Greetings in Jesus’ name.
It is wonderful to be with you this evening as we begin our service. I send my greetings to all of you. Today is Christmas Eve, and for most people, this is a very happy time of the year when you can spend time with your friends and family and loved ones and reflect on Jesus Christ and the goodness of God.
I hope and pray that each of you listening today will have an opportunity to do that here in the days ahead. I know that not everyone listening will be able to do that this year.
I would like to ask you all to keep in your prayers the many people around the world who are coming to faith in Christ in the midst of strong adversity. Choosing to follow Christ, rather than the ideas of men, is something that brings a lot of persecution with it. But when we make that transition and choose to follow and trust Christ above all else, it does turn a lot of people against us, but it also joins us to a new community.
Jesus said that when you have to forsake others in this life to follow him, he will give a hundredfold in this life and eternal life in the world to come (Mark 10:30).
There is a new community that you become connected to when you come to faith in Christ, and that is what we are going to be talking about in our lesson today. As we go back to the book of Ephesians, we are in the second chapter, and this is going to be our third lesson looking at these same verses. I think we will have a couple more after this because there is just so much here, and I don’t want to pack too much into one lesson.
So, we will be focusing on yet another aspect of what Paul has said here today, and I invite you to open your Bibles and turn with me to Ephesians, chapter 2, and I will start reading in verse 13.
“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 commandments 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, we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”Ephesians 2:13-19 ESV
Let us pray. Lord God, we thank you for the Apostle Paul and the gift you have left us through his writings. Grant us understanding of what we read, open the eyes of the blind, and speak to us by your Spirit. In Jesus’ name, we ask. Amen.
In our last two lessons examining this passage of scripture, we have looked at how Jesus Christ, through his death, burial, and resurrection, brought about peace. He brought that peace not only between us and God but also created peace between you and me as members of the church.
And he did that by uniting us all together in himself. In doing that, he broke down the barriers that separated people from each other. In verse 15, Paul describes this work performed by Christ as an act of creation. Jesus Christ created peace, and he created the union that exists between us all. This union between us all was created in Jesus Christ. It’s not a union that we have created of our own works or efforts, but it is a union which Jesus Christ created in himself. And we come into this union from the moment we are in Christ.
And when we come into union with Christ, the prayer of Jesus is answered—the prayer he prayed over the church in John 17—that we might all be made perfect in one. He prayed to the Father and said, “I in them, and thou in me, that they may all become perfect in one.” That speaks of the unity and the oneness we have in Christ, and it is fulfilled when we, as individuals, have union with Christ.
Our mutual union with Christ creates a community. If I am united with Christ and you are united with Christ, then we are also united with each other, in Christ. That creates the church; it creates the body of Christ. Because when we are united with Christ, we are literally part of him—bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh. He in us, and us in him. It is the same thing that is represented in the symbols of the bride and bridegroom. We are part of each other, we are united into one, in Christ.
And that union we have with each other lays at the very heart of what the apostle Paul is speaking of here in the second half of Ephesians chapter 2. Christ has, through his death and through our mutual union with him, destroyed the divisions that exist between us.
And those divisions, whatever they are and however they came about, are destroyed by Christ. Now we are a new and united community.
I want to make sure I point this out to you clearly in these verses. Let me read verse 14 and 15. Paul writes,
“14 For he himself is our peace (with each other), who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility (between people) 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself (there is that act of creation) [that he might create in himself] one new man in place of the two, so making peace.”Ephesians 2 ESV
So, here in verse 14 and 15, Paul is explaining how Jesus did this. He broke down the divisions and the hostilities between people in his flesh—that is, in his own body. And in so doing, he created a single united man or body in the place of what was there before. In that act, Jesus Christ created peace between the two people who were separated before.
And Paul describes this as an act of creation. These things were done through the creative power of God—creating something that did not exist before.
