30th January 2014

Are You a Stranger? 

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners.”
Ephesians 2:19 (NKJV)
 

What is a stranger? Well, we have all been strangers from time to time—when we are in a different location from where we live, we are strangers. I remember once being asked directions by a lady whilst I was visiting friends in Richmond, Ohio, and as a stranger I was woefully ignorant of where anything was in that town. Strangers don’t know anything! But not only was I a stranger – I was also a foreigner, an alien; staying there briefly under a different passport – not a citizen of the USA! Foreigners don’t belong in other countries, and they are not conversant with all the laws of the land, they don’t totally understand the culture. 

Earlier in this letter to the Ephesians, Paul confronts us with our condition before we were joined to Christ. He tells us, “In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:11-13 NLT). 

Once we were separated from God—strangers and pilgrims, who didn’t know God and were people with different passports—aliens. The good news is that; “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2:19-20). He encourages us in Philippians 3:20 by reminding us that, “our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” 

I believe that it is a great feeling to belong, to be comfortable with where we are and to be living each day within the borders of our city, town and nation. The writer to the Hebrews points us in the right direction when he tells us, “you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,  to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.” (Hebrews 12:22-24). How great is that? A new city and a new nation; within these borders we are never again to be strangers and aliens! 

Prayer
Thanks to you, Father, for our new home and our new citizenship in Jesus your Son.  We eagerly look forward to living there with you forever.
Amen
 

Study by Cliff Neill

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cliffneillAbout the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.

Local  Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill
LUTON
LU1 5JE

Meeting time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone:  01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk

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