How can peace happen between opposing groups of people?
Welcome to Session Three of our online Bible study as we look at God’s blueprint for the Church. This week, we’ll check out Ephesians 2:11-20
Watch my Introduction to this week’s session on my video.
Have you heard of separation anxiety? That’s the phenomenon when a baby becomes more aware of the presence and identity of Mommy and is definitely more aware of Mommy’s absence!
God never intended for His people to be separated from Him. He wanted us to have such an intimate relationship with Him that we would want to take daily walks in the cool of the evening with Him just like Adam and Eve did in the beginning of time. he longs for there to be peace between Him and the people He created. He longs for people to experience peace with each other.
The Lord never intended for the division between Jew and Greek to be permanent. Marking one group of people with the mark of circumcision was not supposed to mean that the Jews exclusively received God’s blessings and were superior to all other groups.
Superiority. That’s one wall that comes between people. What else divides people?
- Disagreements over religion, politics, and any number of topics where people have a difference of opinion
- Jealousy over wealth
- An inability to accept the difference of race, culture, social-economic status,gender, or age
In my video this week, I talk about two groups of people who couldn’t get along with each other. Their conflict shows the extent of unrestrained hostility.
- Who were the two groups of people?
- What divided them?
- What was the spark that led to the hostility?
- How did they resolve their hostility?
Read my blog post, “Rwanda: After the Genocide” to learn more about how that country has sought to bring PEACE to their people.
Read Ephesians 2:11-22
Barriers exist between all kinds of groups of people. The strongest, most devastating barrier is the one that separates all people from God. The Lord longs to reconcile all people back to Himself.
What is reconciliation? Reconciliation means the restoration of friendly relations. But a lot of work must go into that restoration process.
- In Ephesians 2:11-13, which groups need to be reconciled?
- How did God choose to bring these groups back together?
Read these verses to learn more about God’s reconciliation process:
- Romans 5:9-11
- 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
- Colossians 1:22
When we break down the barriers between us and God, what can happen to the barriers between us and other people? How is this possible?
What hinders us from reconciliation?
As we try to reconcile, what is our hope of reconciliation?
I love v. 14!
“He Himself is our peace!”
And v. 17 is wonderful too. God has made His brand of peace available to everyone. All of us have access to God’s lasting, permanent peace.
In verses 19-22, Paul uses the imagery of a building to describe the unification process between God and all people. Why is this a fitting description of the peace we can find with God and others?
Let’s Make It Personal
Sadly, even though Christ has reconciled us to himself, many people who call themselves Christians are hostile toward each other, whether it’s county against country, clan against clan, or even people within a congregation. This is sad because through Christ, hostility does not have to exist. God has provided a way for us to get along with each other.
In the video, I give three steps toward reconciliation that I see in this passage.
- Make sure YOU are reconciled to God. Ephesians 2:14 says the Jesus is our peace. Have you found peace in Jesus Christ alone?
- YOU start the process of forgiveness and reconciliation. It has to start somewhere.
- Do all you can and then let it go. Romans 12:18 (NIV) says,
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Remember it takes THREE. You do as much as you can to restore the relationship and you make sure there is peace between you and your Creator. If animosity still exists, it is now on the other person. The most important thing is that your relationship is right with God.
What barriers exist between you and other people?
Why do those barriers exist?
What do you need to do to partner with God to begin the process of reconciliation?
If your issue is with a brother or sister in Christ, focus on what you share in common – your mended relationship with Jesus Christ. His blueprint for the Church is that both of you find peace in Him.
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