Andrew Fountain - The Church as the New Creation


Full sermon notes - Ephesians pt4: The Church as the New Creation

  • First a summary of last time:
  • Big picture—jigsaw puzzle
    • If you don’t look at the big picture on the box, it can be hard to fit the pieces together
  • What is the big picture?

Ephesians 3:16-19

  1. …to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
  2. 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—
    • that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
    • 18may have strength to comprehend with all the saints
    • what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
    • 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
  3. so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
  • Last week I talked about being “united with Christ”
  • If we fully grasp this then it will have a big impact on us
    • What have we to fear—we are secure
    • Illustration of the large ship that went down

The Big Picture

  • Power, love and destiny
  • The power (same as raised Jesus from the dead) works in us
  • The purpose of the power is a new relationship, united to Christ
  • The purpose of this new relationship is that we become the New Creation, the dwelling place of God
  • Now we come on the the end-goal of what God is doing:

Ephesians 2:11–22

2:11 Therefore remember that once you, the Gentiles in the flesh, those called “uncircumcision” by what is called “circumcision” in the flesh done by hands, 12that you were at that time without Christ alienated from the community of Israel and strangers of the covenants of the promise, not having hope and Godless in the world.

13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have become near in the blood of the Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who made the both one, that is, he destroyed the dividing wall of partition, the hostility, in his flesh, 15abolishing the law of the commandments in decrees,
that the two he might create in himself
into one new person, making peace,
16and that he might reconcile the both in one body to God through the cross,
killing the hostility in himself .
17And coming he preached peace to you who are far away and peace to those who are near, 18so that through him we both have the access in one Spirit before the Father.

19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, 20built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the capstone, 21in whom the whole building being fitted together is growing into a temple holy in the Lord, 22in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Version: NET Bible

  • A few words about the way it is structured
    • Many scholars suggest this semi-poetic structure is related to the fact it was to be read aloud
    • Certainly this way of writing was common in the ancient world
  • Notice the direction he is going
    • All the promises that originally belonged to the ancient nation of Israel, now belong to this new person
  • The “new person” in v.19 is literally “new human”, alluding to a “new Adam”
  • The final goal of where he is going is v19–22
    • a new temple, a new body
  • But what is this new Adam, this new body, this new temple
    • He says: “It’s a mystery!”

The Mystery (Eph 3)

  1. …the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.
  2. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,
  3. which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
  • Anne and I like watching detective mysteries.
    • Usually someone has been murdered and the question is “WhoDunnit?”
    • You have to try and work it out, but right at the end it is revealed
  • What would you think if you got to the end of the movie and were never told who did it?
    • It was left uncertain!
    • For myself, I would not be happy!
  • The mystery has been revealed by God to Paul, and he explains the two parts to it:

The Solution (Eph 3)

  • Part 1
  1. …the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
  • Part 2
  1. and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,
  2. so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
  3. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord
  • Why are the books of the Bible in the order they are?
    • Certainly God has providentially allowed the current order
  • The first 5 books of the N.T. have virtually always been in the same order, even from very ancient times

New Testament books

  • Matthew
  • Mark
  • Luke (part 1 of Luke’s account)
  • John
  • Acts (part 2 of Luke’s account)
  • Matthew Mark & Luke are called the “synoptics” because the give a “synopsis” which means a condensed story of Jesus’ life
  • John assumes you know the story, and picks out seven miracles or signs and focuses on the underlying meaning of it all
  • Acts picks up the story after Luke
  • Why did John get put there?
  • In the Old Testament we have a story that begins with creation and goes right through the account of the history of the nation of Israel
    • John is the one who explains the mystery that has been hidden
  • In the beginning God created the world by speaking words and it happened
    • Genesis speaks of 6 days of creation, then a day of rest

New Creation: John 1

  1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  2. He was in the beginning with God.
  3. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
  4. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
  5. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
  • John gives us 7 signs-miracles corresponding with the week of creation
  • Then on the first day of the second week, the Sunday, he rises again, a new creation

Creation of Man

  • Genesis 1:27, 2:7 “then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”
  • John 20:22 “And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”
  • Gen 1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth”
  • We are left waiting for this command—it comes in Acts!
  • Acts 1:8 “…you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

And this happened...

  • Acts 6:7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
  • Acts 12:24 But the word of God increased and multiplied.
  • Acts 19:20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.
  • Next we have the story of the tower of Babel

Acts 2

  1. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.
  2. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?
  3. Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome,
  4. both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”
  • Then a new community of love was formed—the new creation people, living how they were intended to live.

The Church

  • For many people is cool to criticise “the church”
  • Actually it is God’s ultimate creation
  • Eph 3:10 10. “so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”
  • This means living in community with each other
  • spreading the new life to others, (=having “children”)
  • We are hardly scratching the surface of what God intends us to be
  • Meeting once or twice a week is only the start
  • In our Christian culture we have lost so much
  • We need to consider one another as parts of our own body
  • You can have this new-life.
    • You can be part of the new creation—have the Spirit of Jesus breathed into you—simply by asking him
    • Just pray: Jesus, I would like to follow you and be part of your new creation
      Take away this old life and give me a new one
      Breathe your Spirit into me and give me your life
  • If the Old Creation was breathtaking, how much more is the New Creation?
    • The stars, mountains
    • Yet the New Creation is the pinacle of God’s work
    • The local church is the expression of this new creation
  • You are amazing!
    • The people around you today are an amazing and beautiful new creation of Jesus
    • New life flows as love is expressed to one another
  • Practical suggestions:
    • If you are not part of a homegroup, then join one!
    • Call someone this week and have coffee together—being part of the body is not just for Sundays

Updated on 2013-01-17 by Andrew Fountain