On Nov 2, 2014, pastor Darin continued his series in Ephesians with a sermon from Eph 2:1-10 called Made Alive. This is a significant passage that brings God’s purpose in our lives and the world into sharp view, as we see our condition apart from Christ, then what God did to bring us to spiritual life through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus, and how He now calls us to live as those created in Christ Jesus. The key idea in the sermon was that God recreates us in Christ so that we would live by grace and boast in Christ alone. 3 points:
1. We were spiritually dead apart from Christ
a. God created Adam and Eve (humanity) to glorify and enjoy God forever. But they disobeyed God, bringing death into the world. Dig deeper: both physical and spiritual death were result of the fall. Physical death was not immediate, but certain. Spiritual death was immediate as we inherit both the guilt of Adam’s sin, and a corrupt sinful nature. Man is now enslaved to death in all its forms. This is the curse that Jesus came to bear on the cross so that we could have life everlasting (Gal 3:10-14).
b. Spiritual death entails the inability to be awakened to God. Dig deeper: read and reflect upon Ps. 51:5; Jer 17:9; Jn 6:44; Rom 3:10-19; Rom 8:7; 1 Cor 2:14. We were designed so that our pleasure receptors would feel for God (Acts 17:27), but as a result of sin, we no longer do this on our own. Turn to and rest in Christ so that you can both will and do God’s good pleasure (Phil 2:12-13).
c. In 2:2-3, spiritual death means we are controlled by forces opposed to God--we:
1) follow the course of this world. Dig deeper: this is the pervading sinful and rebellious mindset of the unbelieving world to which we are all born and raised in.
2) follow and under the power of Satan: all people are born followers of Satan.
3) live according to sinful desires of the flesh, hence, objects of God’s wrath.
d. To summarize, the natural state of man is that he is a sinner under the influence of the world, our flesh (sinful nature), and Satan. Apart from a supernatural act of God, we are dead to God. This leads to next point:
2. We are raised to new life in and by Christ
a. We were by nature children of wrath. However, in v. 4 Paul turns a corner with 2 of the most important words in the bible: “but God…” Dig deeper: not man and his will or works, but God. These 2 little words are the difference between Christianity and every other world religion.
b. Paul then describes how God, being rich in mercy and having great love for us, made us alive, and raised us up with Christ. For God’s own purposes (which are centered in Christ) He set His love on sinners that is free, and not dependent on what you’ve done. Dig deeper: Why does God love sinners this way? Because we are in Christ. Paul roots the mercy and love of God toward sinners in the person and work of Christ: God’s redemptive love is only found in Christ. If we are apart from Christ, we do not experience this love, but only God’s wrath. Christ bore God’s wrath due to us on the cross, and rose from the grave so that all who trust Him alone by His grace alone could experience the rich mercy and love of God in Christ that surpasses knowledge (Eph 3:17-19).
c. The result: As the Holy Spirit applies Christ’s work to us, we are spiritually resurrected from spiritual and eternal death. Any desire that we have for God is a sign that God has set His love on us in Christ. God has given us life through the work of Christ so that we desire Him. All of this is a work of God’s grace alone. Why does that matter?
3. We are called to live by grace and boast in Christ alone
a. In verses 8–9, Paul wants to destroy the things we boast in. God designs us to worship and to live for him, in such a way as we relate to Him only by grace.
b. Verse 9 (compare with v. 7): God wants us to relate to him in such a way that we do not boast in what we do (live in arrogance) or don’t do (live in fear), but in the immeasurable riches of His grace that is ours only in Christ. 3 things to see:
1) God wants us to live as free people; set free through the Gospel.
2) We must truly accept the fact that we are sinners. Dig deeper: it is only when we understand the depth of our sin that God’s grace makes sense. This is why confession is so important. In both private and corporate confession we come to grips with our sin, and God’s provision for us in Christ. Do you make a regular practice of confession?
3) If we understand these things, we will long to be in a place of worship relating to God by His grace. Dig deeper: this is in part what the Lord’s Table is about: we have a visual proclamation in the bread and wine of Communion of what God has done to save sinners like us through the body and blood of Jesus Christ!
c. Verse 10 - God wants to remove boasting because we are his workmanship God. We are His work of art that He is recreating in Christ. As He does this, He opens our eyes to live by His grace, where we are free to take risks for the sake of the kingdom, and to love others, and where our only boast is that Jesus has loved us so much in this way.