This post is adapted from Pastor Mark Kelsey’s message at the C3 Oxford Falls 10am service on Sunday 18 March. Watch the messages here.
‘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’
Ephesians 2:13-14 (ESV)
Life is full of divides. In fact humans love to separate and divide things.
Whilst natural and physical divides are part of our world, humans also create divides. We create barriers and social divides based on race, religion, culture, gender, wealth, age and politics.
The expression ‘The Great Divide’ is often defined as meaning either the boundary between life and death, God and man. Or, a boundary between two contrasting cultures or societies which is almost impossible to bridge.
But the Good News of Jesus Christ is that He bridged the great divide on the Cross.
When Jesus was on the Cross He was at work.
Jesus alone can translate us from darkness to light, from death to life. In and through Him there is no separation or divide between us and God.
Colossians 1:13 – ‘He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son’
In Ephesians 2:1-10 we read what you could call Part One of the Cross: Our salvation, our deliverance, our redemption, our life in Christ.
Ephesians 2:4-5 – ‘But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—‘
But then we read on in Ephesians 2:11-18 and hear about Part Two of the Cross: Jesus put to death our hostility.
He brought down not just the dividing wall between us and God, but between us and others. The Cross of Christ is not just about us and God. The dividing wall has been destroyed so we can also see others, reach out to others and share Christ with others.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 – ‘All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.’
When we have Christ in us we see the world differently. We see others differently. We do not see the divisions and walls, but by the grace of God we step over these barriers and take and extend the love of God to others.
We are not called to be tolerant. We are called to carry grace and truth and be reconcilers of the world to God.
In John 4, we read about Jesus when he meets the Samaritan woman at the well. There was a social and religious divide between the Samaritans and other Israelites. But Jesus broke all the social, cultural and religious rules by talking to this woman. Jesus broke down the walls for this woman and also for her whole city and they experienced revival there because of it.
If we are authentic, humble and vulnerable with others, it will break down the walls. It is often best to just ignore or overlook walls of hostility.
Step over, reach out and love and bless.
We have to change perceptions.
What people incorrectly think about God and Christians and the church changes through our actions. But we have to act. Being credible and real and loving towards others allows God to move in that person’s world.
Jesus told his disciples in John 4:35 to look up, because the fields were white for harvest.
We must take up Christ’s commission to reach out to others. Remember, a wall can come down one brick at a time.