- Sermon Notes
God Makes You Alive
March 13, 2022
We spent some time last week going through Ephesians 1 where Paul exhorts the church about who they are and the riches there are in Christ. One of the great truths we find in the passage, is that he calls them Saints. We looked at the two sides of sanctification: Positional and process.
In Christ we are changed into saints and that is how God sees us. Still, we live in this world and have areas in our lives that are not perfect. We all have areas in which we are growing into the image of Christ and God’s perfect plan for us.
Ephesians 2 deals with this concept- the tension between death at work in us, and the spirit of God at work in us.
Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2in 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. 3Among 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. 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
I. God Brings the Dead to Life
Many people walk around like the living dead They don’t know they are dead, but their actions show that they are actually dead and living under the authority of another.
Praise God that He is in the reviving business. His aim is to bring the dead to life, and then to set us free from the effects of the life of death. Paul highlights what this previous life without God looked like. It is important to remember who we were and what we were saved from. We are going to contrast that with what God has done and is continuing to do to rid us of this old life which leads to death.
A. God changes how you walk
- Verse 1 says that they were dead in their trespasses and sins in which they formerly walked according to the course of this world. The world has a specific course that it wants your life to follow.
- Mostly it leads you to trespasses and sins, which ends in death. It breeds a life of destruction that might look like it is life, but it is just window dressing.
- The light of the world draws the flesh like a moth to a flame, but in the end, it is dead, empty, and brings shame and being alone.
Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
- What was once wrong is now right, once right, is now wrong. It is not popular to stand for what is right.
- The wonderful news is that Jesus came to set us free from this life of emptiness and death.
John 14: 5-6, Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way…,
- Thomas asked the question that many who are lost and hurting ask: How do we get to where you are Jesus. We don’t know the way!
- Jesus’ answer is so reassuring: I AM…
o The Way. He miraculously moves us from the highway of destruction to His way of life.
Illus. Have you ever gone down the wrong highway? Four lanes of cars rushing past you and pushing you forward. There is no turning back. It feels hopeless. How am I going to get on the right way??
- God comes to the rescue! He literally picks you up, takes you off the highway of sin and places you on the right path. In Jesus! He IS the WAY.
Colossians 1:13-14, For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
- God changes how we walk by putting us on the right Way
B. Walk according to the Spirit
- Verse 2 – You formerly walked according to the prince and power of the air.
- The enemy is the prince and the power of the air. He has authority which Adam surrendered to him when he chose to follow the lead of the enemy and submit to his guidance.
- Since then, the world systems and people still lost in sin fashion their lives after the guidance of the prince of the air. His plan is destruction because he hates us.
- He is very good at what he does. He knows exactly how to entice and lure those in the flesh into what is wrong.
- The fact that the marketing industry is worth billions of dollars shows that marketing works. And Satan knows exactly how to market sin to you. He is also very good with personalized marketing. He knows exactly what triggers you might act on and what strings to pull. That is why Peter warns the church:
1 Peter 5:8, Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
- Thank God that when Jesus returned to heaven, he did not leave us alone to fend for ourselves. The most wonderful promise was that He would send His Spirit to us. In fact, He said it was better for Him to leave, otherwise the Spirit could not come.
John 16:7, But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
- We must remember that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. He could then come live inside of every believer to be actively involved in guiding, reassuring, comforting, supporting, and strengthening every believer from the inside.
1 John 4:4, You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. Not only a friend from outside, but one that is fused into your daily life. What a wonderful promise. There is no way that the outside suggestions of the enemy can compete with that.
Illus -In Africa where we come from, there are many national parks where lions still roam free. It is interesting to note that a lion who is strong and is hunting, will not roar. A roar is to scare something.
When the bible then talks about our enemy roaring, it tells me that he is trying to scare us with lies, because he has no real power over us. He only holds power if we believe his lies and act on it. He tries to paralyze us with fear and make us ineffective.
We need to hear the roar of the real Lion of Judah over our lives. The roar of life, love, and truth.
- The next verse in 1 Peter 5 tells us how to resist the enemy that prowls:
1 Peter 5:9, But resist him, firm in your faith,
- We can resist him by the faith in the finished work of Christ.