As you read Paul’s other writings, he talks about that quite a bit. He explains how the church is a new creation. In 2 Corinthians, he says that anything that is in Christ is a new creation.
That is what we are reading about here. We are reading about these things that are in Christ Jesus, which are new creations—things that did not exist before Jesus Christ came into the world. God is making you and me all things into a new creation through Jesus Christ.
And as we have read here in Ephesians, you and I, personally, are made into a new creation. We died with Christ, and now we are risen with him. That makes us a new creation on a personal level.
Our old life died with Christ on the cross because we were in him as he died on the cross, as Paul explained back in chapter 1. So, we died with Him on the cross, and then our new life began with the resurrection of Christ from the grave because we were also in Christ when he was raised to life again from the grave.
All of those things that happened to Christ also happened to us—his death, his resurrection, his glorification—because we were united with him as those things happened to him.
That is how our sins were atoned for on the cross. We were in Christ; our sins were punished in him. That is what it means when the Bible says we are crucified with Christ—it literally means, through our union with Christ, we were crucified with him. We were, in some sense, united with Christ in the cross.
And, as we go through Ephesians, I will keep pointing out these things to try and help you see that there is an entirely different way to look at unity.
There is a way that normal Christians look at unity, which was never once explained to us in the places we come from. And what I am telling you, I am not telling you something new. I am telling you what normal Christians have believed for thousands of years.
You and I have unity with Christ, and that unity is part and parcel of salvation itself.
You can’t separate salvation and unity into two separate pieces. Unity is a critical element of salvation itself.
Jesus prayed the prayer of unity just before he went to the cross. He said, “I in them, them in me, so we can all be made perfect in one.” Jesus was praying the prayer of unity right there in John 17. Jesus united himself with all who believe in him, and he did it in John 17. Remember again what Jesus prayed; he said, “I pray not only for these disciples in front of me, but I pray for all of them who will ever believe in me, in every age, in every time.
In that moment there in John 17, Jesus Christ prayed to become one with every single believer who would ever be. And he was. God answered the prayer of Jesus Christ, which he prayed in John 17. Right there, in John 17, unity with Christ was created. You and I were one with Christ as he went to the cross—He in us, and us in him. We went to the cross, in Christ. We were crucified with Christ, died with Christ, resurrected with Christ, and glorified with Christ.
That is what Paul is talking about there in chapter 2 of Ephesians. I want so desperately for you to understand this because it is so important to understand this. It will free you from so much of the bondage of the cult we escaped. Where I come from, we were endlessly chasing this unity idea they had—Unity, Unity, Unity. But at the end of the day, on this side looking back, we realize they did not have a clue what unity even was. Unity is part and parcel of salvation itself.
Jump up to verse 5 here in this same chapter. This is what Paul is talking about:
“5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”Ephesians 2 ESV
We died with Christ, rose with Christ, were glorified with Christ, and have been raised up and seated with him in the heavenly places, in Christ. It’s all in Christ. All of those things are possible because I am united with Christ, and those things are only possible because I am united with Christ.
You and I are not literally seated in the heavenly places right now. I am seated in a chair in southern Indiana. But Jesus is seated in the heavenly places, and I am in Christ. Because I am in Christ, I am in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus. That is what our unity with Christ does. It makes us a partaker of everything he has done.
What am I talking about? I am talking about unity, real biblical unity, and it is unity with Jesus Christ. That is what it’s all about, and that unity with Christ is all the unity you need. Because unity with Christ makes peace between you and everyone else who has unity with Christ, and the peace between you and me was created as a creative act of God. I am not the one making peace with you; God is creating the peace between you and me as a creative act. And he did it in Jesus Christ, on the cross. Let me say that again because remember, we are reading the first half of Ephesians; this is the doctrine section. Paul is teaching us the right way to think about these things. In chapter 4, he will tell us how to apply these things, but here he is telling us how to think about it. The way we should think about it is exactly what I am describing—the peace between the different members of the body of Christ was created by Jesus Christ on the cross. It’s already done, and our unity began with the prayer Jesus prayed in John 17. That unity was not created by us; it was created by Christ, and that unity is part and parcel of salvation itself. And that is how we should think about these things.
