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Ephesians 2:17

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And came and preached peace - Proclaimed the readiness of God to forgive and save both Jews and Gentiles. See the note on Ephesians 2:13.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And came and preached peace - That is, the system of religion which he proclaimed, was adapted to produce peace with God. This he preached personally to those who “were nigh,” that is, the Jews; to those who were “afar off “ - the Gentiles - he preached it by his apostles. He was the author of the system which proclaimed salvation to both.

The word “peace” here refers to reconciliation with God.

To you which were afar off, … - see the notes at Ephesians 2:13; compare the notes at Acts 2:39.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Jesus Christ made peace by the sacrifice of himself; in every sense Christ was their Peace, the author, centre, and substance of their being at peace with God, and of their union with the Jewish believers in one church. Through the person, sacrifice, and mediation of Christ, sinners are allowed to draw near to God as a Father, and are brought with acceptance into his presence, with their worship and services, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, as one with the Father and the Son. Christ purchased leave for us to come to God; and the Spirit gives a heart to come, and strength to come, and then grace to serve God acceptably.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 387
Ellen G. White
The Story of Redemption, 291

The disciples, upon hearing this account, were silenced, and convinced that Peter's course was in direct fulfillment of the plan of God, and that their old prejudices and exclusiveness were to be utterly destroyed by the gospel of Christ. “When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” SR 291.1

This chapter is based on Acts 12:1-23.

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 139

Suddenly the discourse was interrupted by the descent of the Holy Spirit. “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. AA 139.1

“Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” AA 139.2

Thus was the gospel brought to those who had been strangers and foreigners, making them fellow citizens with the saints, and members of the household of God. The conversion of Cornelius and his household was but the first fruits of a harvest to be gathered in. From this household a wide-spread work of grace was carried on in that heathen city. AA 139.3

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 175-6

The hearts of Paul and his associate workers were drawn out in behalf of those who were “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Through the untiring ministrations of the apostles to the Gentiles, the “strangers and foreigners,” who “sometimes were far off,” learned that they had been “made nigh by the blood of Christ,” and that through faith in His atoning sacrifice they might become “fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” Ephesians 2:12, 13, 19. AA 175.1

Advancing in faith, Paul labored unceasingly for the upbuilding of God's kingdom among those who had been neglected by the teachers in Israel. Constantly he exalted Christ Jesus as “the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15), and exhorted the believers to be “rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith.” Colossians 2:7. AA 175.2

To those who believe, Christ is a sure foundation. Upon this living stone, Jews and Gentiles alike may build. It is broad enough for all and strong enough to sustain the weight and burden of the whole world. This is a fact plainly recognized by Paul himself. In the closing days of his ministry, when addressing a group of Gentile believers who had remained steadfast in their love of the gospel truth, the apostle wrote, “Ye ... are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:19, 20. AA 175.3

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 595-6

Not in their own power did the apostles accomplish their mission, but in the power of the living God. Their work was not easy. The opening labors of the Christian church were attended by hardship and bitter grief. In their work the disciples constantly encountered privation, calumny, and persecution; but they counted not their lives dear unto themselves and rejoiced that they were called to suffer for Christ. Irresolution, indecision, weakness of purpose, found no place in their efforts. They were willing to spend and be spent. The consciousness of the responsibility resting on them purified and enriched their experience, and the grace of heaven was revealed in the conquests they achieved for Christ. With the might of omnipotence God worked through them to make the gospel triumphant. AA 595.1

Upon the foundation that Christ Himself had laid, the apostles built the church of God. In the Scriptures the figure of the erection of a temple is frequently used to illustrate the building of the church. Zechariah refers to Christ as the Branch that should build the temple of the Lord. He speaks of the Gentiles as helping in the work: “They that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord;” and Isaiah declares, “The sons of strangers shall build up thy walls.” Zechariah 6:12, 15; Isaiah 60:10. AA 595.2

Writing of the building of this temple, Peter says, “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4, 5. AA 595.3

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Ellen G. White
Evangelism, 46

A Call for Larger Plans—We are altogether too narrow in our plans. We need to be broader minded. God wants us to carry out in our work for Him the principles of truth and righteousness. His work is to go forward in cities and towns and villages.... Ev 46.1

We must get away from our smallness and make larger plans. There must be a wider reaching forth to work for those who are nigh and those who are afar off.—Manuscript 87, 1907. Ev 46.2

