Summary: Paul gives the path of how to become alive in Christ. 1- Dead in sin - That’s us. 2- Rich in mercy - That’s God. 3- Alive in Christ - That’s us.
INTRO.- ILL.- After dying in a car crash, three friends go to Heaven for orientation. They are all asked the same question: "When you are in your casket, friends and family are mourning over you, what would you like to hear them say about you?"
The first guy immediately responds, "I would like to hear them say that I was one of the great doctors of my time, and a great family man." The second guy says, "I would like to hear that I was a wonderful husband and school teacher who made a huge difference in our children of tomorrow."
The last guy thinks a minute and replies, "I’d like to hear them say...... LOOK, HE’S MOVING!!!!!"
Brothers and sisters, most people will fight “tooth and nail” to stay alive as long as they possibly can in this world. Why? A variety of reasons. People are in love with this world. If they’ve experienced anything good in life they want to cling to that good. They don’t want to give it up. Also, people are naturally afraid of dying. They don’t know what will happen or how it will happen. And most people are not sure there is another life beyond this one! And they may fear hell! Fear in that case should be a good motivator!
But the sad truth is this: many people are already dead and don’t know it! That is, they are dead spiritually. Dead to God and Christ. They are spiritually oblivious to God! How could this be? Sin has made them dead.
ILL.- Very few college football coaches have made a point against drugs as effectively as Erk Russell of Georgia Southern College. He arranged for a couple of good ol’ country boys to burst into a routine team meeting and throw a writhing, hissing, six-foot-long rattlesnake onto a table in front of the squad. "Everyone screamed and scattered," Russell recalls.
"I told them, ’When cocaine comes into a room, you’re not nearly as apt to leave as when that rattlesnake comes in. But they’ll both kill you!"
Sin, in its various forms, has had a dreadful affect on our world. It has killed people. It has made them dead to real life. It has deadened them to God, Christ and all things spiritual.
ILL.- Gary Richmond, a former zoo keeper, said: Raccoons go through a glandular change at about 24 months. After that they often attack their owners. Since a 30-pound raccoon can be equal to a 100-pound dog in a scrap, I felt compelled to mention the change coming to a pet raccoon owned by a young friend of mine, Julie. She listened politely as I explained the coming danger. I’ll never forget her answer.
"It will be different for me. . ." And she smiled as she added, "Bandit wouldn’t hurt me. He just wouldn’t." Three months later Julie underwent plastic surgery for facial lacerations sustained when her adult raccoon attacked her for no apparent reason.
Sin, too, often comes dressed in an adorable guise, and as we play with it, how easy it is to say, "It will be different for me." The results are predictable.
Sin may appear harmless and be pleasurable but eventually it will turn on you and mar a person and often, for life. In fact, sin kills the life out of people. Sin takes over, controls and makes people essentially into the “walking dead.” But there is an escape and that escape is through Jesus Christ. He alone gives victory over sin.