“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit." (Ephesians 2:17-22)
There is much to be said about aliens these days. I am talking about the aliens that are defined as, hypothetical or fictional beings from another world. Actually, there has been the talk of aliens ever since I can remember. When I was a kid a few months ago movies with aliens was good entertainment on the tube or at the theater. Now on the educational channels of television, you can find many shows about aliens. One in particular that my roommate watches is “The Case for Ancient Aliens.” As I pass through the TV room I am captured by the insanity of the thought of aliens coming to this world.
Obviously, they are of superior intelligence and travel capabilities. With that in mind, I wonder why would they have come here over these many thousands of years? Is it just curiosity or do they admire ancient societies? My roommate does not believe in aliens, does not think she has ever be abducted, and although, that thought drive gives me pause. In a rare moment of conversation in front of the tube, as I am always fixated on it, she asked me if I believed in aliens. Wanting to spark a debate, a lesson from my Grandmother Reba, I answered, “Why yes, I do believe in aliens. In fact, you and I are aliens.” There was silence and I am not sure she knew exactly what I meant.
Here I make my case that those who have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ are aliens in this world. Much as Abraham thought himself to be an alien on his way to the Promised Land. "By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God." (Hebrews 11:8-11) We today are the same in a foreign land longing for the Promised Land of God’s Kingdom.
We are aliens here in this world. When we accepted Jesus into our life to allow Him to live through us in faith, we were transferred from the kingdom of darkness (earth) to the Kingdom of Light. (God’s Kingdom) "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:13-14) We are living in this world as a witness and testimony of His glory being ambassadors of His Kingdom here on earth. As the saying goes, we are in this world but we are not of this world. "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:20)
If we have been reconciled to God through Jesus, then our message is for all to be reconciled to God through Jesus. This is our calling as God is not partial to any of His creation. "For there is no partiality with God." (Romans 2:11) The Apostle Paul in our text is not speaking of aliens from outside of this world but aliens that are outside of God’s Kingdom. Jesus came to save that which was lost, (Luke 19:10) the Jew first and then the Gentiles. It is not that God changed His mind between the Old and New Testament, but that God knew in His foreknowledge that His Chosen People, the Jews, would reject His Son as their Messiah. Because of God’s love for mankind and the rejection of the nation of Priest, the Jews, He opened up the gospel message to the Gentiles. "But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them." (Romans 11:13-14)
Paul is stating that God is not partial and therefore we who believe should not be partial either. That if one be Jew or Gentile they both are saints of God’s household. Early in the ministry of Jesus, He made this truth known to His disciples. "I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd." (John 10:16)
God’s household is not planted but built upon the foundation of the apostles teaching and the testimony of the prophets. What was spoken by the prophets centuries ago spoke of the Messiah and His ministry of reconciliation for mankind. The apostles are now teaching that message to all who have an ear to hear. This foundation will prevail, as it is built on the rock of God’s Word. Jesus told Peter this, "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." (Matthew 16-18) It has endured from eternity before this moment and will endure for eternity beyond this moment because it is built upon the Rock of God’s Word, Jesus Christ. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16:16) The foundation is set, it is complete, and needs not men to improve it.
Paul reinforces this point in that “Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone,” God in the flesh, and the Creator of all. The cornerstone sits at the tip of the angle, it is the capstone which binds the whole structure together. The cornerstone of the Church is the Spirit of God indwelling each saint of the Church which is bound together by the Spirit of Christ who is the head of the Church. In the power of the Holy Spirit, the saints of the Church are being renewed of mind that they will have like-mindedness with the cornerstone of the Church, Jesus Christ. "Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose." (Philippians 2:1-2)
This is where God’s Kingdom comes on earth in His Church. God dwells in His Church through the believers in Jesus Christ who have a like mind with Jesus. The Church is not an empty building but a living place of God and His people. The Church is God’s Temple, it is holy and set apart to God. It is the place where the saints of Christ gather to offer a sacrifice of thanks and praise to God for the abundance of His blessings upon His people. "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name." (Hebrews 13:15) God, the Father chooses the members of His house, God the Son purchases the members, and the Holy Spirit possesses them.
As the Church is the alien Kingdom of God on earth we have much to praise His name for. The saint’s worship in the Temple of God, as God dwells in His Church through the saints, it comes from the Ancient of Days as the patriarchs and prophets worked to build it, the Son of God Jesus is the foundation, there is nothing higher as it reaches to the heavenly places, it is perfect as the Holy Spirit is the architect, it is adorned with beauty from stones of every age, it is not confined as it is spread over the whole of the earth, and there is nothing more divine as it is inhabited by the Holy Spirit.
Thomas N Kirkpatrick
First Baptist Church of Durant, December 13, 2017