Summary: Tenth in a series from Ephesians. Our life before Christ shows why we need a Savior.
I’d like to begin this morning by asking you a question: Why do we need a Savior? We’ve spent nine weeks taking a look at Ephesians chapter 1 and marveling at how God has entered into our lives and poured out tremendous spiritual blessings for those who are His children. We’ve seen how God has chosen us from before the creation of the world and predestined us to be adopted into His family. We’ve seen how Jesus has redeemed us from slavery to sin and an empty life. We’ve seen how the Holy Spirit is in our lives as a guarantee of our spiritual inheritance. And we’ve seen how God fills our lives with His resurrection power. But that still doesn’t answer the question: Why did God need to do this in our lives?
Perhaps Paul realized that his readers may have been asking that very same question. So as we come to chapter 2, Paul takes his readers back to what their lives were like before they experienced God’s grace. Let’s read the first three verses of the chapter out loud together:
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.
Ephesians 2:1-3 (NIV)
There is a sense in which we don’t want to get too caught up in what our lives were like before Jesus redeemed us. The Bible is clear that our present lives are not to be paralyzed by thinking too much about what has happened in the past. But at the same time, I don’t think that we can ever fully recognize the significance of what God has done for us without understanding exactly what we were like at one time. So as Paul continues writing in chapter 2, it’s like he holds up this gigantic mirror that allows his readers to look and see what they were like before God entered into their lives.
And frankly, it’s not a very pretty picture. In fact, there is a sense in which is one of the hardest truths in the Bible because most of us don’t really want to hear just how bad we are apart from Christ.
We’re kind of in the same boat as a man I heard about this week. His doctor called him and said, “I’ve got some good news and some bad news. Which would you like to hear first?” “Well the good news, I guess,” the man replied. “I just got the test results back from the lab and you only have 24 hours to live,” said the doctor. “That’s the good news?” asked the man, “What could be worse that that?” “I’ve been trying to reach you since yesterday.” That’s pretty much what our lives were like without Christ. We may have still been walking around, but for all practical purposes we were dead. In fact, as I was looking at some other sermons on this passage this week, it seemed that most common title for this passage was “Dead Man Walking.”
In just three short verses, Paul gives us a clear and complete picture of what all of our lives once were like. So let’s take a look in the mirror of God’s Word and see what are lives were once like apart from God.
WHAT MY LIFE WAS LIKE BEFORE CHRIST:
1. I was dead
Let me take you back to the question I asked just a few moments ago: Why do we need a Savior? I think that most Christ followers would answer that question something like this: “I have sinned and am guilty before God, so I need a Savior who can forgive my sins and take away the punishment I deserve.” And while that statement is true, it just doesn’t go far enough. What Paul makes really clear in this passage is that without a Savior, we’re not just in God’s dog house – we’re in the morgue.
Many of you know that I really enjoy watching crime dramas like C.S.I. And one of the key characters in all those shows is the coroner, who has to examine the dead bodies to find out how they died and why they ended up in the morgue. Fortunately for us, Paul has done the work of the spiritual coroner and tells us why we ended up in the spiritual morgue:
• Why we’re in the spiritual morgue:
Paul uses two words to describe the behavior that leads to our spiritual death. Although the words are often used as synonyms by Paul and other New Testament writers, they have a slightly different meaning: