"The Broken Wall"

Preached by on March 27, 2016
— From the series,

He Is Risen! But what was the point of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus? His earthly life and sacrificial death had one purpose - to bring us all before God.

The Broken Wall

(Eph. 2:11-18)

 

Intro:

A.  During the lifetime of Jesus, the temple in Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious life. The temple was the place where animal sacrifices were carried out and worship according to the Law of Moses was followed faithfully. Hebrews 9:1-9 tells us that in the tabernacle a veil separated the Holy of Holies—the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence—from the rest of the temple where men dwelt. This signified that man was separated from God by sin (Isaiah 59:1-2). Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil once each year (Exodus 30:10; Hebrews 9:7) to enter into God’s presence for all of Israel and make atonement for their sins.

B.  There is uncertainty as to the exact measurement of a cubit, but it is safe to assume that this veil was somewhere near 60 feet high. An early Jewish tradition says that the veil was about four inches thick, but the Bible does not confirm that measurement.

C.  The size and thickness of the veil makes the events occurring at the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross so much more momentous. Listen to Matthew. 27:50-51a.

D.  When Jesus died, the veil was torn, and God moved out of that place never again to dwell in a temple made with hands (Acts 17:24).  Listen to how the Hebrew writer helps us to see our approach to God today.  Read Hebrews 10:19-20.

E.  The veil in the temple was a constant reminder that sin renders humanity unfit for the presence of God. The fact that the sin offering was offered annually and countless other sacrifices repeated daily showed graphically that sin could not truly be atoned for or erased by mere animal sacrifices. Jesus Christ, through His death, has removed the barriers between God and man, and now we may approach Him with confidence and boldness (Hebrews 4:14-16).

(taken from:  http://www.gotquestions.org/temple-veil-torn.html)

 

I.  Broken Walls

A.  The veil was torn down and through Jesus we have access to the Father.  But that was not the only barrier that was broken when Jesus died for our sins and rose up for our hope of eternal life.  You see, in the beginning of the church, the belief was that you needed to be a Jew in order to be a child of God.

B.  Paul writes to the Ephesians about another barrier, a wall that was built that separated Jew and Gentile.  We are good at building walls to protect ourselves and keep others out, but Jesus is about knocking them down and building unity.  Paul, an Apostle to the Gentiles, writes about that wall.

C.  Listen to what Paul says in Eph. 2:11-12.  Most, if not all of us here today, are Gentiles.  We are “non-Jew” by birth.  The Jews had a covenant relationship with God and were His chosen people.

D.  If there was ever a word to describe us Gentiles it would have to be “without.”

1.  There was a time when we were without Christ.  When we were separated from Christ we stood condemned in sin.

2.  We were without a citizenship.  We were excluded from Israel and were foreigners.  We had no place in God’s kingdom.

3.  We were without hope.  If there is anything that people hold on to in the toughest times, it is hope.  But there was a time that because of our sin we were without any hope of salvation.

4.  We were without God.  People have always had their own gods, sometimes even making a god out of themselves.  But when we were in this state we were without the true and living God.

E.  Yes, there was a wall that kept me from God.  That wall was sin.  But there was also a wall between people; the Jews and Gentiles.  A wall of theology and ignorance; a wall of hostility.

F.  Read Eph. 2:13-14.  Just as God tore the veil of the curtain to unite us to him, Jesus broken down the wall that kept me from God and Jews from Gentile.  Why? Read on.

II.  Reconciliation.

A.  Read verse 15-16.  Jesus tore down the dividing wall.  When Jesus came to make peace he did it by destroy that which separated us.  He destroyed the dividing wall of hostility.  He did so because of his purpose.  His purpose was recreate mankind.  He did not make Jews into Gentiles nor Gentiles into Jews.  He created in himself one new man, but making peace.

B.  Where division and walls kept us apart; God stepped in and broke down our barriers so that we might understand true peace.  Not an absence of war, but a spirit of wholeness and belonging.

C.  There has been a great difference between Jew and Gentile.  The Jews were different in every way – from diet to dress.  Now, in Jesus, the two are becoming one.  That was not easy for the early church to accept.  What they had to realize is that we all must come to God through Jesus, not through Judaism.  It is difficult to tear down the walls that separate us.

 

Conclusion:

A.  It is time for the walls in our heart to be torn down by the love and grace of Jesus.  It is time for us to stop dividing over issues of opinion and unite as Jesus prayed his disciples would.

B.  Maybe you have been alone, walled in by your own sin, or walled out by others bitterness.  The wall has been broken.  Today is Resurrection Sunday.  Jesus rose from grave, conquered death and in doing so, allowed all mankind to be saved.

C.  Does that empty tomb mean anything to you?  Do you find hope knowing that just as Jesus was raised from the death and you can be raised from the death of sin to a new life in him; from the death of this body to a resurrection of eternal glory?  Don’t build a wall.  Jesus did everything to tear it down.  What he calls is for you and me to walk in Him.  If we can help you on your journey, please come as we stand and sing.