I. NOW THEREFORE.
A. As Dr. McGee used to say, "Whenever you have a therefore, you must ask, wherefore is the therefore there for?"
B. Therefore because what Jesus has done for us and made possible for us.
1. He has brought us near to God. vs. 13.
2. He has become our peace. vs 14.
3. He has broken down the wall that kept us from becoming the people of God. vs 14.
4. He has abolished the enmity that once existed. vs. 15.
5. He has reconciled us to God. vs. 16.
6. He has given us access to the Father. vs 17.
II. YOU ARE NO MORE STRANGERS AND FOREIGNERS.
A. You were once a stranger to the covenants of promise but no more.
1. Through Jesus we are heirs of the promises.
2. The chorus we used to sing, "Every promise in the book is mine, every chapter, every verse, every line."
3. Peter wrote,
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
a. God made many wonderful promises to Israel.
b. He made promises to Abraham when He established the covenant with him.
c. There are those who say that these promises do not apply to us, but that flies in the face of what Paul is declaring here.
d. You were once a foreigner walled off from Israel, and you were once a stranger to the covenants of promise, but you are no longer a stranger or foreigner but a fellow citizen.
e. You are now in the family of God with all the rights and benefits of a child.
d. The Spirit of God bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God. If children then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus.
B. You now belong to the household of God.
1. The house of God has been built on the foundation of the Apostles and the prophets.
a. John tells us that the wall of the city of heaven has 12 foundations on which are written the names of the 12 Apostles of the Lamb.
b. The words of the prophets, and the Apostles' doctrine constitute the foundation for our understanding of God and thus our faith.
c. It all centers around the person and work of Jesus Christ.
d. Jesus said,
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
e. In the book of Hebrews we read concerning Jesus,
Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
2. Jesus is the chief cornerstone.
a. When Peter answered the question of Jesus "Who do you say that I am?" "Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus said, "Blessed art thou Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but My Father which is in heaven. And I say unto you that you are Peter and on this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
b. Paul writing to the Corinthians said,
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are] God's building.
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
c. There are many confirming scriptures confirming that Jesus is the chief cornerstone.
The stone [which] the builders refused is become the head [stone] of the corner.
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner [stone], a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
And He beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?
Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
To whom coming, [as unto] a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, [and] precious,
You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
Unto you therefore which believe [he is] precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
D. In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.
1. Once again we see that the heavenly blessings that come to us come through Jesus. In Whom.
2. The church has become a holy temple in the Lord.
a. The temple was the place that the people came to offer sacrifices and to meet God.
b. We offer to God in this place the sacrifices of praise.
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.
c. Sacrifices of thanksgiving are not just a New Testament function.
Then Hezekiah answered and said, Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto the LORD, come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the LORD. And the congregation brought in sacrifices and thank offerings; and as many as were of a free heart burnt offerings.
I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
[This] also shall please the LORD better than an ox [or] bullock that hath horns and hoofs.
And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.
I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.
3. The church is not this building. This building is where the church meets. You are the church. When you are not here this is simply a building.
4. Paul tells the Corinthians that,
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
E. Together we are built to become the habitation of God, or the place where God dwells.
1. In the Psalms we read that God inhabits the praise of His people.
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
3. John writes,
Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
4. The woman of Samaria was concerned as to where one had to go to worship God, and Jesus answered,
Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.
III. PAUL SPEAKS HERE OF FITLY FRAMED TOGETHER.
A. I believe that this is the one great weakness of the church today the lack of our fitly being framed together.
1. We seem to see ourselves as separated entities.
2. We do not wish to even recognize other parts of the body as being genuine.
3. Each part of the body seems to feel that it is superior to the rest of the body.
B. We are divided by form and by doctrine.
1. With so many parts of the body the greatest desire seems not to win the lost to Jesus, but to win the other parts of the body to their persuasion.
2. Those involved in reformed theology seem to have as their main goal to win you over to the reformed concepts. Of course there is no need to seek to win the lost, for that is something that is already set in concrete, and if they are fore ordained to be saved, they cannot be saved no matter how much they may desire it, or how hard they try. With no incentive to win the lost, the greatest efforts are to persuade other believers to their persuasion.
C. Why all these divisions and infighting in the church?
1. Lack of yielding to the Spirit who desires to unite us as one.
2. Lack of obedience to the command of Jesus to love one another even as the Father loved Him.
D. The church as the house of God.
1. A house has many rooms, and each room has a special purpose.
a. The living room is for the receiving of guests.
b. The dining room is the place for feeding.
c. The laundry room is the place for cleaning things up.
d. The library is the place to learn.
e. Some houses even have dens as entertainment centers.
2. Many churches seem to have special emphasis, rather than saying that they are not a part of the house of God, we should respect the particular mission that they feel that God has called them to fulfill.