What A Difference Jesus Makes! Ephesians 2:1-10 (NKJV)

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1 Message for THE LORD'S DAY MORNING, August 21, 2016 Christian Hope Church of Christ, Plymouth, North Carolina by Reggie A. Braziel, Minister MESSAGE 3 in Ephesians Sermon Series ( Rags to Riches ) What A Difference Jesus Makes! Ephesians 2:1-10 (NKJV) If you have been with us these last couple of Lord's Days you know we are currently in a series of messages from the Book of Ephesians entitled Rags to Riches. This book is critically important to our understanding of all that we have and all that we are in Jesus Christ. Today in our third message in this series, I would like for you to please turn with me in your Bibles to Ephesians chapter two. And let's read verses EPHESIANS 2:1-10 (NKJV) 1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

2 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. *********************************************************************************************** I N T R O D U C T I O N ILLUSTRATION: We've all seen those Before and After pictures of someone who used to be real heavy and that lost a whole bunch of weight. Sometimes to show just how dramatic their weight loss has been they will hold up a pair of pants they used to wear before they lost all that weight that looks like a four-man camping tent. ILLUSTRATION: And probably many of you can remember that TV show Extreme Make-Over where they would take some woman and transform her from an average-looking plain Jane into a beautiful princess who didn't even resemble her old self. In today's message the apostle Paul is going to give us a before and after portrait of ourselves to show us What A Difference Christ Makes in our lives.

3 First of all let's look at... I. The Portrait of What We WERE Before CHRIST (vs. 1-3) 1. I think all of us would like to believe that we have always been pretty good and decent human beings. I mean we weren't out there robbing banks or killing anyone or going on crime sprees. Only bad people do those sort of things,don't they? Well in fact, many of us have even been going to Church our whole lives; and even before we accepted Christ we saw ourselves as good...moral...upstanding people. 2. But in verses 1, 2 and 3, the apostle Paul paints quite a different portrait of what we were really like before we accepted Christ. First of all, Paul tells us... (A) WE WERE DEAD.. (v.1) v.1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins. Before we accepted Jesus Christ we were SPIRITUALLY dead! We were alive PHYSICALLY, but we weren't alive SPIRITUALLY.

4 What does it mean to be spiritually dead? Well, let's use the analogy of a dead corpse, and perhaps it will give us a clearer understanding. A dead corpse is POWERLESS to help itself. It can't walk or talk or sit or stand or move. It is completely powerless to help itself in any way. When we were spiritually dead we were absolutely powerless to do anything to save our- selves. It didn't matter how good we were...or how moral we were. It didn't matter if we were a good husband or good wife...a great father or a great mother. It didn't matter if we were a good neighbor...or a hard-worker...or a law-abiding citizen...or an all-around good guy or good gal. None of those things could make us alive spiritually. We were dead! We were powerless! A dead corpse is also UNRESPONSIVE. You can talk to it, but it won't talk back. You can ask it a question and it won't answer. You can embrace it, but it won't embrace you back. It is totally unresponsive. The same was true of us when we were spiritually dead. We didn't respond to spiritual things. We didn't respond to God's love. We didn't respond to preaching. We didn't respond to invitations to accept Christ. We were dead! We were unresponsive!

5 You see, Jesus didn't come here to make BAD people GOOD,, He came here to make DEAD people LIVE. Just as it would take a miracle to bring someone who is physically dead back to life, it took the miracle of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection to make us alive spiritually! Moving on to verse 2 and the first part of verse 3 Paul tells us that NOT only were we DEAD... (B) We were DISOBEDIENT (vs. 2,3a) vs. 2,3a in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, When we think of someone who is disobedient it brings to mind images of a spoiled child who won't do what his or her parents tell them to do... or a rebellious teenager...or even a street-thug who refuses to live by the laws of the land. We don't like to think of ourselves as being disobedient. But Paul tells us that is what we were before we accepted Christ.

6 Just like Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, we lived in disobedience to God. Notice Paul mentions three evil forces that governed our lives before we came to know Christ. (1) We followed the WORLD.. (v.2a) v.2a in which you once walked according to the course of this world. Before one accepts Christ his or her life is governed by worldly INFLUENCES and worldly VALUES. He talks like the world, and acts like the world, and thinks like the world, and has the same habits as the world; all of which are a rebellion against God. (2) We followed SATAN (v.2b) v.2a in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. We've all heard that saying, Who's your daddy? Before one accepts Christ Satan is his or her daddy! Satan is the master...the ruler...the boss...the god...of all who are outside of Jesus Christ.

