• Matt Beaney

#459 (14/10/21) CITIZENS, HOUSEHOLD, HOLY TEMPLE, DWELLING PLACE



INTRODUCTION

Over the next three weeks, our devotionals will be based on our vision at CCP. If you are not a part of our church, I trust that you will still find these reflections helpful.


Our vision is to be a church community that is,


“Bringing people to Jesus - myself, one another and my community”




This week we are focussing on what it means to bring ‘One another’ to Jesus.




What is the church? There are many things that can be said, but surely what we read in Ephesians 2, paints one of the most glorious pictures of her identity. In Ephesians 2, we will see that God uses three images in order to give us a true vision of the church: The first image is of nation and kingdom of which we have become citizens; secondly, and more glorious, the church is described as God’s family; thirdly, and most sublime of all, we are pictured as a building in which God dwells.


Lloyd Jones wrote,

‘You do not, and must not start with unity. Unity is something that results from something else. You cannot create unity. Take for instance the picture that the apostle has used about a family. The unity between the members of a family is not something created artificially. Unity is inevitable because of their relationship. And every form of unity is the same. Unity is a result. You do not start with unity; Unity is something that exists because certain fundamental principles are in operation.’

God wants us to understand the nature of the church so as to act in faith rather than to just conform according to pressure put on us by the church or her leaders. Paul wrote,

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.’ (Ephesians 2:19-22)

WHAT WE ARE NO LONGER

If we are to have a correct vision of the church, we must remember what we are not! A few years ago we decided to invest and renovate our church building. It’s important to continue to be grateful for the building we have and how it’s been improved. Likewise, if you’ve received Christ, you have been completely renovated and renewed. This must not be taken for granted. Our past needs to be kept in the past. Our old identity has a habit of sneaking up on us. We are ‘no longer foreigners and strangers’. Once we were strangers to God, but now we are loved and accepted in Jesus. If we are to love and be devoted to our local church, and wider church family, we must throw off that old identity of being ‘foreigners and strangers’ to God and one another!


CITIZENS

Rather than being ‘foreigners and strangers’ we are ‘fellow citizens with God’s people’. If you follow the argument from 2:11, you will see that Paul is making the point the Jews (God’s chosen people) and the Gentiles (All non-Jews) are now, equally, God’s people in Christ. I’m sure we’ve all been horrified to see the dangerous lengths that some will go to in order to get refuge in our nation. As Christians, we are ‘fellow citizens’. We are in the Kingdom of God along with all of our brothers and sisters regardless of their background. Our passport and citizenship are granted by receiving Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. This citizenship cannot be revoked. To be a citizen of heaven is to be assured of God’s protection and to be assured of a place in the eternal kingdom.


HOUSEHOLD

Not only are we citizens in God’s Kingdom, but we are also ‘members of God’s household’. This is about close family. You and I, together with the members of our local church, are family. This has huge implications for how we relate, doesn’t it!


DWELLING PLACE

Jesus is the ‘chief cornerstone' of a new temple for God. Through faith in Christ, you and I are built on this foundation and become a part of this ‘holy temple’ and ‘dwelling place in which God lives by His Spirit’. When we accept Christ we are said to be ‘joined together’ by God. Paul uses this term to make the point that it is God who is crafting, fitting and joining us together. The church community is God’s temple. The temple in Jerusalem was a shadow of what God is building in the nations.



PRAY AND WORSHIP OUT OF THE BIBLE

In keeping with this aim of developing a personal relationship with God through prayer and worship out of the Bible, we’ll be developing our skill in meditation and prayer using the structure that we are taught in The Lord’s Prayer.


If you look at The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), you’ll see that it can be broken into 4 major themes of Praise (6:9), Petitions (6:10-11), Peace-making (Matthew 6:12) and Protection (Matthew 6:13).


Using Ephesians 2:19-22, use the Lord’s prayer structure (below) to help you to pray.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.’ (Ephesians 2:19-22)

1. Praise - What does this text teach me about God? What can I praise Him for?

2. Petitions - What does this teach me about His will for me and others? What could I pray for from this text? This is a good time to pray for our non-believing. friends. It’s good to ask, Is the Holy Spirit leading me in any specific response?

3. Peace-making - Is the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin for which I need forgiveness? Do I need to forgive others?

4. Protection - Ask for God’s protection generally and for any specific areas of vulnerability. Am I believing lies regarding the truths in this text?


THERE ARE NO COMMUNITY GROUPS THIS WEEK AS IT'S OUR WEEK OF PRAYER.

Please look at church news or contact the church office for details.

https://www.communitychurchputney.com/contact





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