“For He himself is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility.”
This verse is such a powerful picture of what God is doing in the church at Ephesus at this point; so you have Jews and Gentiles together in the same church, two groups of people that have historically been divided.
Jesus has broken down the dividing wall of hostility. Let’s pray for unity in the church and for the spread of the gospel where Christ has not yet been praised.
You see this language of a dividing wall of hostility, and that’s a pretty accurate description of the way Jews and Gentiles related to each other. But now that Jews had placed their faith in Christ, and Gentiles had placed their faith in Christ, and they found themselves in the same church. Paul writes that Jesus is now our peace. He himself is our peace. He’s brought us together by His blood shed for both of our sins. He’s made us one body, where we are in Christ together, and He has broken down the dividing wall of hostility.
It’s a powerful picture of the unifying presence of Christ, the unifying power of the gospel, to bring together people who were once opposed to each other… now coming together as one in what the rest of this chapter talks about as the household of God; fellow citizens with the saints; members of the very household of God.
And so, I want you to think about the church you’re a part of, and just ask the question: is there any division in your church? Because Jesus died to break down dividing walls. Just think about your relationships with other followers of Christ. Is there any division that you have right now between you and other followers of Christ? Now, this doesn’t mean that once we’re in the church, we agree about every single thing, and that we have the exact same thoughts about every single detail. That’s definitely not the case here in Ephesus. It’s not the case anywhere in the New Testament.
You see Paul at different points exhorting different groups of people to… even where your consciences may differ on things, to not miss or compromise the unity you have in Christ. And even what Jesus prayed for his disciples, not only in the first century, but his disciples to come after them, us in John:17… He prayed that we would be one, just as He and the father are one, a trinity- like union, and unity in the church that Jesus died to make possible.
And yet, there is an adversary who wants to divide the church, who wants to divide us from other brothers and sisters in ways that promote conflict and tension, and even hostility. And yet, the power of the gospel is intended to break down those walls. So, let’s pray for unity in the church, and then pray, as we continually on this podcast pray for unreached people groups around the world.
Like, I want us to pray today for the Pulaar Fulani in Senegal. The Pulaar are known as ardent defenders of Islam. They boast of basically being the first black Africans to convert to Islam. And so, you think about… even in different pictures, maybe in Africa, maybe in Asia or right here in America, where you bring different tribes together into the church, and the challenges for unifying that group?
But that’s the beauty, the power of the gospel; the peace of Christ brings together groups that may have once been opposed to each other. So let’s pray for the unity of Christ to be evident in our churches, our relationships, and in the spread of the gospel to the nations, that God would bring together all kinds of tribes, all kinds of languages, all kinds of people groups from all kinds of different perspectives, together as one in Christ, across this global body.
Oh God, we praise you for the peace that Christ has bought for us, that we now have with you, the fact that we’re able to pray right now when we have been justified by faith, Romans 5:1 says, and we now have peace with you. All glory be to your name for the peace you have given us with you, the reconciliation we have in relationship with you. And so God, we pray for an experience of this peace, and this reconciliation with all the brothers and sisters in Christ around us.
God, we pray that you’d help us to guard the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, what Ephesians 4 will later talk about. We pray that you would indeed show that you have broken down dividing walls of hostility. God, we pray that you would help us to work for the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace in relationships we have with other brothers and sisters in Christ.
We pray that you’d help us to guard against division and conflict and tension. God, we pray that you would help us to guard against division in our churches. You got in each of our churches, and the church I pastor and the churches that are represented in those who are praying this with me now; God, we pray for a unity of the spirit and the bond of peace, and God, we pray for that not just in our churches, God, but as your church spreads and multiplies to the ends of the earth gallery, God, we Pray for the spread of the gospels, for the spread of the peace of Christ among the Pulaar Fulani and Senegal.
Please, Oh God, a million of them… so few of them have knowledge of Jesus. God, we pray for the spread of the peace of Jesus among the Pulaar Fulani in Senegal. And then God, we pray that whether they’re in Senegal or in all kinds of places around the world, God, that you would bring together even once-warring or conflicting tribes… bring them together in a beautiful display of the gospel.
God, we pray what Jesus prayed for us in John:17, that we would be one as as you, as the Father and the Son are one, give us this kind of oneness, we pray, and help us to work against division. Show us even flowing from this prayer today, specific ways we need to work for unity, specific ways we need to reconcile with brothers and sisters in Christ who we may be divided from right now, God. By the piece that you’ve bought for us in Christ, may Ephesians, Chapter Two, Verse 14 be a reality among us. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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