7. a. where they came from: gentiles, uncircumcised, separate from Christ, excluded, foreigners, without hope, without God
b. The blessing that He gave me from a loving family and great church education and how far I fell from that promise before coming back to Him, but then also the power that He has entrusted to me by calling me to be holy and a brother of His son.
c. Remembering helps me understand how deeply God dug the foundation pillars with me. Despite all but ignoring Him for several years, the foundation was strong and did not waiver. He had work for me to do and each day He reveals more of what that is.
8. a. Negotiation, mutual compromise, give and take, mutually beneficial scenarios, promises and agreements, “aid”, war (peace by submission)
b. He is peace. He made the two one (human and heavenly). Abolished the law. one out of two, making peace, reconciled
c. It is not a bargain, it is of God, by God and only is possible when it is with God. There is no other lasting peace.
9. peace, no barrier, no wall of hostility, law abolished, joined (1 out of 2), reconciled, no hostility, 1 body, peace to far away and peace to near: both have access to the Father by the one Spirit
10. They are non-existent – we are one body in Christ, there is no difference or separation in God’s eyes as He views the church. Near or far (I’m not sure which I am, the near or far) both have the same access to the Father and the One Spirit.
1.This whole concept of peace negotiations is really critical to understand. There are so many ways that earthly thinking (our world view) is so upside-down compared to God thinking. I mean, even the term: peace negotiation. Christ didn’t negotiate peace. He didn’t offer a deal or coerce us into accepting something by threat, intimidation or force. Could He have – well: He created everything and everyone and is all powerful. I’m pretty sure the answer to that is yes. But that isn’t what he did. Peace with God is not a deal or state of time or condition of practice. Peace is a being. Peace is Christ: Christ is peace. Stop a minute and get your head around that: peace isn’t a what or a how, it is a who. The only way to be “in peace” is to be “in Christ.”
We (humans) were not with God – because of sin we had separated from God. Jesus Christ destroyed the wall, in him he took what was two and made it one again. In dying on the cross, when he defeated death and rose again. He did it as God and man combined in one. The what he did cannot be separate from the who He is – joining us into Him joins us into Peace by making us holy as He is holy. Being outside of Him is an un-natural and unstable state. We were made in God’s image to be in communion with God. The unstable state is sin and separation; the stable state (the one He created and designed) is peace in communion with Him. No wonder we have so much turbulence in a world that continues to live a outside of Christ.
2. Differences: I live in a prominent suburban neighborhood and attend a church in city/county with a significantly above average household income. And, the “Us helping Them” movements drive me insane. Yes, I and people I sit in the rows with have money, education and resources at our disposal, but as soon as we enter into a mindset that we need to help them, we create a wall – the same kind of wall that Paul is trying to teach the Ephesians to not have in place. We are the church, not this church and that church. We need to give for the needs of the church, not for us to help them, because there isn’t an us and them (other than supporting missionaries who are going out to people who are not yet in the church). Whenever we draw lines of white churches, black churches, hispanic churches, wealthy churches, poor churches, people with house, homeless people, well-fed people, hungry people – we put up a wall that separates. Christ didn’t do walls – he ate with tax collectors, he healed lepers, he talked with prostitutes and thieves. He even died for sinners to pay the price for their sins (that is you and me that we’re talking about).
Give generously and joyfully as your heart allows, but give with thanks to God not with guilt to demonstrate you have more or are better than “them.” If you hear someone talk about helping “them” in your church – please, stop them. There is no them in the body of the church – just us – helping each other through Christ. Amen?