Ephesians 2:19-22

Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 5, 2006


We could learn a few things from geese.

Next time you see geese flying along in V formation, you might be interested in knowing what science has discovered about why they fly that way. It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a V formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

(Christians who share a common direction and a sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier, because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.)

Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone, and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.

(If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed the same way we are going.)

When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.

(It pays to take turns doing hard jobs--with people at church or with geese flying south.)

The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

(What do we say when we honk from behind?)

Finally, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by a shot and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow him down to help and protect him. They stay with him until he is either able to fly, or until he is dead, and then they launch out on their own or with another formation to catch up with their original group.

:19 Now, therefore,

Paul is now bringing to a conclusion the things he said in verses 11-18 where he talked about how Jesus has brought us Gentiles close to God. He has torn down the wall separating us from God and from those who follow Him. He has given us access to the Father in heaven.

:19 you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,



I think that one of life’s greatest curses is that of loneliness. It’s a sort of vicious cycle when you’re feeling lonely. Especially when you’re with a group of people and no one seems to notice you.
I find that I tend to feel most lonely when I’m not “in my element”. For me, my element is this church. I rarely feel lonely when I’m at church. I’m accepted here. I’m a leader here. I have purpose here. I work here.
But take me out of my element, and loneliness can get pretty painful. One of the most difficult places for me has been going to the Sr. Pastors’ conferences. Some of the guys have their buddies and you can see groups of people talking and laughing, but you’re not one of them. Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong and maybe there was something wrong with you?
Before we, as Gentiles, came to trust in Jesus, we were foreigners to the things of God:
(Eph 2:12 NKJV) that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

We didn’t belong. We weren’t accepted.

But because of what Jesus has done for us and because of our faith in Him, we are no longer foreigners when it comes to the things of God.
At the beginning of the letter, Paul was giving thanks to God …
(Eph 1:6 NKJV) to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.

We’ve been accepted. We belong. That should change everything.

David experienced loneliness. Perhaps one of the loneliest times in his life occurred when a raiding party of the Amalekites swooped into his hometown while he was away, and they took everybody’s wives, children, and possessions.
(1 Sam 30:6-9 KJV) And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.

David encouraged himself in the Lord. I think that’s a little like realizing that you DO belong to God’s family, you are a citizen of heaven. Then what did David do?

{7} And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. {8} And David inquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all. {9} So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him…

David went to work. David pursued the problem. And David was used to rescue all those that had been taken captive.

So how does this affect loneliness? Here’s what I’ve been finding in my life – when I’m somewhere where I begin to feel out of place, I have to “encourage myself in God”. I need to realize that God is with me and He has things for me to do. And then I look for someone else that might be feeling lonely like me. When I’m at the Sr. Pastors’ Conference, I’ve come to find that there are plenty of other pastors who are there by themselves who feel exactly like I do. And the more I reach out, the less I feel out of place. In fact, each year I go back now, I find that there are a couple more fellows that are looking for me.
When you’re feeling lonely and out of place, it helps to realize that you do belong. You have been accepted where it counts the most. You have been accepted by God. Encourage yourself. And then get to work. Go find someone else who looks a bit lonely. Reach out.

:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,

apostles and prophets – It’s obvious that the apostles are New Testament apostles. But who are these prophets? Are they Old Testament or New Testament prophets?

Because of the way that Paul will use these two words together in Ephesians (3:5; 4:11), we believe he is talking about New Testament prophets, not Old Testament ones.

The Mormon Church likes to use this verse to tell you this is why theirs is the only true church. The young men at your door will ask you, “Does your church have apostles and prophets?”

The answer to their question is “yes”. Our church is built on the apostles and prophets. We have their writings. It’s called the New Testament.

The foundation is the part of a building that is laid down first. This was the ministry of the early church. Their teaching was preserved in the New Testament.
We know that Jesus Christ is now in heaven seated at the right hand of the Father. If it isn’t necessary that Jesus be physically present in the church, why is it necessary that apostles and prophets be physically present?

:20 Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone,

chief corner stoneakrogoniaios (“extreme” + “corner”) – placed at an extreme corner, the corner foundation stone

"The akrogwniaiov here is the primary foundation-stone at the angle of the structure by which the architect fixes a standard for the bearings of the walls and cross-walls throughout" (W. W. Lloyd).

Jesus called Himself the chief corner stone:

(Luke 20:9-18 KJV) Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. {10} And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. {11} And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. {12} And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. {13} Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him. {14} But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. {15} So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? {16} He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid. {17} And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? {18} Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
You have a choice of what to do with this stone. You can fall upon Him and let your heart be broken and allow God to touch you, or you can wait until He falls upon you at the last judgment. The choice is yours.
In Luke 20:17, He was quoting from:
(Psa 118:22 NKJV) The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.
There was a story told by the Jews about the building of the temple by Solomon. We don’t know if it’s true or not, but it’s an interesting thought. With Solomon’s temple, the stone was all cut to specifications at the quarry. There was to be no sound of cutting tools on the temple sight. After a stone was cut to specifications, it would be sent to the temple, where it would be placed into the building. One particular stone arrived, and the builders couldn’t figure out where it went, so they threw it away, down the hill. Much later, the builders were wondering when the quarry was going to send the most important stone, the corner stone. All the other stones were in place except for it. The quarry answered that they had already sent it a long time ago. That’s when they realized that the stone they had throne away and rejected was in fact the most important of them all, the corner stone.

