What is this series about?
Through this series we will be studying the book of Ephesians and learning about our position in Christ, our life in the world, and our attitude toward the enemy.
Big Idea: We know on some level: God wants more from me than this
Scripture Reference: Ephesians 2:10
- The primary purpose in your life is to do these good things that God has prepared for you to do.
- However, if we don’t SIT and dwell on certain spiritual realities, we struggle to follow Christ in the long term.
Scripture Reference: Ephesians 2:1-9
- We are deserving of wrath
- Wrath= Punishment that is deserved
- Contrast of Wrath is Grace
- Grace= Blessings you do not deserve
- Mercy= When you deserve wrath, but you are not punished.
There are some realities we need to understand:
- We are spiritually dead
- There is nothing you can do to change the condition of your soul.
- Only God can raise the dead
- We have to recognize our full dependence on God
- It’s not about you
- It is about Him
Questions to Ponder
- What does it mean to be spiritually dead?
- What does grace mean?
- What’s the difference in our attitude if we have been saved by grace instead of works?
- What is the proper motivation for good works?
Dead Man Walking
By Scott Sutton
I was dead once.
Though if you had told me so at the time, I wouldn’t have believed you. In fact, I probably would have resented you for saying it.
That’s the thing about dead people…we don’t always realize we’re dead. Some of us do. Some of us gaze in disbelief at our surroundings and insist, “This can’t be all that there is.” Some of us are keenly tuned to the empty yawning of our present situation.
I wasn’t. Frankly, I was pretty content. If you had asked me at the time I would have said I was an atheist, though in retrospect my recurring doubts about atheism probably made me more of an agnostic. I thought religion was dumb and that people who followed religions were dumber. I teased the Jesus Freaks. I cursed God. I cringe when I look back on some of the things I did and said when I was dead.
But I was a “good person” by the world’s standard. I was generally regarded as a nice person. I had been voted “most thoughtful guy” by my class back during that period of our lives when our search for identity leads us to make such lists. I had a pretty good moral compass, just like many atheists that I know. And I was happy.
So, why was I dead?
The short of it is that my entire existence began and ended within my self. If my body desired it. If my mind could reason it. If my senses could perceive it. That is what was real.
But the thing about minds, bodies, and senses is that they are frail, they are fallible, and they all end up in the grave. Someday. So I was approaching my world as a dead man walking, my soul held captive in a coffin of self.
In those days, I would say that I valued things like human rights (and I truly did value them), but I had no compelling answer for what gave humans those rights. I felt the conviction to end the suffering around me, but I had no justification for why human suffering was any different from the suffering of bacteria or rocks or dying stars. I praised human dignity while denying the Human Dignifier. On the other hand, I also justified (even rejoiced in) the destruction and demoralization of my enemies. I measured the worth of myself and others by superficial gauges. I believed that the worldview I could conceive was obviously the best worldview.
We become our own gods. And we are horrible gods.
But when God breathes life into us, the world takes on a completely new dimension that extends far beyond our bodies and our capacities. The things we sought after when we were spiritually dead suddenly find their fulfillment. And we find our rest. Our convictions about human rights, suffering, and dignity are now based on our recognition of the image of God in all people. We can forgive our enemies. We can lay down our minds and bodies and senses to the lordship of the unseen. When we step outside on a perfect spring day, we can now enjoy not only the day, but the Source of the day. We can gaze upon deep blue skies and praise the Maker of the skies, the Maker of colors, the Maker of sight. We can taste the most perfect strawberry and extend our enjoyment beyond the fruit, all the way to the Inventor of taste who saw it fit to design a world in which the most perfect foods literally spring forth from dirt.
We call this worship. We call this life.
Unquenchable thirst; eternal fountain.