September 15, 2020

Brothers and Sisters, (Ephesians 2:11-13)  Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Yesterday we looked in Ephesians 1 where the Apostle Paul pointed out to the born again believers in Ephesus that they had been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.  One of those blessings was being accepted in the beloved.  Here in chapter 2, Paul is reminding these new believers that in times past they were Gentiles and were aliens and strangers from the covenants of God.  They were a people that had no hope and without God in their world.  That’s the way it was under the old testament economy.  If you were not born a Jew, you were considered an alien or stranger from the commonwealth of Israel and the only way you could have any kind of a relationship with God was to be a proselyte Jew which meant that you had to commit yourself to live under the Jewish law and even then you were excluded from certain things when it came to the temple worship of God. The Gentiles were considered second class citizens and if we didn’t understand God’s plan better today it is no wonder that the Jews are such a hated people.  But Paul is pointing out to the Gentiles in Ephesus and it is applicable to all of us today that in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. I’ve always heard it be said like this, “We were grafted into the family of God”.  According to the scriptures we received the Spirit of adoption.  (Romans 8:15)  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  Notice the capitalization of the word “Spirit”.  When referring to the “spirit of bondage” it is spelled with the “s” in the lower case, but when it is referring to the “Spirit of adoption” it is spelled with the “S” capital.  This indicates the difference between the “spirit” of a man as compared to the “Spirit” of God.  Once you are born again you receive the “Holy Spirit” which is always capitalized in the KJV.  Without the Holy Spirit of God living inside you, you cannot claim the “Spirit of adoption” mentioned here. God had his chosen people in the old testament and the Jews are still the apple of his eye.  (Deuteronomy 32:9-10)  For the LORD’S portion is his people; Jacob (Israel) is the lot of his inheritance.  He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.  God’s chosen people were descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel) is actually the “father of the Jews” and not Abraham.  Abraham had many nations come from his descendants.  It was Jacob that was the father of the 12 sons which are later named the 12 tribes of Israel. Before the crucifixion, the Gentiles were not allowed into inner court or the Holy place in the temple and only the High Priest of Israel was allowed to enter behind the vail into the Holiest of Holies in the temple and that for only one time a year on the day of Atonement.  However, when Jesus breathed his last breath on the cross and cried “It is finished”, the vail in the temple was rent from the top to the bottom providing free access for all true believers, both Jews and Gentiles.  (Ephesians 2:14)  For he is our peace, who hath made both (Jews and Gentiles) one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; (Ephesians 2:18)  For through him (Jesus) we both (Jews and Gentiles) have access by one Spirit unto the Father.  Just as God chose the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for his people in the old testament, he has now chosen us (born again believers) to be a part of his family and now we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.  (Ephesians 2:19)  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; I realize that as Bible students you have heard this several times before, but we should never take this for granted because God didn’t have to include us in his eternal plan for the ages.  It was only by his grace and mercy that he did and I for one am forever grateful and would like to thank and praise him one more day for what he did for me.  AMEN!! 
Bro. Rick

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