Faithlife Sermons

Dead or Alive

Winning the Battle  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:25
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Ephesians 2:1–3 NLT
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

If You Don’t Have a Relationship With Jesus, You are DEAD

This is not popular. No Relationship with Jesus = You are Dead. For those who are not believers in Christ, it’s not a popular thing to hear that no matter how good they might be, they are dead. It’s the offensive part of the Gospel.
To the person who believes that they are living a moral or a good life; to have the message come along that in spite of living morally and ethically, they are dead is offensive.
To the strong athlete who is young and feels invincible, but who is outside of Jesus Christ, to realize that if he continues outside of Christ, his physical strength and skill are nothing because He is DEAD - it’s offensive.
To the person who is financially successful and lives without a care in the world, or the hard working person who is simply trying to put bread on the Table for his family, yet hears that as long as he is outside of Christ, He is DEAD - it’s offensive.
We have to understand that when we are outside of having a relationship with Jesus Christ, we are DEAD spiritually.
One day we will all die physically and our bodies will be DEAD, a mere corpse and unresponsive to any external stimuli… unresponsive to talking… to anything. A dead person cannot do anything.
That’s what Spiritual Death is. When we are outside of Jesus Christ, we are totally helpless and we cannot save ourselves. We will never be good enough to earn forgiveness… We are lost and can’t do anything about it.
We can’t do anything to gain eternal life because we are DEAD and unresponsive to God.
That’s why Paul talks about GRACE being a Gift.
We are unable to respond to the Lord unless His Spirit touches us and makes us alive.

Death has occured because of our Transgressions and Sin.

Transgression means to misstep. It’s like walking off the edge of a platform and falling down. Lots of people have come into bondages and strong holds by making missteps.
Sin is the failure to be what we ought to be and what we could be. Def. - Sin is missing the Mark.
Paul says we are Spiritually Dead if we are without Christ.

So, How does a person end up Spiritually Dead?

1. We are Dead Because We followed the Ways of the World

Ephesians 2:2 NLT
You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.
The “Rest of the World” refers to culture we live in that is apart and even anti-God. At one time, we were in that mold too.

“Rest of the World” = Our Secular Culture

Most people are somewhat conformers… We conform to our surroundings due in part to peer pressure. Even believers are impacted by peer pressure. Society expects us to conform. That’s probably why Paul says in Romans to stop conforming to the patterns of this world.
The pressure is on to conform spiritually, intellectually and definitely physically. Young people especially are under pressure to conform to the group around them either at school, work...
We all face struggles to conform to the Culture we live in. the way we dressspeak… etc.

Have You Ever Noticed How Our Culture is Always Trying to Get Us to Conform to Their Way of Thinking?

They want you and I to believe the Lies they that they promote or even believe.

Lies That THE WORLD Tries to Force On You

There are NO ABSOLUTES

TRUTH is Relative

It’s relative and un-attainable, because truth is a perception. The criteria for mental illness now includes whether or not it causes distress in the person. If a Pedophile doesn’t feel distress about molesting children, it’s not a mental illness.

They Were BORN That Way

All Religions Worship the SAME God

It Doesn’t Matter What You Worship as Long as You are SINCERE.

God Understands Where I’m Coming From

How Could a Loving God Send People to Hell

Unfortunately, many folks who are Christians are fooled and pressured and begin to believe these lies. Often people we know and love uses these lies and we begin to believe them as well. Often Guilt over an issue can cause us to begin to believe these lies. (Aunt Mary with Bill)

2. We are Dead Because the Devil Makes Us Dead

Ephesians 2:2 NLT
You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.
The Devil is the commander of the unseen powers and is at work in the heats of those who disobey the Lord.

When you Disobey God, You Open Yourself Up to Attack From the Devil

Jesus talked about the devil so he is real and he hates you and he hates me. He is actively working in the culture we live in to kill, steal and destroy our lives and witness. He is not some force out there, he is limited to space because he is an individual angel that rebelled against God.
Think about this, the Devil is the only world power whose principle foreign policy is to convince people he doesn’t exist. He works behind the scenes in the spiritual realm, but he is real and We need to take him seriously.
1 Peter 5:8–9 NLT
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
The Devil is always trying to figure out how to trip us up. So how do we fight him and over come him?
James 4:7 NLT
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
We humble ourselves to the Lord and obey the Lord. When we do this we can overcome the devil who is always opposing the work of God.

3. We are Dead Because We Had the Cravings of Sinful HUMAN NATURE.

Ephesians 2:3 NLT
All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
Some translations call this the FLESH. The end result of following the culture is that the Prince of this world (devil) along with the DESIRES of our sinful nature become alienated from God and become objects of WRATH.

If We are Apart From Jesus Christ, Is God Mad at Us?

NO. Is God waiting to nuke us for doing wrong? NO Is God waiting to hit us across the head with a baseball bat? NO.
These are images the culture has dreamed up of who God is and flooded us with those ideas. That’s how many people see God.
Let me ask, Does that Kind of God (who wants to club us, to nuke us) sound like the kind of God who would die for us? NO
The Wrath of God is not like that at all. It’s more like this.

The Wrath of God is the LAW OF CONSEQUENCES

Think about it for a minute.

