Remember, Remember
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Remember, Remember

Ephesians 2:11–12  (ID: 3174)

People everywhere long for peace. So why is it that we can’t have what we want? The Scriptures teach us that the answer lies within each human heart: sin has separated us from God, and we need to be reconciled to Him. Alistair Begg reminds us that peace with God is the foundation of reconciliation between people. When the local church displays what God has done, we demonstrate the harmony that can only be achieved through the Gospel.

Series Containing This Sermon

A Study in Ephesians, Volume 3

One New Man Ephesians 2:11–22 Series ID: 14903

Sermon Transcript: Print

Our reading this morning is from Ephesians and chapter 2, reading from the eleventh verse to the end of the chapter. Ephesians 2:11. Paul has just been reminding the Ephesians of the wonder of God’s grace—that they are in Christ not because of their background or by dint of their achievements, and they have brought nothing to the table, and they have just believed.

“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called ‘the uncircumcision’ by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 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 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

Gracious God, we turn now to your Word. Your Word is fixed in heaven.[1] Your Word is a lamp that shines upon our pathway.[2] “You[’ve] exalted above all things your name and your Word.”[3] And so, with a great sense of expectation, we turn to it now. Speak, Lord, we pray. For your Son’s sake. Amen.

Well, you will notice, I think, that verse 11 and verse 12 contain the call to remember. To remember. It seems fitting that we should be responding to Paul’s exhortation to remember on a weekend when, by dint of the memorial celebrations, remembrance is on our minds. And tomorrow, many of us will be celebrating and remembering in cemeteries throughout the region and sharing with millions of people throughout the country, reflecting on the fact that others have served us in the way that has taken them to the grave itself.

People have thought throughout the years that “perhaps this would be the war to end all wars,” and yet it wasn’t. And it would be one thing this morning if we could look back, as it were, and say, “It must have been a very difficult time in which to live when people were at war with one another,” and yet we know that this morning, there are all kinds of wars and difficulties that are part and parcel of our world. There is virtually no place that we can turn without being confronted by strife and by bloodshed, by the reality of oppression and of injustice. And we realize that our world is in amazing need of repair.

Thoughtful people have always identified that—folk singers. I was thinking along these lines just yesterday—I suppose it was Memorial Day weekend that brought it home to me—as I drove past the cemetery in Chagrin, and I was humming along to myself Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” Do you remember the song?

Where have all the flowers gone?
Gone to young girls.

Where have all the young girls gone?
Gone to young men.

Where have all the young men gone?
Gone to soldiers.

Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards, every one.
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone?
Gone to flowers, every one.
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?[4]

Now, that was a protest song, and I understand that. That was, if you like, the plaintive cry of somebody who decided that it wasn’t a good idea to do any of these things. That’s not the reason I mention it. The reason I mention it is because there’s not a person on the face of the earth that doesn’t recognize that in the brokenness of our world, somewhere, somehow, somebody has got to come up with a fix. And here we are at this point in history, and we realize that unless we learn from the Bible, the plaintive refrain just hangs in the air: “When will we ever learn?” We actually will never learn! We’ll never learn until we’re prepared to bow down before God himself.

God’s purpose always was in Jesus. And it is in Jesus that the fragmentation and the fracturing of our world is actually addressed.

And Paul, in writing this letter to the Ephesians, is writing into a world that was just as broken as ours. Relationships were set against one another: parents at war with their children, husbands with their wives, colleagues with one another in the practices of business, nations and ethnic groups, and so on. And so he writes this letter, and he makes it clear in chapter 1 that the purpose of God—“the mystery of [God’s] will,” as he puts it—which has had hints all the way through the Old Testament, has now, he says, in “the fullness of time,” been made absolutely clear in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.[5] In fact, he says, the purpose of God—a mysterious purpose to us, from our perspective—from all of eternity was not actually, in creation, Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, but the ultimate purpose of God was the Lord Jesus Christ in the story of the gospel—that it was in Christ that he was going “to unite all things”[6] in heaven and on earth in the person of Jesus.

So, perhaps you’ve had the idea that somehow or another, God had a Plan A, and it went wrong, and so he had to quickly come up with something else. That would be to misread the Bible and to misunderstand it. No, God’s purpose always was in Jesus. And it is in Jesus that the fragmentation and the fracturing of our world is actually addressed.

