Sermon Discussion + Prayer: "An End to Hostility
Division is the story of our world beginning in Genesis 3. Every social and political institution, consisting of fallen mankind, will fail at bringing ultimate unity between peoples. But God, being rich in mercy, has acted to bring about ultimate reconciliation in the person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ. In this passage, Paul calls the church to remember that Christ has broken down the walls of hostility that existed between us in Him. Christ has joined us together in union with Him by reconciling God and man through the cross. The hope of the world, especially in our present moment, is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is what unites us in the church and the gospel is what the world needs to hear in order for Christ to preach peace into the confusion of this dark world full of division and enmity.
- Read the passage again and share some different ways these words are countercultural.
- How does this passage relate to divisions between ethnicities in the church?
- John Piper states “Jew and Gentile was . . . as intractable as any ethnic hostilities we experience today.” What are the similarities and differences between the Jew/Gentile divide in Paul’s day and the divisions between ethnicities in our day?
- How can we better apply this passage from God’s Word to our own lives as we seek to be the means by which Christ preaches peace to the world?
Praying The Passage:
Please open to Ephesians 2:14-16 and allow this passage and the quotes and prayers below to guide your prayer.
These verses should govern how every Christian is to think, act, and feel, particularly at this moment.
Father, I want to once again submit myself to your Word and believe that it has all I need for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). Help me to hear your words and act on them.
Our ultimate hope for reconciliation, and an end to all hatred and hostility, is not found in a political or social solution; it is found in the reconciliation that God has acted to create.
Father, I am amazed to know that I have been reconciled to you. I am further amazed that you acted to create that reconciliation. Thank you for your mercy and grace.
Paul is commanding theologically informed remembering. . . . the longer you are a Christian the easier it is to forget your once desperate condition requiring God’s gracious intervention.
I want to confess, Lord, that I am forgetful. I often forget my once desperate condition. Help me by your Holy Spirit to remember even more that “you who once were far off have been brought near the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13).
Christ not only brings peace but he himself is our peace.
Help me, Lord to not think of peace as a feeling or privilege, but as a person. Help me to seek after the peace found in Christ alone.
The church is like no other institution because only the church proclaims the gospel of peace with God and one another through the death of Christ on the cross for our sins.
Father, help your church to share the peace of Christ during this time. Give me opportunities to help people know that their only hope for true reconciliation is through Christ’s death on the cross for my sins.