Blake Coffee and Tony Diamond taught on Sunday, September 21. The videos and listening guides from that lesson, followed by the scripture, are below.
Core Lesson (Tony Diamond)
The Church – Meant to be United
What is Paul’s message to the former Gentiles in this passage? What is his message to the former Jews (cf. Romans 2:29)? Why do you think he felt it necessary to remind both of them of these things?
How did God presage this message in Genesis 12:3? How does Paul pull the message together in Galatians 3:28?
Consider Chrysostom: “As if one should melt down one statue of silver and another of lead, and the two together should come out gold”
Christ celebrates unity in his church. He established it for a specific purpose (v. 15b). Western society celebrates diversity, which has crept into the Church. When is diversity good, and when is it bad? How can we accentuate the good and avoid the bad? What standard do we use to discern the answer to the previous two questions and how do we apply it?
Venture Lesson (Blake Coffee)
A Church Without Stereotypes
It is human nature to divide and categorize ourselves and to “otherize” everyone else…even in the church. Maybe especially in the church.
The New Testament church breaks down every wall of division ever conceived by man. It has been a revolution in unity.
The only dividing wall the church recognizes is the one separating a Holy God from all the rest of us, and our founder bridges that gap.
If we define “peace” as the mere absence of conflict, then we will never forge friendships with people different from ourselves. “He himself is our peace…”
The New Testament church doesn’t just welcome people of all flavors, it is literally comprised of an unfathomably diverse people.
Ephesians 2:11-22New International Version (NIV)
Jew and Gentile Reconciled Through Christ
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)—12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.