“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
The Gracious Forming Of Spiritual Israel, The Family Of God and The Local Assembly: Ephesians 2:19-22
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
The grace of God extends far past the initial salvation experience, and continues on throughout the life of the Christian. In our text, we find Gentiles, or anyone who is saved, possess these blessings described as a “fellowcitizen”. This term means to share common citizenship of a town, nation or other organized, governed body. This set of blessings is granted to believers in two, or perhaps three, forms…
First of all, “fellowcitizens with the saints” clearly is speaking of membership into spiritual Israel.
Secondly, “fellowcitizens of the household of God” is promise of access to the local assembly (the Lord’s body, His earthly dwelling place for worship).
Thirdly, perhaps there is one other type of shared membership that could be referenced in this passage. That is membership into the family of God.
Please note the similarities found in all three of these divinely established organizations… The blessing of shared citizenship in a town or other body implies a three-fold blessing of membership, fellowship and unity of the saints with the Lord and each other.
A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I. The gracious blessing of membership in divine organizations – 19
II. The foundation of these organzations – 20
III. The purpose of these organizations – 21-22
In our text today, Paul describes the foundation that is shared in common by all of these divinely established organizations, Spiritual Israel, His Local Churches, and the Family of God…
(Eph 2:20) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
And are built upon the foundation
“The foundation” speaks of the base upon which these organizations were built. It is this foundation that was crucial to both their creation and continuing existence. It is much like a house whose construction, and then continued sturdiness is directly related to the soundness of its foundation. (As a matter of fact the Greek term translated “built” in this verse refers to the construction of a home upon a foundation.)
of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
The foundation of the Lord’s organizations is a three-fold foundation…
1. Jesus Christ the chief corner stone. The chief corner stone is laid first and is used as the anchor and beginning point for the remaining parts of the foundation. Our Lord is the “foundation of the foundation”. It is upon Christ that the foundation for all of His organizations is established.
2. The apostles refers to those who authoritatively gave to man the teachings found in the New Testament.
3. The prophets refers to those who authoritatively gave to man the teachings found in the Old Testament.
Put very simply… the Lord Jesus Christ, His person, teachings and works (as revealed in the Old and New Testaments) are the absolute core foundation upon which His spiritual nation, family and local assemblies are founded and upon which they continue to endure.
The laying of this foundation, and the establishment of His organizations was concluded with the completed revelation of the Holy Scriptures (approx. 95 – 100 AD). With the foundation totally brought to completion, from that point forward, these organizations continue to exist, be added unto, to be embellished and strengthened.
Because of His exclusive, fundamental role in the establishment and perpetuity of these institutions, He is to hold preeminence (first place) in every aspect of our lives…
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1:16-18)
It is upon Christ, His teachings and His work that we can enjoy the existence of His nation, family and churches; and it is through Him that we are graciously privileged to be given membership into those divine institutions.
May we forever keep the Lord in first place in every area of our lives, knowing it is ALL BECAUSE OF HIM we can call ourselves His adopted children, citizens of the Israel Of God, and members of the Lord’s local assemblies and enjoy the multitude of blessings that flow from each.
May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!
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