Author: Ron Graham
The Priceless Church (A)
—God’s Household and Heavenly Israel
In this lesson we look at the fourth C in Ephesians chapter two, namely the Church. We focus on Paul’s “snapshots” of the church which picture it from different viewpoints. These perspectives help us to understand the importance of the church, the blessings of membership in it, and why it is one of the five priceless things.
1 How Paul Describes the Church to the Ephesians
"[You are] ...in one body... and of God’s household" (Ephesians 2:16,19).
The church of Christ is an important topic in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
- The church is the body and fulness of Christ, and he is the supreme head of the church (Ephesians 1:20-23)
- The church is the commonwealth of Israel, the one body, the household of God, and God’s holy temple (Ephesians 2:12-22).
- The church grows up in the truth and in the love of Christ (Ephesians 4:1-16).
- Christ loved the church as his bride, and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:21-33).
Now let's focus on the church in Ephesians chapter two.
2 Children Of Obedience In God’s Household
"...You formerly walked according to the course of this world... the sons of disobedience... children of wrath... But God... made us alive together with Christ... you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household" (Ephesians 2:2-6,19).
In the beginning of the chapter, Paul outlines the problem which all human beings have, whether they be Jews or Gentiles. (The Jews are the "we" in Ephesians 2, and the Gentiles are the "you").
Hope for Children of Wrath
The world is in the sway of the evil one, "the prince of the power of the air". People have become "the sons of disobedience... children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:1-3, 1John 5:19).
This is certainly not the will of God, and God did something about it —something marvelous— through Jesus Christ his Son who was put to death upon the cross. This makes it possible for everyone to come back to being children of obedience like God intended from the beginning (Ephesians 2:10,13).
Therefore, instead of being children of disobedience and wrath, alienated from God, we can become the sanctified children of God’s household and family, the church (Ephesians 2:19, 1Timothy 3:15).
The marvel of being in God’s household, is that we are entitled to an inheritance which Paul describes as "the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints" (Ephesians 1:18-19).
3 Citizens Of The Heavenly Commonwealth Of Israel
"You were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel... yet you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens..." (Ephesians 2:12,19).
Paul gives us another picture of the church. It is a nation, the new "commonwealth of Israel", and we have citizenship in it. As Australians we treasure our citizenship. So do citizens of other countries treasure theirs. Citizenship not only gives us the right to reside in our country, but it confers many privileges.
As members of the church we have an even greater citizenship by far. "For our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20). We'll look into this aspect more deeply in our next lesson.