Remembering Our Poverty (Ephesians 2:11-13)



2012-07-22 Remembering our Poverty | Ephesians 2:11-13

Remember Your Roots and Your Redeemer

Outline:

  1. From stranger to family
  2. From foreigner to citizen
  3. From poverty to riches
  4. From hopeless to hopeful
  5. From God-forsaken to God-with-us

 

Eph 2:11-13 NAS

11 Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision ” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands–

 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

 

Why are believers repeatedly told in Scripture to REMEMBER?

 

The first place this occurs is in

Exodus 13:3 Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place.

 

The most famous place is found in

Luke 22 and 1 Cor 11 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you, this is my blood which is shed for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

 

[What we should do]

As believers we are told over and over, even commanded, to remember where we have come from, where we are right now, and where we are going. We are reminded who we were apart from Christ, who we are in Christ, and who we will become in Christ.

 

[Why we can’t do it]

The problem is, our memories are short and our gratitude wears thin. We are a forgetful people, and we are an ungrateful people.

 

What we are told in vv 11-12 is that at one time in their lives, the Gentiles in Ephesus, and at one time in our lives, we who are Gentiles, were formerly at a natural disadvantage to the Jews.

 

11“formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called the “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands. 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

 

 

The natural advantages of the Jews are stated positively in Rom. 9:4-5 (ESV) They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

 

By contrast, Gentiles, according to vv11-12, had several natural disadvantages in comparison to the Jews. Let’s look at each of those in turn.

 

First, Gentiles are naturally

 

  1. Separated from Christ. They have no share in his human ancestry

 

Gentiles, by definition, were not descended from Abraham. Jesus, however, was a direct descendant of Abraham.

 

In Matt. 1 we read, The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham…all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations. 

 

Jesus was descended from Abraham and David, Gentiles were not. Therefore, Gentiles were separated from Christ by natural descent.  They were not members of the same natural family as Christ, therefore they were like strangers to him and him to them.

 

I’m much more aware of my own ancestors than I am of yours. I know who the notable characters were in my family but I don’t know yours. Likewise, the Gentiles of Paul’s day knew little of Abraham, David or Christ.

 

 

Gentiles are not only members of a different family from the Jews, they were citizens of a different country.

 

So second, we are told that Gentiles are naturally

  1. Excluded from citizenship in Israel. Two OT examples include Ruth of Moab and Naaman of Syria.

 

Ruth appears in the OT book of Ruth as a foreigner from Moab who had been married to the son of a Jewish woman named Naomi.  She had met her husband in Moab, where Naomi and her sons had gone during a period of famine in Israel.  After her sons died, Naomi decided to return to her own land, and Ruth, her daughter-in-law, decided to go with her.  Ruth, apparently had learned from Naomi during the years they were together, and had come to worship Naomi’s God, Jehovah.  At first Naomi tried to persuade her to remain in Moab, but Ruth would not. Ruth said, “Urge me not to leave you, or turn back from you.  Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (1:16). Notice that she could not say your God will be my God until she had first said your people will be my people.  Ruth confessed here need for a change in nationality before there could be a change in her God.

 

Naaman was a general in the most powerful nation of his day, Syria.  He was strong and respected yet he was also to be pitied, for somewhere along the way he had contracted leprosy, and there was no known cure. Through a young Jewish slave girl who had apparently been captured during one of his raids, Naaman learned of the existence in Israel of Elisha, who he had been told could cure him.  He went to Palestine, but when Elisha refused even to come out to meet him and merely sent word that he was to wash himself seven times in the Jordan, Naaman’s national pride rose to the surface.  He did not want to wash in the muddy Jordan compared to the beautiful Rivers of his own country.  However his servant persuaded him to give it a try and he was cured.  As a result he ordered his servants to fill several sacks with Jewish earth to take back to his own country.  When he arrived there he had a frame made and had the earth poured into it so that he could pray to Jehovah on Palestinian soil. Naaman, a Gentile was willing to become a Jew, in order to continue to rely on the grace of the Jewish God who had healed him.