These songs, like Seeger’s song and Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” or the rather trite “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony),” they’re all understandable longings, aren’t they? I mean, nobody wants to live in hostility with the person next to them. But how do we get this fixed? Is there a fix?

And what Paul is saying in Ephesians—in particular, as we’re about to see, in the second half of chapter 2—is that God’s purpose for his people is that his people, united in Christ, in the community of their friendships with one another, should be something of a microcosm that shows to the world what God will ultimately achieve in a new heaven and in a new earth. And he has pointed out in the first part of chapter 2 that it is by grace through faith that we have been reconciled to God, and now he’s going on to say, “Having come to him, if you like, individually, as you now live in him corporately, one of the evidences of God’s eternal purpose is to be seen in the absence of hostility, in the presence of harmony, in the breaking down of the barriers and the building of bridges—bridges which are over all kinds of troubled waters.”

And at the heart of the Bible story, as our good friend Christopher Ash has pointed out to us—at the heart of the Bible story is the church, not least of all the local church. Because Church with a big C has to find its expression in some tangible way, and that is in local churches; and we are a local church. “The … local … church contains within itself the seeds, or,” if you like, “the DNA, of a remade world.”[7] “Contains [in] itself the seeds, or the DNA, of a remade world.”

Now, we’ll come back to this as we close, but in case I forget to come back, let me just say it now. And that is that the world is supposed to be able to come in, Cleveland is supposed to be able to come amongst us, in all kinds of contexts—whether it is at the Blossom Time tent, whether it is at the VBC, whether it is in a life group in someone’s home, whether it is in one of the services here—the society is supposed to be able to come in and say, “Oh, so this is an indication—not a perfect manifestation, but this is an indication—of what God has planned from all of eternity to do.”

And that is why there are Chinese people, and Indian people, and Black people, and White people, and bright people, and silly people, and fat people, and thin people, and tall people, and short people, and so on. And somehow or another, they’re all in there together. Why? All of the normal fragmentation, all of the normal evidences of a fractured world—the seeds of the remade world are present in the community of faith. That is what Paul is pointing out, and that it is God’s purpose from all of eternity to unite everything under Christ.

The Division between Jew and Gentile

Now, given that he’s writing in the first century and he’s writing to these people in Ephesus, one of the first areas in which that needs to become apparent is in the division that exists between the Jew and the gentile: “How are you going to tell the world that God has planned to unite all things in his Son if you folks are going to keep calling each other names, if you’re going to sit at separate sides of the church, if you’re going to show up late for events because you don’t want to talk to one another?” That’s the issue that he’s dealing with. It’s an issue which, as you read the Acts of the Apostles, is clearly there, and understandably so.

That’s the first thing I need you to note: that this division he is addressing is a division between Jew and gentile. So, when you look at this—“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh”—in other words, Paul is not saying, “Myself and my companions are writing this to you, the Ephesians.” In this instance, he’s saying, “I am addressing you as gentiles. I write to you as a Jew who has been made new by Jesus. Now, let me remind you gentile folks, who are reading this letter or to whom this letter is being read, that these things were characteristic of you. And a big barrier of hostility existed.”

Now, William Barclay, whose commentaries are pretty good, usually, on historical stuff, has a quote that I want to give to you in order to drive this home, because we’re a long way away from this, both geographically and historically: “The barrier,” he writes, “between Jew and Gentile was absolute. If a Jew married a Gentile, the funeral of that Jew was carried out. Such contact with a Gentile was the equivalent of death; even to go [to] a Gentile house rendered a Jew unclean.” “It was not even lawful to render help to a Gentile woman in childbirth, for that would be to bring another Gentile into the world.”[8]

That is the world out of which the Jew came. “I thank you God that I’m alive this morning and that you have not made me a woman or a Gentile.” That was a morning prayer by a Jewish man. Quite a staggering thought!

If you find it very far removed from you, try and dig in the recesses of your mind, go back to Fiddler on the Roof. One of the scenes in Fiddler on the Roof is when Tevye, I think I remember he’s pulling something, a cart behind him. It’s on the end of a rope. And as he pulls this cart away, his daughter, who is going to marry a gentile, is calling out to him, and he refuses to turn back. He just keeps walking away from her. The tears are running down both of their faces. “You are dead to me,” he says. “You are dead to me.”