Which is very, very, very different than how these things were thought of in the doomsday cult we come from. That is what chapter 2 of Ephesians is telling us, verse 14:
“14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 … that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.”
The picture is beautiful, and Paul is abundantly clear that this is how peace is created in the body of Christ. And Paul is clear that this is how unity in the body of Christ was created. Paul will elaborate more on this as we go through this book, and we will talk more about this as we go along in these lessons. Christ brought us peace—read verse 17:
“17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”
Amen, praise the Lord. I hope you don’t mind that I am gradually laying building blocks to show you true unity as we go along, but by the time we get through this book of Ephesians, I hope you will have a complete picture of true Christian Unity.
And I want to encourage you: If you are from the places I come from, you need to throw away every single thing you ever heard them say about unity. They are so far off base, there is almost nothing salvageable there. They honestly had not the faintest clue what unity even was. But if you stick with me, we will cover it all before we get done with our study of Ephesians.
But what Paul is speaking of here in these verses, this is how true unity was created. And as you and I and every other believer have all united with Christ, it makes us such that we are no longer strangers and aliens to each other. We are now part of one new community, and that new community is the same thing as this new man Paul mentioned in verse 15, and that new man is the resurrected Christ. It is the body of Christ; it is the church.
And now, you and I are fellow citizens with each other. We are all saints together, and we are all members of the household of God. When we are united with Christ, we are now part of the same household.
No Longer Strangers
And this verse 19 is where I want to spend the rest of this lesson today because now that we are in Christ, verse 19 is true about us.
And let’s just break down verse 19, and the very first word of verse 19 is “therefore” in most translations.
And you have probably heard the saying, if you see the word “therefore,” you should ask what it is there for?
And if we take the time to look at it, we realize the “therefore” here at verse 19 is very important because in verse 19, Paul is restating his main point.
Verse 19 is the main point Paul has been trying to make in the preceding eight verses, and that is what this word “therefore” indicates to us.
It indicates that verse 19 is the ultimate point Paul is aiming to make with all these facts he has been sharing.
In a sense, in verse 19, Paul is just repeating himself. He has already said these.
But now, in verse 19, he is restating the same thing, very clearly.
And let’s review verse 19 together, let’s look at the main points of what Paul is driving at here in the second half of this chapter.
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens…Ephesians 2 ESV
When we are united in Christ, we are no longer estranged. This is a fact. This is a reality. This is how we should think about things.
Now, you may not know me. I may not know you. We may actually be strangers from each other.
You may listen here to these messages secretly, and you never spoke to me in your entire life.
But if you are in Christ, and I am in Christ, we are not strangers from each other.
This union that exists between you and me in Christ Jesus—it is there, and it exists, and it is real—whether or not you and I ever cross paths in this life.
There might be some Christian living in Timbuktu, and I may never meet him my entire life. We are strangers in every practical sense of the word.
But in Christ Jesus, we are not strangers.
In Christ Jesus, I am united with that person I never even met.
Our unity is not based on what we can see with our eyes or touch with our hands or even experience directly.
Our unity is something spiritual that exists in Jesus Christ, and it exists in Jesus Christ despite everything else.
It spiritually unites me with people I have never met, and it spiritually reconciles me to people who may not be reconciled within the flesh.
And just like union with Christ reconciles Jew and Gentile, it also reconciles you and me.
Whatever may exist in this world, whatever may exist in our flesh, you and I are no longer strangers or aliens because we are united with Christ.
Your connection with me has nothing to do with our flesh. In fact, our connection with each other has nothing particular to do with ourselves at all.
Our connection with each other, what makes us no longer strangers or alienated, is the fact that we are both in Christ.