7 Before we accepted Christ we followed the WORLD,, and we followed SATAN,, and thirdly... (3) We followed our own SINFUL DESIRES v.3a among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, Before we accepted Christ our lives were governed by our own sinful CRAVINGS and DESIRES. We lived to please ourselves. We lived to satisfy our lust for sinful pleasures. We were so controlled by the world, and Satan, and our own sinful desires that we had no desire whatsoever to do what pleased God. We were literally rotten to the core! WE WERE DEAD WE WERE DISOBEDIENT

8 (C) We were DOOMED (v. 3b) v. 3b and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. God is a HOLY and RIGHTEOUS God! He will not turn a blind eye to sin. He will not just sweep one's sins under the rug. One day God is going to vent His righteous wrath upon all who reject His Son Jesus. WITHOUT CHRIST we were dead in our sins, we were like convicted criminals condemned to eternal death.. WITHOUT CHRIST we were excluded from heaven...we were separated from GOD...we were severed from Christ, the source of life itself. 3. This is The Portrait of What We Were Before We Accepted Christ. We were DEAD...We were DISOBEDIENT...We were DOOMED. But now as we move on, Paul gives us...

9 II. The Portrait of What We ARE Now in CHRIST (vs. 4-7) 1. In verses 4-6, Paul tells us three things we are in Christ. (A) We are LOVED (v.4) 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, Some people are rich in money. Some people are rich in jewelry. Some people are rich in real estate. GOD IS RICH IN MERCY! GOD could have very easily just written you and me off as hopelessly lost. But He didn't! Why? Because He is rich in mercy and because He loves us with a great love! Who but a loving, merciful GOD would reach out to the vilest, the lowliest, the most depraved, most disgusting of sinners, and offer us His salvation rather than His condemnation? Who else but GOD! Who else but GOD! Because GOD took the initiative...because He took the first step...we are now objects of His LOVE, rather than objects of His WRATH.

10 But not only are WE LOVED... (B) We are LIBERATED (v.5) 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), Above all else a dead person needs to be made alive! A dead person needs to be liberated from the shackles of death! That is what happened when we accepted Christ. We were liberated! We were set free! You and I don't have to live like slaves of Satan and sin any longer! We have been brought back from the dead and given new life in Christ! We are LOVED! We are LIBERATED! And thirdly... (C) We are LIFTED UP (vs.6,7) 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

11 Just as Christ was raised from the dead, and ascended to heaven, and is now seated at the right hand of His heavenly Father, we too will resurrect from the dead when this life is over, and ascend to heaven, and have a special place with Christ forever and ever! 2. How does one go from being DEAD...DISOBEDIENT...and DOOMED TO ETERNAL HELL...to being LOVED...LIBERATED and LIFTED UP TO ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN? 3. Paul tells us in verses 8, For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 4. What Paul is saying is salvation is by God's WORK from HEAVEN,, not our WORKS here on earth! We cannot EARN our way in...buy our way in...work our way in... CHEAT our way in...or SNEAK in! 5. We can only get into heaven by putting all of our faith in what GOD did for us through JESUS CHRIST on the cross of calvary. SALVATION is GOD'S GIFT to those who receive it by FAITH in the LORD JESUS CHRIST!

12 C O N C L U S I O N ILLUSTRATION Let me tell you a true story, and then we're going to close. Jeremy Bentham was born in He died in In Bentham's will he left.a considerable fortune to a hospital in his hometown of London, England. But along with his generous gift Bentham made a very unusual stipulation, and that was that he was to be present at every meeting of the Hospital Board. For one hundred years following his death the skeletal remains of Jeremy Bentham were wheeled into the board room once a month and placed at the head of the table. His remains were dressed in 17 th Century garb and a little hat. And each month when the minutes were read, one line of the minutes read: Mr. Jeremy Bentham, present but not voting. Now that's a funny true story, but if I may let me get very serious for a moment. Each and every Lord's Day people who are outside of Jesus Christ are sitting in Church pews all across America. They are present at the meeting but spiritually speaking they are no more alive than Jeremy Bentham. What Difference Does Jesus Make? I will tell you... JESUS is the difference between ETERNAL LIFE and ETERNAL DEATH. JESUS is the difference between being SAVED or LOST. JESUS is the difference between going to HEAVEN or going to HELL. The question I leave you with this morning as we come to our time of invitation is this: WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES JESUS MAKE TO YOU?

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