Summary: Paul gives three ways to identify someone who isn’t saved.

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Intro: eyewitnesses at a crime scene are asked to give a full description of the suspect. Sometimes a sketch is drawn and posted for the public to try to make the identification. Paul is very descriptive in his writings. In today’s text we find a description of a lost person. Here are three simple ways to identify if you are lost.

Identifying Lost People

Ephesians 4:17-21

background: he is explaining to the church that they are not to live like the gentiles, (heathen,sinners) etc. There are three main areas in his description

Messed Up Thinking

Hardened in their Spirit

Evil in their Pursuits

1. Messed up thinking--v.17-18b. Paul says they are futile in their thinking, darkened in their understanding, separated from the life of God by ignorance.

Futile in their thinking-you are lost when all your thoughts are about things that don’t matter at all. We are a society obsessed with things that are not that important. Who wins American Idol is not as important as am I going to make it to heaven. Darkened understanding is the inability to see God’s light shining in your life.

Ignorance-- we have become a biblically illiterate society. People don’t understand the signs of the times, people don’t realize right from wrong, sin is considered an old fashion word.

2. Hardened in their hearts or spirits--18-19a. Paul now states that lost people are people who have lost the sense of God or God’s Spirit.

We live in a society that has been hardened by sin to the point that most people don’t think about God or eternity. Many people are confessed Agnostics or Atheists.

I talked to a man after viewing the movie Expelled about God. He said he was an Atheist. I asked him how he had come to that conclusion. He stated that life had been so hard for him that if there was a God, bad things wouldn’t happen to good people. This is just an example of what Paul is saying. This man had rejected God because everything wasn’t perfect in his life. God never promised us a life with no storms, but He promised to be with us in every storm, every battle. He promises never to leave us or forsake us!

3. Evil in their Pursuits--19b. Paul gives one last description of a lost person. They are continually pursuing evil things. He says they are continually lusting for more. Our flesh without the Spirit of God will drive us with evil passion.

Passion for pleasure, passion for power, passion for material things. It is only as we surrender our lives to Christ, that He gives us a passion for God.

We break a bad habit, (the flesh) with a good habit (pursuing God)

close: take this easy examination. A person who is lost, a sinner without Christ, is identified by these three things.

their thinking is messed up

they are no longer sensitive to God’s Spirit

they continually go after wrong things

* if this is a description of your life, here is the easiest way to turn things around.

accept Jesus Christ into your heart

turn away from your sins to following God

get a new passion for God’s Word and the things of God, to replace those wrong, evil passions of

the flesh and world

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