Series EPHESIANS with Pastor Mark Finley |
Lesson 5: Horizontal Atonement: The Cross and the Church |
Memory Text: Ephesians 2:13.14 – But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one. |
5.1 Brought Near in Christ
Jesus has saved me from a state of spiritual distance and separation. It’s important to regularly remember how far removed one was from God’s grace to appreciate the transformative power of His intervention. This recollection highlights the significant change brought about by Christ and fosters gratitude for the closeness made possible through His work.
5.2 Reconciliation: God’s Gift from the Cross
Reconciliation, as embodied by the Cross, is more than just resolving conflicts. It is the restoration of broken relationships through grace and forgiveness. I can apply these principles by actively reaching out to others, acknowledging them as brothers or sisters, and being open to forgiveness to promote a sense of closeness and restoration.
5.3 Breaking Down the Dividing Wall
The passage from Ephesians 2:14–15 addresses the overcoming of barriers between Jews and Gentiles through Christ. Similarly, communities like Seventh-day Adventists or other Christian groups must overcome tensions by using love for Christ as a common basis for unity and reconciliation instead of being divided by differences.
5.4 Jesus, Preacher of Peace
The message of Jesus as the preacher of peace is highlighted in Ephesians 2:17–18, where Paul presents Christ’s ministry as the proclamation of peace for both those who were “far away” and those who were “near.” This message of peace should be conveyed by believers to prevent conflicts and foster healing in all relationships. It is an invitation to serve as ambassadors of peace and contribute to healing amid conflicts.
5.5 The Church, a Holy Temple
The images Paul uses in Ephesians 2:11–22 emphasize the unity between Jews and Gentiles in the church: He describes how Christ, through His sacrifice, abolishes the separation between Jewish and Gentile believers and builds them into a new temple, where they become part of God’s community. The temple metaphor underscores the holiness of the church and highlights God’s role in founding and nurturing this community, emphasizing the process of building.
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