Study Notes

Ephesians 2:1-7


Chapter one of the book of Ephesians teaches Christians that..

- Christ has blessed us in the heavenly places

- He has chosen us before the foundation of the world

- He has adopted us as sons

- He has forgiven our sins

- He promised us an inheritance

- He sealed us with the Holy Spirit

- He has made us His body

Now, as we begin chapter two, Paul is reminding us what Christians were before getting all these great blessings.

2:1-3 Dead In Sin

As Christians, we must never forget that were dead in the trespasses and sins in which we walked. And I would like to point out to you the difference between "trespasses" and "sins" because it is both important and educational.

"Trespasses" are the times that we misstep, when we deviate from the right path. It speaks of the bad things we've done.

"Sin," on the other hand, is a word that means "to miss the mark." In ancient Greek writings, the word was used to describe archers or spearmen missing their intended targets. In modern description then, to sin means "to miss the bullseye." So while a trespass is a bad thing you've done, sin is everything that falls short of God's perfection.

The Bible says that...

Rom. 3:23 ...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

We've all missed the bullseye of God's glorious perfection.

Whether it's someone blatantly trespassing into forbidden territory, or whether it's someone who's trying to be a good person, but simply missing the mark of righteousness, everyone is spiritually dead, and separated from God until they are made alive by God.

The Course Of The World

When people are spiritually dead, they are the walking dead. They walk the way everyone else is, following after the example that the world has set for them. The world system says to get drunk, and they get drunk. The world system says to lie, and they lie. The world system says to seek pleasure, and they seek pleasure. This is the course that the world is on.

But the course that this world is on is contrary to God's ways. In fact, this track is following "the prince of the power of the air," which is one of the titles that the Bible gives the devil.

Jesus called him "the ruler of this world" (John 14:30; 16:11). And it is easy to see why, because the world system is following after his example of sin and rebellion against God.

Children Of Wrath

Now, when people are following the example of the devil, all they should expect is to get the same thing that the devil will get: God's wrath. When a person blatantly rebels against God and His standards, they shouldn't think that they're going to get away with it. I mean, think about it for a moment:

- If God created sex exclusively for a one woman/one man marriage relationship, then wouldn't He be angered at those who have sex outside of marriage, and with many people?

- If God gave people skills and talents to be used for His glory, wouldn't it upset Him if those people used them for their own pride and glory?

- If God gave us something to be used for righteousness, wouldn't you naturally expect Him to be mad if we used it for unrighteousness?

In the Bible, we read about a man named Balaam who had been gifted with an incredible ability to speak things and they would happen (Num. 22:6). God had granted Balaam this ability to be used for righteousness. But when men came and offered him a lot of money to use this gift for unrighteousness, he accepted. This made God angry enough to threaten to kill Balaam (Num. 22:33).

Samson was a man who God gifted with amazing physical strength. He was given this strength to deliver God's people from their enemies. But instead, Samson used his strength to do his own thing and get his own way. For this, Samson was judged.

Judas was gifted by God in the handling of money. But when he used his accounting skills to rip off the ministry, and betrayed Jesus as a way to make even more cash, he incurred the wrath of God.

The world is full of people who have been given gifts and talents and skills by God, but who are using them for evil purposes. And yet, if we say, "You are a child of wrath, because you are following the devil's example of disobedience," it just doesn't seem to go over very well, does it?

God's wrath on rebellious and disobedient human beings isn't a popular topic. Not a lot of people like to hear that Jesus said,

John 3:36 "...he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

Fortunately, Jesus started that sentence by saying,

John 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has eternal life..."

And that is the very good news: The God who hates trespasses, sin, disobedience, and rebellion happens to love you!

2:4-7 God's Mercy And Love

Because of God's great love toward each of us individually, He has shown us mercy. Mercy is the practice of not giving people what they deserve. It means that although someone should really be punished, that punishment is postponed and delayed. God doesn't want to judge sinners and pour out His wrath on people. The Bible says that God

2Pet. 3:9 patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

God patiently waits, hating your sin but loving you. Despising your rebellion, but definitely wanting you to turn away from it. So He is rich in mercy as He gives you opportunities to turn from your rebellion and turn to Him.

Made Alive With Christ

When someone begins to believe in Jesus Christ, when they begin to have faith, it is like they are waking up from the dead. They were dead in trespasses and sins, and yet they become alive in Christ.

Faith will bring you from spiritual death to eternal life. You may be here this morning thinking, "I'd like to believe, but I'm a skeptical person. I'm too intelligent to have faith in Someone I can't see." But faith doesn't come by someone persuading you. The Bible says,

Rom. 10:17 So faith {comes} from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

If you allow yourself to hear the Word of Christ, the Bible, you will find that you are going to have faith. The Word of Christ will take you from death into life.

In the Bible, we see that Jesus raised three people from the dead.

When Jesus was walking into a city called Nain, they ran smack dab into a funeral procession leaving the city (Luke 7:12). The only son of a widow woman was being taken out for burial.

Luke 7:14-15 And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, "Young man, I say to you, arise!" And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And {Jesus} gave him back to his mother.

With a single sentence, the Word of Christ brought that man from death into life.

When His friend Lazarus got sick and died while Jesus was out of town, everybody was terribly sad. Four days later, Jesus walked up to the tomb, and then...

John 11:43-44 And when He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth." He who had died came forth..."

With a single sentence, the dead came to life.

When a little twelve-year-old girl died, her father begged Jesus to come to his house. When Jesus walked in, He...

Luke 8:54 ...called, saying, "Child, arise!"

Luke 8:55 And her spirit returned, and she rose immediately...

Once again, the Word of Christ brought the dead to life.

Show His Grace

Maybe when you walked in here today, you were spiritually dead. Dead in trespasses and sins. And you knew that God's wrath would one day come because of your rebellion against Him. But you have been hearing the Word of Christ. Every time I've read the Bible this morning, you gained a little faith. And now, you're thinking, "I believe that God loves me, in spite of my sin! I believe that I'm coming out of death and into life!"

In a moment, I'm going to give you an opportunity to confirm that very fact. To solidify your new-found faith. Before I do, I'm going to ask you to bow your heads and listen to the words of Jesus:

John 5:24-25 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live."

Have you heard the voice of Jesus Christ today, calling you out of death and into life? God says,

Deut. 30:19 "...I have set before you life and death... So choose life in order that you may live..."

If you desire to choose life today, I'm going to ask you to raise your hand, demonstrating that you want to be raised up into life with Jesus Christ.

Now, for all eternity, you and those of us who have received eternal life, will be a demonstration of God's grace. God will say, "You're not sure that I'm unconditionally loving and hugely graceful? Then take a look at these folks - I saved them!"

If you raised your hand to receive life this morning, and you desire to be a living demonstration of God's Amazing Grace, I'm going to ask you to stand up where you are, and let the world see the surpassing riches of God's grace in you.

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