I am in Christ, and you are in Christ, and therefore, we are no longer strangers or alienated from each other.
Period, end of statement. Full stop. You and I are united; we have unity based on that single fact alone, and peace exists between you and me because Jesus Christ created peace when he died on the cross. We see that back in verse 15.
And again, you may not be currently experiencing the reality of that unity in the natural, but that does not mean it is not already there.
There may be someone you are alienated from. Perhaps there is a broken relationship between two people, and they have become alienated. There is no peace between them; they are alienated.
But when two people have union with Christ, they are not alienated; they have peace.
And I want to say this in a way that makes sense.
That peace and that mended broken relationship may not be something you immediately are experiencing. You and I are still in the flesh. In the flesh, there can still be things that man allows to cause divisions.
But our flesh does not matter. Divisions based on the flesh are irrelevant in this thing. That is what Paul was driving at back at verse 11.
And what I am saying, this is not a license for us to hold or carry grudges or be bitter or anything like that. We each and everyone should strive to see the peace of God lived out in our own lives.
But the reality of our ultimate reconciliation is already created in Jesus Christ. The peace between us already exists in Jesus; the union between us already exists in Jesus. And that is true regardless of whatever our immediate experience is in the flesh may be.
And the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives, creating these things. Redemption is a work in progress, and what Paul is speaking about here is something that is first and foremost a reality that has been created in Christ Jesus.
And I did not literally die on the cross with Christ, just like I did not literally resurrect with Christ, just like I did not literally ascend up and sit in the heavenly place with Christ. I have not been literally glorified yet.
But in Christ, it is as good as done.
These things, including perfect peace in all our relationships, may not have literally come to pass in my life yet or yours, but the guaranteed reality of these things has already been created in Jesus Christ.
And by the power Christ has, which Paul was talking about at the end of chapter 1, by the power which Christ has, before it’s all said and done, you and I will indeed experience the reality of perfect peace in all our relationships within the body of Christ.
Before it is all said and done, you and I will experience being good friends. Me and the Christian in Timbuktu will be good friends. We will experience no alienation; we will experience no estrangement because that thing is already created in Jesus Christ.
And by the power of God, it will be brought into our experience before it’s all said and done.
And in some ways, we will never experience the full extent of that in this life; there are elements of this that we will only ever truly know in the glory to come. Paul talks about that in 1st Corinthians. In that day, we shall know even as we are known.
We will have perfect relationships with one another in that day, and that day is coming because it is God who will bring it about.
It’s not you and I who are creating it; it’s God. And there is a manner in which we cannot judge the existence of our unity with each other based entirely on what we see and experience.
Because even when two people are experiencing some estrangement or alienation, even when two people are momentarily on bad terms, they are still united in Christ.
The ultimate perfection of their unity is already assured and finished, in Jesus Christ.
Our present condition of the world and those who are in the world does not yet fully reflect the reality of what Jesus Christ has bought and paid for.
But we are waiting, eagerly, for God to finish the good work that he has begun.
Fellow Citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens…
So, because we are in union with Christ, we cease to be estranged from each other; we cease to be alienated from each other. And we are also fellow citizens.
And when you think of citizenship, that speaks of nationality; it speaks of a kingdom or a country to which you belong.
And that kingdom is the Kingdom of Heaven. You are still an American, Canadian, Mexican, or the same ethnicity as before. In the flesh, you are still a Gentile or a Jew, or whatever else you may tack on there. Paul explained that in verse 11. But you are now a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. It’s the kingdom that Jesus came to create.
And he said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” His kingdom is something altogether different. It’s not a kingdom that is concerned with natural borders, energy policy, tax policy, or military affairs.
It’s not a kingdom of this world. It’s something altogether different. Instead of being made up of lands and territories, the kingdom of heaven is made up of hearts and souls.
Jesus Christ today is concerned with sitting on the throne of your heart. He is concerned with being the king of your life. Those are the boundaries of his kingdom. And we are citizens of his kingdom because he is reigning in our hearts.
