Sermon title: "No More Walls"
Text: Ephesians 2:11-22
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
1. Can you think of examples of ways that people are divided by walls today? (This passage is about the tearing down of the wall between Jews and Gentiles in the first century. It's the "granddaddy" of all conflicts, so it is a template for tearing down walls today.)
2. What was the plight of the Gentiles in Ephesians 2:11-13?
3. What types of people might feel "excluded" for a church these days?
4. How was Jesus inclusive?
5. Read Ephesians 2:14-18. How did Jesus move people from tribal thinking to community thinking?
6. What was the wall of hostility? What did Jesus do to tear it down? What was his goal?
7. What are some of the "tribes" that might exist in any given church? How does the cross create one new humanity?
8. According to Ephesians 2:19-22, God specializes in taking "foreigners and strangers" and making them part of his temple. What things do we learn about this temple?
9. "In the Old Testament God had a temple for his people. In the New Testament, he has a people for his temple." What are some implications of this statement?
10. What types of diversity do you experience at our church? What are some things that you can do to help the church become increasingly inclusive? What can your group do?
11. What is your biggest takeaway from this passage?