Ephesians 2:1 -7 | Once Dead Now Alive – joemarino.org (2023)

Ephesians 2:1 -7 | Once Dead Now Alive – joemarino.org (1)

What’s the difference between dead people and living people? There’s a big difference between dead people and living people. Dead people can’t do anything. Living people can do many things. Dead people can’t respond and living people can respond.

You can dress up a corpse on the day of a funeral and try to make it look as beautiful as it did when it was alive but the reality is, a corpse is still dead and it will not be able to accomplish any of the basic functions of a living person.

No matter how much lipstick you put on a dead corpse, you’re still dressing up a dead person who has no life. But a living person can do many things because they’re alive. A living person can take a walk or have a conversation with friends or express joy and sadness or complete an education or help the poor.

You might be wondering why I’ve chosen to introduce our text this way today. And here’s the reason, this contrast between dead people and living people is important because these are the two categories that Paul builds on in Ephesians 2:1 – 7.

Look at Ephesians 2:1 – 7 with me…

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, 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, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

If you are a follower of Christ then the truth I want to encourage you with today is that you once were dead but now you are alive. You once were incapable of crawling out of your grave of sin and death but now you are alive in Christ Jesus.

If you are a Christian your old position was death because the grave owned you but your new position is life because Christ created you and he purchased you. This is who you are because you belong to Jesus. You once were dead but now you are alive.

Category #1 (left side of the cross): You Once Were Spiritually Dead… (1 – 3)

What does Paul mean when he says “you were dead”? When Paul says you were dead, he means that you were spiritually dead. I was dead in my old lifestyle of sin. I was dead when I followed the way of the world. I was dead when I followed Satan. I was dead when I lived according to my fleshly desires. I was dead when I was a child of wrath. I was dead when I was like the rest of humanity. I once was spiritually dead.

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  1. I once was spiritually dead because of my old lifestyle of sin…

Think back on your old lifestyle of sin. Think about the way you used to live. Sure, we still struggle with sin today. But I want you to catch a glimpse of whom you used to be when you were spiritually dead in your old lifestyle of sin. This old lifestyle of sin might have been 50 days ago and it might have lasted for 50 years or it might have been 50 years ago and it might have lasted for 50 days. Either way, every one of us has an old lifestyle of sin that made us spiritually dead.

In your old lifestyle of sin you loved your sin. You were owned by your sin. You had no remorse for your sin. You walked in that sin because you enjoyed the feeling and the look of those sinful shoes. You couldn’t get away from your old lifestyle of sin, even for a moment because you were controlled, owned and enslaved by your old lifestyle of sin. I once was spiritually dead because of my old lifestyle of sin.

  1. I once was spiritually dead because I followed the way of the world…

No matter how much we want to deceive ourselves into believing that we individually set the course of our lives and therefore choose which way we will go in accordance with our own free will, the truth is, we are all following someone. We were not created to be free from the reign and rule of someone. We were created to be under the reign and rule of Christ.

And before you and I began following Jesus, you and I followed the way of the world. We followed the natural course of the broken world we live in. We made decisions, not based upon the little bit of good inside of us, but instead we made decisions based upon the death-filled world we lived in and were influenced and controlled by. I once was spiritually dead because I followed the way of the world.

  1. I once was spiritually dead because I followed Satan…

Not many of us like to admit that we once followed Satan or once were controlled by satanic or demonic influences. But the reality is that, before following Jesus, the only other alternative was to follow Satan. Every one of us is controlled or mastered by something and or someone. We were designed to have parents that rule over us. We cannot help but to bow our knee in submission to whatever god we worship.

Satan is the prince of the power of the air that surrounds us and he is the spirit that is at work in the children of disobedience. We once were these children. Living disobediently to the Lord was our way of life because we were under the reign and rule of Satan whose existence and purpose is to create rebellion and warfare against God. I once was spiritually dead because I followed Satan.

  1. I once was spiritually dead because of my fleshly desires…

We once lived according to the passionate and energizing desires of our flesh. Whatever our bodies wanted, we gave ourselves wholeheartedly to those pursuits. Whatever our unredeemed minds thought was right we chased with every ounce of energy we could muster.

Even the seemingly good things I did apart from Christ were all motivated by the desires to be seen as good or to make a name for myself or to satisfy my loneliness or to be accepted. Apart from Christ I was motivated to feed the desires of my flesh. I once was spiritually dead because of my fleshly desires.

  1. I once was spiritually dead because I was a child of wrath…

Being a child of wrath was my nature outside of Christ. This was my identity apart from Christ. I lived as God’s rebellious enemy and therefore I was the object of his anger. I was a death row inmate awaiting the Day of Judgment in my prison cell.

I literally lived under a death sentence. There is no life sentence for a child of wrath. There is no probation for a child of wrath. The wages of sin is spiritual death and eternal separation from God. I worked hard to earn my death sentence and I was proud of my accomplishment. I once was spiritually dead because I was a child of wrath.

  1. I once was spiritually dead because I was like the rest of humanity…

This really is the bad news that comes just before the good news. The bad news is that no single person can escape the total depravity that has infected our world. All of humanity is infected with this curse. No person has sought after God. There’s no “God sized hole” inside of us. There’s only rebellion and the paycheck for rebellion is spiritual death.

What started with Adam and Eve in the garden became a universal human problem. John Piper calls this the single worst problem of all time for every person. We are all the same and at one point we all face the same penalty of eternal spiritual death.

