Summary: Only through Christ is our destiny changed from "death" to "life."

Destined for Life! in Christ

I don’t know if you’ve given much thought to your future, if you have ever tried to influence and guide what your life will look like

Ben is visiting Princeton this week. . . to discover where he will get a higher education and compete in swimming contests

Homeschool Mom’s and Dad’s are doing their best to give their children a leg up in the world through thorough, creative, God-honoring, and committed teaching—

Many of us are busy trying to wade through political issues to be a more informed voter—and possibly affect the daily aspects of our lives through policy

We choose

• friends

• careers

• recreation

• hobbies

all in an effort to shape our life in the way we want it lived out.

Do we really have control of our lives? Some people think we can/are: look at self help books, Tom Cruise and the Scientology philosophy

refer to SONG: “we’re on a road to nowhere”—The Talking Heads

no ez answer: yes and no

In reality, there are things we can do, but things we don’t want can be done to us.

And yet, the Bible speaks each person having one of two destinies


2 : a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency (online dictionary reference. accidentally deleted reference)

I like to be in charge of where I am going—But do I have a choice?

TEXT: Ephesians 2:1-3

The Destiny of the world family, left to our own devices, is bleak: DEATH

a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency

What are the characteristics of this destiny?

• DONE DEAL—beyond our control—where all humanity is headed

“you were dead” and v. 3 “All of us lived” (Idea for graphics: night of living dead, Before/After shots—to be humorous, Frankenstein: “He’s Alive!!” (but is he really? that may be what others think “i am alive, but are they really)


v. 1

How do you feel about the devil or “sin?” The Bible accepts these as true. You may or may not agree, and yet most can “see sin” somewhere in the world

We put ourselves in categories: Unmentionable/horrific, really bad, bade dude,

Often don’t identify with the "more bad" categories.

Am offended in the least, shocked and angry/turned off, defensive if someone suggests the "I am bad enough to deserve hell." I am not that bad

At what level do we become ’really bad?’ do deserve it

how do we know the cut off point. is it different for different cultures. Is this something we should just "wing" or should we see what God has to say about it?

Some people we put in the good category are turning out not so good:

• Republican Congressmen Mark Foley (disgraced for porn sex with underage page).

• Pastor—sometimes our pastor or one we respect disappoints us.

• Dad/Mom. even they disappoint us at times.

Admit: Many of us in our quieter moments know our sin, despite our protestations and masks. we like to think of evil as large scale and "out there" (war, poverty, crime, serial killers, pedophiles) AND IT IS, but when we look close to home, in our homes, in ourselves, we see that we, too are contributors to the world of sin. We are willing and unwilling participants.

• We say harsh words.

• we spend our money on ourselves instead of helping the poor

• we divorce

• we commit sexual sins

• we over indulge in alchohol and lose control of who we are and what we do

We might try to justify our sins, or say we are really trying to do a good thing. In WW2 many Germans supported the Nazi party, in the name of just trying to achieve security respect and economic prosperity after depression and defeat. But the means to that was horrific.

Maybe one’s “before God” life just needs to be put in the perspective that we are trying to do it alone, ignoring God. We fancy ourselves as “good people” (but are we really all the time), and we seem to downplay the wickedness of a “good person” who still refuses to acknowledge his/her creator and Father.

I can’t speak to where each and every one of you are, but I am going to speak from how I understand God’s word and what He has to say about us. [Further references on sin, see CS Lewis, pp 91-93 of Mere Christianity]

• YOU LIVED (walked—conversation)

This text presents people walking in two different spheres of influence and action: In one, (our former lives), we are walking in our sins and trespasses (though we are dead!! interesting image) and in the new life (made alive!!) we are walking in the good works that God prepared in advance for us to do.

[Note: the KJV captures this idea better than the NIV with its choice of words.]

devil/environment/ourselves play in o our sin


Dead—(this: diff. than NIV:) sons of disobedience, children of wrath

There is a real contrast between the sons of disobedience and the sons of God

Grateful Dead: “I may be going to hell in a bucket but I sure am enjoying the ride” Not exactly sure what they meant in the context of the song, but as a statement by itself, it is certainly a motto of many people who are truly unaware of what they are really saying.

