Peace With God
Here are some quick notes from the message “Peace With God” by Tom Birch.
“And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.”
Ephesians 2:17 ESV
- Ephesians is all about how Jesus brings everything together to peace in himself
- heaven and earth
- Jew and Gentile
- men and women
- slave and free
- rich and poor
- husband and wife
- children and parents
- sinner and saint
- Far and Near
Who is far from God today?
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Ephesians 2:1-3
- disobedient to God
- living for their desires
- under wrath
Maybe you remember being Far. God has a path home to peace but it is through truth and usually involves a hard word that can soften a heart. Maybe you care about someone who is Far and it seems hopeless (wrong right and right wrong). This is nothing new. That is the ground that the word first spread in.
Those Who Are Far Can Come Near
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13 ESV
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,” Ephesians 2:19 ESV
“This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” Ephesians 3:6 ESV
Who is near to God today?
Here’s a good biblical example of “the near”.
“And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Mark 10:17-22 ESV
Kids raise in church of a Christian school like Westside Academy are near, but that doesn’t give them peace with God.
- Some may be running as FAR as they can away
- Others may be like the rich young ruler
- You’re not not saved by being in a Christian home or Christian school or Sunday School or Church
- Christ came to offer you (the near)peace. If you are only Near, please open the door and come in.
And then there is “The Saved:
“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!” Ephesians 4:17-20
This is how we ought to live (Eph. 5:1-21)
- no sexual immorality or impurity (it came into the early church from the world just as it does today) – peace with men and women includes purity and marriage, also peace with self
- no covetousness (that is how rich and poor can be at peace)
- replace crude joking with thanksgiving
- Reminded that the wrath of God is on the world for these things and that we must not partner with them (to do these things). Because sometimes we still do
- Walk as children of light in all that is good and right and true
- Learn to discern what pleases God – we don’t get it all at once but this is the task on earth.
- Expose dark deeds. Whether we were Far or Near, we moved from death to life when we came to Christ, so arise from the dead!
- Submit to each other
The Far, the Near and the Saved must all walk according to God’s will and he will bring us together in peace.
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