“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 organizations – 20
III. The purpose of these organizations – 21-22
In our text today, Paul describes the continuing strengthening and addition to the membership of these divinely established institutions…
(Ephesians 2:21) In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
In whom all the building fitly framed together
The steps in the gracious establishment and continuance of the nation, family and church of God involved…
1. The completion of the foundation – Christ fulfilling His work on earth (33-34 AD) and then completing the giving of His Word to man (95-100 AD)
2. The framing up of the building – Christ then begins to build upon the foundation by framing up its basic structure (adding new members, and spreading His Word through the migration of His local churches and individual believers throughout the world)
groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
The Lord then, graciously, causes the building to grow numerically and spiritually as the truths about Himself continue to be propagated among both saved and lost.
The continuing distribution of the Word causes each of these bodies to become “holy temples” in the Lord:
1. They become “holy” as sin is driven from these bodies through the receipt of the Word –
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (John 15:3)
2. They become “temples” as their worship, intimacy and communion with the Lord increase through the receipt of the Word –
“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:2-4)
Both of these truths (holiness and intimacy with the Lord) apply to each of the three institutions established by the Lord…
a. Spiritual Israel –
“But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
b. The Family Of God –
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
c. The Local Assembly –
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)
In any area of our relationship with the Lord intimacy and holiness should be among our highest priorities. How can we achieve these awesome goals that are set before us? By following the Spirit’s leadership in making His Word a part of our day to day walk with Him…
“Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:21-23)
“I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” (John 17:14-19)
It is due to the importance of the Word that we find ourselves investing our time and effort in this study of the Book of Ephesians. May we all not only come to a better mental knowledge of this book, but may the Lord graciously lead us by His Spirit to an application of the Word to our day to day walk on earth.
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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