Paul tells us that the Kingdom of God is now our home country—no more insiders and outsiders. This is where all followers of Christ belong, joined together in Him.
Read verses 18-22 of Ephesians 2. If possible, read them aloud.
Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father. 19-22 That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home. (Ephesians 2:18-22, MSG)
Signs of the Times
- Citizenship has long granted the rights of voting and other privileges. Many cities like Ephesus had many foreigners who lived there as “resident aliens” without the rights of citizenship. This often went on for generations. Paul compares this reality to believers who have all the privileges of citizenship in Christ’s church.
- Psalm 113-118 makes up the Jewish Hallal, a song of praise which is sung during Passover season. Psalm 118:22, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Shortly after Passover, Jesus made reference to himself as “the cornerstone” (Matthew 21:44 & Luke 20:17) which infuriated the Pharisees. Jesus also mentioned other “stone” passages, including a “stumbling stone” in Isaiah 9:14-15 and a “crushing stone” in Daniel 2:44.
Webster dictionary defines cornerstone as: “an important quality or feature on which a particular thing depends or is based.” Ancient builders knew the importance of a chief or head cornerstone and placed it where two walls merged to maintain them together and avoid the danger of a building falling apart. Paul’s meaning was clear to the readers of his letter when he followed Jesus’ application in verse 20 and declared Jesus to be the chief cornerstone.
Read the text for a second time, this time in the New Living Translation.
18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. 19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22 Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 18-22, NLT)
Let’s organize and chart the information that God has given us in these verses. As I read this text, I felt like I had been given everything I needed to construct a church: qualified supplies, entryways, foundation, blueprints, and the mortar that holds it all together. So, this is how I organized my chart.
OUR HOME, THE CHURCH, GOD’S KINGDOM ON EARTH
Take a deep breath and feel the oxygen fills your lungs. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you deeply with His words as you read through the text once more.
18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18-22, ESV)
As you read this through for the third time, what lifted for you? What do you hear from God today?
- Write it out in words. Taking the information in and repeating it in your own words will help you digest and remember what God is speaking to you today.
- Draw a picture to show God’s message to you in these verses.
This is not an exercise in fine art, but a doodle that will help you cement God’s words into your head. Sharing it with another and telling your “why” for the design is another helpful memory tool.
- Do both words and doodles. Don’t make this a hard task. It could be one word that stood out or a full sentence or two. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling. And stick figures are fine. If you’d rather include a picture you found or copied, use that. Make sure you could explain why you chose this picture for these verses.
This week’s TRANSFORMATION CHALLENGE. In your life, what part of the construction list from these verses does God want you to pay special attention to this week? How will you make this area your focus?
I love it when you share your comments, doodles, and messages from God with me! Unfortunately, only words can be typed into the comment area. Feel free to email me to share at KSEvenhouseWWV@gmail.com. Conversation about God with fellow believers always brings new insights.