Sermon:  A Church Without Walls

Summary:  God wants us to understand that God destroyed barriers and divisions in 
his people in order to create unified church that is fitted together as the temple 
of God.  As the temple of God, we are a dwelling place of God, and should demonstrate
 it through our mutual love, support, and acceptance so that our example will lead
 others to God.

Know:  Jesus destroyed barriers that divide us so that we can be a unified, 
supportive people that demonstrates the presence of God in order to draw others 
to Him.

Feel:  A desire to be grow deeper in relationships to each other

Do:  Identify "walls," challenges to deeper fellowship and how it affects the 
church's ability to bring the lost to Christ.  Reflect on ways to destroy these 
walls.   core effectively carry out God's purposes as his "temple" in the world.

Text:  Eph 2:11-22

Scripture Reading:  1 Cor 3:16-17

Meditation Scripture: 1 Cor 3:16-17

1.  What is a wall for?
	a.  Hang pictures, keep stuff out, or in, to lean against.
	b.  Lived in Korea, most houses in the City had walls and gates
	c.  World is full of walls
		- Great Wall of China, The Berlin Wall
		- The Temple in Jerusalem had a wall to keep out Gentiles
	d.  Imagine if you would, a wall across the front, a wall between the pews
		- Can't see the wall, but there may be one there
		- This is the kind of wall Paul deals with in this morning's text
2.  Paul's purpose is to promote a unity that contributes to building up of the   
	a.  Review:  1-What God has done, prayer for the church
	b.  2- 1-10 - Then - Dead in Sin course of this world;  Now alive in Christ 
	     and in heavenlies
	c.  2:11-22 - Continues the "then and now" perspective
		- Then we were alienated; now we are united in Christ
3.  Paul talks specifically about the nature of the church
	a.  We need to be one in heart and mind
	b.  How? Through three Remembrances:

I.  (v.11-12) Remember our Past - Alienation
	A.  Us Gentiles in the flesh were alienated from God and his people
	B.  Paul highlights this alienation in several ways
		1.  Called "uncircumcision" by the circumcision
			a.  This was a pejorative term - "Those…uncircumcised"
			b.  Imagine the tone of voice, the disdain they used
			c.  Why the disdain?
				- Began with instructions on holiness that God gave
				  They were to be separate and not do what they did
				- Gentiles had abhorrent practices - Naked in the 
				  games, sacred prostitution, etc. part of gentile life
				- Be in presence of a gentile illicit emotional response
			d.  Feeling was mutual, Gentiles didn't like Jews
				- Jews were misfits, not participate in daily life
		2.  But it was more than a feeling
			a.  Excluded from the commonwealth of Israel
				- They were Romans, Egyptians, Syrians, Greeks…
				- They were foreigners
			b.  Strangers to the covenants of promise and the covenant
				- Because they were not Israelites
				- Had no covenant, promise or relationship with God
				- They were basically on their own without God
			c.  They were separate from Christ
		3.  Result - No hope, and without God in the world
	C.  ILL: During a campaign in Belarus, I met Meesha, an interpreter
		1.  Here was a man without a country
			a.  Was an engineer, working with laser medical equipment
			b.  Originally in Tajikastan, driven out when USSR broke up
			c.  Became a refugee in Belarus
		2.  He floated around, no direction.  Didn't belong anywhere
		3.  It was very unsettling.  What was next?
		4.  His existence became very inhospitable to him and his family
	D.  That was us spiritually before we became a Christian
		1.  We had nothing, were hopeless, floating around in this life
			a.  Some of us found amusements to keep selves busy
			b.  Like the uncircumcised, many of them may have been 
			     abhorrent to God
		2.  We were separate from Christ, without God in the world
			a.  God was some distant strange being for some of us
			b.  Others of us thought we knew God, but really didn't
		3.  We were lost in our sin, outside of God
			a.  If the world were to end, or we were to die, would have 
			    gone to eternal torment
			b.  Keep ourselves busy, or amused so not think about it
			c.  What a bleak existence
		4.  Trans:  But we didn't stay there
			a.  Meesha didn't stay there either
				- He found work as a translator for American groups
				- They were members of the church on campaigns
				- He became a Christian and found true life
			b.  Became the backbone of the church there
				- Problem, what happens after visa expires?
				- It did, and he was in the country illegally
			c.  Walnut Street COC sponsored him and his family
				- Brought him to Texarkana
				- Became a liason for mission work in Belarus
			d.  The man without a country found a place to belong 
				- God took care of him through the church, his people
				- He belongs "in Christ"
				- So do we….