Gravity

The Law of Gravity carries wrath with it. How? If you do certain things that defy the law of Gravity you will pay the consequences. If you are walking on the roof of your house and step off the edge, you will experience that wrath… of gravity.
The Law of Wrath is simply the Law of Consequences. If you break the law of Gravity, you will experience the consequences of breaking that law.
It’s the same in reference to the Wrath of God. If we break the laws of God, we will experience the consequences of breaking that law. We step outside of his favor and into his wrath which one day could include His judgement.
If your dog runs out into the street, he may face wrath… either of the car that hits him or of you who spanks him so he doesn’t do it again.

The Wrath of God is NOT something an Angry God Uses

Wrath is not something an Angry God uses to smack another human. The fact is that God has built into our world, His universe, consequences that relate to the moral and spiritual decision we make.

God Built into the World CONSEQUENCES

So, we fall into and under His wrath when we step outside of Him. We do need to have a HEALTHY FEAR of God because we don’t want to live with the consequences. (Jim Bakker)
Psalm 111:10 NLT
Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!
Proverbs 1:7 NLT
Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs 9:10 NLT
Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.

When we Come to Faith in Christ, We come Out of Death Into Life

Ephesians 2:4–9 NLT
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
The But God’s” in the bible are awesome. But God… takes us out of death and into life.
This is God’s character… rich in mercy… loves us so much… raised us from death to life...
The prodigal son - tell the story.
The key point is not the son, but the waiting Father who is longing for His wayward children to return to him.

Key - Father who was Waiting on His Son to Return

This is the character of God. Too many people still have that other view of the Lord, the one of a God trying to smack them down… that’s what the devil convinced Eve of in the Garden… Did God really say? … He won’t do that because he know you will be just like him....
Too many people, even people who have come to faith in Christ still have not gotten this glimpse of the character of God from this parable. They still feel like God wants to catch them and bump them off.
That view is not consistent with God’s character … His love and mercy.

Salvation is Where God Makes Us Alive In Christ.

Ephesians 2:5–6 NLT
that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.
Paul did not say he will make us alive. It says He gave us life. We don’t have to wait for death physically to experience the New Life - it begins at Salvation.
Ephesians 2:4–5 NIV84
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
He made you and I alive when we received Jesus as our Savior. Even though we still have physical death to go through, unless Jesus comes back before, we are ALIVE in Christ now. We are IN Christ and we are already resurrected into NEW Life.

The Gospel Makes Us TOTALLY ALIVE.

God has made you and I alive in Christ and the world doesn’t understand it, but often they desire the life they see inside us. The Event already happened. Jesus died and rose again and he raised you and I to new Life.

Salvation means We have been Resurrected with Christ

Salvation means that We Sit with Christ in the Heavenly Realms.

Ephesians 2:6 NLT
For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.
What does that mean?
When someone is elected to Congress, we describe them as taking their seat in Congress. It’s the same thing here.
In the Heavenly Congress, we were elected to the seat of being a JOINT HEIR with Christ for ever. We are already there. We are already in office and seated… we did not need to be confirmed by the devil or the angels… We are seated in the Heavenly Realms with the Lord.

Salvation is a Gift from God

This is a gift from God… not anything that we deserved or earned.
Ephesians 2:8–9 NLT
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
We did not do anything to deserve it. It’s called GRACE.

What Does God Want in Return?

What Does God Want in Return? God Wants us to Love Him Back.

God wants us to love him in return for all he has done. Is he trying to populate eternity with Slaves? No. slaves have no choice in matters. We do.
It’s up to us to decide…The Big question is,

Do You Believe?

Do you believe in Christ? Do you believe that He loves you? That he wants to Bless you? ...
We come to Him through His Grace, not by our works.

GRACE

Think about it. Your life was an act of Grace. You did not earn the right to come into this world, you were born into it. Spiritual life is also a result of Grace as we are born into it… it’s a gift and we cannot boast of it.
While You and I have to accept the Grace of God, we have absolutely nothing to do with it being offered. So we can’t brag about being in God’s Family.

Grace is a Mark of God’s Work in Us.

We are God’s workmanship. He is working in our lives to make us into the people He wants us to become and we hope to become.

The Christian Life does not begin with SELF EFFORT

The Christian Life does not begin with SELF EFFORT but with God’s Effort.

God has done things For us and We are to Respond with Good Works.

Good Works in the Christians life is not a way to gain God’s favor, but a way to simply thank Him for what he is doing in our lives. It’s not a way to earn favor, but a way to give thanks.

God is interested in the COURSE OF YOUR LIFE.

God is not just interested in your Birth, but God is interested in the course of your life. He has prepared works for you and for me to do. He has given us directives from His Word that he wants us to do.

God Wants Us to Live Our Life as a Consequence of Grace & Full of Good Deeds

He calls us to serve Him. We progress in life as we walk in and do the good works He wants us to do. We do this out of gratitude for what he has done in our lives.
Out of Gratitude for the Free Gift of forgiveness, of salvation, of power to live an abundant life, we will seek to do good works… to help others with kindness, love, gentleness…
We are not saved for our benefit, but to serve the Lord and build up the church. God wants u to walk the path He has prepared for you and for me. The Question is,

Are You Ready to Walk?

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