That is the extent of the division between the Jew and the gentile in first-century Ephesus. And when we understand that, then we realize what a drama it is for that world then to say, “How come you guys get along? How is it that you actually are worshipping together? Who or what has brought about this change? Does it have something to do with Jesus of Nazareth?” Well, yes, it does.

You remember David, when he was talking to the soldiers because the Philistine Goliath was proving to be a real challenge to them—you remember his terminology? He says, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”[9] Now, he’s using that as an epithet. You see, he understood that God had entered into a covenant with his people. He had called out Abraham. He was making a people of his own. They were to be a light to the nations. And God, in his kindness, had given the men in the nation circumcision as a mark upon them to remind them that they belong to God and to live as his people.

Well, they were very proud of this. And they recognized that the gentiles had no such badge of the covenant on their bodies. And the Jews were not about to let them forget it. So they used the very reality of that as a point of division. And it’s going to take some time, as the early church unfolds—you can read Acts 15, for example—for them to reach the point where, as Paul writes to the Galatians, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.[10] It’s going to take a long time for that to dawn. And it was vital that it dawned because of the purpose of God to deal with this wall of hostility.

As we go on into Ephesians 2, we’ll see this even more forcibly. The Court of the Gentiles was separate in the temple precincts from the Jewish people’s place. And a big sign said, “You enter beyond this on peril of death. If you proceed where you have no access, you will die. Get out!” And that was a distinguishing feature of life. Now these Jewish people and these gentile people are sitting together, breaking bread together, and calling each other brother and sister.

So church, the community of God’s people, was clearly not about attending services or signing up or fulfilling duties; it was about the fact that they had been made a new creation. And some people continue to think of church as either an obligation, or something you need to do, or “I’ll try it one out of four,” or whatever it might be. You don’t understand church! That’s your problem. Until you understand what has happened to you in Jesus—if it has happened to you in Jesus—you’ll never get beyond that. But when you realize what he’s done…

You see, the Jewish people then began to rely on the mark of circumcision as what it was all about. And Jesus says that that’s not what it’s all about. “We have Abraham as our Father”—John chapter 8. “We’re the true people.” He says, “Listen, if you had Abraham as your Father, you would do what Abraham did—that is, believe me, and it would be counted to you for righteousness. But you do have a father, and your father is Satan.”[11]

Well, that’s not very nice, is it? That was Jesus. He wanted to point out to them, “Yeah, you’ve got an external mark on your body, but you need your heart circumcised.” That’s what Jeremiah the prophet was talking about—so that the cleansing that needed to take place, which was pointed to in the mark of the covenant, was not present in their lives.

Well, that’s enough on that. That’s the first thing that we need, the first line of approach: we need to realize that the division that he’s addressing here is a real division, it is a significant division, and they were calling each other names: Jew and gentile.

The Condition of the Unconverted Gentile

Now, secondly, notice the condition of the unconverted gentile. What is the condition of the unconverted gentile? Well, he starts verse 12, again, “Remember…” “Remember … you Gentiles in the flesh … at that time…” “At that time.” In other words, before God broke into their lives and showed them their need of Jesus, they were… There’s five things. We’ll just point them out briefly.

Number one: “separated from Christ.” “Separated from Christ.” When you read the opening of the Gospels, particularly Luke, you remember, for example, Simeon, who was “waiting for the consolation of Israel.”[12] It’s an interesting phrase, isn’t it? It’s sort of matched by Anna, who was in the temple day and night, and she was “waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.”[13] Interesting phrases! “Well, what are you looking for? What are you…?” “Well, there is a Messiah who is coming. There is a Christ who is coming. I’m here waiting for him.”
And then the amazing moment when Simeon takes the child Jesus in his arms, and he says, “Lord, you can let your servant depart in peace, for my eyes have now seen the salvation.”[14]

Paul, when he is up charged before the Roman authorities by the Jews, who were antagonistic towards him, who were saying, “This man has opposed our Judaism, this man has disrupted everything,” he then says to Festus and to Agrippa, “Listen, that’s not true. The reason I am up here on a charge is because the things that I have been saying are directly related to the hope of Israel.”[15] And what is that “hope of Israel”? It is that the Messiah who will come is the very Messiah of God. And that was a Jewish expectation. But it wasn’t a gentile expectation. It wasn’t a gentile hope. “Remember,” he says, “you were separated from Christ. You had none of this. You weren’t looking for any of that. None.”

