Saturday, November 5, 2022

Two Became One

Bobservations' Column

Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Growing up and attending religious schools, it was common the hear the phrase “The Mysteries of Faith.” The “Mysteries” are numerous: the Mysteries of the Church, the Mysteries of Jesus’ Miracles, the Mysteries of the Eucharist, etc. etc. If any of these phrases are familiar to you, then you might also have attended Catholic Schools. To a degree, some of these “mysteries” are what have divided Christianity into Denominations, each focusing on one mystery or another: Baptism, the Oneness Doctrine, Calvinism and Arminianism, Pentecostalism, Protestantism, Orthodoxy, and on and on the list goes.

It is recorded that Islam has 57 individual Sects. I’m pretty sure that Christianity has more. It is this divisive nature of Gnosticism, or “inside information” allegedly given by God to certain men that creates division in the Body of Christ, or any belief system.

Today, we will look at one of those mysteries, and find that the scriptures address the mysteries in a logical manner to the Faithful of the Lord. The Mystery of the Church naturally becomes unifying when individuals find a love for Christ Jesus as individuals grasp His love and commitment to them, and to mankind in general. And then it becomes what God meant it to be: His building project. Herod the Great built massive structures in Israel to glorify Rome. God’s building project(s) dwarf Harod’s both here on Earth, and in heaven as He reveals His glory to us!

The Apostle Paul alludes to this in Ephesians 1, and again in Chapter 2. In Chapter 3, he addresses it more directly. The shroud of this mystery falls away throughout the Bible, even in our Genesis 2 reading today. We read of newness, and read of putting off the old man. We read of old things passing away and all things becoming new. It’s a theme that repeats often from Genesis to Revelation.

As God sheds His light on “The Mystery of the Church,” the shroud of mystery falls away to understanding, and a love for what God is building develops in our hearts. As the Body of Christ grows, so also does our love for Jesus the Creator, and our love for other believers.
“And I say also unto thee, ‘That thou art Peter (petros, a little stone), and upon this rock (Petra, a large stone) I will build My Church.”Matthew 16: 18 

Today's Audio Message:
Ephesians 3:1-11 - "Two Became One"


In chapter 2, Paul talked about the Gentile Christians in Ephesus. They had been “dead in transgressions and sins,” (2:1), but God in his mercy “made (them) alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (2:5-6). The salvation accorded these Gentiles, then, was “the gift of God, not of works” (2:8-9).

In times past, there had been a deep division between Jew and Gentile—between the circumcised and the uncircumcised. Gentiles had been “alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (2:12).

But Jesus broke down the dividing wall that separated Jews and Gentiles. He made the two one, “making peace” (2:15). The result was that these Gentiles were “no longer strangers and foreigners, but… fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (2:19).

In Ephesians 3, the apostle unfolded the great secret that had been in the heart of God from eternity. In a very special sense Paul was the chosen one to make known this mystery in all its fullness. No one else wrote of the body of Christ, among all the New Testament writers. This teaching came first to Paul that he might communicate it to others. But the truth that Jew and Gentile were to be blessed in the same way on the basis of pure grace was made known to the twelve. Our Lord taught this truth. “His own sheep” from the Jewish fold, and “other sheep” of the Gentiles were to form “one flock” under the fostering care of “one Shepherd” (John 10:4John 10:16).

In Ephesians 3, "For this cause..." In other words, God assigned Paul to be the apostle to the Gentiles, and that became the mission that consumed the rest of Paul’s life.

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