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Ephesians 2 - Be Together

Probably the largest number of artists to work on a single picture were the 130 who helped paint the Pantheon de la Guerre in France between 1914 and 1918. This gigantic panorama of the first World War is 402 feet long by 45 feet high and contains - besides battlefields, flags, monuments and symbolic figures - the life-sized portraits of 6,000 war heroes and leaders of 15 countries.

We are a lot like the picture mentioned above... It would be arrogant of us to claim that we are the only artist at work on the painting of our life. This means that it is vital to choose properly those who will be adding to the panorama and that we must be careful and considerate when it is our turn to pick up the paintbrush for others' murals. Read the following chapter of Ephesians (chapter 2) and notice how Paul addresses our inborn need for support and unity.

"1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind." 

When we choose to follow the world and its selections, we are destined to carry out disobedience. It is in this position that we find ourselves before the entrance of the grandest and greatest gift ever known to man. A gift so great that it can only be described as divine.

"4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 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, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast." 

Which is harder to hear: a) it is not all about me? or b) you can't do it by yourself? Either one, while difficult to hear, is absolutely, unmistakably true concerning our salvation. Even in saving us, God is still to be glorified completely. Even though we are the ones being saved, it is only by a free gift of God that it takes place. Be grateful to hear those words, and be open and cheerful in giving those words to a world that desperately is seeking positive things to be unified in.

"10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

We most certainly have a purpose! It is beyond time for the church to put away its foolish arguments and self-aggrandizing stances of King-Kongesque chest thumping, and to start realizing that God created us, saved us, and moved us to do good works! Stop looking at what you can't do and stare longingly into a future where you are obsessed with what you can do for God.

"11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 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 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, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 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, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit."

How precious a portrait... Painted by so many hands... We were aliens, separated, strangers, with no hope and without God... and now? Jesus Christ is our peace, our unity, our sacrifice, our loving Savior, and our access to the one God and Father who is building us into a dwelling place. Love has broken through and peace and unity are within our grasp! How can we then say we feel beaten down and tired? Our God created us for good works, let's decide to start today getting about doing them.

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