Hi, it’s Liam here and welcome to Wednesday’s Foundations Podcast.
We’ve been looking this week at Ephesians chapter 2. If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while now you may recall that Mick, the team leader here at STC, covered some of these passages in November of last year as a way of introduction to our church’s vision for 2018 – to invite others to ‘Join Us in Building Community’.
In today’s passage, Ephesians 2:17-22, Paul paints this fantastic picture of the church – the community of God’s people. We start with Paul again underlining the key truth that through Jesus, we all, both those who were once far off – the Gentiles, and those who were near – the Jews, both have access to, can both enjoy an eternal relationship with our father in heaven. These are incredible verses for us! I’d encourage you to listen to them at the end of the podcast and then read them through at some point again today.
Paul paints this picture of the church – this new community that God is building. Through these verses, and indeed the ones before it, we can begin to see what this new community will look like. V17 – It will be a community of peace. V19 – A community of belonging. V20 – A community of stability.
I want to focus on verses 21-22:
In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
The final part of this passage describes the church as being a community where God has made his home.
There’s a famous song by the band ‘Rend Collective’ that has the line in, ‘ We are your church’… Because that’s what this amazing passage teaches us. We are the church. We, the people who have accepted Jesus into our lives, are being built into a holy temple. As Jesus was resurrected, so began a new age for God’s people. From now on believers would no longer have to travel to physical temple in a physical place to worship, to encounter and experience God. They would be able to experience God in every place. How?
Because God has made his home in us. We are the church. We’ve become the building! God has made his home in us.
There’s a line in an LZ7 song which says, ‘Home is where the heart is’. The home, our home is a place of great significance for us. For many, but we know not all, it’s a place of comfort. A place of safety. A place of refuge. A place of rest. It’s a place where we can be real. Where we celebrate and where we mourn. And that’s the place where God dwells. Inside us. Inside our homes.
And that’s the place where we can invite others. Because for many we know, we say ‘Do you want to come to church?’, the answer might be a ‘No’ or ‘I’ll get back to you’. And that might be that’s because they have previously thought of the church as a building – a place without soul, feeling, emotion and warmth. Quite literally at times – stick the heating on please!
And so we say, ‘Do you want to come round to ours?’ and we might get a different answer. Because if God has made his home in us, and therefore he’s in our homes – we should want to invite others in on that too! And don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying we forget about inviting people to church. To come to youth on Friday. To do an Alpha course. To come to a Sunday gathering. Of course we don’t! God very much lives, and works and breathes in there too!
It’s just that we spend so much time in our homes already. God’s given it us as a gift. Why not use it? For some people we want to see come to know Jesus, we may need to just start by simply inviting them into our home. To come and spend a bit of time hanging out and seeing us as we are. Because God has made his home in us and is transforming us from the inside out. He changes everything. And people can perhaps see that most obviously in how we are at home. We should want others to see that. To want others to be a part of that.
That’s what our vision as a church is this year – to invite others to join us in building community…and community can begin and be built in our homes. It’s where our heart is. It’s where our lives are. It’s where God is. Yes, we need to consider what we actually do in our homes. Do we eat together? Do we give thanks? Do we talk about faith? Do we practise hospitality? But it’s all for nothing if we don’t invite some people in.
Home is where the heart is. Home is where God is. That’s an awesome place to be! Who could you invite round yours this week?
God, thank you that that you have made your home in us. We pray, ‘Come, Holy Spirit.’ Fill my life afresh today. Make your home again in us today. Just as you have made your home in us Lord, may we be willing and ready to welcome others into our homes. And may we see our homes as gifts from you and as places in which others can experience you. Amen.
READING: EPHESIANS 2:17-22
He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.