- Sermon Notes
Made Alive In Christ
Tonight I want to share with you from the book of Ephesians, chapter 2, verses 1 thru 10. And I believe that this passage sums up the truth in the gospel.
It tells us
I. Who we were before Christ (1-3)
II. What Christ has done for us (4-5)
III. What Christ wants to continue to do in and through us! (6-10)
Ultimately, this passage helps us know who we are in Christ.
That he has brought us from death to life in Him.
That he has lavished us with his grace.
That he is not done yet.
That His love is so great for us that we could spend eternity growing in it and still only scratch the surface.
So let us pray and ask the Lord to bless us in the reading of His word.
Let us read now Ephesians 2:1-10
Ephesians 2:1-10 —And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them, we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
I. Who were we before Christ?
- The answer is simple: We were dead.
- From the moment you took your first breath, you were dead.
- Now obviously, what we mean by that is a spiritual death.
- Because of our transgressions and sins… we are dead.
This goes back to the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 2:16-17–The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may freely eat; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for on the day that you eat from it you will certainly die.”
- Adam was told by God that if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would die.
- Now when Adam and Eve rebelled against God, they experienced a spiritual death, and their physical bodies began to experienced the symptoms of aging and eventual physical death.
A. Without Jesus in your life, you are not truly alive!
- This is so important to remember… Unbelievers are not just sick. They are dead.
- The unbeliever doesn’t need a self-help course, a motivational speech, or a personality quiz… they need to be rescued from death… they need resurrection!
You can put
A person in school = They will become a well-educated sinner
A person in therapy= They will become a well-adjusted sinner
A person in church= They will become a religious sinner
It is only when you put a person IN CHRIST that they are a saved sinner!
B. So what is the root of the sinner’s deadness? Why were we dead?
- Our “sins”- the word sin in scripture can truly be defined as we have all “missed the mark.”
- It’s an archery term. You aim, but you miss.
- You can try, but all will miss.
- Actually… you don’t just miss. You don’t even get close. Nor could you ever get close. It would be like trying to hit Mt. Hood with an arrow from Hillsboro.
- As Romans 3:23 tell us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
- We all have missed the mark, and we didn’t even need to be told to.
- We, by nature, were sinful.
Contrary to popular belief… Man is not born good!
- If you need proof, come hang out at my house sometime.
- I have three boys that never had to be taught to sin.
- Because of Adam’s rebellion, sin is born into our DNA.
Romans 5:12–Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.
How do we know this is true? Because we sin.
We do it. And we are guilty because of it. And death reigns.
The second reason for our deadness is
- Our trespasses- this is translated in other translations of the Bible as transgressions or rebellion.
- Our trespasses are those moments when we make a choice to break trust, to rebel, and to knowingly do what is wrong.
- When we transgress, we are partaking in mankind’s rebellion that started with Adam and is passed down to all.
- There is something ingrained in us that wants to wander, wants to do everything on our own, and wants to break the rules when we hear them.
- Paul even wrote about this in scripture when he talked about the internal conflict he felt towards doing what was right.
Romans 7:18–For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
As the hymn Come Thou Fount says
“Prone to wander. Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart Lord. Take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above.”
We all wandered at one point. We have been disobedient.
And even in the life of a believer… our allegiance can be tested.
- Verses 2 and 3 tell us.
- We all lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.
- We walked- Some commentators say the word walked can even be translated as “to meander” or “to move about carelessly.”
- We are careless and thoughtless.
- After all, in our sin, we are the walking dead.
And because of our sins, transgressions, and broken relationship with Christ, we are deserving of his righteous judgment and wrath.
C. What were we deserving of?
- We don’t like to talk about the wrath of God because it sounds mean, or we are fearful that it might hurt someone’s feelings.
- But it is not that “some of us” were deserving and some weren’t. We all are deserving of his judgment and wrath.
- Have you ever asked yourself: Why doesn’t God punish bad people in this world? Why doesn’t he right now zap them for what they are doing that is so evil?
- Well, the answer is this: If God zapped anyone and everyone who ever sinned… maybe he would start with you.
- But God is not in the business of zapping because he is in the business of salvation and resurrection.
Verse 4 brings that “But God” moment into the story.
And unveils God’s plan for us as children of wrath.
Ephesians 2:4-5–But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, 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.
II. What has Christ done for us?
- Christ loved us. And gave himself for us!
- Christ made us alive with him.
A. Jesus made us alive!
– “made us alive together with Christ.”
- Jesus’ resurrection changes us.
- Bringing the dead man back to life.
- Every believer has that moment.
- Where the story changes.
- Where transformation, healing, and hope comes into an otherwise lost and broken life.
STORY: I was a depressed, hopeless, and terribly lonely middle school boy. And the Lord came into my life, and it was like a light switch went on in my heart.
Last week, we celebrated a baptism service, and I have to say I never get bored of hearing what God is doing in the lives of people in our church, how he took them from the lowest of lows and now has restored them!
- When you are awakened to the love that God has for you.
- When you experience his saving grace.
- When you begin to recognize the riches of his mercy.
- You look back, and you see that he was there the whole time in your wandering. He was there in your pain and hurt.
- He knows your sin because it nailed him to the cross. He knows your shame because he took it upon himself.
