No Longer Strangers

Category: Full Sermons

A stranger is someone who is different, alone, out of place, and doesn’t fit. The world is filled with strangers because what truly makes someone strange is being a stranger to God. Christians are no longer strangers because they’ve been brought near to God through Christ. They can see a face and hear a voice that no one else can see or hear. Christians can also know that they’re no longer a stranger because their strangeness is gone. Christ is now real to them in a way that He never was before. They’re no longer strangers to Christ because Christ is no longer strange to them, but rather He’s glorious and lovely to them.

You can turn in your Bibles to Ephesians 2 beginning in verse 11. “Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh…” That would be us. “…called ‘the uncircumcision’ by what is called the circumcision.” Some ancient names. Perhaps it’s still common verbiage among Orthodox Jews. I don’t know that. But this was definitely Old Testament descriptive language. The uncircumcision – we were called, “…by what is called the circumcision which is made in the flesh by hands.” We’re talking just about physical realities here. “…remember that you were,” and here’s the spiritual reality. “…Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ; alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now, in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commadments expressed in ordinances that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through Him (through Christ) we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then…” Now you can stop right there. So then. Do you feel a shift? Undoubtedly there was a shift back between . “Therefore remember…” There was an obvious shift. And if you read the whole chapter, you get that feel. If you read the whole letter, you get the sense that at v. 11, he moved over in a different direction. He had been talking about our being dead in trespasses and sins and being made alive together with Christ. Life with Christ. Raised up with Christ. Seated with Christ. Now this workmanship of God – good works. But then, there’s this shift. And when he shifts in v. 11, his interest is, it seems, this is a miracle that we actually have Gentiles. This is a mystery that we have Gentiles among – not just Jews, but the true Jews – the saints of God. How is this? And that where he shifts. See, it’s another aspect of our salvation. And he’s been building; he’s been building. But you know when you get to v. 19, “so then…” Shift. He’s been painting this picture. And really if you think about it, I just read it. I read it kind of monotone. But there’s glory here. It’s like he’s painting this picture…