Ephesians 2:11-22

Daybreak for Students

Ephesians 2:11-22

OVERVIEW
DAYBREAK
Ephesians 2
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us. — Ephesians 2:14

The poem in a baby book for an adopted child registered instantly: “Not flesh of my flesh nor bone of my bone, but still, miraculously, my own. Never forget for even a minute, you weren’t born under my heart but in it.” Someone else had captured in words what we knew to be true — your kids are your kids, whether they arrive by birth or by adoption. They are your kids even if their hair is blond and yours is black, their eyes are slanted but yours are not, or their skin is a few shades darker than your fair complexion. How quickly those surface details cease to matter!

One time my mom was trying to describe our adopted daughter to a school secretary. “She’s about this tall,” Mom said, holding her hand about waist level. “She has dark hair. She would be wearing a red coat . . .” Mom completely forgot to mention that our daughter was Korean by birth and was just beginning to learn English! Those details simply hadn’t registered as being particularly significant. She was part of our family!

When we are adopted into God’s family, we become one of His children. Our brothers and sisters may not look like us. (Our adopted daughter doesn’t look like her siblings, either, though she told her second grade teacher that her new baby sister — our birth daughter — had “her” chin!) Appearances don’t matter. We may speak different languages, come from a different socio-economic class, or have different backgrounds. Yet, we are family! 

Paul understood that. In our focus verse, he emphasized to the Ephesians that we can come into real unity with people who are not like us. By Christ’s death, the differences between Jews and Gentiles could be obliterated. The differences between believers throughout the ages and from every land and culture are unimportant when we consider the one important factor: we are all children of the Heavenly Father! Christ has removed all the barriers and has unified us.

As you read this beautiful chapter describing the oneness of the church, thank God for the diversity and unity in His family. Pray for your brothers and sisters around the world, and rejoice in the great Father of all who has brought us together in Him.

BACKGROUND

In this chapter, Paul reminded the Ephesians that they had been freed from sin’s curse and bondage, and brought near to God. As part of God’s house, they stood united with the prophets, apostles, and Christ Himself. Paul told them that the middle wall of partition had been broken down. He was referring to the ceremonial law and the middle wall in the Temple. When Christ died, the Temple veil was split from top to bottom, symbolizing that Christ’s death made a way for all to come directly to God through Christ.

It was difficult for the Jewish Christians to accept Gentiles as believers. The Jews felt they were the only people favored by God as His children. They ostracized the Gentiles because they were not circumcised. (Circumcision was a physical sign of interest in a covenant with God. It was a symbol to the Jews that they belonged, and had been adopted into the family. All Jewish males were circumcised on the eighth day after their birth.) Paul was striving to teach the believing Jews that the Gentiles could also be a part of God’s family if they had put away their sins and received atonement. Christ died to fulfill the whole system of Jewish law and traditions. Then He took the two groups that had been opposed to one another and united them in Himself.

The Jews were “nigh” unto God (verse 17) because they knew of Him through the prophets and the Scriptures, and worshiped Him in their religious ceremonies. The Gentiles were considered “afar off” because they knew little or nothing about the true God. However, neither group could be saved through religious practices. Both needed to hear and experience salvation through Jesus Christ.

In verse 20, Paul indicated that the believers were “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.” He meant that Christ’s true Church was founded upon the principles and spiritual heritage handed down to them by those men of God.

AMPLIFIED OUTLINE

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   The calling of the church
     B.   The foundation of the church
           2.   The new position corporately: the household of God
                 a.   The position stated (2:11-22)
                       (1)   Our past separation (2:11-12)
                       (2)   Our present union (2:13-18)
                       (3)   Our privileges in union (2:19-22)
                             (a)   A new relationship (2:19)
                             (b)   A new structure (2:20-22)

A CLOSER LOOK

  1. Why did the Jews not want to have any dealings with the Gentiles?

  2. Why are we saved by faith and not by works?

  3. What actions could you take this week to strengthen the “family ties” between you and other children of God?

CONCLUSION

If we have given our lives to God, we have the wonderful privilege of being called His sons and daughters. Each of us should desire to proclaim, “I’m a child of the King!”