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We all do it, we forget things. Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote I have a great memory for forgetting things. Well there are some things that God does not want us to forget. Several times in the scripture he tells us something that he says he wants us to remember. This passage in the book of the Ephesians is one of those passages. The point is well made with the very opening two words of this passage. (Eph 2 :11-12)
He starts by saying; “Therefore remember” so, this is clearly something God wants us to remember. In verse 11 he says that you were in the past separated from Gods people. Then in verse 12 he says, remember at that time those who were once far off have now been brought near. (KJV) So, this is the dividing line in the passage is verses 11 and 12 when he talks about what you were, and who you were. n the following verses he will talk about what you are now and what you will become now that you are in Christ. In modern terms this is a before and after picture.
Before we came to Christ, he says, remember that you were once what he calls “among the gentiles”. Meaning that we were not part of the group of people to whom God had made a covenant. God made a covenant with Abraham that he would give his descendants the land and he would bless the rest of the world through them. This would mean Gods word would come through these people and, the Messiah would come through them also. He also gave them a sign of that promise and the sign of that covenant was circumcision. So, the point of these opening verses is to say that when you were without Christ you didn’t know the Lord, because you didn’t know Jesus as your saviour. Because you were without Christ and you didn’t even have an expectation of the Messiah because you didn’t even recognize your need of a saviour. Furthermore, because we didn’t know these things, he says we were without hope. The Greek word translated “hope” means expectation. Therefore, it means we had no expectation of God doing anything in our lives. But now, he says things are about to change. (Eph 2: 13) Once we were far off, but now we are near to the Lord, because Christ shed his blood for us
But now, “in Christ” we are told we have been brought near to the Lord, thus “giving us peace”. (Eph 2: 14-15) This isn't just peace between us and God, it’s a peace between all people even Jew and gentile. The hostility that previously exited between different people groups has been broken down. Christian believers now all have one new unified identity. Now, we are all part of God's plan of one unified community of people who choose to follow Jesus. Sometimes referred to as the body of Christ. All tribes, all nations, all tongues, are now able to be members of the same community of people. The dividing wall that once existed between different people has also been broken down. We're are now all one in Christ.
The purpose of this new community he will begin to disclose in the next verse. (Eph 2:16) The New Testament is about the beginnings of the church, and the new community of faith can now be a combination of all the peoples of the earth. Please note, he doesn’t say the Jews have become gentiles, nor does he say the gentiles will become Jews. He is saying that in Christ God has started something entirely new called the church, the body of Christ.
Verse 17 then says (Eph 2:17) the result of all of this is we now all have direct access to God. Regardless of how far you were away from the Lord or how close you thought you were. It doesn’t matter if you were nearly there, or far off, because the Lord has made us all fellow citizens with him. We are a family now, and that’s what God wants you to remember.
I said there were 3 parts to this passage, the before and after picture, and then there's a conclusion. (Eph 2: 19-21) Verse 19 starts with the word consequently so clearly this is a conclusion being offered here. We are now direct descendants and followers on from the prophets and the apostles themselves. We are members of the family of God and precious Him.
This final (Eph 2: 22) verse offers an awesome, mind-boggling point. In the Old Testament God dwelt in the Tabernacle, but this tells us that after Jesus ascended [went up] it says the Holy Spirit [came down] and God now dwells in his people. God now dwells in us by filling us with his Holy Spirit. The Lord is with you and the Lord is in you. Paul says, please - remember – this, because you are uniquely valuable to God.
Many years ago, an American tourist visiting Paris and purchased an inexpensive necklace for his wife at a trinket shop. He paid the equivalent of around $15.00, dollars for it, which at that time was around £5.00 When he presented it to customs in New York they said they suspected the diamonds in it were real and he was required to nearly $100,00 import duty on it if he wished to bring it into the country. This tax was based upon what was called an “un-expertised” valuation. Not surprisingly his curiosity aroused he took the risk and paid the duty but decided to have it appraised. He took it to a city jeweler who after looking at it under a powerful magnifying glass became somewhat flustered and offered him $35.000 for it, on the spot. He wouldn’t tell him why he thought it was valuable. Greatly surprised he decided that he would have it examined by an auction house expert who said this was a very valuable neckless and should indeed sell for a great deal of money. What makes it so valuable he asked, is it the quality of the diamonds? ‘Certainly not’ the auction house valuer said, ‘the diamonds aren’t exceptional, it’s the inscription on it that makes it valuable’. The auction house valuer flipped the magnifying glass and said look. Before his eyes he saw a crest with just two words beside it written in French. “A Josephine” – “To Josephine.” The Crest on it was that of Napoleon Bonaparte therefore the neckless was a gift to Josephine. If I remember correctly the neckless sold for over $70.000. The value was not because of what it was made of. The necklace was extremely valuable because of who owned it.
Hear me friends, you are valuable to God and precious to Him. He doesn’t care what you been through, what your background was like. When all is said and done if you've trusted Jesus Christ your valuable, you are precious to God, and part of his family.
Don't ever forget that because that is something that God really wants you to remember.
Hows Your Memory