Eph 2:20 – 3:6 The Foundation

Oct 17, 2021 // By:Dave // No Comment

Eph. 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone,

Eph. 2:21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,

Eph. 2:22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, we get that, they started it

they were in this project at ground level

but not just because they were the first investors:

apostle = sent one 

prophet = speaker on behalf of God (messenger)

both carry the authority of the sender/chooser

(that’s why they are the foundation)

the church is not built upon their personalities; it is built upon the authority they carry

and who that authority comes from:  Jesus the cornerstone.

what is a cornerstone ?

cornerstone is the first stone laid in the building of anything.

It alone determines:

  • starting place
  • the orientation
  • the angles of the two meeting walls
  • the level of the building
  • once this stone is laid, anything else that is in the way of the final building is moved out of the way.

the cornerstone is the starting point of a foundation (and there is no foundation without a cornerstone)

Job 38:6 “On what were its bases sunk?  Or who laid its cornerstone,

Is. 28:16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD,  “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone,  A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.

Psa. 118:22 ¶ The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone.


1Pet. 2:6 For this is contained in Scripture: 


Interesting that in both Acts 4:11 and 1 Peter 2:6 Peter clearly explains that he understands that Jesus is the cornerstone

(yet the catholic church will insist that the church was built upon Peter himself by taking a statement of our Lord out of context)

Matt. 16:15 He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Matt. 16:16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Matt. 16:17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

Matt. 16:18 “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.

Matt. 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”


Peter   Πέτρος, Petros, n. pr.  [4376]. Peter; this has the designative meaning “rock” or “individual stone”, “rock, stone

rock πέτρα, petra, n.  [root of: 4377, 4378]. bedrock or other large rock formation, in contrast to individual stones (cf. 4377), with a focus that this is a suitable, solid foundation

The play on words is more obvious in Greek. Jesus said, “You are petros, and on this petra I will build my church.” Petros indicates, not the mountainous mass, but rather a fragment, a stone, from the larger mass. 

Most Protestant theologians agree that the “rock” referred to here is the reality that Peter confessed: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16). It is Jesus and not Peter on whom the church of God is founded. Christ himself remains our Rock, our source of security and the unshakable foundation for our lives.

take Jesus’ parable of the two house builders (one built upon sand while the other built upon solid rock

Matt. 7:24 ¶ “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.

does anyone build a house on a small rock ?

the only thing that qualifies rock as solid rock is the knowledge that it is large enough to be unmovable


so the church is built upon 

  • Cornerstone: Christ Himself, the understanding of who He is and whole hearted belief in that
  • Foundation laid out: apostles and prophets (their authority and voice coming directly from God)
  • the rest of us

Eph. 2:21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,

Eph. 2:22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

 the Church, the body of Christ, is being fitted together into the dwelling place of the Spirit of God.

We often refer to being sealed with the Spirit as in Eph 1:13

and being indwelt by God 

  • the Spirit John 14:17, 1 Cor 6:19-20, 
  • Christ Col 1:27, 
  • Father 1 John 4:15

but how often to we think of the entire body of Christ as a holy temple, as a dwelling for the Lord being built together ?

how might this affect how we function in the body , look at the body , pray for the body, serve the body as part of the one body ?

1Cor. 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

this is how Paul sees it. More importantly, this is how God sees it.

This is how the architect, designer, and builder of the temple sees it, intends it, wants it to be

Eph. 3:1 ¶ For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

for this reason = for the cause that I just mentioned 

what did he just mention ?

  • gentiles and jews becoming one through the circumcision of the heart,
  • now one temple being built together upon a foundation
  • foundation of apostles and prophets with Christ Himself as the cornerstone

it is for this that I am a prisoner

Prisoner OF, not FOR

greek supports of (it does not support “for” as used in the ESV)

for implies some voluntary status as if he was doing God a favor

of carries a different status (He is in charge of my life, not me)

Paul could have written “prisoner of Rome” since it was romans who arrested him and chained him.

I see that Paul did not write that because Paul has integrity to not write what he does not believe

He believes that even though he is under Roman arrest, in roman chains

that God has authority over Rome (and there fore the soldiers and the chains)

is this not what we see as Jesus responds to Pontus Pilate ? (corrects Pilate’s faulty understanding of his authority)

John 19:1 ¶ Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him.

John 19:2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him;

John 19:3 and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face.

John 19:4 Pilate came out again and *said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.”

John 19:5 Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate *said to them, “Behold, the Man!”

John 19:6 So when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out saying, “Crucify, crucify!” Pilate *said to them, “Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.”

John 19:7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.”

John 19:8 ¶ Therefore when Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid;

John 19:9 and he entered into the Praetorium again and *said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.

John 19:10 So Pilate *said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?”

