Summary: Too often today the world rejects and mocks our Lord’s gift of new life as they look upon the lives of those who profess to live it and yet see anything but life. We say we have a new, wonderful life in Christ, but is it obvious to those around us? It s
THE SUPREME MYSTERY – THE BODY OF CHRIST
ACT I: Foundations Of A Supreme Mystery – Identification
4. FROM DEATH TO LIFE – IN CHRIST, BY GRACE (Eph. 2:1-10)
Have you ever wondered what makes something a “masterpiece”? I mean what makes something worthy of “masterpiece theater” and not just “theater”? When is a bunch of paint splashed on canvas or a hunk of metal molded into an unrecognizable figure a “masterpiece” rather than a ’mistake’, or even ’trash’?
My dictionary states that a masterpiece is “anything done with superior skill.” Most artists (whether painters, sculptors, musicians, thespians, or writers) would say that the skill which produces a masterpiece is the ability to create something where there was ’nothing,’ to transform something ugly into something beautiful, or to take what was ’dead’ and give it vibrancy, life and purpose!
We don’t all have to be Barney Bellinger to create a ’masterpiece.’ In different ways, in different areas, we all have the opportunity and ability to to accomplish this feat – even if but for a moment. But do we? Do we try? Believe?
What has been your life’s “masterpiece”? Why? What “fruit” has it produced?
Of all that God has created, what would you consider to be His greatest ’masterpiece’? Why?
THE WORD: READ EPHESIANS 2:1-10
Note all of the stark contrasts in Paul’s words.
A.) DEAD IN SIN (vv. 1-3)
a.) Gentiles: “you (pl)” in vv. 1-2
b.) Jews: “we” in v. 3
= Everyone, humanity!
There is unity in sin and death as well as unity in life, grace, and sanctification.
* Not simply a figure of speech! Paul means absolute, literal death. True & full spiritual
* Dead people can not do anything! This is true of all dead people at all times. Universal.
* Bodies & minds may be vibrantly alive, but the spirit - the most important & only eternal
aspect of humans) - is dead. Thus, those dead in sin are likewise spiritually dead & blind.
- Dead & blind to the Truth, Reality and Glory of Christ.
- As Pastor R. Kent Hughes says, “They are as deaf to the Holy Spirit as a corpse.”1
- Without Christ’s light (revelation) they are blind to the full reality of their sin and the
forces/influences of temptation and corruption that is within and all around them!
As such, all in sin are “Dead Men Walking”! This world, created as a Paradise, is now nothing more than a glorified cemetery!
All death is separation. It is to be separated from God. As such, even the capacity to know or long for God has been lost.
Separated and knowing nothing of God, people are left to attach themselves to those influences that not of God.
Application: Why are some people the way they are? Why have we struggled to know or do what is right or good? Why does the drunkard return to his vomit? Or the abused to the abuser? Why do so many so often continue to trust the people, institutions and philosophies that have proven to be untrustworthy? Why are the unsaved so immoral/foolish/sinful/ignorant? Because it is the only way they can be! We need to better understand & remember this and then show less condemnation and more love, sympathy, concern & grace! Nor do we leave them to a living death. We pray that the Spirit of God would use us who have been re-born by His grace to lead them to a new life as well!
3.) Why? How?
* Total Depravity. Because sin separates us from God and deadens our spirit, it leaves us
completely incapable of genuinely knowing Him, His Spirit, His character, or living for
Him or in His power and goodness.
* The Old “walk”: The ordering, nature and reality of our lives before redemption in Christ.
We will discuss this more in a moment and as we continue through this study.
- contrast with The New “Walk” Paul speaks of later (4:1,10,17; 5:2,8,15)
* “sons of disobedience”: “sons of” was a common expression of Paul’s world which meant,
“those characterized by. . .” Incapable of knowing Him or His Holiness, we are
characterized by disobedience. Not just because we want to be disobedient, but because –
as spiritually dead people - we are incapable of obedience.
- NOTE: this can refer to the unsaved and, at times, even to believers
(Eph. 5:6; Mt. 16:23; Lk. 22:31-32; Acts 5:3)
4.) The Big Picture
The spiritually dead are continually dominated by the world, the devil, and the flesh.
a.) The World - without and around (cp. Col. 3:7; 1 Co. 2:6-8; 2 Co. 4:4; Gal. 1:4)
- “The world (kosmos)” is used 186 times in the NT, almost always with an evil