 

In both cases the Gentiles were saved, but they were saved by becoming Jews first.

(Illustrations from James Boice, Commentary on Ephesians, p 78).

 

 

 

Third, Gentiles are naturally disadvantaged because they are

 

  1. Foreigners to the covenants of promise. They have no share in the promises based on covenants given to Abraham, Israel and David. You might say they have no share in the family inheritance.

 

Listen to what was promised to Abraham and his descendants:

 

They were promised land.

Of Abraham it was said in Gen. 15:18 (NLT) So the LORD made a covenant with Abram that day and said, “I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River–

 

They had a deed signed in blood.

Of Israel in the wilderness it was said in Exod. 24:8 (NLT) Then Moses took the blood from the basins and splattered it over the people, declaring, “Look, this blood confirms the covenant the LORD has made with you in giving you these instructions.”

 

They were promised God’s everlasting loving kindness and an eternal heir to their throne.

Of David it was said in Ps. 89:28-37 (NLT) I will love him and be kind to him forever; my covenant with him will never end.  I will preserve an heir for him; his throne will be as endless as the days of heaven…. His dynasty will go on forever; his kingdom will endure as the sun.  It will be as eternal as the moon, my faithful witness in the sky!”

 

Before the coming of Christ, the Gentiles were unaware of any such promises for them. You might say they were destined to relative poverty by their exclusion from the promised inheritance.

 

Fourth, Gentiles were naturally

 

  1. Without hope

 

The Biblical definition of hope is “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.” With no privileges in the present or promises for the future, the ancient gentiles had no hope. No hope things will be good or get better.

 

They had only impotent self-dependence as was the case in King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in Dan 5:20,…whose “heart and mind were puffed up with arrogance” or dependence on the impersonal forces of fate.

 

Here’s what some famous people have written about fate:

  1. Fate … creeps like a rat —Elizabeth Bowen
  2. The Fates, like an absent-minded printer, seldom allow a single line to stand perfect and unmarred —George Santayana
  3. Fate treats me mercilessly, like a storm treats a small boat —Anton Chekhov
  4. Like warp and woof all destinies are woven fast —John Greenleaf Whittier
  5. We’re like dice thrown on the plains of destiny —Rita Mae Brown

–Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

Fate is naturally pessimistic because it is impersonal and therefore hopeless.

 

 

Finally, Gentiles were naturally

 

  1. Without God in the world

 

The implication is that the world is a dangerous place and the Gentiles naturally have only dumb and deaf idols who are impotent to help them.

 

The Jews by contrast had been promised God’s presence…

1 Ki. 8:11 (NLT) The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the LORD filled the Temple. 

 

And God’s provision and protection…

Gen. 12:2-3 (NLT) I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.  I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.

 

However, this is not where the story of the Gentiles ends.  Did you notice embedded in the promise to the Jews was a promise to the gentiles as well?  In Genesis 12:3 we read, “All the families of earth will blessed through you.” The Jews were blessed in order to be a blessing. However, until Christ came this was overlooked.

 

The gospel of Christ is good news because it turns things in the world upside down – the first shall be last, the last shall be first, if you want to be great you must be the servant of all, the meek, not the strong, shall inherit the earth, and so on.

 

Gentiles, including you and I, not only have a THEN, they also have a NOW that has been brought about by Christ. He is the natural son of Abraham by which the Gentiles are blessed.

 

Paul wrote in verse 13 in our passage,

13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off1have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

 

The phrase far off is a shorthand way of referring to the natural disadvantages of the gentiles in verse 12.

 

Peter used a similar metaphor when preaching on Pentecost. Act 2:39For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

 

This verse answers two questions:

-Who brought you near, and How you were brought you near.

 

Gentiles, though naturally separated, excluded, strangers, hopeless and Godless, are brought near IN CHRIST by means of HIS SHED BLOOD on our behalf. He is our redemption and our salvation. Not our family, our nationality, our job, our wife or husband or children.

