Summary: Discover your identity in Christ! In Ephesians 2, we discover that we are sinners, we are saved, and we are servants!
Ephesians | Your Identity in Christ (2)
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 10/5/2014
Last Sunday we began a new series exploring the New Testament book of Ephesians. As I said last week, Ephesians is all about identity—specifically your identity in Christ.
I’m reminded of a pastor who visited a nursing home that had several residents with Alzheimer's in it. He went around and greeted the people who were very glad to see him. He spotted a lady who use to be a member of his church, walked up to her and asked, “Do you know who I am?” She smiled blankly then said, “No, but if you go to the Front Desk, they can tell you.”
Do you know you who are? More importantly, do you know who you are in Christ? Last Sunday we held the magnifying glass over Ephesians 1 and discovered a four-point finger print identifying those who are in Christ as predestined, God’s possession, and heirs of God’s promise that exist to praise and glorify him. But as we slide the magnifying glass over chapter two, we discover another picture of who we are.
First, Ephesians 2 identifies us as sinners by nature.
• WE ARE SINNERS
As Paul begins the second chapter of this letter, he doesn’t pull any punches. He writes, “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.” (Ephesians 2:1-3 NLT)
Paul announces that we are sinners by nature—disobedient to God, obedient to the devil, slaves to our own passions and dead in our transgressions—and it’s hard to argue with him. Most of us, when we’re honest with ourselves know that it’s true.
The Bible assures us of this: “There is no one righteous, no, not one… All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10-23 NKJV). Some would argue with such strong words. They look around and say, “Compared to everyone else, I’m a pretty decent person.” That may be true, but the person in the pew next to you isn’t God’s standard. God, himself, is the standard. He is sinless; we are sinful.
Think you’re a good person? Then accept this challenge. For the next twenty-four hours lead a sinless life. I’m not asking for a perfect decade or year or even a perfect month. Just one perfect day. Can you do it? Can you live without sin for one day?
No? How about an hour? Can you promise that for the next sixty minutes you’ll only have good and godly thought and actions? How about five minutes? Five minutes of worry-free, anger-free, utterly unselfish living—can you be sinless for just five minutes?
Not even in your sleep. Sin is in our nature. It’s part who we are.
How many of you have heard of the San Diego Chicken? He was the very first costumed mascot. He entertains and riles up the crowd at Padres games and Clippers games. For 40 years the San Diego Chicken has been played by Ted Giannoulas. He originated the character as a college student, but Ted is getting older. At age 60, being the Chicken has been his life and his whole identity. His face is never photographed unless he is in costume. No one knows the real Ted. He has no family. At first, he loved his alter ego. "I discovered an untapped personality in that suit," he said. "It was like, now I have freedom. Now I’m no longer Ted." But there is a price to pay. Dave Raymond, who for years wore the costume of the Philly Phanatic, said, "Ted was the first and the funniest, and I have nothing but respect for him. But if you’re not careful, you can lose yourself in that suit." Ted himself says, "I have plenty of Chicken stories. I’m afraid I don’t have any Ted stories."
Sin has that same effect on us. When we’re living in sin, we lose ourselves in it. Instead of finding our identity in Christ, we find it in the bottle or the bedroom or wherever our sin takes us. Sin infects the entire person from head to toe. Not only does it contaminate every human being, it contaminates the being of every human.
The worst part is that because we are sinners, we’ve earn God’s wrath. Our sin has a price tag attached to it. Paul says it most clearly in his letter to the Romans, “The wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). Sin is a fatal disease. Sin has sentenced our souls to death.