Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ephesians 2:20-22 part four

A Special Note:

I recently started a new job that is occupying much of my time as I try to learn the new position. As a result, I might have to put this Bible study on hold for a while . . . or at the least post less frequently. Thanks for your patience and please check back periodically. I will, however, continue posting at my contemplative site with a fair degree of regularity.


. . . having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:20-22).

Now that you've read the passages in Exodus about the building of the Holy Tabernacle in the wilderness, let's turn our attention to St. Paul's comment here in Ephesians 2.

Those who belong to Christ are being "built together" into a dwelling of God, being "fitted together" and growing into His temple.

The passages in Exodus you read for this lesson describe in wearyingly exhaustive detail the construction of the Tabernacle -- the place God’s Spirit would reside during their forty-year trek through the wilderness, and into the Promised Land. Each board had its place, each ring a role, each thread a value, each cubit a purpose. To the minutest detail, God left nothing to chance.

So, should we think God changed His pattern of meticulous detail when He began to build His Church of baptized and faithful followers of Christ?

The Lord Jesus promised He would build His Church, and "the gates of hell" would not overcome it in the offensive war we wage against Satan's kingdom. St. Paul told the Ephesians that Church is founded on the words of the Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles -- Christ Himself being the corner stone. Paul also wrote to the Corinthian church that they (and we) were "temples (tabernacles) of the Holy Spirit." And to the Corinthians he also used the human body as an analogy of how God places you and me within His Church with meticulous precision for His purposes.

And it is that analogy of the human body, coupled with what we learned from our reading last time in Exodus, that can give us great encouragement as we expend our energies working for the Kingdom. As God orchestrated the construction of his desert Dwelling with such meticulous precision, so too, He orchestrates with equal precision today the construction of His Dwelling – the Body of Christ. Just as each board and clasp and loop occupied an important place, so too each member of Christ’s universal Church occupies a necessary role and function.

No person is unnecessary. Said a different way, each person is vital to the construction.

Leader and laity, professionals and paraprofessionals, rich and poor, healthy and not-so-healthy, across cultures and backgrounds -- the Master Carpenter knows who we are, where we fit in His Dwelling --and he sets us there with meticulous precision in the right place.

Questions for Reflection:

1. Do you do your best to serve the Lord, but sometimes wonder if God is doing anything with your service? Read this passage and consider what the Holy Spirit might be saying to you.

2. Solomon wrote, If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success (Ecclesiastes 10:10). What might you do to sharpen your skills, techniques and other abilities to co-labor with Christ in building His Church?

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