Secondly, “You were … alienated from the commonwealth of Israel.” They neither had the badge of the covenant, nor did they enjoy the blessings of the covenant. Because those blessings were blessings of belonging, and they didn’t belong. “You didn’t belong in here. You had no part in this.” Separated, alienated.

Thirdly—and he just really builds on this, doesn’t he?—“strangers to the covenants of promise.” In other words, they had no knowledge of and no right to the promises that God had made to his people: “I will make you a people,” “I will bring you into this land, “I will bring you out of bondage,” and so on. And Paul’s writing, and he says, “You know, you gentiles who are reading this letter, you had no access to any of this.”

Fourthly, “You had no hope.” “Having no hope.” What does that mean, that they didn’t have anything to look forward to at all? No, not ultimately. But the Jew was always going somewhere. The Jew was a pilgrim. The Jew’s sense of history always had a destination in view. If you’d said to them, “Where are you going?” they’d say, “We’re going to the promised land.” “Where do you want to go?” “I want to go back to Jerusalem.” But the gentiles had none of that! For them, history was heading nowhere. Faced with the futility of death, their existence was essentially meaningless. “Having no hope.”

If we reject God’s revelation of himself in Scripture, if we suppress the truth of God, then we will find that we are very quickly taken up with superstition and with novelty.

And fifthly, “without God in the world.” “Without God in the world.” You say, “Well, God was in the world, so why were they without God?” Well, the things that God had made clear to them, by way of creation and by way of conscience, they had suppressed. They’d turned their backs on those things. And on turning their back on the living God as he’s made himself known, they didn’t believe nothing; they started to believe everything. They believed all kinds of things. They created all kinds of gods—gods that suited their fancy, gods that would apparently do as they asked.

The same remains true today. If we reject God’s revelation of himself in Scripture, if we suppress the truth of God, then we will find that we are very quickly taken up with superstition and with novelty. We will find that we have in ourselves—as Calvin said, you know, that the heart of man is an idol factory;[16] that we have within ourselves an immense capacity for creating gods of our own.

And so, the twenty-first-century Western culture rejects God by way of revelation, turns his back on his commands and his guidelines for living, doesn’t find itself isolated and atheistic. No! Surrounded by all kinds of notions and superstitions and ideas. “When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?” Is the answer just blowing in the wind? Is it? No!

Our Pre-Christian Condition

“Well,” you say, “this is very interesting, historically. But what does it possibly have to do with me?” That’s my third and final point: number one, that we would notice that the division is between Jew and gentile; number two, that we would understand that Paul is describing there the condition of the unconverted gentile, heathen, ethnē; and that—number three—that we would realize that in describing the unconverted gentile, he’s giving to each of us a description of our pre-Christian condition.

So you’re here today, and you believe in Jesus, and you love Jesus, and you are a follower of Jesus. This tells you what you were like before you became a follower of Jesus. Before your eyes were opened to the truth, before your heart was softened, before you and I came to believe in Jesus, before we were up here and we were baptized and said, “You know, I don’t care who knows—or, actually, I do care who knows, because I want everyone to know that Jesus Christ is Lord and King, and here I am,” before that, what were our lives? Well, we’ve seen it in part, in the first ten verses, haven’t we? We were dead, we were disobedient, we were enslaved, and we have, in Christ, been made alive, we’ve been raised up with Jesus, we’ve been seated with him. Now Paul says, “I want to remind you again. Let me remind you: here is what you were.”

Hendriksen summarizes it quite perfectly, and I’ll give it to you in five words. I wish I’d thought it up. I was tempted to suggest that I had, but everybody would find out. He says, “This is your condition before you come to trust in Jesus.” And by deduction, my friends, if you have not come to trust in Jesus, this is your condition. This is your condition. Here’s the summary: Christless, stateless, friendless, Godless, hopeless.[17] Christless, stateless, friendless, Godless, hopeless.

