Ephesians 2:11-22




During Old Testament times, Israel occupied a special position among the     

nations of the earth.

The Jews were called the chosen people.



God gave them the patriarchs, the prophets, the sacrificial laws, the     

Scriptures, the Ten Commandments, and much more.

For awhile, the Jews loved God.



They tried to do His will.

But as time went on, they changed.



They became proud.

And instead of pointing the Gentiles to God, they began to look down on     




By the time the Church came into being, the Jews were calling the Gentiles    


They said, “God created the Gentiles because He needed fuel for hell;”



That, “Israel is the only nation loved by God.”

When a Jew returned home from a Gentile country, he paused at the border to        

shake the dust off his feet.



If a Jewish boy or girl married a Gentile, the family held a funeral.

As far as they were concerned, their child was dead.


When it came to the Gentiles, the feeling was mutual

On one occasion, the Gentile Hamaan managed to get a decree to exterminate         

the Jewish race.



On another occasion, the Gentile Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and  

the Temple. 

On another occasion the Gentile Antiochus Epiphanes outlawed the Jewish   




And in the days of Paul, the Gentiles drove the Jews out of Rome.

This is the problem.



The early Church was made up of a mixture of Jews and Gentiles.

And this long history of animosity was a big problem.



It was like trying to have the Hatfields and the McCoys in the same Church;

Like trying to have the Arabs and Jews in the same mosque or synagogue.



How do we bring two groups together when they've had such a long history

of mistreating each other?

Today's message begins with Paul asking the Church at Ephesus to remember        

the way it use to be.



He said, “Wherefore, remember that ye, being in time past Gentiles in the      

flesh, who are called uncircumcision by that which is called the   circumcision

 in the flesh made by hands" (Vs. 11);

Remember the past;



Remember when the Jews derogatorily called Gentiles THE UNCIRCUMCISION;"

And they proudly called themselves THE CIRCUMCISION.


The Jews were impressed with their salvation.

But Paul wasn't impressed.



He called them “the circumcision in the flesh made by hands.”

That was a put down;



A slap in the face.

Paul was saying, “The Jews went through physical circumcision.”



“But they didn't go through spiritual circumcision.”

“The didn't have the sin in their heart cut away.”



That's about the same thing as saying some of the Gentiles were going through

water baptism without getting saved.

They were getting wet.



But they weren't getting born again.

You must be born again (John 3).



Or circumcision or water baptism is worthless.

An old song says, “God loves me just the way I am.”



The first part is true.

God loves us.



But if a person is lost, He doesn’t love that person just the way he/she is.

The lost person has to change.



“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature;”

“Old things are passed away.”

“Behold all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17).

A man said, “I use to take my little girl to the park.”



“One day, she was playing in the sandbox when an ice cream truck came by.”

“I bought her an ice cream cone.”



“But when I handed it to her, I noticed that she had sand in her mouth.”

He asked, “Did I love her with sand in her mouth?”




“Was I going to let that sand stay in her mouth?”




“I loved her with sand in her mouth.”



“But I refused to let her stay in that condition.”

“I took her to a water fountain and washed out her mouth.”



It's that way with God.

He loves us.



But He's going to clean us up.

He's going to make us just like Jesus.



Paul started talking about the Gentiles of the past.

We need to remember that the Gentiles had a heart problem too.



Paul listed five things:

1st---“We were without Christ” (Vs. 12).


We didn’t have a Savior.

2nd---“We were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel” (Vs. 12).



We weren't citizens of Israel.

3rd---“We were strangers from the covenants of promise” (Vs. 12).



We weren't included in the covenants that God made with Israel.

He promised that the Messiah would be Jewish;



That the Promised Land will go to the Jews.

We didn't have any promises like that.



4th---“We had no hope” (Vs. 12).

We didn't know about the Messiah.



The Jews weren't telling us.

They separated themselves from us;



Condemned us;

Didn't evangelize us.



We had no hope of being raised from the dead;

No hope of being delivered from our sins;



No hope of eternal life.

