Sermon – ALIVE TOGETHER WITH CHRIST – EPH 2:1-10 September 24, 2007

This is some notes from a sermon I preached last Sunday. You can download the audio or listen to it right here with this player.

The following notes havent gone through my usual ‘tidying up’ process and I thought I would share them with you without any real editorial input just so you can see quite how chaotic my mind truly is! If they don’t make much sense to you, hopefully the audio will be clearer!

Paul begins this second chapter in the context of a glorious description of the power of God at the end of the last chapter – there were no chapter breaks when he wrote it. As we will see that amazing power of God was necessary to bring salvation to us.

1. the state of the sinner: OUR Problem without God – “Dead in sins”
life without God – is death
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
DEAD to God but alive to SIN. Look pretty alive dont we! But, we are not in the doghouse but dead. God made us for himself! Might feed the hungry and it is still sin – coz not done for the glory of God – Rom 1 falling short of glory …..its all sin if God is neglected our righteous acts are as filthy rags….Until we understand this, we willl never apprecaite our need of a saviour

It is not that we have too low a self esteem but that we dont think badly enough of ourselves without God!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Mat 23:27-28)

What does being dead to God look like?
1. “following the course of this world” (v2)
Lead by peer pressure (the world) Copying others, not wanting to stand out, go with the flow….

Goes deeper than this – behind that peer pressure is the devil.
2. “following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” Enslaved to an alien power! NB devil is as close to us as the air we we cant escape = even as christians easy to embibe satanic attitudes…. This is a world of darkness – how at home do you feel in the world? disobedient to God. We end up with the devil inside us, and become his tool in his battle against God. There are two kingdoms in this world. If you feel at home in the world, you are most likely full of the spirit that inspires it. If it feels alien to you then perhaps you are a believer!

3. “lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind”
In the 21st Century West we live by unfettered desire – our modern culture is based on this! Money (NB the things money reprs), sex, power (promotion, to be the best, etc)
but also FOOD!
NB when we want what we dont get we war with others over it…

So Paul goes on to summarise
“by nature children of wrath” (v3)

BY NATURE sinners BUT WE ALSO CHOOSE TO SIN… FREE CHOICE. NO ONE EVER HAS TO TRAIN a child to sin! Sin has been inherited – “original sin” though there’s nothing original about sin!

NB – “like the rest of mankind” – removes boasting! Helps us to understand history with all its wars etc

Helps us to understand the size of Gods grace and power -its depth
People live a miserable life – uninterested in God….

One of the greatest phrases in the whole bible – “But God”
2. The MERCY of God – GOD’S Solution – “But God….by grace..through faith”

Not so much a theological theory of salvation, more a description of what happens to us when we believe!

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
-unmerited mercy undeserved. Not about what I have done, but grace from start to finish – he is RICH in mercy
-grace – because of the great love he has for us, made possible by what Jesus has done NOT
to show “the immeasurable riches of his grace”
by faith but THROUGH faith. Faith is a gift!

3. The Position of believer The Results for the Christian- “Saved, raised, seated in heavenly places”
exact opposite – once were dead, now you are ALIVE, once you were earthbound – following the ways of this world, now you are RAISED to heaven, once you were “walking” and if you were even aware of God you were trying desperately to please him whilst all the time failing in sin, now you are “SEATED” with him! ie – rest, completion, and victory!

– our position is now ABOVE the circumstances!
It is like God the Father looked in a grave saw a stinking corpse and said I want him to live and turned to his son and said will you go live on earth, die, and be raised so that he can live (based on Piper) He was UNITED IN OUR DEATH so we were UNITED IN HIS LIFE

Paul doesn’t mention the death of Christ here, partly because he did briefly in chapter one, partly because they would have known about it and partly because the resurrection presupposes Jesus died!

Gods irresistible call that causes rebirth. There are many things I can do, and many things I cannot do. Raising the dead is firmly in the category of things I cant do! I cant save anybody!

BANCRUPTCY AS an example of this…..

Raised together with Christ SYN-Raised etc

How are we united with Christ?
1. as our representative – yes like if our head of state declares war , we are at war even if we disagree! ie he died and was raised on our behalf but also
2. mystical = actually incorporated in Christ’s body in some way… “I have been crucified….I died” (Gal)
3 experiential – We belong to heaven! We have a “second life”….
We can begin to experience the truth of this here and now – that is the role of the Spirit who is the “foretaste” -are you aware of His presence?

NB Must be one or the other….are you spiritually alive or dead? Imagine a doctor “mmm….I think he might be dead” no in between!

ARE you alive to God? Do you have a longing for his presence? Does your heart yearn for him?
If not, how can you be sure that you really are a Christian?

4. The Mission of the Christian “created for good works”
– our evangelism should be driven by a true state of how people are and gratitude for what God has done for us, but more than that for God’s glory.
– there are things about God we would never have known if it weren’t for our salvation! Angels marvel at the church, more than creation!
– NB as we have said dead men cant resurrect themselves. It is ALL from God, and it is designed to stop up boasting!
– Good works don’t make us become a Christian, becoming a Christian makes us able to do good works!
– Tim Keller – religion I obey so I can be accepted. Christianity – I am accepted so I can obey…
WE are NOT saved by faith. We are saved THROUGH faith. But BY grace.
Faith is not the cause of salvation, rather Jesus is.

We are shaped for righteous living,
–11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. (Romans 6:11-12)
● also a DESIGN to match –

1. For anyone unsure of their salvation to become sure – know you are spiritually alive alpha..
2. For the rest of us to be more excited about our salvation and eager to share it

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