It’s all about Jesus. You may think that Jesus is not that big of a deal. You may be thinking that it’s not that important to trust in Jesus.

But Jesus is the very thing that life was meant to be built upon. You life is going to be out of whack until you allow Him to be the center of your life.

:21 in whom the whole building, being joined together,

being joined togethersunarmologeo – to join closely together; to frame together

What is the “whole building”? It’s the whole church.

Sometimes we can get to thinking that our little group is the church. Sometimes we think that our little church is the whole church.

The church is much bigger than that.

The church isn’t made up of buildings, it’s made up of people. And in God’s eyes, everyone on the planet that is a believer in Jesus is a part of the church.

Last week we talked about the blessing of unity found in Ps. 133, when “brethren dwell together in unity”.

In a way it’s kind of exciting that the folks at St. Stephens are allowing us to meet in their facility. We have a great opportunity to show the world that the Body of Christ is bigger than our little group.

:12 grows into a holy temple in the Lord,

:22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.


The Temple

The Bible does teach us that each one of us individually who believes in Jesus is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 6:18-20).
But here the emphasis is different. Here, the emphasis is that when we are together, we are the Temple of God
Together, we are a place where God dwells.
(Mat 18:20 NKJV) "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."
(1 Cor 3:9-17 NKJV) For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building. {10} According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. {11} For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Paul is talking about how the church in Corinth was started, by building upon Jesus Christ.

{12} Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, {13} each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. {14} If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. {15} If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Our works will be tested one day as we stand before Jesus Christ. We will not be judged for our sins because they have been forgiven. But our works will be judged and become the basis for the rewards we will receive in heaven.

{16} Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? {17} If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

The word “you” in verse 16 is the plural form of “you”, or we might say, “you all”. In this passage, Paul is not talking about the individual people in Corinth being a temple, but the group that is gathered together is a temple. When Paul talks about someone destroying the “temple”, he’s not talking about a person killing himself, he’s talking about a person who tries to destroy the church. In the context of this chapter, he’s talking about the “envy, strife, and division” (1Cor. 3:3) that carnal believers can stir up in a church.

As a Temple
We are a place where God is worshipped.

(Heb 13:15 NKJV) Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

We are a place where people can come to find God.

When Solomon’s Temple was completed, God filled the building with His glory.

(2 Chr 5:13-14 NKJV) indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying: "For He is good, For His mercy endures forever," that the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, {14} so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.

When we give God praise, there is a special sense of God’s presence.

(Psa 22:3 KJV) But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

And when we are together worshipping God, people will see that God is here.

We are a place where God speaks to His people.

This is why we place such a great emphasis on the teaching of God’s Word. God speaks to us through His Word.

I remember as a kid being in a church where the pastor based his sermons on the latest Simon and Garfunkel songs. No kidding. But God isn’t going to speak to you through Mrs. Robinson or the Sounds of Silence.

God speaks through His Word.

God’s Word helps us figure out what is right and wrong.

(Heb 4:12 KJV) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

God’s Word gives us guidance.

(Psa 119:105 KJV) Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

God’s Word helps us to grow up.

(2 Tim 3:16-17 KJV) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: {17} That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

What does this say about how important it is that we are in church?

(Heb 10:24-25 NKJV) And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, {25} not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

It’s not just important for you, for what you get out of church. It’s important for what you contribute to church – the worship and praise that you bring, and the people you talk to.


The building process

Peter says that we are like “living stones” in the building process:
(1 Pet 2:5 NKJV) you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Stones don’t naturally come shaped to form parts of a building. They require fitting. They require shaping. In Solomon’s temple, they did this shaping at the quarry:
(1 Ki 6:7 NKJV) And the temple, when it was being built, was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built.

In a way this is a picture of the process that God is doing. For those of us who are alive now in the world, we live in the “quarry”, getting ready to be put into the heavenly temple.

But the process of getting the stones shaped to fit together takes work.

(Prov 27:17 NKJV) As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

God will use people in your life to shape you. They will be used to knock off some of the rough edges so the stone has a “finished” quality about it.

But that isn’t always fun.

Some people will be a pain in the neck, and God will be using them to teach you patience and knocking off the edges of impatience.

Others will be quite needy, and God will be using them to teach you compassion, grace, and mercy.

Others will be there to help you, filling in the holes and cracks in your life.

The temptation is to just stay away from people. You can save yourself a lot of grief if you just stay away from people.

But you will never grow if you do. You will not learn the patience and compassion that God so desires to build into your life. You will not have others there to encourage you and help you.