Jesus explained that the kingdom of heaven does not come with observation, or it’s not something you can see with your eyes. But the kingdom of God is within you. It is within us, personally. We, as individuals, our hearts and our lives are the provinces of the kingdom of heaven.
And you and I, we are fellow citizens of the same kingdom. The same king is reigning over us.
He is the king of your life, and he is the king of my life. And that makes us fellow citizens.
And there is a way in which that is a reality today. There is a spiritual kingdom of heaven today. There is not a natural, literal, physical kingdom of heaven that you can see and touch. Just like the other aspects that Paul has spoken of, this kingdom is not something that is fully manifested today. The kingdom of heaven has not yet come to earth in a literal fulfillment. One day it will. One day, Christ will reign on earth, and the kingdom of heaven will also rule over houses, lands, and territories, just like a normal kingdom.
That kingdom has not been brought into its ultimate fulfillment yet, but we are still citizens of it. And there is a degree to which the kingdom exists today, and then there is a degree to which God is going to finish bringing the kingdom into existence.
And it’s so important to catch that. While in terms of our experience, this is all a work in progress, in the mind of God, this thing is a finished work. It is as good as done. Paul explained that at the end of chapter 1. This thing is guaranteed.
And as you think about citizenship, that is something that comes with both rights and responsibilities. When you are a citizen of a country, you have access to all the rights afforded to you by your nation. Here in America, you have freedom of speech, freedom of worship, the right to a fair trial, the right to own property, among other rights. And then you also have responsibilities. You have a responsibility to vote for good leaders, to register for the draft, to pay your taxes.
That is how citizenship works. It comes with rights and responsibilities. The same thing was true in the days of Paul, with the nations of the ancient era. And the same thing is also true of the kingdom of heaven.
We have rights and responsibilities. We have a God-given right to liberty as Christians. Jesus Christ gives us liberty. And we have a right to exercise the liberty given to us by Christ. We have a right to all the promises of scripture, to joy, peace, love in the Holy Spirit. We have a right to an inheritance of glory. And we have responsibilities as citizens of the kingdom of heaven too. We have a responsibility to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, to love the Lord our God, to seek to do what is good and pleasing in the sight of God.
Our heavenly citizenship comes with those kinds of rights and responsibilities.
And scripture tells us we are pilgrims traveling through a foreign land, here in this life. We are ultimately and truly citizens of the heavenly kingdom, a kingdom that we are not physically living in today. But we have a promise that, one day, we will enter into the heavenly kingdom. One day, we will enter fully into the country to which we have been made citizens through our union with Christ.
Members of the Household of God
Let me read verse 19 again.
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints….
Now, catch this last part of the verse.
But you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
Members of the household of God. We are not estranged, and we are not alienated. And Paul has given us two ways to understand what he means. We are not connected to each other in the same way citizens of the same country are connected to each other. And we are also connected to each other as being members of the same family. Members of the household of God.
And this is more than just an analogy. It is something that is also a reality. You are part of a new family. And Paul uses different explanations for how we come into this new family. One explanation is that we are like a bride to a bridegroom, and in that way, we are married into a new family. It’s bone of his bone; it’s flesh of his flesh. We are in Christ, in Him. And in that, we are members of the household of God. Another way Paul explains it is that we are adopted children now. God adopts us as His own children as we come to faith in Christ. We are adopted from the family of Adam into the family of Jesus Christ. And now, we are members of the household of God.
We are no longer the children of wrath; we are no longer the children of disobedience. This connects back to what Paul said in verse 2 and 3 of this same chapter. We are no longer the children of a wicked family. Now we are members of the household of God. We are the family of the King.
And what makes all of that true? Our union with Christ. Our unity with Christ. That is what makes this true.
19 So then [therefore] you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
And if there is one thing I hope you take away from this lesson today, it is this: From the moment you are saved, all these things are true about you.