5th---“We were without God in the world” (Vs. 12).



We didn't know God.

So Paul said, “Remember the way it use to be.”


We need to remember when we were lost because we need to be thankful for          

what's happened.

It's like that commercial: You've come a long way baby.



 We’ve got a lot to be thankful for;

A lot to rejoice about.



“Now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the    

blood of Christ” (Vs. 13).

Then, we were far off.



Now we're near.

Then, we were excluded.



Now we're included.

What changed things?



The blood of Christ.

The blood of Christ brought us into a new group;



A group not based on nationality;

A group not at odds with each other;



A group that has a new covenant with God.

“For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the    

middle wall of partition between us” (Vs. 14).



The blood of Christ broke down the wall.

Every saved person can approach God regardless of nationality.



We've heard it said, “The ground is level at the foot of the cross.”

It doesn't matter whether we're Jew or Gentile, male or female, circumcised   

or uncircumcised.



Every saved person is equal in the eyes of God.

Jesus is our peace;



Our peace with each other;

And our peace with God.



Paul talked about these two kinds of peace.

1st---Jesus is our peace with each other.



Paul said, “Having abolished in the flesh the enmity, even the law of    

commandments contained in ordinances, to make in himself of twain   

one new man, so making peace” (Vs. 15).

This is complicated.



But Paul was saying, “Jesus came in the flesh to abolish the Old Testament   

ordinances that caused a problem between the Jews and the Gentiles.”

The blood of Jesus ended the need for people to do things the old way:



To offer animal sacrifices;

To be circumcised;



To eat certain foods;

To wash our hands a certain way.



The blood of Jesus changed things.

The Jews who did these things looked down on the Gentiles for not doing    


The blood of Jesus abolished these things.

That’s why we don’t have to offer animal sacrifices;



Why we don’t have to go on pilgrimages to Jerusalem.

Thank God for the blood of Jesus.



It’s set us free from doing all these things.

And instead of two groups: Jew and Gentile;



There's just one group: Christian.

And everyone in this new group worships God the same way; without animal          

sacrifices; without dietary laws, without hand washing rituals, etc.



We worship God in the name of Jesus, the One who shed His blood on the   

cross of Calvary.

But I want to be clear.



Paul wasn't saying, “The Jews were on one level and us up to their level and

God raised us up to their level.”

He was saying, “There's a new higher level.”



“And God raised both the Jews and the Gentiles up to that new higher level.”

Jesus said some things that illustrate.



He said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not   kill;”

“And whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment;”






“But [here comes the higher standard] I say unto you, That whosoever is      

angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the   judgment;”

 (Matt. 5:21-22).

Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt    

not commit adultery:”



“But [here comes the higher standard] I say unto you, That whosoever         

looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her  

already in his heart” (Matt. 5:28).                           

Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour,

and hate thine enemy.”



“But [here comes the higher standard] I say unto you, Love your enemies,    

bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them

which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt. 5:43-44).

We could go on and look at what Jesus said about divorce, giving, revenge   

and taking oaths.



But the point is that Jesus raised both Jews and Gentiles to a higher standard.

He said, “Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes

and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven   (Matt. 5:20).



Now, we can have peace with each other group because the Jews and Gentiles are

 just one group.

And all of us have to keep the same high standard.



2nd---Jesus is our peace with God.

Paul said, “And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross,

having slain the enmity thereby” (Vs. 16).





The blood of Jesus combines Jews and Gentiles into one body and reconciles        

all of us unto God.

We're just one group or one body.



We all have to come to God the same way.

Ted Turner is rich and influential.



But he doesn't believe the Bible.

He once said that he would give a large sum of money to anyone who could

write a book that outlined a workable plan for world peace.



He received more than 10,000 manuscripts.

He said, “Out of more than 10,000 manuscripts, we didn't find one plausible

treatise on how to get to a sustainable, peaceful future.”



He said, “Without a feasible plan, the prospects of creating peace are grim.”

