Free To Be One: The One New Man
Faith Studies Ephesians
“No foreigner may enter within the barricade which surrounds the sanctuary and enclosure. Anyone who is caught doing so will have himself to blame for his ensuing death.”
Wall-builders. Boundary setters. Exclusionists. Separatists. Elitist. Us versus Them.
They simply did not see it coming. In fact, Paul called it the “mystery of Christ,” and the implications rattled the entire world of that day. And the truths of that “mystery” continue to shake up the people of God to this very day! “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall.” Ephesians 2:13-14
We did not see it coming! It was the small group study to end all small group studies. The ugly outcomes still haunt our memory. A Faithlife/FLOCK group chose to devote their gatherings to a study of a currently popular paperback rather than saturate their fellowship with the life-giving truths of the Word. By the time the last chapter of their group discussion of Boundaries was complete, only one of the couples remained in our church. The rest had scattered, no two couples ending up in the same congregation. Having declared their own relational “boundaries” they discovered they did not like each other very much anymore. It is one of the most painful pastoral memories of our 24 years together. When self-serving souls build personal walls, ruin rises on the horizon!
Posted on the wall erected around the outer courts of the glorious Temple of the Living God in the heart of the city of Jerusalem was this warning: “No foreigner may enter within the barricade which surrounds the sanctuary and enclosure. Anyone who is caught doing so will have himself to blame for his ensuing death.” Fake-news spread like a forest fire and the riot began. Mob-madness resulted in defenseless Paul being nearly bludgeoned to death. The instigators spread the rumor that in defiance of that posted warning, he had brought with him an uncircumcised pagan. Such breach of the barrier merited death in their minds. Only the hated Roman guards spared the Apostle’s life! Acts 21
Like President Reagan in one of his most memorable moments, the great Apostle Paul declares, “Tear down this wall!” Somehow, I believe we are going to LOVE our study in this letter to the church at Ephesus. Speaks in a most timely manner, don’t you think?
See you Sunday, Church!