Strangers No More

 

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye 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: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an Holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are building together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” – (Eph.2:8, 11-22).

 

   Stranger means (a foreigner, an alien, one who is not a citizen). These strangers were called Gentiles by the Jews and uncircumcism. This chapter of (Eph.2) is showing us the method of the construction of God’s church as the temple of God. It tells us that the Gentile stranger who is saved and washed from his sin in the blood of Christ and born again is a stranger no more, but a fellow citizen of New Jerusalem and a part of God’s

spiritual temple with all the saved Jews.

 

   In the O.T. temple was the court of the Gentiles way off to the side. Gentile strangers were permitted to come, but they were away afar off. But now – for the Gentiles who are in Christ – all has changed. They were “without” Christ, now they are “in” Christ. The distance and barriers which separated them from God have been removed. They have been made nigh, not by their works or merits, but by the saving blood of Christ.

 

   The Old Testament temple was marked by partitions and courts separating Israel, Gentiles, men and women, and priests. Christ, by His death, took out the veil, and He became the way into the presence of God the Father. All people are removed from their little compartments and are placed in Christ, the new Temple where there is no separation. The cross of Christ has broken down the wall of separation. All are one in Christ Jesus. The gospel is preached to the Jew first who were near, and then to the Gentile – strangers who were afar off. We Gentiles were, in effect standing in the outer court until Christ died on the cross and the veil was rent, and the way of salvation was open to all, both Jews and strangers. PTL – we saved and born again Gentiles are “strangers no more” but are part of God’s Holy Spiritual temple not made with hands. And the church is God’s temple currently under construction and soon it will be finished.

 

   Solomon’s temple was built without the sound of hammer, so the Holy Spirit silently places each saved saint into God’s living temple through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free…” – (I Cor.12:13). No human standing in a church made by hands can baptize you with water unto salvation. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can baptize you with His Holy Spirit into the spiritual temple of God not made with hands. God indwells saved, sanctified believers, not buildings.

 

   PTL Jesus, we are strangers and foreigners and aliens no more, but fellow citizens with the Jewish saints in the temple of God. The middle wall has been broken down by Christ and whosoever may come by faith. It doesn’t make any difference whether you are Jew or Gentile. The color of your skin makes no difference. White, brown, red, black – all who are saved are one in Christ. We are in Christ when once we were without Christ. This is the temple God is building today – a temple with no divisions and compartments and courts – just one big wide open temple. But you must enter the temple through the door by the blood of Christ, God’s Passover Lamb of God, upon it. The blood of Christ breaks down all racial barriers.

 

   I live in Tucson, Az. right next to the wall being built to keep foreigners from illegally crossing over into the U.S., but many cross over anyway. But you will never sneak into heaven and become a fellow citizen with the saints unless you do it God’s way though salvation and the blood of Christ. When you repent of your sins and believe on Christ in your heart by faith and become a born again new creature in Christ, the middle wall of partition in broken down and you are allowed into the temple and the citizenship of heaven. You are a stranger no more. When a Mexican becomes a citizen of the U.S. then he is no more a stranger or a foreigner or an alien. And his citizenship is a free gift. So it is with us saints – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” – (Eph.2:8). You must ‘cross over’ by the ‘cross’ of Christ.

 

   The kingdom of God was temporarily limited to the one people of Israel, yet bore within it the germ of diffusion among all the people of the world – Jew and Gentile – Jew and stranger – foreigners. The covenant of circumcision made by God with Abraham, was from the beginning, not exclusively confined to the natural posterity of Israel’s twelve sons. As a practical proof at the redemption which was to be prepared through him and his seed was intended to all races on earth, Abraham was commanded to circumcise all males in his household, which amounted to hundreds. Some of the men who were circumcised were ‘strangers’ and were incorporated with the promised seed. (Gen.17:12) says – “And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in thy house, or bought with money of any stranger which is not of they seed.” The first circumcision in the Bible included Gentile strangers as well as Abraham’s family – God was already pointing to the New Testament and Gentiles being circumcised by faith in their hearts – “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart..” – (Rom.2:28,29). Again – “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” – (Gal.5:15). I was a circumcised Gentile outwardly as a baby, but circumcised inwardly at 31 years old when I was born again.

 

   Circumcision speak of the father’s seed and being born into the family and we who have been born again by the incorruptible seed of our heavenly Father are part of the family of God. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” – (I Pet.1:23). PTL Jesus for our inward circumcision into the family of God – PTL Jesus we are “strangers no more” but are spiritual children of Abraham, a father of many nations – “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” – (Gal.3:29).

 

   There were also proselytes, Gentile converts to the Jewish faith, who committed themselves to the teaching of God’s Word and who were circumcised and worshipped in the Jewish temple and synagogues. By N.T. times they were a significant part of Judaism. Gentile proselytes, and strangers were in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost along with the Jews – strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes” – (Acts 2:10). PTL strangers no more, but a part of God’s temple. Gentile proselytes proved to be a rich mission field for the early church and many were saved. Christianity welcomes all people regardless of nationality, both Jew and Gentile. It’s ironic, but now every unsaved Jew should be called the Uncircumcision.

 

   God’s temple today is made of people of every color, every nationality, speaking every language on earth. “…For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” – (Rev.5:9). We born again saints belong to the household of God, we are building upon the one foundation, Jesus Christ. He is the chief cornerstone and in Him all the building – every believer, Jew and Gentile - is framed together and is continually growing into the holy temple of God. And God inhabits the building through the Spirit. How wonderful it is that we are the tabernacle of God… God lives in us. We possess the third Person of the Godhead – The Holy Spirit. Therefore we should be very careful how we treat the temple in which God dwells.

 

   We strangers, foreigners and aliens, who were outcasts spiritually are now born again into God’s household,. We belong to the Father’s family and are circumcised in our hearts and are the center of His love. We are the habitation of the Hoy Spirit… He abides and lives in us.

 

   Unsaved people around the world make pilgrimages to holy places and shrines and sacred spots and temples and cathedrals etc., foolishly. God is not there. The most holy place, the spot that is supremely sacred to God, is the place that God Himself has chosen as His habitation, His worshipping temple. I am speaking of the heart of every born again believer. “Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” – (Gal.2:20). This fact should humble your heart and melt you within. To think that God would inhabit my heart. God help me to keep the temple clean. PTL Jesus - we are strangers no more.

 

   Are you one of Jesus’ flock of sheep? Are you one of the Good Shepherd’s sheep? Do you know His voice and follow Him? Has the blood of God’s Passover’s Lamb that was crucified on the day of Passover washed your sins away and saved you? Are you still a stranger to Christ? Is He a stranger to you? “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers”– (Jn.10:4,5).

 

   Jesus prophesied also of Jew and Gentile sheep in one fold – “And other sheep I have, which are not of his fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” – (Jn.10:16). This one flock includes the whole born again family of God made up of believing Jews and Gentiles and comprising His holy temple, the church.

 

   If you are a stranger to Christ, be a stranger no more. Repent of your sins and believe in your heart by faith on the Lord Jesus and you will become a new born again creature in Christ. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” – (2 Cor.5:17). Jesus said – “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Sprit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” – (Jn.3:6,7). Born again describes the new creature you become when you truly believe and have true salvation. Do not be a stranger and unknown to Christ. Be a stranger no more.

 

P.S. – Thank you Court-ney, my wife’s Spiritual sister in the Lord, for inspiring me with this sermon.

 

 

Pastor Mike Storti

5000 N. LaCholla- Lot 76

Tucson, AZ  85705

Email: BibleWatchman@aol.com

Website: BibleWatchman.com

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