 

V 13 tells us first that our redemption is found IN CHRIST…

 

  1. If you’re looking for redemption from your natural family you won’t find it there. Though we are not naturally children of Abraham, in Christ we are members of his family including both Jews and Gentiles. However horrible or great our natural family, we have the promise in Christ of an even greater family in the household of God, the church here on earth, and a perfect family one day in heaven.

 

  1. If you’re looking for salvation in the next presidential election, you won’t find it there. In the natural, we are citizens of nations that struggle with crime, unemployment, poverty, unjust laws and leaders. But in Christ our true citizenship is in heaven which is a perfect kingdom ruled by a perfect king.

 

  1. If you’re looking for redemption through a family inheritance or winning the lottery you won’t find it there. In the natural, we may never receive a family inheritance. But in Christ we have an imperishable, undefiled inheritance awaiting us in heaven and the promise that we will surely receive it.

 

  1. If you’re looking to find hope in your job, a promotion or raise, or in your husband or wife or children, you won’t find it there. Though we may have little or no hope in this world in the natural, but we can be optimistic about the future because Christ has gone before us and will ultimately make all things right.

 

  1. If you’re looking for comfort or protection or provision from the things of the world you won’t find it there. Though we may feel alone or unsafe or sad or empty in the world, in Christ we can be assured of God’s presence, provision and protection.

 

 

V 13 also tells us finally that our redemption is BY MEANS OF HIS BLOOD, that is, by his substitutionary death in our place –

 

  1. Jesus was willing to be separated from his family in heaven and to be rejected by his earthly family in order to join us to his heavenly family. He became a stranger that we might become family.

 

  1. Jesus gave up his citizenship in heaven and became a citizen of one of the smallest and most insignificant of nations on earth in order to make us citizens of the kingdom of heaven. He became a foreigner that we might become citizens.

 

  1. Jesus gave up the riches and glory of heaven in order to purchase a heavenly inheritance for us. He became poor that we might become rich.

 

  1. Jesus gave up his secure future in heaven and placed his destiny in the hands of men who hated him in order to give us future full of hope. He faced hopelessness that we might have hope.

 

  1. Jesus gave up his Father’s eternal love in order to purchase eternal love for us. He suffered God’s wrath to earn God’s favor for us.

 

He became a stranger, a foreigner, impoverished, hopeless and Godless that we might become with him fellow members of his family and his kingdom, and that we might have a certain hope for the future and God’s everlasting fellowship and favor.

 

God, grant us a renewed vision of Christ’s work as we remember all he has done to bring us near to You that we might be ever filled with gratitude that wells up into worship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christ is the mediator between God and man, and the shedding of his blood as our substitute is the means of his service as mediator.

 

Hebrews 9:11-15 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come… he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption…Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance…

 

1 Timothy 2:5-6 (ESV)  For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

 

 

Col 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Rom 3:25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

 

  1. We have seen in vv 13 that though we were naturally separated from Christ, we have been brought near and united to him by his substitutionary atonement on our behalf
  2. We will see in v19 that though we were naturally excluded from citizenship, in Christ we have become fellow citizens and members of God’s household.
  3. We will see in 3:6 that although we were foreigners to the covenant, we have become members of one body and sharers in the promise
  4. We will see in 19-20 that though naturally we were without God in the world, we have become members of God’s household with Christ as the cornerstone.

 

We’ve looked at THEN and NOW for ourselves. Finally, I’d like us to think about the implications of our new position in Christ. I want us to look.

 

  1. [Them: what others can become in Christ]

 

If we forget how God drew us near to him, we can become insensitive to the lost and despairing of god’s ability to bring others to himself. Let’s look at how remembering what we were and what we have become can help us avoid these two mistakes.

 

  1. Sensitivity to the lost

 

Tim Keller says the best way to understand the lost is to spend time with them. We will never, he says, be able to answer their questions if we do not spend time listening to the questions that are on their minds. In this day and age, this includes reading their magazines but also spending time with them physically.

 

Why would we want to spend time with the lost?

