Recognizing our sorry state • Ephesians 2:1-10
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. (Ephesians 2:1-3)
Paul here describes how his readers were previously, before Christ. In their former state they were dead, not physically, but dead in the sense in which Adam and Eve were dead the moment they ate from the forbidden tree. Inside them, purity died, all the good and perfect things God had created them for. Unity with each other died as did unity with God. Peace and joy died.
Paul explains what he means when he describes them as “dead.” Their death had to do with their trespasses and sins, with all those things they did daily that they knew weren’t good, that they understood perfectly they shouldn’t do, but which they did anyway. Their bodies were alive, but inside their hearts they were dead, governed by a sin they were unable to conquer. Paul’s readers allowed themselves to be carried by a whole series of influences when they lived this “death” existence. They walked in their sins, carried by the current of this world that is also sin-filled.
They were also carried by the desires of a mysterious figure that Paul describes here as “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.” Again we see the serpent from the Garden of Eden rearing its head. The Ancient Serpent, whose punishment for deceiving was a perpetual enmity against woman and her progeny, continues with its work of destruction, continues encouraging us to draw further and further away from God, to focus more and more on our own self-centered destructive desires. He has great influence in our world. Paul’s readers lived dragged along by an entire humanity given over to hearing and following the advice of our enemy Satan, tied up by sin and led like lambs to the slaughter.
What else guided their footsteps? What determined the choices they made? Who counseled them in their waltz to destruction? They were guided by their own selfish desires and physical passions, governed by their justifying reasonings and their appetites. Paul uses the phrase “the passions of our flesh.” In Paul’s writings, the term “flesh” is used to describe an animal existence, a life lived as though God were not a part of the picture. Notice his words to the Corinthian believers in 1 Cor. 3:3 • You are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For Paul, flesh = merely human, human minus the divine. For the only creatures in all creation imbued with the image of God, nothing is more tragic than a life reduced to the status of mere flesh. They lived like meat, like animated flesh, nothing more. Nothing numinous going on here, no communion with God, no spirit, only meat. They lived as children of wrath, people whose only inheritance in this life was destruction, the just wrath of God against all evil. And make no mistake about it, for a human being to be reduced to such a state is an evil thing.
Trust me, what Paul goes on to say in the next few verses is much better news. I will be preaching on Ephesians 2:1-10 in our service this coming Sunday, September 18, 2011. Worship begins at 10:45 am. Come and join us, 3201 W 15th St. Plano, TX 75075. Video and audio of the sermon is posted during the week at our website: www.pcbcplano.org. To access the messages directly, click here.
- Holli Long published the blogpost A Guest Post for Grace for Moms – On Grief and Gratitude.
- John Mark Miller published the blogpost Liebster Award! – Thank You, Writing in a Raindrop!.
- Troy EdwardsOur Easter message from last Sunday can be viewed here:
- Troy Edwards uploaded a photo
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘Walking with the Enemy’ Treads in the Right Direction.
- Clarence FellIngratitude
Have you heard the story of the man that got himself in trouble with the law? His wife set her life aside and gave all her attention to helping her husband get out of his legal troubles. However, as the wheels of justice slowly turned, he found himself still in jail after many weeks. He exhausted every avenue of help that he could pursue from within the jail, there was nothing left to do but hope his wife would not give up. Fortunately, his wife focused even more, sacrificed more, and gave all she had until finally she secured his release. He was delighted, they celebrated his freedom, and his joy was unspeakable. However, soon his attention began to wander to another woman and it was not long before he left his wife for another woman.
Most of us would not give two cents for a man that would accept such generous sacrifice from his wife and then abandon her. However, many people treat God that way and then expect an enthusiastic welcome home into heaven. I think a lot of people are going to be disappointed.
- Troy Edwards created a new gallery
- Troy Edwards just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Blake Atwood uploaded a photo
- Courtney Rowland published the blogpost An Ohio Egg Adventure + 10 Tips for Making Great Eggs.
- Lori Fogleman published the blogpost Baylor couple’s HGTV series, ‘Fixer Upper, begins tonight.
- Blake Atwood shared What is a Church Website Strategy?: Does your church have a website strategy? "When people talk about website strategy, the conversation dips into many interesting areas. The problem is that the word strategy means something different to different people. Thus, to have an effective website strategy, you need to define what strategy is. In this article I offer you a framework to define various levels of guidance." Read more from Stephen Morrissey.
- George BullardApril 24th Transform Congregations By Affirming Long Pastorates #365SSIFTC http://bullardjournal.blogs.com/bullardjournal_microblog/2014/04/april-24th-transform-congregations-by-affirming-long-pastorates-365ssiftc.html
- George BullardApril 23rd Transform Congregations By Remembering But Not Repeating History #365SSIFTC http://bullardjournal.blogs.com/bullardjournal_microblog/2014/04/april-23rd-transform-congregations-by-remembering-but-not-repeating-history-365ssiftc.html
- George BullardApril 22nd Transform Congregations By Climbing Out of Ruts #365SSIFTC http://bullardjournal.blogs.com/bullardjournal_microblog/2014/04/april-22nd-transform-congregations-by-climbing-out-of-ruts-365ssiftc.html
- George BullardApril 21st Transform Congregations By Focusing on the Spiritual Transformation on People #365SSIFTC http://bullardjournal.blogs.com/bullardjournal_microblog/2014/04/april-21st-transform-congregations-by-focusing-on-the-spiritual-transformation-on-people-365ssiftc.html
- Elise Hilton published the blogpost Getting chased by the Devil...don't worry: I'm running faster.
- John Mark Miller published the blogpost U: Perceptible Unity – The Mark of Great Art…and Great Lives.
- Brian Jones published the blogpost Was Jesus A Man That The Early Church Turned Into A God?.
- Serena Rice published the blogpost Prayer on the Wind: Day 24 of the April Poetry Challenge.
- adekunle ojobaro just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Wayne Stiles published the blogpost Quote from Pascal on how to measure our efforts [Quote].
- Adam Smith published the blogpost 21 Things You Need To STOP Saying At Work-Julia Winston.
- Audra Jennings published the blogpost CRITICAL CONDITION Kindle HDX Giveaway from Richard Mabry!.
- Audra Jennings published the blogpost NIGHTLINE’S Dan Harris’ 10% HAPPIER Kindle HDX Giveaway!.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost The Guys Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket.
- Mike Kim published the blogpost #09: 3 Psychological Weapons of Marketing Influence.
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Movie Producers Donate to Wounded Warriors with Your Help.
- Julio Ribeiro just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Warren Robison just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Gary Weed created a new gallery
- Gary Weed just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Lyn Rossano just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Tina Jagneaux just moved in. Take time to say hey.