Thru Ephesians: a sermon series
Ephesians 2:1-10; Luke3:10-18
Today we are continuing with our exploration and discovery to learn the many important aspects of our reunion with Christ. We are not, however, on a "Bear Hunt" 😊 nor on an adventure to discovering a fairytale of the frozen girls when the gift of snow magic went wrong in the kingdom of Arendelle (Frozen Movie).
Rather we are trying to understand and be reminded of the Divine plan in our redemption; the will of God to bring us to life from our dead-selves. It is about God’s love and how privilege us with the gift of adoption makes us equal with Christ. Lastly, this sermon series reminds us of our spiritual endeavor to discern the transcendence power of God invested in the church and in the believers. How do we know? God himself has made known to us this mystery by the "wisdom and insight" that he "lavished" on us through Christ Jesus.
In chapter one and in our introduction last Sunday, Paul talked about our union with Christ and the great blessings that come because of our adoption to God’s family. That, in his gracious love, God has chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world to make us holy and blameless. And God has fulfilled his own good plan during the right time (v.4) Today, in chapter two, Paul assures the Ephesians, that our union with Christ is perfected through dying to Sin and making conscience disjunction with self trespasses.
"You were dead through the trespasses and sins…" (NRSV), Paul said. Paul used a Greek verb that literally means being dead, ("νεκροὺς— nekrous") when he compares the state Ephesians before they were believers. Paul's assertion and exhortation are inclusive by nature. When he talks about "You," he refers to the Ephesians (the Gentiles), and when he says "Us," he means his fellow Jews. For Paul, every ethnic group, and everyone etc., whether slave, the free, or the masters, the rich and the poor etc., were all dead spiritually and needed God's salvation. Everyone has sinned, has trespassed, has fallen short and does not meet the demands of God (Romans 3).
Paul reminded the Ephesians that they were spiritually dead before they were called and included into God's family. God has willed to rescue them from the state of destruction and disobedience. Now, Ephesians are alive through the power of God at work in them. The same power that has raised Christ from the dead, has resurrected them from their Spiritual death.
This Spiritual resurrection comes a result of conversion and believers are able to discover the new life in Christ apart from the past life. Paul said that now of conversion, a believer becomes a new creation, the old self is gone, and things becomes new (2 Cor. 5:16-17). Yet, the journey to perfection continues in Christian living unto sanctification.
But what is sin and trespasses that Paul keeps mentioning in this chapter and in most of his letters? Sin is missing the point, the mark, and the intended core of divine purpose. It is an offense against God. For Paul, Ephesians were living in the state of conformity to the worldly manner before they became Christians. They were against God, missing the intended divine law. They were slaves to Satan and sin of the world.
Trespasses in another hand, (Hebrew—"asham"), means willful debt by going beyond the required limit. This means willfully and consciously choosing "to pass beyond a limit or boundary. To go too far; to put any one to inconvenience by demand or importunity; to intrude; … to trespass upon the time or patience of another. " Easton's Bible Dictionary
In our corrupt state, scripture describes unbelieving soul as:
Paul said Ephesians were once departed from God and went too far and beyond God's boundary to the worshiping of Artemis. They were lost and needed help. They were like all of us because we had gone too far in our disobedience and suppress the truth about God (Romans 1:18-19). Like them, we went out of God's presence and from God's circle and died of spiritual death like Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:17).
Isaiah said "All of us are like sheep. We have wandered away from God. All of us have turned to our own ways. And the Lord has placed on his servant, Christ the Messiah, the sins of all of us" (Isaiah 53:6) Peter echoed Isaiah and said all of us have trespassed like sheep that continually wandered away, but through Christ Jesus, now we have returned to the true Shepherd of our lives— to the “kind Guardian who lovingly watches over your souls” (1 Peter 2:25).
Paul exhorts Ephesians and all of us that, though we are now alive in Christ, we must therefore be dead to sin, to the need of the body, and to the will of trespassing. This is because you are no longer spiritually "Nekus", nor in the period of apnea, or have bradycardia, neither experiencing asphyxia (please allow me to use my medical terminology lesson😊). In Christ you are not unconscious, but dead to sin. Yet fully alive, with full heartbeat, sufficient of oxygen and breathing normally. God did this by grace through faith when we believed—"Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ!” (vv. 8-9)
Paul's message to the Ephesians and to us today is clear. He believes that through the saving power, God has expelled death that has occupied Christians before our conversion. Now God has instilled in us the undying life of Christ. Thus, Christians are alive because the fullness of God's grace is an unyielding stream of mercy flowing and keeps streaming in Christian's living daily.
Friends, it's true that the corruption was in us from birth and we expressed our disobedience through our actions and desires of our hearts. We have "lived by whatever natural cravings and thoughts our minds dictated, living as rebellious children subject to God’s wrath like everyone else."
However, God the father of love has shown us mercy despite of our degradation and deprivation, falling short of God demands. God did this through Christ, in Christ, by Christ and with Christ as he himself is filled with grace and mercy. You are made alive with Christ grace been saved through faith as a gift from and of God and " not the result of works, so that no one may boast (v 9).
Some may ask how a renewed person continues living in the newness state with Christ. In another place, Paul presented his rhetorical question to the baptized Roman Christians how to exercise their Christian freedom. He asked, should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore, we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life"(Romans 6:1-4). This is Paul's best answer to the question of our Christian freedom to all believes in centuries.
Christians must never forget where we had come from, who we are, our present state and where we are going. The person who is in Christ is rightfully child of God and is dead to sin and are free from punishment because of the death of Christ (Romans 6:23). We discover life through death; dying spiritually to the desires of the world and obtains personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Therefore, in our new life in Christ, comes an extended lists of God's heavenly blessings to sustain us (Eph 1-2):
Therefore, let us remain determined to our calling and committed to our journey to perfection. Let us be reminded that we have been raised with Christ and spiritually “ascended with him into the glorious perfection and authority of the heavenly realm, for we are now co-seated as one with Christ!" God's plan is to fill us with grace, because "He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things" (Ephesians 4:10).
We are all like Olaf the snowman, but with God's grace pouring from above, we are made strong and surviving. The snow/cloud of mercy is following and covering us our spiritual paths. The kingdom of Arendelle was a place for everyone and represents the Kingdom of God and the Church universal. We Christ raised on high, we will not runout of hopes, faith, joy, and strength, because the almighty Father, brings unyielding filling through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Amen!