One Family

John 11:51b …being high priest that year, he [Caiaphas] prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;

52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

John 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Ephesians 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who were sometimes far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.


MEMORY VERSE: For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. —Ephesians 3:14-15


CENTRAL THOUGHT: Jesus’ purpose for taking on humanity and dying as a substitute for mankind was not only to save us from our sins but also to unite us into one family, making us, through Him, spiritual brothers and sisters, and taking away, by His death, the walls that separate us.




John 11:51b “And being high priest that year, he prophesied…”: “The high priest was believed in ancient times to have the power of drawing from Urim and Thummim the Divine decisions as to future events (Exodus 28:30; Numbers 27:21), and Caiaphas, as priest- prophet, may thus have conveyed an awful and sublime truth through base and evil dispositions” (Pulpit Commentary).

Ephesians 1:10 “Dispensation”: the “plan for the management of any sort of business: and here it means the dispensation of the Gospel, that plan by which God has provided salvation for a lost world; and according to which he intends to gather all believers, both Jews and Gentiles, into one Church under Jesus Christ, their head and governor” (Clarke’s Commentary).

Ephesians 2:13 “Ye who were sometimes far off are made nigh.” A reference to Isaiah 57:19, “I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is afar off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord.”

2:14 “For he is our peace”: He is our peace offering. Colossians 1:20 says He “made peace through the blood of His cross.” “The middle wall”: barrier. “Of partition”: hedge; fence. “There was a twofold wall of partition, one the inner wall, severing the Jewish people from entrance to the holy part of the temple where the priests officiated, the other the outer wall, separating the Gentile proselytes from access to the court of the Jews (compare Eze 44:7; Ac 21:28). Thus this twofold wall represented the Sinaitic law, which both severed all men, even the Jews, from access to God (through sin, which is the violation of the law), and also separated the Gentiles from the Jews. As the term ‘wall’ implies the strength of the partition, so ‘fence’ implies that it was easily removed by God when the due time came” (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary).

Ephesians 2:15 “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances”: “Abolish” means to render inoperative or useless. Christ abolished the letter of the law, but established the spirit of it.

Ephesians 2:19 “Stranger”: guest; foreigner; alien. “Foreigner”: temporary dweller; sojourner. “In this chapter the Church of God is compared to a city, which, has a variety of privileges, rights, etc., founded on regular charters and grants. The Gentiles, having believed in Christ, are all incorporated with the believing Jews in this holy city. Formerly, when any of them came to Jerusalem, being strangers, they had no kind of rights whatever; nor could they, as mere heathens, settle among them. Again, if any of them, convinced of the errors of the Gentiles, acknowledged the God of Israel, but did not receive circumcision, he might dwell in the land, but he had no right to the blessings of the covenant; such might be called sojourners—persons who have no property in the land, and may only rent a house for the time being” (Clarke’s Commentary).




John, hearing the prophecy given by Caiaphas, expounded its meaning and no doubt connected it with Jesus’ earlier teaching about the Good Shepherd bringing “other sheep” into His “one fold” (John 10:16). John is also the only Gospel writer who includes Jesus’ prayer for the unity of His disciples (Chapter 17). This emphasis on unity is carried on further in his three epistles, as he teaches about fellowship and love of the brethren.

Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians compares the church of God to several different things: the human body, a marriage, a family or household, and a temple, or building. Each of these analogies completes the picture in our minds of God’s plan for oneness.

I wish I could convey the thrill that came with reading and studying for this lesson! I literally ran out of space trying to include all the word definitions that make these verses so meaningful. Let me challenge each of you to make this your own personal study throughout the next few weeks.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck



  1.  Household Member: Share what this means to you.
  2. To Gather into One: Explain the two-fold, complete purpose of Jesus’ sacrificial death.




Surely our hearts are moved with wonder and joy as we see Christ’s purpose unfolding in this lesson! He not only came to save us but to gather us. To take us from being alienated and separated from Him and from each other to being household members in one home, children of one Father, brothers and sisters in one family, sheep of one fold!

Paul ends the second chapter of Ephesians with the idea of stones built together into one building. Peter also teaches this, calling us “lively stones” that are built into a “spiritual house” (I Peter 2:5). I love this concept, as I see it picked up also by John in the Revelation. Here we see the same elements—stones, walls, a foundation, a temple—also being combined with the analogy of the Bride, the Lamb’s wife, and the Holy City, the New Jerusalem.

The essential element of this whole picture is the indwelling Spirit of God. Without that, there is no spiritual birth into one family; there are no living stones, no inhabited building or temple, no city of light. There is no marriage, no union, and there is no unity between fellow members. The law could not accomplish this blessedness; nor can religious expressions, dogma, or practices. It is the Spirit of God alone filling every believer that makes the glorious union of Christ and His bride, the true fellowship between God and man, and the blessed unity between brethren.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck



There is something inherently beautiful about the family—one cohesive unit where we learn the basic principles needed to navigate through life. We learn how to love, how to share, how to work with one another. We learn the dynamics of authority and discipline and cooperation. We experience joys and disappointments and the support and encouragement of those we love and those who love us.

Family is the foundation of our society and love is what holds it together. Every institution whether social or otherwise is a product of the family. Every person ever born, in some way or another, lives within the context of family life—related by blood, by marriage or adoption.

But we are currently experiencing a ruthless attack on the family unit and a hideous redefining of the structure and norms of family life. Marriage, an institution of God, has been savagely redefined. The family, the moral compass of society, has been brutally restructured. But this does not change God’s original plan or purpose. His plan has always been for the family of God to reach the families of men.

When the world grew so wicked that the only alternative was to destroy it, God used a family to reinstate his righteousness and reclaim proper worship. Today He uses the church family to promote his love and to show the world the beauty of oneness.

If the family unit is broken we will see the rippling effects of that brokenness throughout society. If the church—our spiritual family, is fractured, the catastrophic damage will ripple throughout the world and throughout the ages. It is imperative that we endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit. The world yearns for it. Christ died for it and we have a duty to live it out as an example to mankind.

–Bro. Darrell Johnson