True Unity vs. False Unity
Verse 13 lets us know this is all true from the moment we are saved.
From the moment you are saved, you are a member of the household of God. From the moment you are saved, you are citizens of the heavenly kingdom. From the moment you are saved, you have union with Christ. From the moment you are saved, you also have unity with all the other people who are united with Christ.
These things are true from the moment you are saved.
You don’t get saved, and then 15 steps later, you are a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. You don’t get saved and 21 steps later, you are members of the household of God. You don’t get saved and 37 steps later, you are in unity with the rest of the church. Absolutely not. All of those things are totally and fully true from the moment you are saved. Otherwise, you are not saved at all.
If you don’t have union with Christ, you are not part of the new family. If you don’t have union with Christ, you are still a citizen of this world. If you don’t have union with Christ, your sins were not crucified with him on the cross. If you don’t have union with Christ, you are lost and going to hell.
You cannot separate unity off into some additional phase of something you build yourself up to. First, we get justified. And then we get sanctified. And then we get the holy ghost. And then we get a last day revelation. And then we get unity. And then we get perfection. And then you can go in the rapture and escape the doomsday.
That probably sounds fairly familiar to you if you come from my background. But that is just plain wrong. There are not all these steps you have to climb in order to make it.
You either are united with Christ, or you are going to hell. You are either in unity, or you are lost. Unity is not an advanced level of salvation. Unity is part and parcel of salvation itself.
And in the last few lessons, I am zeroing in on this because I want you to understand just how badly off the rails the places we come from are.
The doomsday cult that we have escaped—they don’t even know what unity is. They haven’t a clue. And unity is not something you get in degrees. Today you have 10% unity. And tomorrow you have 50% unity. And you are working your way to 100% unity. That is not how this works. It’s all or nothing. You are either united to Christ, or you don’t. It’s not something that comes by degrees. You either have it, or you don’t. And there is honestly no other way to read these scriptures.
Where we come from, they never come to verses like these to preach unity. They never go to John chapter 17 and preach unity. And it’s because when you read what Jesus says about unity or you read what Paul says about unity in these verses, it doesn’t serve their purposes. Their unity is not about unity with Christ. Their so-called unity is about unity with the preacher.
The first purpose of their unity is so that they have an easy justification to throw people out of church who they don’t like. Whenever a sermon on unity was preached in the doomsday cult, that always meant someone was not in unity, and someone is about to get in big trouble. It was that way my entire life.
Preaching about unity was always the first step to getting rid of someone the leaders didn’t want around anymore. And they convinced everyone that unity was some advanced level that people needed to get to, and that people not in unity had to be gotten rid of.
And that is the first purpose of unity in the doomsday cult we come from. And the second purpose of unity was to control everyone. You were not allowed to think differently. You were not allowed to behave differently. You were not allowed to have your own opinion. You were not allowed to harbor a critical thought about the leaders. You were not allowed to raise any questions or concerns. Their version of unity is all about making you shut up, obey, and destroy you when you get out of line.
And you must agree with and obey the preacher, even if he is mistaken because that mistake must be the will of God. You must shut up and go along; otherwise, you are not in unity. And if you are not in unity, you are not going to make it. You are going to burn up in the tribulation.
And that is the second purpose of their unity—to empower the preacher to control everyone, every how much they desire.
And here is the thing. That looks a whole lot like something you could call unity—everyone walking, talking the same way, dressing the same way, behaving the same way. That does look like something you could call unity. But that is not the unity of scripture. That is just a manmade unity. It’s a Tower of Babel sort of unity. The Mormon church has a manmade unity. The Jehovah Witnesses have a manmade unity. People’s Temple had a manmade unity.
But it’s not the unity that the Bible is talking about. It’s not a unity based on union with Christ. It is a superficial unity created by men.
And where we have come from, their unity teachings are just that. It was just a manmade unity, created for the purposes of empowering the preachers to control people.
