Faithlife Sermons

Stop Being Dead.

Ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Walkthrough of Ephesians 2:1-10 demonstrating a Christian's transfer from death to life and how because of this we have become God's masterpiece.

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Are you dead? (Hook)

Dead?

At one point in your life, you were a dead man walking. You might be breathing, your heart might be pumping, but it’s so easy to miss the fact that we are dead.
I’m not talking about actually being dead. I’m talking about spiritual death. Everyone has two parts of them. Their physical life, and their spiritual life. Someone can be very alive physically, but totally dead spiritually. What do you think it means to be spiritually dead?
Paul describes what it means to be spiritually dead in this passage. Let’s see if you can pick out what makes someone spiritually dead.

2 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.

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.

What is one of the first things about a spiritually dead person?
The first two things that describe a spiritually dead person is that they are living in sin. Living in sin means that their entire life is wrapped up in disobedience to God. They may not always realize it, but the way they live is rebellious to God.
What else does it say?
It also says that spiritually dead people obey the devil. Satan is the master of spiritually dead people. He is the one that gives the orders, and they listen to what he says. He is the one who is working in people for evil.

All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature.

3 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.

What does this verse say?
It says that spiritually dead people follow their own sinful nature. The stuff they want, and the ideas they have, they just go after. The natural human desires are normally evil, so a spiritual dead person has these desires and just goes for them. They have a “if I want it, I’ll get it” attitude.
Have you guys seen any zombie movies? Okay, so if you think about the zombies in these movies, rarely are they upset about being dead. You never really see any zombies who are like “aw man, I’m dead” or “dang I really wish I could be alive right now”. When you see these zombies, they are so absorbed in who they are. They’re just focused on the task ahead. They’re controlled by themselves and don’t seek anything greater than their dead state. We should not be like these zombies. We’ve seen that spiritual death makes us sinful slaves to the devil and to ourselves...

Alive!

Paul gives us an amazing piece of information here as we read on. After making sure we understand that we are dead, he tells us something awesome. He starts this off with a beautiful phrase. We just got a description of how we are all dead. Then, Paul says, “But God.” I can’t think of better words to hear. Let’s see what God did.

4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 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!)

It’s as simple as that. God loves us so much, that even though we were dead, He made us alive. When Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead, this allowed us to gain life as well. We would no longer have to be spiritually dead! Because of Jesus, all people have the chance to be alive!
Paul makes sure the point hits home and he basically repeats himself. God’s grace alone can save. No one can save themselves. Dead people can’t raise themselves from the dead, it is only because God is so kind that people who are spiritually dead can come to life.
Paul doesn’t just stop here, he wants to make sure that we get how amazing this thing God has done really is.

6 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. 7 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.

What are the two things that these verses say God did?
First, it says that we are raised from the dead with Christ. When Jesus rose from the dead, we who follow Him symbolically rose from our physical death as well.It also says that we are seated with him in the heavenly realms.
What in the world does that mean?
Think of it like this. Jesus is a king, and He is sitting on His throne with all His power. Christians are now sitting there with Him. That means that we share in some of Jesus’ authority. What do we have authority over? Do you remember what Paul said controlled spiritually dead people? It was the devil. Christians who are alive in Jesus have power over the devil. Jesus has granted Christians authority over the devil, and now we can choose to say no to Satan.
Why did He do that?
God did all of this so that we can be an example of His great grace and kindness. The love that He pours out on us shows everyone who looks how amazing, wonderful, and glorious God really is. Everything about Jesus and His story show how amazingly kind and loving God is, and Christians are His prime choice for showing everyone how amazing God is.
Paul continues to nail down who caused this whole process. He says,

8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

He really wants us to understand that we are only saved by God’s grace. Because God is so kind and gracious, when we turn to Him and believe and trust in what He has done, He takes us from our spiritually dead state and makes us alive. We don’t do any of the work. We didn’t have to die for it. We didn’t have to complete a checklist for it. When we turn to God and rely on Him, He is the one that does it all. Paul says it’s a totally free gift!!! All we have to do is take it.
Again he says that salvation isn’t something we get for doing something. We can do 1000 good things and still we wouldn’t deserve salvation from our spiritual death. It’s only because of God. And this means we can’t be proud of it. We can’t rub it in people’s faces that we have this gift and they don’t. It’s only because of God that we can have it in the first place.

A Masterpiece

Paul closes off this section with some beautiful words to encourage us.

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Many great artists have a masterpiece. Whether it’s a painter or a songwriter, they have one project they pour their entire lives into so that it’s as close to perfect as they can make it. They love and cherish this piece of work, and they want to dedicate their time to it. They do all they can for it. They pour their blood, sweat, and tears into it. In the end, they have a beautiful piece of work that they absolutely adore. That’s why they display these masterpieces, so everyone can see this amazing work that is so close to them and that they love so dearly.
Christians are God’s masterpiece. God loves His people so much, and they are His most precious piece of work. God is always working with His people and making them grow, bringing trials and various situations. It is because He loves us so much that He works in us to make us more like Him. In the end, He will be with his masterpiece in heaven.
Think about it. If you are a follower of Jesus, you are God’s masterpiece. He loves you so much that He created you, He formed your life, family, relationships, and experiences to make you become the person you are today. He continues to do this, and He puts experiences in your life to bring you closer to Him, and to continue to mold you into His image. He loves you so much and pours so much energy into you, and He thinks you’re great.
And what does He want you to do? He wants you to the good things He laid out for you. A part of the work of this masterpiece is doing the good deeds He laid out for you. As a Christ-follower, God wants you to do good things and obey Him. It’s His goal for you to do this.

Conclusion/Application

Here’s what we’ve covered so far tonight:
We were all spiritually dead at some point in our lives.
God loves us all so much that when we believe and follow Him, He makes us alive.
God saved those who are spiritually alive as a free gift.
Those who are alive are now God’s treasured and prized masterpiece.
God wants His masterpiece to do good works.
So what does this all mean for us? This is all amazing information, and it should change us. How should it change us? I believe there is one big thing we need to do based on what is said here...
Stop. Being. Dead.
If you are a follower of Jesus, you are no longer dead. But here’s the thing, so many Christians act like they’re dead. Remember what a dead person is like? They are selfish, disobedient, controlled by their desires, and ultimately obeying the devil. I’ve seen Christians act like this. That’s a crazy thought. Who in their right mind after having been brought to life, would act like they’re dead? It sounds crazy right? But Christians do this all the time! I worry that some of you guys do it. I know I’ve done it before. So what does acting dead look like?
When Christians sin and don’t fight it, they’re acting dead. When they hear or read the Bible and feel nothing, they might be acting dead. When they avoid the community of Christians around them, they’re acting dead. When they don’t talk about God and don’t think about what He’s done, they might be acting dead.
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