Summary: And that leads to some deeper philosophical questions about quality of life and is a person really living if they are not living up to their God given potential. Today in our text God answers the question about what it means to truly be alive!
Date: May 17th, 2009
Title: How Sweet it is!
Bible Text: Ephesians 2:1-10
Intro: There is a time that some people face that is really difficult for all involved. I have experienced it with several families over the years. The scene is one of family members gathered around a hospital bed with lights down low and the only sound heard is the sounds of machines, with their beeping and humming, keeping the loved one alive.
Inevitably someone speaks about the decision needing to be made. The doctor says she is in reality already dead, it is just the machines keeping the heart going but there is no brain activity. So the family is faced with turning off the machines and letting their beloved pass from this life to the next.
That is gut wrenching stuff! Sadness beyond belief.
Everyone knows that mom wouldn’t want to be hooked up to some machine. It really isn’t life at all.
And such a statement immediately begs the question;
“What does it mean to be truly alive?”
And that leads to some deeper philosophical questions about quality of life and is a person really living if they are not living up to their God given potential.
Today in our text God answers the question about truly being alive!
Paul begins making a clear distinction between “life before Christ” and “life in Christ” which will form the basis for much of the rest of the letter. Look at it again . . .notice the number of contrasts that Paul makes.
1. living in transgressions & sins vs. living in good works prepared by God
2. this world vs. the heavenly realms
3. death vs. life
4. sinful nature (lit. “Flesh”) vs. union with Christ
5. wrath vs. mercy & salvation
6. under the “ruler of the air” vs. seated with Christ
7. by nature vs. by grace
8. not from works vs. thru faith
Paul wants to make sure that the Ephesians understand that this new salvation to which they are called makes a radical
difference in their lives in three areas: (1) their past (2) their present (3) their future.
I. Paul Reminds Us Of ‘How Bad it Was’ Before We Invited Jesus To Be Our Lord & Savior. (Eph 2:1-3)
A. Before We Accepted Jesus We Were Spiritually Dead. (v.1)
1. Notice the language that Paul chooses to use . . .
a) We WERE Dead.
b) Do you remember your life before you came to know Christ?
c) Was it anything like your life today?
2. Paul very much viewed life before Christ as spiritual death!
3. What is it to be spiritually dead?
a) Does it mean that we know very little about the Bible or religion?
b) No, that’s ignorance to spiritual and religious knowledge.
4. Paul was a pretty knowledgeable guy!
a) He was a good Jew (a “Hebrew of
Hebrews”, he would refer to himself.),
b) A good Pharisee, a keeper of the law, & zealous for doing what he thought was defending the faith! (Cf. Phil 3:4-6)
5. He may have known religious rules, laws and facts, but no matter how good he might have been at religion- from the perspective of his new life “in Christ”, all life “before Christ” is characterized by death!
6. Paul says that he was simply ‘dead’.
B. Spiritual Death Is Caused By Our Transgressions And Sins. (v. 1b-2)
1. Elsewhere Paul views death as a tyrant that dominates unredeemed humanity, both in the here & now AND in the grave! “The
wages of sin is DEATH” Rom. 6:23
2. Death in the Bible is always a matter of separation.
a) When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they became separated from their relationship with God.
b) They didn’t “die” as if poisoned by the fruit.
c) Their relationship with God was broken, it died, they were no longer in relationship.
3. Spiritual death simply means to be out of relationship with God with no way of winning it back.
a) We can’t fix it.
b) It is dead!
c) Only God can breath life into a dead person or a dead relationship!
4. We are born spiritually separated from God.
a) We are born spiritually dead.
b) It isn’t until we accept the work of Jesus on the cross on our behalf that we suddenly have spiritual life.
a) It is much like an old movie where the father is unhappy about a child’s decision and the father disowns the child. – The child is treated as if he/she is literally dead.
ILL. I meet people every now and then who I would call spiritual people. They are hungering for spirituality and looking for spiritual life in all sorts of places. They have an eclectic approach to spiritual things and their theology is compilation of spiritual tidbits they pick up where ever. Their view of life after death is taken from the latest Hollywood movie on the subject. They gain their understanding of spiritual tolerance from TV talk shows. All such pursuits are dead according to our Bibles.