And some of them please to control the people a lot. And some of them please to control the people only a little.
Since some are only a little oppressive. But some are very oppressive. It just depends on what your preacher feels like doing. And whatever your preacher feels like doing, that is just how it’s going to be. And don’t fool yourself that God has anything to do with it. And don’t fool yourself that on judgment day, you are going to be able to tell God it was ok for you to go along with all because you trusted the leader. You are accountable, and you will be responsible for what you went along with.
And where we come from, the preachers inserted themselves as the standard of unity. I want you to recognize that.
And those preachers who set themselves as the standard of unity, they are actually putting themselves in the place where Jesus Christ belongs.
And in the doomsday cult we come from, their man-made unity allows the preacher to behave as extreme as he wants to. There is really no limit to how extreme he can push these sort of things. And there is nothing you can do about it at all.
And we have witnessed firsthand all the horrors they have perpetrated in the name of their manmade unity.
Brothers and sisters,
I am so glad I have escaped the doomsday cult we were all part of. I am so glad that God has blessed me to be able to open the Bible and see the truth that was long hidden from us. There is something very, very wrong in the places we come from. The problem is not some small, minor thing. The problem is at the root; it is a fundamental problem. They are wrong in the basics. The problem is that they do not believe the gospel message. In their pursuit of deep revelations, they have abandoned the belief that faith in Christ is enough to save you to the utmost.
In chasing the deep revelations, they have abandoned the only revelation that can actually save you. And that is a true revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
If you are listening to me today and you are getting tired, tired of hearing preachers go on for decades about their idea of unity and all the divisions, all the strife you have gone through in the name of unity, if you are tired of losing friends, if you are tired of losing family, if you are tired of watching homes broken up and lives destroyed, if you are tired of watching people driven to suicide, if you, this holiday weekend, look around at all the empty seats of lost relationships that have been taken from you by your false doomsday preachers, all in the name of so-called unity, I hope that you have enough common sense to start to realize something is wrong.
How can it be that all these things were done in the name of unity, yet none of it has ever yet produced the unity you are looking for? How can it be that you have expelled hundreds and hundreds of people, destroyed countless homes and families, and still, you have not managed to get to this unity you are looking for?
Hasn’t the decades of failure proven to you something is wrong? How can it be that a prophet came to prepare a people, but here all these decades later, you are still chasing this mythical unity and have not yet found it?
How can it be that a prophet came and restored the church back to the faith of the apostolic fathers, yet you are not in one accord in one place? How can it be that you still have to chase this unity?
Could it be that your preachers are lying to you? Could it be that I am telling you the truth? Could it be that the cult you are part of doesn’t even know what real unity is?
If you are looking for something better today, I want to invite you to come to Jesus. I want to invite you to rest in the finished work of the cross. Unity was finished on the cross. You don’t need to add anything to it. Just rest in Christ.
And if there are brothers and sisters who, maybe today, you are not experiencing some alienation and estrangement, realize that it is Jesus Christ who is already your peace. Realize that your unity already exists in him. And one day, you will indeed experience the reality of the unity and peace that already exists in him. You are God’s workmanship, and he will create that reality in you, whether it is in this life or in the next. In Jesus Christ, all things will be redeemed, and that includes redeeming our relationships with one another.
Praise the Lord, and I rejoice in that.
And today, if you let him, the Lord Jesus wants to bring into your life and your relationships the peace he created on the cross.
There are many people I love dearly, and we may not see them again until we are in heaven together. But for now, our hope is in Christ. And I want to encourage you that you too can safely rest your hope in Christ.
Let me close in prayer.
Lord God, thank you for the scripture. Thank you for breaking down all the divisions and hostility between each of us in Christ. Thank you for the gift of Jesus Christ, who is our peace. Thank you for granting us all citizenship in the heavenly kingdom. Lord, bless each one that listens here and grant them the comfort of the gospel, I pray. In Jesus’ name, Amen.