Colossians 2:13-14—When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
B. Jesus canceled our debt because he is rich in mercy.
- We need to remember that our God is rich in mercy.
- We often think of him as one who is rich in judgment.
- While he is Holy, just, and righteous, the riches of his mercy are impossible to measure. So important for us not to forget!
- And because we forget, I believe we Christians can have a holier-than-thou mindset about the way in which the world is.
- Paul addresses this attitude in Romans 2
1 Corinthians 6:9-11—Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men. nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
- Paul is saying: You were too. Remember where you came from.
- It is God’s kindness that leads you to repentance
- We are called to be merciful as he is merciful.
- Because WE need his mercy!
- How quick we are to forget just how merciful he has been to us and then refuse to extend that mercy to others.
- How quick we are to forget that he came for a wretch like me.
- Let us not show contempt for his kindness and grace.
- Remember… you were a corpse before him. You were dead.
- It is by grace that you have been saved.
C. Jesus raised and seated us with Him
- Verse 6 and 7 speak of this miraculous truth that we have been raised with Christ:
Ephesians 2:6-7–and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
- Now I am looking around, and none of us appear to be in glory in heaven right now. So why does Paul say we are seated in heavenly places?
- Well, we are not literally seated right now. But positionally, we are for sure seated with Christ. So much so that Paul speaks with such certainty that it is as if you are right now.
- Think about this amazing progression.
- Once a child of wrath dead in the dirt… now a co-heir with Christ and welcomed into the very presence of God.
TRANSITION- So we were dead… now we are alive.. what now?
III. What does Christ want to continue to do in and through us?
A. Christ wants to continue to reveal his mercy to us in the ages to come!
- Our position has changed. We are now seated with the King of Glory. We are given the status of children of God.
- And one day, we will literally be with Him.
- We have something amazing to look forward to and long for!
- Verse 7 is truly amazing!
Ephesians 2:7—so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
- There is something that happens in the heart of a believer when they are made alive with Christ.
- They begin to realize: this isn’t my home.
- We begin to have this homesickness for heaven.
Philippians 3:20-21—But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
- Our desire for fleshly earthly things begins to fade in our desire to be with the Lord.
- And the promise here is that “in the ages to come,” he is going to show us more and more of his grace.
I heard another Pastor say it like this.
“God loves you so much that it is going to take him an eternity to reveal that love to you more and more.”
- From today into eternity, we get to experience his mercies.
- When we reflect back on our lowly state before Him, we can worship him for the ways in which he protected and guided us.
- In every season ahead… the good and the bad… his mercies are new every morning. His grace can sustain you.
- So what do we need to do? Not to try to earn it but to entrust our lives to him.
B. Christ wants us to remember that his grace is enough.
Ephesians 2:8-9—For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
- What is the gift of God? That we are by God’s grace, we are saved, and all we have to do is place faith in Christ.
- There is a common misunderstanding in this passage that tries to say that “faith” is the gift of God or that “grace” is the gift of God.
- But in the Greek, it is the entire idea. God’s idea.
- We are saved by grace through faith.
- We believe, place our faith, and trust in God, and he marks us and seals us for salvation.
- Christ wants us to remember that it is not a result of our good works and that we should not go back to trying to do everything on our own.
- It is only by God’s grace and love that we can be saved.
It is amazing how quick we are to go right back to trying to earn God’s love or do everything on our own. I spent so much of my own Christian life thinking that I needed to prove to God that I was good enough for Him.
- You could never be enough on your own.
- You don’t have to be enough because Christ was enough for you.
- Christ did all the work, so you don’t have to.
- We need to live like Jesus, but first and foremost, we need to believe and stand firm on the finished work of Christ.
- Not WWJD but WDJD
God has done an amazing work.
As Ephesians says
You are God’s handiwork, a masterpiece.
- When I was in youth group, I remember this passage about God’s masterpiece being used to always talk about how beautiful you are.
- You are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. God knew you before you took your first breath. He knit you together. You are not an accident or mistake.
ROOMMATE STORY: I remember going into the studio and saying “what is that?” He isn’t finished yet!
STORY: My yard is currently a work in progress. But weeding a garden is hard work.
- Don’t miss the clear message here: God did the work and is still at work in you.
- You were dead and now have been made alive.
- You are a work in progress, and one day, that masterpiece is going to be complete.
- In the meantime, entrust your life to the gardener.
- Let him weed the garden beds of your soul.
- Let him form you and test you in the fire.
- When you are submitting yourself to his workmanship, it brings him glory. He will use your life as a living testimony of his love.
- He will reveal to you day after day his new mercies as he takes you from glory to glory.
So where are you tonight?
- What is God trying to do in this season to work in you? Trust the professional. He knows what he is doing. Entrust and surrender to Him what you are trying to take back from his hands. Let him weed the garden of your soul.
- Do you believe his grace is enough for you? Maybe in the sight of your shortcomings, you have made your sin, transgressions, and flaws much bigger than the love God has for you.
- Are you alive? Maybe you never have surrendered your life to Jesus, and tonight could be the night you are reborn. The night you come alive. To the glory of God!
Ephesians 2:1-10 NASB
2 And you [a]were dead [b]in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the [c]course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, [d]indulging the desires of the flesh and of the [e]mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead [f]in our transgressions, made us alive together [g]with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and [h]that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
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