2012-08-05 God is Building a House | Ephesians 2:19-22
Eph. 2:19-22 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.
God is Building a House
- The members of God’s house
- The foundation of God’s house
- The growth of God’s house
- The addition to God’s house
- The purpose of God’s house
In last week’s passage the word “peace” appeared four times. In this week’s passage the word “build” or “building” which is also translated “house” appears four times. What we learn from this passage is that God is building a community of people so that he might dwell among them and be their God and that we are included in that community by faith in Christ.
This passage tells us two things about two things about the community itself, two things about ourselves in that community, and one final thing that gives purpose to the other four.
Again, Paul is comparing the community of faith that God is creating in Christ to the building of a house for himself and his people.
Let’s look first at what this passage tells us about the building or house.
Verse 20 tell us about the foundation of the house.
It tells us that this house has been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets and Christ Jesus is the cornerstone.
20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.
As the cornerstone of the building, Christ is the one that gives the foundation its orientation and its direction. Second, Christ’s words and deeds were communicated to the early church and to us by the apostles and prophets. Therefore they, along with Christ are the foundation on which we stand as the church today. If we stand on anything else then the solid rock which is Christ and his word, it is as if we were standing on shifting sand, and when the rains come we will be washed away. The community of faith that God is building rests on Christ and his words and deeds as communicated by the writers of the New Testament. That is our foundation.
Verse 21 of tells us about the growth of God’s house
It tells us that God’s house is a growing house.
21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.
The joints or stones of God’s metaphorical house are being laid end to end and are being cemented together to one another by Christ himself so that the whole house is growing.
This tells us that every day the community of faith is growing larger because more and more people are being added to it. It is an actively growing community and Christ is causing the growth.
So God’s house – his new community – is founded on Christ and it is actively growing.
Let’s look second at what this passage tells us about ourselves in relation to God’s house.
Verse 19 tells us about the members of God’s house
It tells us that WE ARE members of God’s house. We are no longer excluded as the gentiles once were from God’s promises, God’s covenant and God’s family.
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.
Now in Christ we have become members of God’s family. We have we have been adopted into God’s household. We are now members of the community of faith. We are in the family.
Verse 22 tells us about the addition to God’s house
It tells us that WE are part of the latest addition onto his house. We are being made part of the house itself.
22 Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling
So we are not only members of the household, we are the stones that make up the house itself. 1 Peter (2:4-5) tells us we are living stones in God’s house. In Christ, we are being joined together with the other stones in the house in Christ. Christ is, as it were, cementing or mortaring us together with the already existing stones to make an even larger house for God. We are the latest addition to his house.
Story of addition and reused bricks at Buttonwood.
Finally, Vv 21 and 22 tell us about the purpose of God’s house
They tell us that the purpose of this house is to provide a place for God and his people to dwell together.
21 a holy temple for the Lord.
22 where God lives by his Spirit.
The temple in Jerusalem was the place God met with his people, where he dwelt among them in the OT administration. God has always desired to dwell among his people. That has always been and always will be his purpose. In Exo 29:45-46 God declared, “I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.”
That is why he came to the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day.
That is why he commanded the tabernacle to be built and to be carried through the wilderness.
That is why the commanded the temple to be built in Jerusalem.
That is why Christ became flesh and dwelt among us.
That is why the Holy Spirit was sent to live inside every believer.
That is why when Christ returns, in the new Jerusalem it is said that the tabernacle of God will be among men, and he shall dwell among them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be among them. (Rev 21:3) It will be a permanent dwelling place for both God and his people.
So the purpose for which God is building a house in Christ – a community of believers – is that he might dwell among his people, that he might have fellowship with us and we with him, that he might be our God and we might be his people. Until Christ comes again and we enjoy fellowship with God permanently in the new Jerusalem, we are part of the church on earth – that spiritual community of believers whom God is building as a place to dwell among his people. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians (2Co 6:16), For we are the temple of the living God.
So what are the implications of our membership and participation in God’s church in the world – this growing house which is founded on Christ and his Word? [This list is taken from James Boice’s commentary]:
- The stones in the structure are chosen and shaped for their position by God. It is his temple. He is the architect. It is not for us to determine where or how we will fit in.
- The stones are placed into position in relationship to Jesus Christ. They are attached to him. If they’re not, they are not part of this building.
- The stones are in different shapes and sizes and different materials and have different functions.
- The stones are linked together. They are one interlocking whole.
- The stones are chosen and shaped and placed so that they do not draw attention to themselves but contribute to a great building in which God dwells.
- The placing of each stone is only part of a long process begun thousands of years ago and will continue until the end of the age when the Lord returns.
Finally, let’s look at Christ’s role as the cornerstone of God’s house.
In Christ is the new Eden – where man once again walks with God in the cool of the day – unafraid and unashamed – because our sin has been covered.
In Christ is the new tabernacle – where God dwells among his people as we wander through this world toward the true promised-land in heaven.
In Christ is the new temple – destroyed but raised up in three days so that God might dwell among his people by the Spirit in the church age.
One day in Christ will be the new Jerusalem – coming down out of heaven from God on the last day, where the saints of the church rejoice and enjoy the glory of God forever. (Rev 21:2-3).
Ps. 84:1-12 (ESV). How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! …a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!