By Semi-Retired Pastor Jeremy Stopford

In Whom the whole building being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in Whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

Ephesians 2:21-22 (NKJV)

Today we will be introduced to 3 master picture framers – 2 are human and, I’ll let you know ahead of time, One is the Lord!

My Dad was born in 1905, so while his Dad served in the military, he was too young to serve in World War 1. So when no one was looking (so he thought), he went around town and took down many of the World War 1 posters which were put up to encourage young men to join the war effort. Not realizing their potential “antique paper” value, he simply wrapped them in Christmas paper – where they stayed for decades!

Years later, Dad passed down that wrapping to me. I found one in particular which edges were not tattered from time. I went to Framer #1, who we can call “Jerry”, and presented the 1916 Navy poster “I Want YOU in the Navy”. I had to admit to Jerry that Dad possessed it by stealing it! Master Framer Jerry backed up the poster with acid free matting, then framed the matting with a “red, white, and blue” patriotic theme – a frame which still hangs in our current home. Yes, for a fee, this 106 year old poster has been “fitly framed” and able to be displayed.

Our text today talks about such a framer (verse 21). Let’s see how God – the true Master Framer – does His work!

First, HE HAS A PURCHASE, as seen in verses 11-13. These verses say that we who were once Gentiles in the flesh were purchased, brought near to God by the blood of Christ! I remember after I was first saved, my Dad said to me, “According to what you tell me, the Bible says that I am not a Christian. Does that make me an heathen’?” I explained to him that technically, an “heathen” is a a non-Jew, one who could not nor did not share in the privileges of the Jewish relationship (by works) with God.

Look at the description:

(1) “Uncircumcised” – no privileges of belonging to God

(2) Without Christ

(3) Aliens (“strangers”). That makes you want to ask, “are thhere ‘aliens’ in the Bible?” The answer is YES! They are the non-Jews!

(4) No hope

(5) Without God

The Bible has much to say about God’s care for the heathen (the non-Jew). At least 145 times He refers to them! Look at Leviticus 25:44 where He says that Gentiles/non-Jews will be servants to the Jews. And how about Isaiah 49:5,6, quoted in Luke 2 by Simeon, saying that the Messiah will be a light to the…GENTILES!

What does a slave need? FREEDOM! And he can only get it by a PURCHASE!

We should be familiar with Hebrews 9:22-28. The purchase price is ONLY the blood of Christ!

What is YOUR purchase price? Say it with me: THE BLOOD OF CHRIST!

Second, our Master Framer offers PEACE – WITH GOD! (As seen in verses 14-18).

Note the extensive use of the word “PEACE” in our texts: He IS our peace (verse 14). He MADE peace (verse 15). He BROUGHT the feud (enmity) to an end (verse 16). And He PREACHED peace (verse 17).

What does this mean? First, true peace comes only from God! Some of us remember WAY BACK in the 1980’s when the Nobel PEACE Prize was awarded to United States President Jimmy Carter. He reconciled President Sadat of Egypt with President Begin of Israel at Camp David. They signed a treaty. They declared peace. READY? Is there peace today between Jews and Arabs? NO! Why not? Because the peace is on paper, and NOT in their hearts.

Romans 5:1 says, “therefore having been justified by faith, we have PEACE WITH GOD through our Lord Jesus Christ”.

And second, true peace works to please God, not to earn God’s favor (verse 15). See also Galatians 2:16, 20-3:3. The point is clear: my works SHOW my faith, NOT a need to appease God’s wrath.

Third, our Master Planner provides a PLACE OF GLORY (verses 19-22).

Note that He provides an inhabited place (verse 19): the “household of God”. I remember the parsonage of my first charge as pastor. It hadn’t been lived in for 6 years, and a pastor hadn’t lived in it for 11. In those in-between years, it had been rented out, and unfortunately during that time it was “trashed”. From the time we moved in to the time we put the final coat of paint on the last refinished room was a period of…FIFTEEN YEARS! Now it was most fit to be an inhabited place, just like the Master Planner provides!

He also provides a secure place (verse 20), “built on the foundation of God…the chief cornerstone.” And Who is that “cornerstone”? Jesus Christ Himself!

He provides an holy place (verse 21): “a holy temple in the Lord”, reflecting God’s glory.

And He provides a growing place (verse 22), “a dwelling place of God in the Spirit”, to be like Christ, fit for His presence.

Well, to wrap this up, I promised you 3 framers. The third framer is now with the Lord. Stanley Hartwell was one of our trustees at my first charge. I had the opportunity to hire him to help re-model the parsonage from an early 1900’s building to a late 1900’s parsonage. He was doing great until…he came to a certain door frame. His object here was to “fitly frame” [GET IT, FITLY FRAME???]the doorway between the dining room side of the door (which is square) and the old living room side of the door (which is several inches off square). The dining room was easy – and looked nice. On the living room side he had to do what is called “cheating” – reframing it so it LOOKS square. He indeed was a master framer!

The point is this: perhaps you are “off square” today – you have lost sight of the Master Planner’s work (His purchase, peace, and place). And perhaps you are in need of the Master Framer’s touch, which is perfect from the start!

Come Home to God’s peace!

Come Home to the Master Planner!

Come Home to the One Who will remind you how His design

has always been to “fitly frame” your life together!