 

Because just as Jesus was sent into the world, so are we sent. Jn. 17 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.  And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.   “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,  that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

 

Because just as Jesus was sent to seek and save the lost so are we sent.

Lk. 19:2-10 (ESV) And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.  And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature.  So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way.  And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”  So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.  And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”  And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”  And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

 

Jesus spent much of his time with his disciples and ministering to the crowds, yet he also spent time cheating tax collectors, like Zacchaeus and Matthew’s friends and even immoral women like Mary Magdalene, the woman at the well and the woman caught in adultery. He went out of his way to do so.

 

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ (Mat 11:18 ESV)19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.” (Mat 11:19 ESV) In other words, Jesus is saying, you accuse me of riotous living, but if you examine my life you will find that I live as God’s word s instructs.

 

The parable of the banquet tells us when those who were first invited make excuses we should go out and invite those who are least likely to attend.

 

Lk. 14:21-24 Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’  And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’  And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.”

 

 

 

  1. Hope in God’s ability to draw others to Christ

 

In our unbelief we suppress the truth about God and ourselves. (Rom 1) That’s why the Scriptures teach us what we were before we came to Christ. We didn’t think we were all that bad or in all that desperate a situation.

 

But when we see how Christ’s atonement brought us from death to life, from separation to inclusion in God’s family, we begin to believe that God can do the same for others as well.

 

We are like the hungry man telling another hungry man where to find food. We are like the recovering alcoholic attending meetings not because he needs them anymore, but because he wants to sponsor someone else who is seeking recovery.

 

When we see our desperate situation, and how God rescued us, and read the stories of many others in the Scriptures, we gain hope that God can rescue others as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The sonship (Exod 4.22; cf Hos 11.1)

Exod. 4:22 (NLT) Then you will tell him, ‘This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son.

 

  1. The glory, that is the divine glory dwelling in the sanctuary in the midst of the people (Exo 40.34-35; 1 Ki 8.11)

Exod. 40:34-35 (NLT) ¶ Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle.  Moses could no longer enter the Tabernacle because the cloud had settled down over it, and the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle.

1 Ki. 8:11 (NLT) The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the LORD filled the Temple.

 

  1. The covenants, those made with Abraham (Gen 15.18), with Israel in the wilderness (Exo 24.8), and with David (Psa 89.28-37)

Gen. 15:18 (NLT) So the LORD made a covenant with Abram that day and said, “I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River–

Exod. 24:8 (NLT) Then Moses took the blood from the basins and splattered it over the people, declaring, “Look, this blood confirms the covenant the LORD has made with you in giving you these instructions.”

Ps. 89:28-37 (NLT) I will love him and be kind to him forever; my covenant with him will never end.  I will preserve an heir for him; his throne will be as endless as the days of heaven.  But if his descendants forsake my instructions and fail to obey my regulations,  if they do not obey my decrees and fail to keep my commands,  then I will punish their sin with the rod, and their disobedience with beating.  But I will never stop loving him nor fail to keep my promise to him.  No, I will not break my covenant; I will not take back a single word I said.  I have sworn an oath to David, and in my holiness I cannot lie:  His dynasty will go on forever; his kingdom will endure as the sun.  It will be as eternal as the moon, my faithful witness in the sky!”

 

  1. The giving of the law, the worship (comprising priestohood, sanctuary, and sacrifice, acc to the levitical legislation)

 

  1. And the promises (esp those made to the patriarchs (Gen 12.2-3; Gen 18.18; Gen 22.17-18; Gen 26.3-5; Gen 28: 13-14)

Gen. 12:2-3 (NLT) I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.  I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”

Gen. 18:18 (NLT) “For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him.

Gen. 22:17-18 (NLT) I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies.  And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed– all because you have obeyed me.”

Gen. 26:3-5 (NLT) Live here as a foreigner in this land, and I will be with you and bless you. I hereby confirm that I will give all these lands to you and your descendants, just as I solemnly promised Abraham, your father.  I will cause your descendants to become as numerous as the stars of the sky, and I will give them all these lands. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed.  I will do this because Abraham listened to me and obeyed all my requirements, commands, decrees, and instructions.”

