“He also came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 So then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household. Ephesians 2:17-19 (EHV)
Obviously, there has been a lot of talk lately about illegal aliens—foreigners coming into our country illegally; and what we should do, if anything to follow the laws we already have in this country and keep this from happening. No one can blame these people—if I were in their situation, I also might try to get into the great country of the United States of America. I’m not trying to get into a political debate of course—that is the least of my intentions; but the topic of aliens and foreigners is one you can’t avoid right now.
I am reminded what Paul says in our verses above. The “you” in verse 17 is referring to us (at least most of us, I assume). It is referring to Gentiles, non-Jews. The Jews were God’s chosen nation, they were his people—his own dear children. Either you were part of God’s chosen nation, or you weren’t. For most (if not all) of us, we are not part of this chosen nation, we are foreigners or aliens.
In verse 12 Paul reminds us of what we were, remember that at that time you were separated from Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise. You were without hope and without God in the world. By nature, not only didn’t we have citizenship in God’s kingdom, but worse yet, we were separated from Christ and the promises that God gives to us through him. And therefore, we had no hope—no hope in this world and no hope in the life to come.
But Christ came with the gospel, the message of true peace—peace with God in the forgiveness of sins through Christ’s sacrifice of his blood on the cross. This gospel message wasn’t’ meant for just the Jews, but for us Gentiles as well (we remember that Paul was sent as the Apostle to the Gentiles). Through faith in Christ, worked in our hearts by the Holy Spirit through the gospel, we have been adopted into the family of God. Because of what he has done for us we are no longer foreigners or aliens in the kingdom of God. We are fellow citizens, members of God’s kingdom and his household—his heirs who will inherit his gracious gift of salvation!
Far too often we are concerned about earthly and worldly things—things that last only a short time, that are here today and are gone tomorrow. In his letter to the Philippians Paul reminds us that we are but strangers here on earth and heaven is our home, we are citizens of heaven. First, referring to enemies of Christ he says, They are thinking only about earthly things. But about all believers (Jews and Gentiles alike) he says, But our citizenship is in heaven. We are eagerly waiting for a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Because of Christ we are citizens in God’s kingdom, citizens of heaven. Let us long for that life to come where we will live in the land of paradise, united with our Lord forever.
— Pastor Frey
Our Men’s group will meet again this Tuesday at 9:00am as we continue looking at the official doctrinal statements of the WELS called, “This We Believe.” All men of the congregation are invited to attend—we pray that you do!
Our quarterly voters meeting will be our annual congregational meeting. The date on the calendar sent out to everyone is wrong. It is the Tuesday the 22nd at 7:00pm (not the 15th). Please mark this change on your calendars and plan on joining us on the 22nd as we (among other things), vote for a new council secretary and a new trustee.
Streaming our Services Online
With the update in our recording and audio equipment we now have the capabilities of streaming our services online. We tried a test-run last weekend and we were happy with how it turned out for the most part (there are some audio issues that will be resolved shortly, we hope). Our plan right now unless things change is to stream our 8:00am service each Sunday and other services throughout the year. Look for a link on our Facebook page in the near future as well as an embedded video on our website. Each service can also be watched live on our youtube channel (linked below) during and after each service. We hope that this is a great blessing to some of our shut-ins, to our members who are away on vacation and unable to worship with us, and others through the world so that they too can hear the message of God’s grace. We thank the Lord that he has given us this opportunity to share the gospel in this way! We are eager to hear your feedback.