Unpromising Fields—The field of labor is to be extended. The gospel message is to go to all parts of the world. The most unpromising fields must receive earnest, determined labor. The sons of God, earnest, true, unselfish, must use all the knowledge they possess in managing this important work.—Manuscript 141, 1899. Ev 46.3

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Ellen G. White
Evangelism, 326

Nothing is so discouraging to the advancement of present truth as the haphazard work done by some of the ministers for the churches. Faithful labor is needed. The churches are ready to die, because they are not strengthened in Christlikeness. The Lord is not pleased with the loose way in which the churches are left because men are not faithful stewards of God's grace. They do not receive His grace, and therefore cannot impart it. The churches are weak and sickly because of the unfaithfulness of those who are supposed to labor among them, whose duty it is to have an oversight over them, watching for souls as they that must give an account.—Manuscript 8a, 1888. Ev 326.1

Length of Effort Not to be Prescribed—Bear in mind that no living man can tell the precise work, or bound the work of a man who is in God's service. No one can prescribe the days, the weeks, that one should remain in a certain locality before pushing on to another place. Circumstances must shape the labors of the minister of God, and if he seeks God he will understand that his work embraces every part of the Lord's vineyard, both that which is nigh and that which is afar off. The laborer is not to confine his work to a specified measurement. He must have no circumscribed limits, but extend his labors wherever necessity demands. God is his co-laborer; he should seek wisdom and counsel of Him at every step and not depend upon human counsel. Ev 326.2

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Ellen G. White
Evangelism, 408

It pains me to think that greater facilities are not provided for the work throughout Europe. I have sore heartache as I think of the work in Switzerland, Germany, Norway, and Sweden. Where there are one or two men struggling to carry forward the different branches of the cause, there should be hundreds at work.—Testimonies for the Church 6:24-26 (1900). Ev 408.1

Great Work in Europe—There is a great work to be done in Europe. All heaven takes an interest not only in lands that are nigh and that need our help, but in lands that are afar off. All the inhabitants of heaven are in active service, ministering to a fallen world. They take a deep and fervent interest in the salvation of men, the fallen inhabitants of this world.—Manuscript 65, 1900. Ev 408.2

A great work is committed to those who present the truth in Europe.... There are France and Germany, with their great cities and teeming population. There are Italy, Spain, and Portugal, after so many centuries of darkness, ... opened to the Word of God—opened to receive the last message of warning to the world. There are Holland, Austria, Rumania, Turkey, Greece, and Russia, the home of millions upon millions, whose souls are as precious in the sight of God as our own, who know nothing of the special truths for this time.... Ev 408.3

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 273

His impressive parable of the good shepherd represents the responsibility of every minister and of every Christian who has accepted a position as teacher of children and youth and a teacher of old and young, in opening to them the Scriptures. If one strays from the fold, he is not followed with harsh words and with a whip, but with winning invitations to return. The ninety and nine that had not strayed do not call for the sympathy and tender, pitying love of the shepherd. But the shepherd follows the sheep and lambs that have caused him the greatest anxiety and have engrossed his sympathies. The disinterested, faithful shepherd leaves all the rest of the sheep, and his whole heart and soul and energies are taxed to seek the one that is lost. And then the figure—praise God—the shepherd returns with the sheep, carrying him in his arms, rejoicing at every step; he says, “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.” I am so thankful we have in the parable, the sheep found. And this is the very lesson the shepherd is to learn,—success in bringing the sheep and lambs back. FE 273.1

There is no picture presented before our imagination of a sorrowful shepherd returning without the sheep. And the Lord Jesus declares the pleasure of the shepherd and his joy in finding the sheep causes pleasure and rejoicing in heaven among the angels. The wisdom of God, His power and His love, are without a parallel. It is the divine guarantee that not one, even, of the straying sheep and lambs is overlooked and not one left unsuccored. A golden chain—the mercy and compassion of divine power—is passed around every one of these imperiled souls. Then shall not the human agent cooperate with God? Shall he be sinful, failing, defective in character himself, regardless of the soul ready to perish? Christ has linked him to His eternal throne by offering His own life. FE 274.1