Gen. 28:13-14 (NLT) At the top of the stairway stood the LORD, and he said, “I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants.  Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions– to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.

  1. …to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, acc to the flesh, is the Christ

 

 

The failure of the ancient Jews

  • The promise to Abraham included the Gentiles, but they failed to… “I will bless you that you will be a blessing. – had to get out… leave familiar, go to the place I will show you… leaving behind his security, familiarity… willing to be vulnerable like Jesus.

 

Jesus completes, fulfills what Israel failed to do: The work of Christ

  1. In Christ
  2. His blood

 

The advantages of modern Christians

  1. If we forget how God drew us near to him, we can
    1. be insensitive to the lost
    2. despair of God’s ability to bring others to him

The disadvantages of modern unbelievers

 

 

Promise of nearness

Isa. 57:19 (NLT) bringing words of praise to their lips. May they have abundant peace, both near and far,” says the LORD, who heals them.

 

Isaiah 9:1-7

A Deliverer is promised

Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire. For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

 

Matt. 12:9-21

-Jesus fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy as the hope of the Gentiles

He went on from there and entered their synagogue.  And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”–so that they might accuse him.  He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out?  Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”  Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other.  But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. ¶ Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known.  This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:  “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”

 

Acts 11:1-18

-The Gentiles are converted to Christ

Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.  So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying,  “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.”  But Peter began and explained it to them in order:  “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me.  Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air.  And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’  But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’  But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’  This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven.  And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea.  And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house.  And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter;  he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’  As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning.  And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’  If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”  When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

 

The failure of the ancient Jews

  • The promise to Abraham included the Gentiles, but they failed to…

 

Jesus completes, fulfills what Israel failed to do: The work of Christ

  1. In Christ
  2. His blood

 

The advantages of modern Christians

  1. If we forget how God drew us near to him, we can
    1. be insensitive to the lost
    2. despair of God’s ability to bring others to him

The disadvantages of modern unbelievers

 

 

 

Matt. 1 (ESV) ¶ The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.  ¶  Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,  and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram,  and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon,  and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse,  ¶  and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah,  and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph,  and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah,  and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,  and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah,  and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.  ¶  And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,  and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor,  and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud,  and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob,  and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.  ¶  So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

 

 

Matt. 3:1-12 (ESV) ¶ In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.'”  Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.  Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him,  and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.  ¶  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.  And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.  Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  ¶  “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

 

Lk. 3:1-9 (ESV) ¶ In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,  during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.  And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways,  and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'”  ¶  He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.‘ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.  Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

 

Jn. 8:31-47 (ESV) ¶ So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”  ¶  Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.  I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.  I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”  ¶  They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did,  but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.  You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father–even God.”  Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.  Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.  You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.  Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?  Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

 

Isa. 9:1-21 (ESV) ¶ But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.   The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.  You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil.  For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.  For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.  The Lord has sent a word against Jacob, and it will fall on Israel;  and all the people will know, Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, who say in pride and in arrogance of heart:  “The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place.”  But the LORD raises the adversaries of Rezin against him, and stirs up his enemies.  The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.  The people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of the LORD of hosts.  So the LORD cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed in one day–  the elder and honored man is the head, and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail;  for those who guide this people have been leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up.  Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men, and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.  For wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns; it kindles the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke.  Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts the land is scorched, and the people are like fuel for the fire; no one spares another.  They slice meat on the right, but are still hungry, and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied; each devours the flesh of his own arm,  Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim devours Manasseh; together they are against Judah. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.

 

Matt. 4:12-18 (ESV) ¶ Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee.  And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali,  so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:  “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles–  the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”  From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  ¶  While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.

 

Gen 11:27 – 12:9 Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran fathered Lot.  Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his kindred, in Ur of the Chaldeans.  And Abram and Nahor took wives. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and Iscah.  Now Sarai was barren; she had no child.  Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there.  The days of Terah were 205 years, and Terah died in Haran. Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD. And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.

 

 

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