Pet dragonfly, throw them up in the air and command them to fly. I’ve got a problem, I tell my fly to fly and he just falls to the ground. Artificial resuscitation, would anyone like to try. CPR. O not! I squished him.
Do you know that that is you and me? Listen to Ephesians 2:1-10.
I. How Dead We Are
A. Dead in Sins 1
We will never reach it. Get the best long jumper to jump and the worst. Who is better. Then tell them where they have to jump. God demands perfection.
We all do some things wrong.
B. Dead Lifestyle 2-3b
Trip to Brandon to see the basketball team. Life is a series of choices. The choices we make in life are influenced by three things according to this passage.
We walked according to the age of this world. The world forces which are not in submission to God influence our lifestyle. Whatever people without God did, we also did. The influence of TV and movies has brought people to the place where sex outside of marriage is no longer seen as sin.
We lived and walked according to ways that were Satan motivated. Satan is the prince of the power of the air. He is the spirit at work among those who disobey. We were following his promptings in every way.
Can’t just blame the world and the devil. The power of sin is that we want it. That is what makes us dead in sins. We can’t control the power of sin in our lives. When we do wrong things it is because we believe there will be some advantage to us. It might be that we don’t want our parents to find out so we lie. It may be that we want to do well on a test and so we cheat. Whenever we sin, we do so because we want to.
C. Dead End 3c
One summer, we were at a lake and watched as a mining engineer placed several sticks of dynamite under a large rock in the water that was always causing problems for the motor boat. He lit the fuse and we watched nervously as he walked away from the live fuse and waited for the explosion. Once the fuse had been lit, it was inevitable and only a matter of time before the explosion. A few minutes later, when he was safely on shore, there was a loud bang and water shot up some hundred feet into the air. The rock was scattered all over the place.
When people live in sin, it is like a lit fuse and sooner or later, the wrath of God will explode against that sin.
As a result of sin, we were children of wrath. The wording makes it clear that all people who are apart from Christ, are under the wrath of God. The attitude of God to sin is very clear in Scripture. He hates sin and judges it. All who live in sin are under his wrath. God's justice and holiness demands his wrath. Where sin is concerned, God has only one attitude, if it continues, it will be dealt with.
It is important that we realize our former spiritual condition. We were dead, and children of wrath. It is only as we realize who we were that we can really rejoice in what we now are.
II. But God Made You Alive 4-10
The words of transition are powerful. We read "BUT GOD." These words should be in capital letters in our Bibles for they speak loudly of several important things.
A. Basis Of God's Action
God did something to reverse death. Why did He do it? God saw our spiritual death and being a life giving God, could not leave it as such. God is love, and so acts with mercy and grace on our behalf. Thus when we read, "BUT GOD," it tells us that God chosen to act in love.
B. GOD'S Action
We also notice, that there is a powerful emphasis on God's action in the text. We are not saved because we decided that we were tired of being sinful. We were not redeemed because someone said to God, "we need help." The initiative, the saving action, the possibility of being saved from the wrath of God, the way to be saved from destruction, the means of being released from sin comes from God himself. That is why it says, "BUT GOD." Notice the Word of God:
GOD made us alive.
GOD raised us with Christ
GOD seated us with Him in the heavenly places.
it is the GIFT OF GOD
we are GOD'S workmanship
GOD prepared us for good works.
Throughout the text, the emphasis is on God's action and this is powerful. When we feel weak, when we are not sure of our salvation, we must remember that we are not being kept by us, God started it and brought us to himself and keeps us.
Our part is small and simple. "Through faith" is the only word which speaks of our part. It is our response to the work of God. Even this appears to be a gift of God. Of course there is great debate on this, but even though I am convinced that we must respond to God and that it is a genuine personal response I do not believe that in this passage we can get away from the fact that from beginning to end it is God's work.
C. God's WORK
Have you ever heard the term "isn't he a piece of work?" It is usually meant in a derogatory way. I would like to turn the negative into a positive when I say, "aren't we a piece of work." This is what the text says of us, we are God's workmanship. What is it that God has done in us?
1. Spiritual Quickening
First of all, we have been made alive through Christ. Those who were once dead are now living! Imagine what this means in physical terms. It means the same in spiritual terms. We are now alive.
Are you alive? Is the life of God evident in your life, or do you need to confess to God, "I know that you have made me alive, but I feel more dead than alive?" Do you need to allow God free rein to show his life and power through you? Remember, in Christ you have been made alive!
2. Spiritual Resurrection
We are also participators in the resurrection life of Christ. Just as he was raised to life, we also share in that life. Sharing in Christ's resurrection means that now we are alive through him.
It has implications to our present spiritual life. No longer are we dead to relationship to God, but alive to God.
This sharing in the resurrection also foreshadows our resurrection to eternal life and thus death is no longer the enemy it once was.
3. Spiritual Enthronement
Not only have we been made alive, we have also been seated with him in the heavenly realms. We share in the exaltation of Christ.
This has implications for the present. As the exaltation of Christ indicated God's acceptance of him, so also for us, this statement indicates our full acceptance with God. Our position is as sons of God sitting on thrones prepared for us. So often we continue to live as children of this world, walking according to the course of this world, when God has placed us above. We belong above, where Christ is seated. We are as one author put it, "kings kids." Do we live as kings kids?
Our exaltation also foreshadows our exaltation to glory. One day we will be seated as kings above, with all the privileges of being rulers in the kingdom of God.
4. Spiritual Blessings
God did this for one purpose and that is so that he could continue to show us the riches of his grace in the ages to come. When he made us alive, he did so to truly allow us to live, in all the ages to come, in this age and in the one to come.
5. Spiritual Living
Finally, we learn that God has redeemed us to do good works. God's work overturns our sinful works thereby making good works possible.
Many people and Christians among them believe that we must do good works in order that God will accept us. We say this is not true, but we live as if it is. I know Christians who are busy doing everything they can to please God, not because they love him, but because they are afraid if they don't he will reject them. The Bible is very clear that we could not do enough good works to ever please God. It says that we were dead, so how can we lift a finger to please God? However, it also says that once we have been made alive, good works become a possibility, indeed, what we are expected to do. Good works await our doing.
"God's power is focused to transform each believer from spiritual death and enslavement into a new creature capable of doing his will."
The interesting thing is that even the good works are a work of God. He has prepared them for us. What are the good works which God has prepared for you to do?
A French explorer was crossing Africa from the Zambezi, and came into the region of the Barotsi people. He heard stories about the native king Lewanika, whose greatest delight had been to put to death, by newly invented tortures, those who offended him, and who was known as the “human tiger.” This French officer came to the station where Pastor Coillard was in charge, and the pastor himself, a Frenchman, entertained him kindly.
Then came Sunday. The French officer, as a matter of politeness, went to church and sat through the service. When he came out he said, “Monsieur Coillard, who was that remarkable-looking man sitting next to me, who listened so carefully?” “That was King Lewanika, the “human tiger.” “Was it?” “Yes.” “Then if that is what Christ can do, I mean to be His.”
This passage is a powerful statement of who we are and what God wants us to be. We are alive, raised up with Christ, seated with him in the heavenly realms, experiencing the riches of his grace and prepared for doing good works.
Perhaps you have never been made alive. Perhaps in spiritual terms you are still like this dragonfly. If you would like to accept the life God has given you, I would encourage you to talk to your counsellor or to me or any of the other leaders today. Don’t wait.
It would be ridiculous for a living person to lie in a coffin. If you have been made alive by God, then I want to encourage you. You are alive, so live!