Poor Ted Turner.



He has millions of dollars.

But he's blind and poverty stricken.



Here's a manuscript with a workable plan for peace (the Bible).

The problem is not this manuscript (the Bible).



It’s that people like Ted Turner don’t believe it.

The blood of Jesus gives peace.



Next, Paul wants us to notice what Jesus preached.

And who He preached it to.



Jesus “came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that        

were nigh” (Vs. 17).

Peace with our fellowman.



And peace with God.

Peace to those who were far off (the Gentiles).



 And peace to those who were near (the Jews).

Jesus actually preached peace to whosoever will.



“Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).

Paul added, “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the     

Father” (Vs. 18).



That's the Trinity.

Some don't believe in the Trinity.



But we have good reason to believe in the Trinity.

“For through him (through Jesus) we both have access by one Spirit (The    

Holy Spirit) unto the Father” (God the Father).



We don't need the Pope, a priest, or a preacher to give us access to God.

We have access to God by the Holy Spirit through the blood of Jesus.



He was hanging on the cross.

His blood was dripping down.



He died.

The veil in the Temple tore in two from top to bottom.



The curtain that separated the people from the holy place split in two.

We have access to God by the Holy Spirit through the blood of Jesus.



We can go boldly before the throne.

Prayer is one of our benefits, blessings, privileges.



Thank God for the blood of Jesus.

“Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens         

with the saints, and of the household of God” (Vs. 19).



In the past, we were strangers from the covenants of promise.

Now, we're no more strangers.



In the past, we were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.

Now, we’re fellow citizens with the saints.



In the past, we were without God.

Now, we’re citizens of the household of God.



The blood of Jesus didn't make us citizens of Israel.

It made us citizens of the household of God.



Our citizenship is in a far country called heaven.

I don’t know how that strikes you.



But it sounds pretty exciting to me.

We are citizens of a kingdom ruled by a King.



And the Devil can’t claim us.

What else?

God's new household is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and         

prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Vs. 20).

God's new household is built upon the teachings of Matthew, Mark, Luke,    

John, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and all the others.



And the heart and soul of these teachings is Jesus Christ.

“In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple   

in the Lord.”



Notice, the phrases “In whom.”

And “In the Lord.”



God no longer dwells in the Jewish Temple.

The Jewish Temple doesn't exist anymore.



Some Jews want to rebuild it.

They will.



But God doesn't dwell there today.

He dwells in us.



“In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the  

Spirit” (Vs. 21).

Jesus indwells us as individuals.



But the Holy Spirit is binding all of us together to build a Temple for God.

And because He's binding us together, we should be careful how we treat     

each other.



There shouldn't be any divisions among us.

A few years ago, East and West Germany were separated by the Berlin Wall.

President Reagan went there and said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

It wasn't long until the people tore down that wall.



That's what Jesus did.

He tore down the wall that separates Jews from Gentiles;



That separates people from God.

Some of us may have built a personal wall between us and a friend.



Tear it down.

A personal wall between us and someone in this Church.



Tear it down.

You say, “The wall is not my fault.”



It doesn't matter whose fault it is.

Tear it down.



You say, “I'm too proud to tear it down.”

Dr. J. Vernon McGee said, “Every Christian that's proud has something        

wrong with him.”



Tear it down.

I haven’t preached much on forgiveness.



I have a problem in this area myself.

But Jesus taught that higher standard:

          Love your enemies,

          Bless them that hate you,

          Pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.


If we don’t do this, we’re not measuring up.

You say, “I’m not a Christian.”



“There's a wall between me and God.”

 Come to Jesus.



And that wall will come tumbling down.

As long as that wall is there, you won't be a member of the household of God.



But the minute you call upon Him, that wall will fall flat.

And you will be called a child of God.



God told Joshua to march around the walls of Jericho every day for six days.

On the seventh day, march around the walls seven times, shout, and blow     

your trumpets.



The people obeyed.

And the walls came tumbling down.



Obey God.

And the walls will come tumbling down.