John 14:6, … and He is the truth, …
- We overcome the enemy with the truth. Jesus is the truth and reveals the truth of every situation and lie of the enemy that wants to keep us bound.
C. God changes your desires
- Verse 3-4 says that we too all formerly lived in the lusts of the flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh.
- This speaks of a life that is focused on self-gratification, getting out on top, living a selfish life, which boils down to gratifying the flesh.
- I loved the phrase Pastor Rich used the other day when he said that the flesh is always looking for instant gratification, no matter what the consequences.
- This gets amplified even more these days with our “microwave society”. Everything must happen quickly, and we want what we want immediately.
- You can imagine that if everyone on earth lived with that type of conviction what chaos it would be. And to a certain extent we see it happening all around us. We can see how the moral degradation are just destroying every area of life around us.
- The wages of sin is death, and when someone walks in the ways of the world, you see death in relationship, in marriages, in the lives of children, in the breakdown of the moral fiber of society.
- The desires of the flesh and the mind is an interesting concept. I see this as the circle of death, as the mind follows something sinful, the flesh acts on it. As the flesh acts on it, the mind finds new ways to degrade the act more, and the flesh acts it out again. The circle of death.
James 1:14-15, But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
John 14:6, … and He is the life.
- Real LIFE is only found in relationship with God. When you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, and that at His right hand are pleasures forevermore, it is like tasting honey and wanting more.
- The imitation sweetener of the world then just does not compare.
- When we surrender to Him, the following becomes true.
Philippians 2:13, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
- His Spirit works in me the will and the capacity to do good, which produces good fruit, which produces good seeds, which then multiply good fruit and a great aroma in our lives and the lives around us.
- We are rescued from a circle of death to a circle of life where the Holy Spirit cultivates His fruit in us.
II. You are Alive Together with Christ
God changes our desires and then we are transferred into a vibrant, living, active relationship with Christ.
A. You are resurrected with Christ
- Verse 4 – 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 heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
- Last week we spoke about the mercy and grace of God. And here we see again that it is God’s rich mercy, because of his great love with which He loved us, that accomplishes this. Every time someone get saved and give their lives to Christ, they are raised from their spiritual death and new life is breathed into them by the Spirit of God.
- Not only that, but the moment that you are saved, you are raised up with Him and seated in heavenly places with Christ. When you come alive in Christ, you are not seen as an outsider, but you are seated with Christ.
B. You are in a position of rest in Christ
- Being seated has the implication of being at rest. We are seated in the finished work in Christ.
- Jesus gave us this promise of rest.
Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
- If we trust Christ with our lives and understand that we are already seated with Him in heavenly places, then the things of the temporal world will not be able to easily steal our rest and peace.
C. You are rescued and loved
- Verse 7 – so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Illus. – A great parable that shows this truth, is when the prodigal son returns to the house of his father. He no longer considers himself worthy to be a son, he just wants a job. He was willing to work as a hired man for his father because his father’s hired men were treated well and had better living circumstances than what he had when he was living in horrible circumstances with the pigs.
It’s interesting to me that his father doesn’t even respond to that, but it is as if he totally ignores the comment and just tells the other servants to bring the ring, and to bring new clothes, and to prepare the fattened calf because his son was dead but has come to life.
- It has the implication of tattered clothes being removed and God putting on new clothes of righteousness.
Revelation 6:11, And there was given to each of them a white robe;
- Many people are hindered by their past. They have this nagging feeling of being unworthy because of what they have done or been through. God has already forgiven them, but they cannot forgive themselves.
Philippians 3:13-14, but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
- We must believe that our past is washed away so we can focus on the upward call of Jesus.
Ephesians 2:1-7 NASB
1 And [a]you [b]were dead [c]in your offenses and sins, 2 in which you previously walked according to the [d]course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the [e]sons of disobedience. 3 Among them [f]we too all previously lived in the lusts of our flesh, [g]indulging the desires of the flesh and of the [h]mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just 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 [i]in our wrongdoings, made us alive together [j]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 [k]boundless riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.