Summary: Twelth in a series from Ephesians. God met my deepest needs that I could do nothing about.
It seems like so long since we last visited Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. In reality it was only a two week hiatus, but what a great two weeks those were!
On Easter I know many of you had a chance to take part in one or both of our services. At the Sunrise Service, we looked at how the resurrection completely transformed the life of Peter and how it can transform our lives as well. And later that morning, Denny shared a great message about how the resurrection satisfies the most important longings in our lives.
And I know how many of you have commented on just how meaningful our time was last week as we celebrated the Lord’s Supper together and just spent the time focusing on who God is and what he has done for us.
But this morning we’re back to our basic training from the Book of Ephesians. Just as a refresher, let’s go back to the beginning of chapter 2 and let’s read out loud together the first 7 verses of that chapter:
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 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. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 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.
We began our look at chapter 2 by seeing what we were all like without Jesus Christ in our lives. As Paul writes, all of us were like that at one time:
• We were dead in our transgressions in sins
• We were dominated by the world, Satan and our own flesh
• We were doomed to face the wrath of God
But just when everything looked hopeless, when we were completely helpless to do anything about our desperate condition, God entered into our lives in order to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. So this morning, we’re going to focus on what God did to address each of the three deepest needs that I have in my life.
HOW GOD MET MY DEEPEST NEEDS:
Although our English translators have provided them for us in order to make the passage readable, in the original language, there is actually not a verb at the beginning of Chapter 2 until we get to verse 5. Then beginning in that verse Paul uses three really unusual verbs to describe what God has done for us. He takes common verbs and adds the three letter prefix “sun”, which is Greek for “with”. He does this to emphasize the fact that each of the three actions that God has taken to meet my deepest needs has been accomplished through the resurrection of Jesus:
• I was made alive together with Christ
• I was raised up together with Christ
• I was seated together with Christ
Jesus was made alive, raised up and seated at the right hand of the Father as a result of His resurrection. And because of my identification and relationship with Christ, God’s grace has allowed me to experience those same three benefits.
It’s also interesting that all three of these verbs are in the aorist, or past, tense. My first thought is that doesn’t seem right. I haven’t yet been resurrected from the dead or been raised up or been seated together with Christ in the heavenly realms. But I think Paul is trying to communicate two things by using the past tense here.
First, I think he’s making the point that all this is a “done deal”. God has already done everything He needs to do to guarantee that I will experience all three of those benefits in the future. And that’s a really encouraging thought.
But perhaps even more importantly, Paul seems to be indicating that there is a present aspect of all three of those actions that I get to experience right here and now as I live out my life on this earth. And that’s what I’d like to focus on this morning.
So let’s spend a few minutes examining how God meets my deepest needs through Jesus Christ: