The Peace of the Cross

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The Peace of the Cross
PulpitCurriculum11.8.15
ThePeaceoftheCross
Ephesians2:11-18
PastorKurtisMassey
YouarenotexpectedtocovereverydetailofthisPulpitCurriculum,rather,consideritaresourcetohelpyouinguidingyourgroup
toadeeperunderstandingandapplicationoftheWord.AsyouparticipateinyourLifegroupandasyoustudyidentify
GETTINGAFTERITNOWmomentstohelpyouplanandbebetterequippedtogrowinyourresponsetotheWord.
OpeningThought:Kurtis’highlightedhowsomeofmankind’sbestattemptsatpeacefallshort.Apartfrom
JesusChrist,therecanneverbepeacewithGodoramongmen.ButbecauseoftheCross,wecanknowthe
Godofpeaceandbendthatpeacetowardsoneanother.Thepurposeofthismessagewastohighlightthe
priorityofthepeaceofthecross,sothatwemaypreserveitwithinourbodyandpromoteitinour
community.Whatcanhappenwhenachurchforgetsthepriorityofpeacewithinitsmembers?Whyis
peacewithGodsuchavitalprecursortounderstandingandhavingpeacewithoneanother?
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1.TheCrossBringsPeacebetweenGodandMan(vv.11-12)
AfterPaulhasjustexplainedthepeaceandunityofthebelieverwithGodinEph.2:1-10,heshowshow
thatpeaceandunityshouldexistamongthechurch.PaulwasdisappointedbecausetheJewswere
supposedtobeablessingtotheGentiles,butinsteadtheywerejudgingthem.Kurtisremindedustobe
awareofasinfultendencyinourownheartstostilldothattoday.Whatisattherootofthesinofexcluding
certainpeople,oronlywantingtoacceptpeoplewhoare“likeus”?Whyisshowingpartialitysuchan
offensetoGod?Ifthechurchdoesthis,whatdoesitdotodamagethegoodnewsofthegospel?
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Whethercircumcisedoruncircumcised,onethingisforsure,theGentileswerelivingapartfromGod.They
were“atthattimeseparatefromChrist,excludedfromthecommonwealthofIsrael,strangerstothe
covenantsofpromise,havingnohope,withoutGodintheworld.”WarrenWiersbesaid,“Thewordthat
bestdescribestheGentilesiswithout.”HowdoesbeingremindedofyouroldlifewithoutGodmakeyoua
betterfollowerofHimtoday?WhenyourecallyourlifeapartfromChrist,whatweresomeofthewaysyou
rememberlackingtruepeace?WhatisonemainwayyouseeGod’speaceworkinginyourlifetoday?
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Therewasnohopeforancientreligions.Lifewasdifficult;peopledreadedwhatfacedthemontheother
sideofdeath,sotheycreatedgodsandtraditionstohelpthemcopewiththeirsenseofhopelessness.
Whenapersondoesn’thaveahopeofeternitywithGod,thenhewillinevitablylivethislife“untilthe
wheelsfalloff.”Whodoyouknowlivinglikethis?Writetheirnamedownandshareinmutualministrytime
withothersyourcommitmenttoprayforthem,prayforanopportunitytosharethehopeofJesusChrist
withthem,andinvitethemtoHarvestthisholidayseason.Keeponeanotheraccountableinthis!
2.TheCrossBringsPeacebetweenJew&Gentile(vv.13-16)
ThecrossbringspeacebetweenracesbybreakingdownwallsthroughtheworkofJesusontheonthe
Cross.Itwasfinished,“theveilofthetemplewastornfromtoptobottom.”Hemadebothgroupsintoone
andbrokedownthebarrierofthedividingwall.TherearenowallsforthosewhoareinChrist.Whatare
somewaysyouseeanoldtendencytojudgeothersaccordingtotheflesh(2Cor.5:16)?Whatheartissuedo
youhavetodealwithtolivethewaytheseversesdescribe?
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SometimeschurchesbecomeguiltyofbeingliketheIsraeliteswhousedtheirchosenstatusasameansto
braganddemonstratepridetobeginlookingdownuponothers.Ifanon-Christiancomesinourchurchand
fromadifferentwalkoflife,adifferentreligiousbackground(Muslim,Hindu,Mormon,etc.),thenwe
shouldnotreducetheminourthinkingbysaying,“BoyitwilltakealotforthemtocometoknowChrist.”
Remember,ittookalotforyoutocometoknowChrist!Whatiskeepingyoufromwitnessingtosomeone
thatisdifferentfromyou?
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3.TheCrossReflectsthePeaceoftheTrinity(vv.17-18)
“Therootcauseofstrife,discord,antagonism,enmity,hate,bitterness,fighting,war,conflict,andevery
otherformofdisunityanddivisionissin.ThereasonthereisalwaysperfectharmonyintheGodheadisthat
thereisnosinintheGodhead.Perfectholinessproducesperfectharmony.”Thatquotehighlightstheneed
toseealackofunityandharmonyasrootedinyoursin,notjustyourpersonalpreference.Wehaveaneed
forgreaterholinessinourheartattitudetowardsunity.Whatpersonalpreferencesofyoursendup
manifestingdisunitybetweenyouandothers?Whatcanyoulearnfromtheperfectharmonyandunity
displayedintheTrinitythatwillhelpyouattempttoworktowardsunityinourchurch?
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GAINMoment:
AsyouhavethoughtaboutthesermonandworkedthroughthePulpitCurriculum,whatisyourG.A.I.N.
(GetAfterItNow)moment?Writeitdownhere:
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MutualMinistry:
Kurtisgavealistoffourpracticaltakeawaystoputintoactionthisweekinlightofwhatweheard:layaside
prejudicesandviewpeopleassouls,seektoreconcilethesedifferenceswithothers,celebratethediversity
inourfellowshipandreachout,andremindotherswhoarehighlightingdifferencestoseekpeaceinstead.
Whichofthesefourmostneedsworkedonandlivedoutinyourlife?Confessit,prayforit,andworkonit!
TheIntercessoryPrayergroupsduringourservices-11/15/15:
NOTE that the intercessory Prayer
room has been moved to the North
front corner of the Worship Center.
Look for signs to guide you there or
ask for directions at Harvest
Connect.
1sthour–Robb
2ndhour–Cotton

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