Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

 Sermon Text: Ephesians 2:13-22

 Other Readings: Isaiah 56:1,6-8 and Matthew 15:21-28


  1. A core Christian teaching is the doctrine of the Trinity. That teaching states that our God is three distinct persons in one undivided divine being. Use these verses from Ephesians to show that the Bible teaches the doctrine of the Trinity.
  2. In our verses, St. Paul is addressing “two groups” (v. 14), namely, the Jews and the Gentiles. Paul acknowledges that there was a “barrier” or a “dividing wall of hostility” between the two, but he does not specifically name it. Commentators propose two options.
  • Option A: The law of Moses, which gave the Jews special laws to keep them separate from Gentile nations.
  • Option B: A literal and physical wall at Jerusalem’s temple complex which prevented Gentiles from entering certain areas of the temple.

Which option do you prefer? Why?

  1. Paul says that Jesus “came and preached peace to you who were once far away and peace to those who were near” (v. 17). But Jesus never physically visited Ephesus. So, how did Jesus preach peace to them?
  2. Those who trust in Jesus, in his blood, in his cross, and in his peace, Paul calls “citizens” of God’s people (v. 19), members of God’s household, and parts of God’s “holy temple” (v. 21). Which metaphor encourages you the most? Explain.
  3. “Through [Jesus] we … have access to the Father by one Spirit” (v. 18 NIV). Therefore, we can pray to God. Think of someone who is far from God because of unbelief or a relationship you have that might have some hostility in it. Then use these verses to compose/say a prayer for that person and/or relationship.


  1. Paul makes clear reference to all three persons–God the Father (v. 18), God the Son (vv. 13, 20), and God the Holy Spirit (vv. 18,22). Additionally, Paul says that God is singular (vv. 19-22). So, God is three persons in one.
  2. Ultimately, the point is the same. Jews and Gentiles are one and do not need–nor should they have–hostility towards each other. For what it’s worth, Pastor Voss prefers Option A. Acts 15:10, Romans 5:19, and Romans 10:4 teach us how Christ nullified the law. Additionally, the Greek word used for the dividing wall seems to carry Mosaic law undertones in Matthew 21:33 and Mark 12:1.
  3. Paul might be talking in generalities. He might be saying, “Christ preached his peace to Gentiles. Some of you Ephesians are Gentiles. Therefore, peace is preached to you.” Or Paul might be referring to the fact that he, Christ’s apostle, is simply Christ’s mouthpiece. If so, Paul is saying, “When I preach Christ’s peace to you, because it is Christ’s word, it is as if Christ himself is preaching to you.”
  4. Answers may vary according to personal perspectives. There are so many ways to describe God’s grace because it is so large and multi-faceted!
  5. God hear and answer your prayer for the sake of Jesus Christ and his blood!