Summary: Dead, then alive, all because God stepped in!
EPHESIANS # 3
From the first part of Chapter 1, we learn these transforming truths.
“I am blessed... with every spiritual blessing!”
“I am included in God’s family by His design and will.”
“I am valued because He invests His grace in me.”
“I am at rest because I am included in Christ.”
In the second part of Chapter 1, there is a prayer for
wisdom and revelation that will lead us to know Christ better.
The prayer goes on to ask for us to see clearly the power that is ours in Christ.
It is RESURRECTION power, COMPLETED power, and RULING power.
Oh, what a letter this is. In just a few chapters, Paul who was inspired by the Holy Spirit, sums up the Gospel.
TEXT - Ephesians 2:1-10 PB 1818
This whole passage hinges on two words in v. 4 – “But, God...” With those words darkness is turned light, hopelessness is thrown aside for favor, a desperate situation is changed to one of amazing destiny!
The universal plight of humanity is death and not the death we commonly think of with corpses, coffins, and cemeteries! The greater problem is spiritual death.
When the Bible says, “you’re dead” there is no hyperbole or allegorical intention. It means what it says. We moderns, in love with this present world as we are, work hard to convince ourselves that life goes on unending here. The fact is that this life is a prelude to an existence that stretches into eternity. As he talked with Martha, the sister of his friend, Lazurus, who had died, Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26, NIV)
There is a pre-existing fatal condition that renders us walking dead men. That condition? Sin!
The passage uses two words to define the fatal disease. First is ‘transgressions.’
These are the things we do when we wander, deluded, deceived into places forbidden by God. We don't plan to disobey God many times, but we find that we do. Romans 7 says that even when we have good intentions, we end up going wrong. "And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong." (Romans 7:18-21, NLT)
Desperate, isn’t it?
The Bible secondly speaks of “sins.” As hard as it to admit, sometimes with our wills fully in function, we make the choice to do what we know is wrong. We are aware that our actions are morally inexcusable, but we choose to do what we want to do anyway.
Beyond individual choices, there are two additional causes for spiritual death, rooted in LARGER issues.
We die because we ‘walk in the ways of this world.’ We let the values and fashions of the godless shape our choices. Yes, it happens to everyone of us, no matter how non-conforming we think we are.
We die because we are controlled by the ‘ruler of the kingdom of the air.’ Evil is not just a force! It is personified. A created being of immense power and influence rules invisibly. His aim is to destroy anything and anyone God loves. He is crafty, drawing humanity to his schemes, yet hiding his diabolical intentions.
And, we die to God. We are as incapable of responding to him as a corpse is to responding to the expressions of love that spill from grieving friends and family. Why? Again because ...
we wander from God’s ways,
we willfully choose to disobey Him,
we are captivated by the values of our world, and
we are deluded by the Devil!
How widespread is this fatal disease? "All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath." (Ephesians 2:3, NIV)
The gavel of the Judge of Everyman comes down with a bang. The verdict- Guilty! The sentence death!
This kind of preaching is rejected by many in our tolerant time. It is frightening, some say. It devalues human beings others insist. It ignores the Gospel of Jesus, some declare. It is frightening, but the truth often is. However, the desperation of our natural state, the fact that we were guilty and deserving to be consigned to death and destructon by our Creator, makes the Gospel even more amazing!