That’s why we need to be reminded of the grace of God. That’s why verse 11 follows verse 10. That’s why it follows verses 8, 9, and 10. Because he’s been saying to them that the reality into which you have been brought had nothing at all to do with your background, had nothing at all to do with your behavior, had nothing at all to do with the fact that you looked like an interesting prospect for God to include in his company. Because remember, he is making—he says, down in verse 15—he is making “one new man in place of the two.” “One new man in place of the two.” What is he saying? That there is a whole new community that God is making that comprises converted Jews and converted gentiles. And it is not that the Jew seeks to be Jewish, or the gentile tries to become Jewish, or they create some kind of quasi relationship, but that together, they both are united in the person and work of Jesus, and that it is his grace that has made this possible.

A song that we never sing here contains the lines “How helpless and hopeless we sinners had been, if he never had loved us till cleansed from our sin.”[18] Okay? “How helpless and hopeless we,” as sinners, would have been, “if he never had loved us [until] cleansed from our sin.” That’s such a vital distinction, isn’t it? Because God commends his love towards us in this, says Paul: “in that while we were [yet] sinners, Christ died for us.”[19]

So, religion in all of its forms essentially offers to people a kind of moral lecture: “If you will try and stop this and start that, you can probably put yourself in a position where God may finally include you in his group.” The gospel says the absolute reverse, says that God in Christ is reconciling the world to himself, and that when this dawns upon us, we come to receive the reconciliation, the redemption which has been accomplished, then applied to our lives. And we realize then, “This is all of grace, all of God’s goodness.”

It’s important, I think, to recognize the fact that here in verse 11, you come to the first imperative that Paul uses. He’ll come back to his imperatives in chapter 4, but this is the first imperative. He has thirty-three verses of indicatives and then an imperative, making the point that he has not been providing a moral lecture; he has not been giving to the Ephesians good advice about what they can do to make themselves acceptable to God; he has been giving to the Ephesians the good news of what Christ has accomplished to bring them into a relationship with God. And the good news is that having put us in that position with himself, he now puts us in a relationship with one another.

And the reason that we need to remember is to prevent us from reraising many of the barriers of hostility. You see, local churches are really good at subdivision—really good at saying, “Well, I’m in the… And you’re in the… And I’m the…” and so on. So he says, “You need to remember that this is what you folks were.”

He does it routinely in his letters. I’ll just give you two cross-references. You may follow them up on your own. For example, when he’s giving Titus basically sermon material to preach to his congregation, again in Ephesus, he says, “Remind [your people] to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, … ready for every good work, … speak evil of no one, … avoid quarreling, … gentle, … perfect courtesy toward[s] all people.” Wow, that’s quite a list! Why? Listen: “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”[20] Not least of all the Jews, or the gentiles! He says, “You’re going to have to make sure your congregation understands this, Titus, because… And they need to remember what they were like before Jesus.”

The only way that divisions are dealt with is when the gospel, the grace of God, is preached, it’s understood, it’s believed, and it’s applied to every area of life.

You have the same thing, classically, in 1 Corinthians 6: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do[n’t] be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” That pretty well covers the whole shooting match right there, doesn’t it? And here’s the glory of it: “And such were some of you.”[21] “And such were some of you.” “Remember what you were! That’s what you were,” he says. “That’s not what defines you now. You’re no longer defined by your sexuality. You’re defined by your identity in Christ. You’re no longer defined by the fact that you did a prison sentence that lasted thirty-two years. You’re defined by your identity in Christ. You’re no longer known as the little cheat Zacchaeus. You’re known as the man who comes from the house to which salvation has come.”[22]

In other words, when a church—when a local church—starts to act as if it never was this, as if somehow or another it is a community of the respectable, it is a society of the people who’ve never done anything wrong, never done anything bad, then it lies through its teeth, and it makes it virtually very, very difficult for anybody who knows himself, who knows herself, to be in need of this kind of restoration and reconciliation to come forward and say, “This is what I am.” And you can then say, “Well, I can tell you that this is what I was. But look what Jesus has done.” That’s the point that he’s making. And it’s a vital point. If the epitaph had been written before Jesus, then it would have read on the tombstone, “Separated, alienated, helpless, hopeless.” But in Christ, it now reads, “Reconciled, united, and seated.”

