A distinctively different approach to learning the Bible! Exegetical and verse by verse!
Ephesians 2:13-22 -- Gentiles Brought Near!
This message continues to build on the groundwork that was laid last week that explored the relationship between Biblical text and our systematic theological structures (our "systems" of understanding the larger themes and topics in the Bible). Next week should address the real "nuts and bolts" of this particular passage.
Ephesians 2:13-22 (Introduction: Text & Theology)
The Ephesians text is potent no matter who is looking at it. The particulars of the text are challenging (disruptive?) to both traditional dispensational theology and traditional covenantal theology. In order to prepare for future exposition (examination), I think it is fitting to clarify the relationship between the TEXT of Scripture and the structures of systematic theology.
Ephesians 2:11-13 - Gentiles’ ”Outsider” Status
Twice Paul calls upon the Gentile believers to "remember." Previously, he had made it clear they were "dead in the trespasses and sins in which they one walked." Now, he emphasizes the highly disadvantaged position of the Gentiles as a whole before God intervened.
Ephesains 2:10 God’s Workmanship: Works Matter!
Immediately after making the grand declaration "by grace are you saved through faith" (vs 8), Paul addresses two common (and opposite) fallacies, errors pertaining to God's salvation. The first error is to suppose we might have performed some work that contributed to, or resulted in, our salvation. The second error (which we consider today) is that good works are unimportant and/or unnecessary in the life of a Christian.
Ephesians 2:8-9 / By Grace, Through Faith
Preaching on these well-known verses, Alexander MacLaren (1826-1910) begins his sermon:
"Here are three of the key-words of the New Testament — 'grace,' 'saved,' 'faith.' Once these terms were strange and new; now they are old and threadbare. Once they were like lava, glowing and cast up from the central depths; but it is a long while since the eruption, and the blocks have gotten cold, and the corners have been rubbed off them. I am afraid that some people, when they read such a text, will shrug the shoulder of weariness, and think that they are in for a dreary sermon. But the more familiar a word is, the more likely are common ideas about it to be hazy. We substitute acquaintance with the sound for penetration into the sense."
Ephesians 2:4-7 -- ”But GOD!”
From Creation, we learn of GOD's power & wisdom, His creativity & benevolence. By individual conscience, we gain unmistakable impressions of GOD's holiness & righteousness (His moral character). But it in/through GOD's sending of the Son we learn of His LOVE (His mercy, grace, kindness)!