Ephesians 2:19–22 (NKJV)
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
The Ephesians knew well what it meant to be a stranger or a foreigner – it meant you were discriminated against. In Ephesus, only citizens had significant rights.
So what Paul is saying is that Ephesian Christians are full-up Christians. They’re not second-class.
And, just to hammer this point home, Paul is saying that they are an integral part of the church – the same church that has Christ as its cornerstone and the apostles as its foundation.
Christ is building his church one stone at a time and they are the stones. They are an essential part of it. They are being fitted together with all the others. And this is a growing, glorious structure. It is more than just a church really, it’s a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
We undersell Christianity. We talk about becoming a Christian in terms of our getting into heaven. It’s infinitely more important – and more exciting – than that. We’re part of something big, something world changing.
The first Christians knew that, and they went out and did big things. That’s why it is said that they turned to world upside down. Rome continued to “rule” in the business and military sense of the word, but Christianity took over the hearts and minds of the people. Despite his obvious power, Caesar was really just a figurehead. He didn’t matter.
We need to get back to this kind of exciting, world changing Christianity. We need to stop focusing inward. Because Christianity is typically sold in terms of what we get out of it, we only believe in what we get out of it. It has become a self-centered religion.
And notice that this isn’t a call to do something; it’s a call to be something. We are part of the whole building … in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. We need to think of ourselves and our lives as living stones in a great building project.
It’s bigger than we are.
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