April 25, 2010
We’re studying through the book of Ephesians, and last week we finished chapter one. In the first message we saw all the spiritual blessings which are ours in Christ as believers.
Last week, in the second message, we finished chapter one by learning of the great power in us which is the same power God used to raise Christ from the dead and to place Him far above every ruler and at His own right hand.
This week we begin in…
1. Before Christ we were spiritually dead and powerless over sin (:1-3)
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
These verses are a deliberate contrast between us before salvation and Christ as He is now. He is alive, raised, He’s in power over every authority and He’s in heaven.
We were dead. We were beyond repair and without value. We could do nothing to help ourselves, and we could add nothing to His work.
A patient has hope so long as he is only sick, but once he dies all hope is lost. We were beyond even the hope of life since we were dead.
The cause of our death is given as “trespasses and sins.” Later in the book Paul says,
walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. (Ephesians 4:17-19)
The command is to “walk no longer.” This callous ignorance describes our fatal condition apart from Christ. I think the Bible clearly teaches that we are born into this sin, and thereby we are born into death (Ps. 51:5; Rom. 5:12). This is why a man must be “reborn” before he can see the kingdom of God (Jn. 3:3).
If you’re sitting here this morning thinking, “Well, I’ve always been a Christian,” I want you to know that is not possible. You were born dead, and until you receive the righteousness of God that brings life, you will continue to be a dead man destined for hell. You have no more to offer God than a man six feet under the earth rotting in a coffin.
These verses also contrast Christ’s present power to our subjection to worldly and spiritual powers. He is above all things, but we were unable to free ourselves from the influence of the world and the control of the devil.
In Second Timothy Paul urges us to gently preach God’s truth to unbelievers so that…
God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (II Timothy 2:25-26)
“The devil made me do it” is often a legitimate claim. He has a plan and agenda and he works in man to fulfill it. Before coming to Christ we had absolutely no power over him; we were led astray like a man with a hook in his nose.