Ephesians Commentator, Klyne Snodgrass: We need to GET A LIFE instead of being consumed by and preoccupied with our fascination with the rich and famous.

Stephen Baldwin comments on that (as a successful actor who was “living the life”):

“I still kept on wondering if there wasn’t supposed to be something more. . . I have to tell you that the sense of holy discontent was a gift, because without it I would have been just like the other fried lives in Hollywood that think the MTV awards and Miami Beach and making money and having sex and giving a little to charity is enough. They just accept the fact that all of that is enough. (the Unusual Suspect, p. 14)

One last note: the devil, even in this passage, may have power, but HE is not the problem (certainly a contributor) OUR OWN SINS and our predicament are the problem)

WE ARE DESTINED FOR THIS, but there is only one way to get out, to have a different destiny

4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

[At this point we had two ladies from the congregation present their testimonies, each from a different angle: one knowing a rough life or a “night and day” conversion, and another that grew up as a “good girl” but was still plagued with a sense of not being right and wanting to end it all with suicide”. But Christ, when they connected in relationship, made a difference]

What are the Characteristics of our NEW destiny?


• 4 But God (KJV)

But for God, it is bleak, no hope.

Klyne Snoodgrass, Ephesians, quotes: Carly Simon: "I feel the greatest gift you can give another person or an audience is a revelation of what is in your heart and soul." (p. 119)

God gave just such a gift of self revelation. --in giving his gift of salvation, God revealed a heart and soul full of mercy, love, grace, and kindness.

• Great LOVE

Does God really love me? Can he? Will he?

• rich in mercy

Watching Orphan Annie, I see some similarities and dissimilarities with Daddy Warbucks. (ends up kind, and is full of “wealth” that he confers on his adopted child, but also starts out being self seeking)


We didn’t deserve this.

Through faith: not even so much about “us” as it is God and his faithfulness. He is a trustworthy God.


made us alive:


ALL through him (SEE all the in/with Christ’s in Ephesians)

The Cross doesn’t so much gain God’s favor (although in a sense that is true, too), but it is a SYMBOL of his favor. He sought us out before we even deserved it. (and we never DO deserve it)

“Christianity does not begin with walking, it begins with sitting. The Christian era began in Christ . . . by faith we see ourselves seated together with him in the heavens. . . Christianity begins not with a big DO, but with a big DONE.” (Watchman Nee, Sit, Walk, Stand, p. 14)

There is no room for pride or self deception


I am reminded of a recent call with a woman who had a life of connection and wealth as a high priced “escort” and “dancer.” She said she realized that life without God was “boring”. Her awakening came after someone gave her a “Purpose Driven Life” book. She realized there were larger issues at stake.

Created for Good works. (not just to “be saved”)

This text presents people walking in two different spheres of influence and action: In one, (our former lives), we are walking in our sins and trespasses (though we are dead!! interesting image) and in the new life (made alive!!) we are walking in the good works that God prepared in advance for us to do.

[Note: the KJV captures this idea better than the NIV with its choice of words.]

Martin Lloyd Jones, In his commentary of Ephesians (volume 2) states that Paul “keeps reminding us [that it] is God’s plan and that it is God’s activity” that really matters, not so much the human activity. (p. 2). What should drive us is not so much what we see in headlines, but with Henry Blackaby we should ask (paraphrasing) “God, how can I join you in your work today?” (Experiencing God Study)

We are left with the two spheres of influence we can be “walking in.” Paul says, we were of the former, sin, and now are in Christ.

Likewise, we need to be calling out to those still of the dead to be part of the Made Alive.

Can you imagine a church BOUND to Christ? Alive in Christ? Looking to Christ for every action? What good could be done, what transformation would happen (and does happen?)

Let’s not let the joy of our Destiny of Life IN CHRIST get lost in everyday experience. Let is plead with God how he can use us more, let us see our “church DNA” and how he uniquely has prepared us for good works in our community.