Zechariah's description of Joshua, the high priest, is a striking representation of the sinner for whom Christ is mediating that he may be brought to repentance. Satan is standing at the right hand of the Advocate, resisting the work of Christ, and pleading against Him that man is his property, since he has chosen him as his ruler. But the Defender of man, the Restorer, mightier than the mightiest, hears the demands and claims of Satan, and answers him: “The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and stood before the angel. And He answered and spake unto those that stood before Him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him He said, Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair miter upon his head. So they set a fair miter upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.” FE 274.2

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Ellen G. White
Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 162.1

The Inner Circle Paramount—All our powers are to be used for Christ. This is the debt we each owe to God. In forming a relationship with Christ, the renewed man is but coming back to his appointed relationship with God. He is a representative of Christ, and he is ever to pray and watch unto prayer. His duties lie around him, nigh and afar off. His first duty is to his children and his nearest relatives. Nothing can excuse him from neglecting the inner circle for the larger circle outside. 1MCP 162.1

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Ellen G. White
The Publishing Ministry, 152

Man's Consolidation or God's Theocracy?—Stop where you are. You cannot retrieve your past record by seeking to reconstruct, reorganize, and consolidate other institutions with the institutions so defective in Battle Creek. I cry to you in the name of the Lord, No, No. Leave the Pacific Press under God's theocracy, and humble your hearts before God before it is everlastingly too late. The great day of God is coming when every man shall be known as God knows him.—Manuscript 7, 1897. PM 152.1

Consolidation Tends to Exalt the Human—The policy of consolidation, wherever pursued, tends to the exaltation of the human in place of the divine. Those who bear responsibilities in the different institutions look to the central authority for guidance and support. As the sense of personal responsibility is weakened, they lose the highest and most precious of all human experiences, the constant dependence of the soul upon God. Not realizing their need, they fail of maintaining that constant watchfulness and prayer, that constant surrender to God, which alone can enable men to hear and to obey the teaching of His Holy Spirit. Man is placed where God should be. Those who are called to act in this world as heaven's ambassadors are content to seek wisdom from erring, finite men, when they might have the wisdom and strength of the unerring, infinite God. PM 152.2

The Lord does not design that the workers in His institutions shall look to or trust in man. He desires them to be centered in Him. PM 152.3

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Ellen G. White
The Publishing Ministry, 386.4

God Is Master of the Situation—There is to be, at this period, a series of events which will reveal that God is Master of the situation. The truth will be proclaimed in clear, unmistakable language. As a people, we must prepare the way of the Lord, under the overruling guidance of the Holy Spirit. The gospel is to be given in its purity. The stream of living water is to deepen and widen in its course. In all fields, nigh and afar off, men will be called from the plow and from the more common commercial business vocations that largely occupy the mind, and will be educated in connection with men of experience. As they learn to labor effectively, they will proclaim the truth with power. Through most wonderful workings of divine providence, mountains of difficulties will be removed, and cast into the sea. The message that means so much to the dwellers upon the earth, will be heard and understood. Men will know what is truth. Onward, and still onward the work will advance, until the whole earth shall have been warned. And then shall the end come.—The Review and Herald, July 5, 1906. PM 386.4

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 112.2

Many are making laborious work of walking in the narrow way of holiness. To many the peace and rest of this blessed way seems no nearer today than it did years in the past. They look afar off for that which is nigh; they make intricate that which Jesus made very plain. He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). The plan of salvation has been plainly revealed in the Word of God, but the wisdom of the world has been sought too much, and the wisdom of Christ's righteousness too little. And souls that might have rested in the love of Jesus have been doubting and troubled about many things.... TMK 112.2

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 195

Not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 4:2. TDG 195.1

There is to be no undermining of the fundamental truths that the Lord has submitted by many miraculous evidences. A voice is to be heard in clear affirmation of the truth, in contradiction to the skepticism and fallacies that have been coming in from the enemy of truth. Reformations will take place, and the working out of the principles of divine truth will reveal growth in grace, for the divine agencies are efficient to enlighten and sanctify the human understanding. TDG 195.2

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 242.2

The church is to work actively as an organized body to spread abroad the influence of the cross of Christ. Those who work unselfishly to give the truth to those nigh and afar off are registered in the courts above, “Laborers together with God; ...God's husbandry, ...God's building.” Controlled by the great Designer, they show what human beings can be when they wear the yoke of Christ, learning His meekness and lowliness. TDG 242.2

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