John 19:11 Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

(greater sin= perhaps acknowledging the fact that while Pilate had to answer to Caesar, Caiaphas answered directly to God, received his authority as high priest from God, but used that authority for a baser purpose, abusing it, and so is more accountable to God for that reason)

We walk around talking about how our God, our daddy, is omnipotent.

but do we live like it ?

(or do we spend more time talking about our problems like they are in charge of our lives ?)

what would our day look like if we looked at a problem and truly believed that God was not only bigger than the problem, 

but that He might actually have a plan for it, using it somehow to show His love and His power?

Paul believed God had authority over those things with earthly authority over him

He was able to write the prison epistles during his years of arrest.

(Ephesians, Phillipians, Colossians, Philemon)

  • he was fed, sheltered, and protected by Rome
  • I can do all things … (Phil 4:13)

Acts 23:21 “So do not 1listen to them, for more than forty of them are alying in wait for him who have bbound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they slay him; and now they are ready and waiting for the promise from you.”

the men who swore an oath to not eat or drink until they killed Paul never got to lay a finger on him because he was protected by the best trained soldiers of the mightiest army in the world … Rome 

which he assuredly knew was under the authority of God

we are called to submit to earthly authority as far as God’s laws allow

however, when that earthly authority breaks away from God’s law, a fork in the road is reached:

Acts 4:1 ¶ As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them,

Acts 4:2 being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Acts 4:3 And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening.

Acts 4:4 But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

Acts 4:5 ¶ On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem;

Acts 4:6 and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent.

Acts 4:7 When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?”

Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people,

Acts 4:9 if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well,

Acts 4:10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead — by this name this man stands here before you in good health.


Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Acts 4:13 ¶ Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.

Acts 4:14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply.

Acts 4:15 But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another,

Acts 4:16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.

Acts 4:17 “But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.”

Acts 4:18 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge;

Acts 4:20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Acts 4:21 When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened;

upon what basis did Peter and John tell the sanhedrin they would not comply ?

“what is right in the sight of God”

Eph. 3:2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you;

Eph. 3:3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.

Paul has been given stewardship of a mystery (a mystery he says he has previously written about briefly)

mystery (28x)  G3466 (28x)

[NIV Greek]  

3696   [3466]   μυστήριον, mystērion, n.  [3679]. mystery, secret; something now unveiled

[Bible Words]  


In the OT, the word raz (“mystery” or “secret”) occurs only in Daniel (2:18,19, 27,28,29,30,47; 4:9). It relates specifically to God’s revelation through Daniel of dreams and visions whose meanings were hidden to others.

The NT word is mysterion. It occurs only twenty-seven times in the NT, twenty of them in Paul’s writings (Ro 11:25; 16:25; 1 Co 2:7; 4:1; 13:2; 14:2; 15:51; Eph 1:9; 3:3, 4, 9; 5:32; 6:19; Col 1:26,27; 2:2; 4:3; 2 Th 2:7; 1 Ti 3:9,16). Its other seven uses (Mt 13:11; Mk 4:11; Lk 8:10; Rev 1:20; 10:7; 17:5, 7) are found in connection with parables about God’s kingdom or truths disclosed in the Book of Revelation. The word is always associated with a verb of revelation or proclamation. A “mystery” is an insight into some present-day Christian experience or future expectation not unveiled (as clearly) in the OT.

there is much debate about the specific nature of this mystery

some say it is the coming of Christ

some say it is the kingdom referred to in the book of revelation

some say it is the lion of Judah becoming the passover lamb

lets look again at what he just wrote

Eph. 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,

Eph. 2:15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,

Eph. 2:16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.


Eph. 2:18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.

Eph. 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household,

Eph. 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,

Eph. 2:21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,

Eph. 2:22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

Paul recapswhat it is in the next three verses

just in case we missed it in chapter 2:21-22

Eph. 3:4 By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,

Eph. 3:5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;

Eph. 3:6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,

the mystery is the single body of Christ, the church, the temple of God.

believers under His authority. Living in confidence under that authority.

Paul write about being a prisoner of God (subjecting himself to the calling under that authority)

submitting himself to the calling into that authority

Eph. 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

Eph. 1:19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might

Eph. 1:20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

Eph. 1:21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

Eph. 1:22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,

Eph. 1:23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Paul also mentions that we are called under the same authority, 

called to not only live under the same authority but to live in that authority.

Eph. 4:1 ¶ Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,

Eph. 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,

Eph. 4:3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Eph. 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;

Eph. 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

Eph. 4:6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

we are called to walk under authority just as Paul exclaims in his epistles

we are called to live out God’s authority as Peter and John exclaimed to the sanhedrin

we are called to trust God’s authority over man’s as Christ exclaimed to Pilate

this is the authority the body of Christ has in this world



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