of his concerns about some of the divisions between the Jewish and non-Jewish followers of Christ. Even in the early church, there were divisions among races in the church (acts 6). We also read that Paul while in Antioch seeks to see believers from whatever background come and eat together.  He speaks of one body, one building growing together and becoming this new flourishing humanity restored and united in God's kingdom.

 

Becoming a Christ follower marked a complete change to someone identify 

 

Paul again and again was always keen to stress the importance of baptism into Christ. The relevance of baptism is sometimes lost in our western mindset.  The view that Paul had seemed to indicate that once someone was baptised they had a new identity, no longer Jew Greek or separated on other divides including ethnicity gender race social class or employment status. in Muslim and Hindu regions and parts of south-east Asia. Being baptised means a rejection of your previous culture and embracing a new identity.  

 

So this morning we are breaking down three aspects of this passage and looking at what we can learn

 

In him (Christ) the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

 

 

First growing into a holy temple, Christ as the foundation and learning what it means to be truly human as Gods dwelling place.

 

Outline:

 

  1. A holy temple 

 

  1. Christ is our cornerstone.

 

The foundation and thing that joins us in God’s building are Christ. There is a clear understanding of the scriptures, as God words to Israel, and it’s important to know your foundations are strong. In the verse before our scripture paul writes how this building is supported.

 

built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.

Ephesians 2:20

 

  1. Image bearers. 

 

Another thing to note is the connection between the creation story in Genesis and temple images.

 

In the ancient Near East cultures, it was known that inside the temple sat an idol, an image of God, and some would say that this idol was a physical representation of God itself.  Temple imagery can be seen throughout the scriptures. In Genesis when it says what it means to be created in the image and likeness of our creator it uses the ancient near eastern language of temple idols. Paul Picks up this theme and brings it into the new creation. In Colossians 

 

and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

Colossians 3:10-11 

 

  1. The dwelling place of God.

 

Another thing we know about temples is that it the connection between heaven and earth and know to be the place on earth where humanity could connect with the devine.

 

Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.

John 14:23 

 

God is looking for a connection with his people, love and keeping one’s word (covenant language) making a home, I was speaking to someone this week about the difference between making a house and making a home.  Gods building is not some stone-cold building he wants to dwell in humanity make himself comfortable.  I want Christ to feel at home in me, so I endeavour to love God and keep his word.

 

 

My second point is about these baptised into Christ people and what makes them different.

 

 

  1. One new humanity. 

 

  1. New creation 

 

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

Ephesians 4:4-6

 

The idea that we can be one people flows out from whom we are connected with - the body has many parts and needs to keep in touch with the head which is Christ.  Again love is the key that binds us together.

 

  1. Growing together. 

 

Again in Ephesus 

 

from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

Ephesians 4:16 

 

People of God are not meant to be stagnant but flourishing human beings 

 

  1. The people of God.

 

“Does your life in Christ give you strength? Does his love comfort you? Do we share together in the spirit? Do you have mercy and kindness? If so, make me very happy by having the same thoughts, sharing the same love, and having one mind and purpose. Philippians 2 1-2

 

This notion of growing together as we engage with God on a personal level but we are meant to work things out together.

 

Acts 2 Luke writes they were gathered together in one accord, it's worth noting the Holy Spirit came when they were all together.

 

One accord sound like a musical term, It describes the church as being with 

 

"one mind, with one accord, with one passion.” 

 

Being one in prayer, meeting needs, community, praise, miracles and missions 

 

the Book of Acts, helps us understand the uniqueness of the Christian community.

 

  1. Prayer – “These all continued with one accord in prayer, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” Acts 1:14 

 

  1. Meeting needs -  And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met. Acts 2:41

 

  1. Community – “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their food with gladness and singleness of heart,” Acts 2:46

 

  1. Praise – “When the believers heard this, they prayed to God in one accord , “Lord, you are the One who made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything in them.”Acts 4:24 NCV

 

  1. Miracles – “by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders done among the people; as they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.” Acts 5:12

 

 

  1. Going out – “It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,” Acts 15:25

 

 

God desires His people to be in one accord. He wants us to be able to join together to worship and serve Him as one in Christ.

 

that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

John 17:21-23 

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