II.  (v.13-18) Remember our Present - United in Christ
	A.  Those of us in Christ are no longer alienated
	B.  How does this happen?
		1.  Brought near by the blood of Christ
			a.  Your sins built a wall between you and God
			b.  ILL:  Like when I came home forgot keys
				- Dad taking a nap, sleeping on good ear
				- Knocked, rang doorbell, couldn't get in
				- Hung out in back yard till mom got home
				- She unlocked door and let me in
			c.  Jesus did more than open the door
				- He broke down the wall.  Result…
		2.  Jesus became our "peace"
			a.  "Peace" is not just the cessation of hostility
			b.  ILL: In Seoul.  No hostility, but there a wall - the DMZ.
				- Wall to keep people out, and keep people in
				- Get to close, could get shot by a guard
				- That was not truly peace
				- When the walls come down, then will be peace
			c.  Biblical Idea of peace go back to Old Testament
				- Hebrew word:  Shalom
				- Idea of wholeness, health, prosperity, serenity
		3.  Jesus brought wholeness to us as a people
			a.  Didn't bring us near as two separate bodies
				- Not separate Gentile and Jewish churches
				- Later Paul will declare there is "one body" (Eph 4:4)
			b.  He made us into one new man, the body of Christ 
	C.  ILL:  21 kids in my Youth Group when I was growing up
		1.  There was the "popular crowd" and the "geeky crowd"
		2.  Two groups didn't get along very well
			a.  Not like the same music, same teams, 
			b.  Popular ones talked about geeks behind their back
			c.  Geeks held the popular ones with contempt
			d.  Youth group didn't look much different than kids at school
		3.  Wasn't just the kids, had same problem among the adults
		4.  Jesus broke down those barriers!  
			a.  That is the way things used to be
			b.  That is not the way things are to be now
	D.  Before, other things may have separated us
		1.  Black, White, Rich, Poor, Democrat, Republican, Jock, Brainiac,
		2.  Cool, Geek, Sooners, Cornhuskers, Jayhawks, …
		3.  But now, Jesus has broken down the walls, we are ONE - peace
		4.  Person in the pew next to you is your brother/sister
			a.  Do not try to rebuild walls that Christ has broken down
			b.  The one thing that ties us together is Christ
			c.  We are to be one.  But what does that mean…

III.  (v.18-22) Remember our Purpose - Temple
	A.  Paul switches metaphors - We are God's temple
	B.  What does he mean by this?
		1.  We have a solid foundation
			a.  The church is not a man-made organization
			b.  Jesus said he would build "his church" - Mt 16:18
			c.  That is why it is the church "of Christ"
			d.  We belong to Christ, he is our head, not a man, not govt..
		2.  Being fitted together and growing
			a.  ILL:  I watch new shopping center going in at Race Track
			b.  A bunch of pieces are being fitted together
			c.  The pieces draw strength and support when attached 
			d.  We need to be together, to be one.  Then we can be…
		3.  Dwelling of God
			a.  This is the purpose of a temple, to be a dwelling of God
			b.  In Old Test., if wanted to go meet God, go to the temple
			c.  Now, we are the dwelling of God.  
		C.  Buildings reflect aspirations of the designers
			1.  Take for example the buildings in Washington D.C.
				a.  These buildings had a lot of thought in their design
				b.  They were not thrown together
				c.  They were designed to evoke respect and honor
			2.  The Temple in Jerusalem evoked respect and honor
				a.  God gave very specific instructions on it
			b.  They were meticulously followed
			c.  When visit Jerusalem, no doubt which building was the 
		3.  The temple had a purpose.  It said - "This is where you will find 
	D.  We are a temple without walls
		1.  Remember I am talking about us as a people, not our building
		2.  Do we reflect that we are man made, or God made?
			a.  If we are man made, we will act and think like everyone 
			     else around us
			b.  If we are God made, we will act and think according to 
			     God's will
		3.  Are we unmistakably the temple of the living God?
			a.  Do they see the glory of God in us?
			b.  Do we show, "Here is where you will find God?"

1.  As the temple of God, our purpose is to be a place where people can find God
2.  Can't do that if we try to rebuild the walls that Christ has torn down
3.  How do we do that?  Remember the three P's
	a.  Our past - Alienated, separated  (Invitation)
	b.  Our present - United in Christ
		- That means no walls that divide us
		- Cannot carry out God's purposes with walls
	c.  Our purpose - To be a unified in order to be the place where people will 
	     find God
4.  If there are walls between you and the pew next to you, take it down

Questions for Small Group Discussion