And Paul is going to go on—and we’ll come back to this in our following study—he’s going to go on and make it clear that God is putting together a completely new creation, a spiritual temple. And the local church in Ephesus there, in its gathered communities, should be one of the places in Ephesus where the deepest divisions are seen to be dealt with in Christ. And by deduction, Parkside, as a local congregation in the greater area of Cleveland, is supposed to be, in some measure, one of the places in which the deepest divisions are dealt with in Christ. Those divisions cannot be dealt with by social engineering. Those divisions are not ultimately dealt with by human exhortation. The only way those divisions are dealt with is when the gospel, the grace of God, is preached, it’s understood, it’s believed, and it’s applied to every area of life.

We may not yet be Revelation 7, the company that no one can number.[23] We’re clearly not. That is out in front of us. But it doesn’t stop us from being prayerfully and purposefully and energetically committed to heading in that direction.

And one final word. Perhaps you’re here today, and all this “what you were,” there’s no… You’re still in the “were,” because you have never reckoned with Christ. Perhaps you have reached this weekend filled with the kind of longings that are represented in the songs of the ’60s, the folk songs—the longings for the lion to lie down with the lamb, taking the swords and the materials and seeing them burned. And you actually have a deep-seated longing for a repaired world. I haven’t gone to check, but the sticker on the back of your car will be one of many, and it says on it, “Coexist.” “Coexist.” You’ve got a Star of David, you’ve got an Islamic symbol, you’ve got a cross, you’ve got all those things.

I get that. I really understand that. You’re saying, “Why can’t we live together? How will this be brought about? When will we ever learn?” And the answer is in learning from Jesus—not in the lowest common denominator, forsaking all our convictions to agree on nothing, but to heed the call of Jesus. Particularly this call: “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find what you’re looking for, which is rest for your soul.”[24]

“Come. Take. Learn. Find.” When will you ever learn? Maybe today.

Let’s pray:

Father, thank you that the Bible is more than sufficient for our investigation. Thank you that we can go away and read the Bible and see if these things are actually there. Make us students of your Word, Lord. Grant that as we read the Bible, we might be reminded of what we were outside of Christ, what it means to be in Christ, the challenges and privileges that are now ours. For some who are wrestlers, as it were, on the troubled sea, who long for good to triumph and for evil to be vanquished, who long for oppression to cease and for justice to be established, grant that in heeding Christ’s invitation to come and to take, and to learn and to find, the deepest longings of their hearts that are all clouded over, all impregnated with self and with sin, may be set to rights in the one sufficient sacrifice of Jesus, reconciling us to yourself. For we pray in his name. Amen.

[1] See Psalm 119:89.

[2] See Psalm 119:105.

[3] Psalm 138:2 (ESV).

[4] Pete Seeger, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” (1955). Paraphrased.

[5] Ephesians 1:9 (ESV).

[6] Ephesians 1:10 (ESV).

[7] Christopher Ash, Remaking a Broken World: The Heart of the Bible Story ([Epsom, UK?]: Good Book Company, 2019), 7.

[8] William Barclay, The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians, rev. ed., Daily Study Bible (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1976), 107.

[9] 1 Samuel 17:26 (ESV).

[10] See Galatians 6:15.

[11] John 8:39, 44 (paraphrased).

[12] Luke 2:25 (ESV).

[13] Luke 2:38 (ESV).

[14] Luke 2:29–30 (paraphrased).

[15] Acts 28:20 (paraphrased).

[16] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion 1.11.8.

[17] William Hendriksen, Exposition of Ephesians (Baker, 1967), 129, quoted in John R. W. Stott, The Message of Ephesians: God’s New Society, The Bible Speaks Today (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1979), 96.

[18] Arthur Tappan Pierson, “With Harps and with Viols” (1874).

[19] Romans 5:8 (ESV).

[20] Titus 3:1–3 (ESV).

[21] 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 (ESV).

[22] See Luke 19:9.

[23] See Revelation 7:9.

[24] Matthew 11:28–29 (paraphrased).

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.