A New Crowd
You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household. Ephesians 2:19
When I attended high school, popular teens were known as the in-crowd. The term entered pop culture in the mid-sixties when Dobie Gray’s song, “The In Crowd,” was a billboard hit. It refers to “a small group of people who are considered fashionable or important.”
In Genesis 12:2, God told Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you.” From that point forward, Abraham’s descendants became the in-crowd. The Jews were God’s chosen people, recipients of all His covenantal blessings. Gentiles were the un-crowd: the uncircumcised and the unblessed.
But Jesus came to seek and to save all the lost—both Jew and Gentile (Luke 19:10). He reached out to people such as the Samaritan woman (John 4), the Canaanite woman (Mark 7), and the Roman centurion (Luke 7). When Jesus ascended into heaven, He told His followers to make disciples “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The Jewish members of the first-century Church, however, struggled to accept that God’s salvation extended to people of every language and nation.
In the first part of Ephesians 2, Paul explained how sinners become God’s children; in the rest of the chapter, Paul explained why all God’s children—Jews and Gentiles—have equal worth.
First, Paul acknowledged that the Ephesians had been part of the un-crowd—separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in God’s kingdom and its covenantal blessings (vv. 11-12). But, Paul added, Jesus had demolished “the dividing wall of hostility”—a reference to the temple’s literal walls that separated the Court of the Gentiles from the Court of Israel (v. 14). Through His death and resurrection, Jesus made both peace with God and access to His presence possible for everyone (vv. 15-18).
In doing so, Jesus eliminated the in-crowd and the un-crowd; in their place, He established one crowd, the Son crowd. Everyone in the Son crowd is a citizen of God’s kingdom and a beloved member of His family. And each equally valuable member has a vital role in building God’s kingdom (vv. 19-22).
Do you still separate God’s children into the in-crowd and the un-crowd? Or do you build unity in the Church by seeing all Christ-followers as members of the Son crowd?
Read Acts 15:1-20. How can Peter’s comments in verses 6-11 and James’s words in verses 19-20 help us build unity in our churches and avoid seeing others as members of the un-crowd?
Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-20. What does Paul say about the nature and the responsibilities of “the ministry of reconciliation” God has given us?
How do citizens of God’s kingdom behave? Read Psalm 15 and reflect on the attributes of those “who live on [God’s] holy hill” (v. 1). Ask the Holy Spirit to help you become a model Kingdom citizen.
Denise K. Loock