Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dead man walking

Last Sunday, we began a “behind the scenes” look at our salvation. We are considering how a person comes to Christ, and what role God plays in this dramatic event. The best place to begin is with the condition of the unbeliever apart from Christ. So we studied Ephesians 2:1-3 and discovered three points:

1. The Condition (Ephesians 2:1-2). The Bible says quite bluntly that we are “dead” without Christ. Because of our sin nature, there is absolutely no life in us. Other passages describe us as spiritually blind, deaf, enslaved, and in rebellion, and totally unable to please God (Romans 8:6-8).

2. The Consequence (Ephesians 2:3). The result of this terrible condition is that we are all under God’s wrath. We rightly deserve eternal torment in hell because of the heinous nature of our crime against God.

3. The Challenge. Here’s the dilemma. We are spiritually dead and racing down the broad road to hell. And there’s absolutely nothing we can do to fix the situation. Nothing. (We’re dead, remember). We cannot change our hearts any more than an Ethiopian can change his skin, or a leopard can remove his spots (Jeremiah 13:23). But here’s the good news: What is impossible for man is possible for God! By sending His Son, God has redeemed us and made us alive in Christ! (Ephesians 2:4-9).

Questions for thought and discussion:

• What does it mean that I am “dead in my trespasses and sins”?
• Do our “good works” earn favor with God? Why or why not?
• Have I trusted in Christ alone for forgiveness and eternal life?
• Read 1 Corinthians 2:4. Can our clever techniques ever draw an unbeliever to Christ?
• If Ephesians 2:2-3 depicts the lifestyle of an unbeliever, how could we describe the lifestyle of a believer?
• Write out a prayer of thanksgiving for what God has rescued you from, and what He has done for you.

Sunday’s sermon has been posted to our podcast site and is now available for free download.

2 comments:

  1. Having relatively recently come to the lord, I have some perspective on this issue. I agree that we are dead in our sins. I agree that we are powerless to overcome our blindness and our hearts become so callous and hardened that only an act of god can regenerate it. I was an atheist for some time, and I did what atheists do. During these times I was angry with god and refused to recognize him or pursue him. I was living for myself in total rebellion. But God was still there with me the whole time, orchestrating everything. He brought me low and then I was born again in the spirit. I am thankful for my struggles and I am repentant for my sins and I have learned that I need only to submit to him in all areas.

    As far as good works go, they are a joke, a stinking rag to god. No matter how good you think your works are, they are always tainted by sin and selfishness. There is no way to serve in love and righteousness without first acknowledging that god is the only true source of love and righteousness. Without his standard, we carry only our own standard into our ministries. Fly the standard of god highest on your mast or you will not be sailing in service of his kingdom!

    I know that I can never save another person from their sins, but I also know that I am under direct strict orders to witness and share the gospel. To refuse these orders would be to show that I do not love Jesus; I would not be bearing good fruit and I (or others) may challenge my salvation (personal challenge is a good thing to a humble servant, if someone challeneges your salvation, respond accordingly: actions speak louder than words!) I believe it was in John 17 the other night that I was reading Jesus' prayer to the Father as he was preparing to leave them; wrap your mind around this: Jesus, who is God, is asking the Father, who he is one with, to save all those who will believe in Jesus through the words of the disciples. So here we see that we have a responsibility and we have a part to play and that god values our role in his process of restoration of the whole Earth, but we also see that it is only god who grants our part and gives us those roles! Without the director, there would be no show, no actors, no audience; we'd all be watching TV and having a beer!

    ~Earl

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  2. Thanks for sharing this, Earl. It's so exciting to hear how God has transformed you and is continuing to teach you. You are living proof of God's sovereign grace, and to the power of prayer! God bless you brother.

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