Some people haven’t sunk to the depths of sin like others have and truthfully, no one has sunk to the depths of sin that is possible. If the Lord hadn’t restrained us we all would have sinned against him in even more unspeakable ways than we have. I once was spiritually dead because I was like the rest of humanity.

Application…

Does this first category describe the “you” that you used to be? Or does this first category describe the “you” that you are right now?

If this first category describes the “you” that you used to be, (spiritually dead past tense) then this second category will be encouraging for you as a Christ follower. But if this first category describes the “you” that you are now (spiritually dead present tense) then this second category is an invitation for you to come to life from the dead and become a Christ follower.

Category #2 (right side of the cross): Now You Are Spiritually Alive… (4 – 7)

What does Paul mean when he says that God has “made us alive together with Christ”? He means that I used to be spiritually dead but now I am spiritually alive. Now I am alive because of God’s rich mercy. Now I am alive because of God’s great love. Now I am alive because God raised Jesus from the dead. Now I am alive because God’s grace has saved me. Now I am alive because God has positioned me with Christ. Now I am alive because God has chosen to reveal himself to me. I once was dead but now I am alive.

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  1. I am spiritually alive now because of God’s rich mercy.

God knows everything. He knows my deepest and most sinful thoughts. Nothing is hidden from God’s sight. He sees my most despicable actions and embarrassing mistakes. God is everywhere at all times. Nothing that I have thought, said or done has escaped him.

And yet he has decided to extend his mercy to me. He has simply withheld the punishment I deserve for my rebellion against him. Instead of giving me hell for my sinfulness he has given me a new life according to his priceless and matchless mercy. I am spiritually alive now because of his mercy.

  1. I am spiritually alive now because of God’s great love.

God’s love is unexplainable and boundless. His love never ends. His love is like an overflowing well of fresh water that quenches the thirst of a dying person. Nothing can change God’s love and nothing can separate a follower of Christ from God’s love.

So great is God’s love that he even extended his love to me when I was still a rebellious dead man. His love is unconditional and that’s why he poured out his love upon me before I had the chance to make anything right. I can’t earn his love and I can’t un-earn his love either. God’s love simply flows out of who he is and onto who he declares is his. I am spiritually alive now because of God’s great love.

  1. I am spiritually alive now because God raised Jesus from the dead.

Paul says that God “made us alive together with Christ”. This short sentence is known as the doctrine of Union with Christ. And it simply means that when someone becomes a Christian that person is immediately united to Christ and becomes one with Christ and therefore receives all the benefits of the life, death and resurrection of Christ.

The power of the resurrection now courses through the brand new heart in a believer. When Jesus was raised from the dead he rose powerfully victorious over the influence of Satan around me and over the power of sin that lives within me and over the penalty of death that I was trapped in. I am spiritually alive now because God raised Jesus from the dead.

  1. I am spiritually alive now because God’s grace has saved me.

The penalty for my sin is eternal death and separation and the only way that I can be saved from paying that penalty is if a perfect person gives his life on my behalf to satisfy the perfect wrath of God. God’s wrath against me is perfectly justified because of my rebellion and therefore requires a perfect payment or ransom.

This is where God’s grace enters the courtroom of my death sentence in the person and the work of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the face of God’s grace towards me. He went to the cross for me and he paid the price for my salvation. I am twice his now because he created me and he purchased me from the graveyard of my rebellion. God gave me what I do not deserve. I am spiritually alive now because God’s grace has saved me.

  1. I am spiritually alive now because God has positioned me in Christ.

We work hard to earn our positions and our pay checks in our places of employment. And when a new position becomes available we work harder if we want to be raised into that new position. But in the message of the gospel it’s the other way around. In the message of the gospel, I don’t work hard to get the raise or the promotion.

Jesus worked hard as he was raised up on the cross so that I could be raised up with him and seated in a new position with him in Heaven. I once was positioned in the grave of death but now I am positioned on a throne of life with Christ in Heaven. I am spiritually alive now because God has positioned me in Christ.

  1. I am spiritually alive now because God has revealed himself to me.

What is a Christian saying when they say that God has revealed Himself to them? Biblically speaking, when we say that God has revealed himself to us, we are saying that he has unveiled himself or shown himself to us through His Word and the testimony of other believers through the power of the Holy Spirit.

But what does God show us about himself that causes our hearts to leap into new life? God shows us “the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus”. This revelation of God’s immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus is simply immeasurable.

When I say that I am alive now because God has chosen to reveal himself to me, I am saying that this revelation is not a one-time thing at the moment of salvation but that it’s an ongoing thing as I walk out my salvation with fear and trembling throughout the coming ages.

If God has revealed himself to you and the result is that you are now fully alive then you can rest in the truth that God will continue to reveal himself to you for all of eternity. God will reveal his immeasurable wealth of grace towards you for all of eternity. God will reveal his immeasurable kindness towards you in Christ Jesus for all of eternity.

God will reveal himself to those who are his for all of eternity because eternity cannot contain the person of God. If you are alive now then you are alive because God has chosen to reveal himself to you and just like his never-ending love, his immeasurable wealth of grace and kindness will be revealed to you for all of eternity in the person and work of Christ Jesus.

I am spiritually alive now because God has revealed himself to me. I once was spiritually dead but now I am spiritually alive.

Watch this video…

Ephesians 2:1 -7 | Once Dead Now Alive – joemarino.org (4)

Conclusion…

The question for you is this: Are you a person who once was dead but now is alive? Be encouraged this is who you are. Are you a person who is still dead but God is calling you to new life? Then receive this as an invitation to join the rest of the family and proclaim with us that we once were dead but now we are alive.

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