On Nov 16, 2014, Pastor Darin preached a sermon from Eph 2:11-22, Christ Our Peace. We have all experienced or are familiar with hostility, whether its road rage, office politics, or even in the church. There is also the hostility that we see that exists on the basis of race, gender, and socioeconomic status. It is clear we live in a world marked by hostility.
The greatest form of hostility is that is between God and man. This is what Paul gets at in v. 14 when he speaks of the “dividing wall of hostility.” God’s law, given to the Jewish nation through Moses, demands perfect obedience in word, thought, and deed. But all have sinned, and as such we are God enemies (Rom 5:10). We are at war with God, opposed to Him and His Word, and this hostility works its way out in our relationships in every sphere of our lives.
But God has sent Jesus to do away with this hostility—both between God and man, and between man and man, once and for all. Three times in our text Paul uses peace in connection to Jesus: Christ is our peace (v. 14), Christ made peace (v. 15), and Christ preached peace (v. 17). So the main idea of the sermon is that Christ accomplished the end of hostility. We will explore this through the 3 ways that Paul connects peace to Jesus:
1. Christ is our peace
a. In vv. 14–15 we see that Jesus brings peace because He is our peace because He has “broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments…” The law was a dividing wall of hostility between God and man because we stand under its curse for not having obeyed it perfectly. But Jesus broke down this dividing wall through His perfect obedience to the law, and by dying the death that we deserved to die, bearing and abolishing the curse of the law for all who would believe! (see Gal 3:10-14).
b. Dig deeper: Reflect upon and confess your sin and Christ’s work on your behalf to give you peace with God.
The result of this work takes us to our next point:
2. Christ makes peace
a. In v. 16 we see that Christ reconciles “…us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” The law and the covenant promises were given to the Jewish people, who were to be holy and separate from Gentiles, who worshipped false gods. This separation was illustrated by a wall in the temple that separated Jews from Gentiles. But the Jews proudly thought they were better than the Gentiles. They failed to realize that they too stood condemned by the law. But now Christ has reconciled both Jew and Gentile through the cross, making them one people of God and bringing peace between them and God, and between Jew and Gentile. Dig deeper: Jesus does away with the need to justify yourself. If you believe you are accepted in Christ, you no longer need to compare yourself to others.
b. Christ brings unity now among people because there is something beyond the superficial distinctions and comparisons we make among each other that unites us. Dig Deeper: in your marriage, the focus must be on something beyond yourselves—on Christ—and when it is, that’s when it will thrive. The same goes for all relationships.
3. Christ preached peace
a. Verses 16-19 tell us that Christ preached peace to those who were far off and peace to those who were near—that is, to both Jew and Gentile—and now through Him we have access in one Spirit to the Father. Dig deeper: Christ is the only mediator between God and man—access is only through faith in Christ, resting upon His sacrificial work alone.
b. This takes us back to Adam and Eve. When sin entered, they felt the need to defend themselves, and thorns and thistles appear in creation now as well—the world itself also becomes a hostile place. But Jesus enters our world and preaches the Good News about salvation, and goes to the cross to endure the hostility intended for us. Dig deeper: Read Hebrews 12:1–3. Because Christ endured such hostility from sinners, we should not be discouraged as we lay aside every weight of sin and run the race God has marked out for us. How do we do this? By looking to Jesus. In all you do: at home, work, school, church, etc., begins by resting in Christ’s forgiveness, and His power. The same way we were saved is the same way we live our daily lives: by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
1. In Christ you are accepted not because of your performance but because of His perfect life and death on the cross for you. God now has freely set His love upon you because you are in Christ, not because of anything in you. So, rest and rejoice in this good news.
2. How do you compare yourself to others? When you exalt yourself, such thinking is far from God’s desires, and is from the pit of hell. Bring these things to the cross, repent, and take hold of the promises of God by faith.
3. If you do not believe in Christ, the day will come when you will absorb all the hostility of God against sin upon yourself. Lay down your arms a rebellion today!