The Dead Walking and the Living Dead

Bible Book: Ephesians  2
Subject: Death and Life; Life in Christ; Christ, Life in; Halloween; New Life

Today we are looking at a great chapter in God’s Word. Turn with me to Ephesians, chapter 2. On this Sunday before Halloween, it is fitting that we think about death and life. Paul the Apostle wrote the chapter we are considering today and in it he speaks of being alive but dead, and being dead but alive. Of course, Paul was writing about spiritual death and spiritual life, and more specifically about the blessing of being alive in Christ.

The chapter we are considering today is all about the great difference that Jesus makes in the hearts and lives of people who are willing to turn to Him and trust Him. The Scripture teaches us that those without Christ are dead even though they appear alive, and that those in Christ are dead to themselves but truly alive in Christ! This is mystery to the unsaved, and even some uninformed believers, but we will look carefully at this truth today so that all may understand it.

Halloween is a day when haunted houses appear and many young people find it tantalizing to go through them. There is something attractive about rousing the emotion of fear, especially when we can do so knowing that it is all a game. But, life is not a game and death is real. Being prepared for death is the most important thing in a person’s life. The Bible states clearly, “…as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment…”

Some people accuse preachers of using fear to prompt people to make decisions. Actually, we use love to prompt people to make decisions. The fact that you are going to die is real. You can deny it in your mind, but it will take place. Jesus came to die in your place on the cross so you can face death with victory. He loved you that much. So, the fear of death is something you must face whether I mention it or not, but life is found in accepting God’s gift of love in Christ.

So, let’s look at our text today and consider some really important issues concerning The Dead Walking and the Living Dead.

I. The Grave in our Past

We begin with death. Sin renders a person spiritually dead, so that means that you are dead toward God because of sin. Note three things at this point.

A. Dead

To speak of death in this context means to be dead in one’s spirit. It literally means to have a wall of sin separating one from God. Unremoved, this sin makes the individual dead toward God. This does not mean that the person does not know abput God, or even have some respect for God, it means that sin has separated him or her from God, thereby rendering that person spiritually dead! A dead person cannot do anything for himself. If one could not smell, for example, he would be dead toward the sweet smell of flowers, the enticing smell of food or dead toward the dangerous smell of poisonous vapors.

Paul points out that we are dead by accident and on purpose. This is interesting! He says that we were once dead in trespasses and sins. “Trespasses” speak of a fall by accident.

I know a man who went out hunting one day and trespassed on another man's property. The owner caught him and upbraided him for it. The hunter complained, “I didn’t see a sign saying that I was trespassing on your property.” The owner said, “The signs are everywhere, but your ignorance is not excuse.” The hunter moved along to hunt in another area, but he was guilty of trespassing. People trespass against God all the time, even though they may not fully understand it as sin.

The word “Sins” in our text relates to action we have taken directly and with purpose in our actions, thoughts or words against God. In other words, the word “sins” speaks of disobedience toward God.

You see, man is dead toward God by birth (we have fallen into it) and by choice (we rebelled against Him). The lost person is dead toward God. He cannot do anything for himself in this realm, because he is dead! Without a miracle of assistance, he will perish in his sins. That is where we, who are saved, once lived. We were dead in our sins.

B. Led

Satan is called a prince. Satan is a prince but, thank God, Jesus is THE King. Yet, this Price of Darkness, Satan, has led souls astray. Satan is the prince at work in the affairs of the world. Satan is the power at work in the hearts of the lost. Satan is the person at work in the battle against God. But always remember that Satan is the prince, God is the King! All of us were at one time led by the “prince of this world” into sinful rebellion against God.

According to these verses, the lost man is not in control of his life. Humans have this great desire to control their own destiny, yet they are really just little pawns, pushed about by the whims of the flesh, the currents of the world and the schemes of the devil. The end of this disobedient way of life is death (Proverbs 16:25; Romans 6:23). Look at Isaiah 53:6a:

“All we like sheep have gone astray;

We have turned, every one, to his own way;…”

This passage speaks of humans as sheep. You see, sheep wander off because they are looking for grass. They do not fully realize the danger involved because they are caught up in a pursuit for that which they think will satisfy them. That is exactly what each person born into this world does. We “all” have gone astray looking for that which we think will satisfy us. The songwriter penned, “I can’t get no satisfaction” (song by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards). Exactly! There is no satisfaction without Jesus, but we all think we can find it on our own. This has led us to spiritual death.

C. Fed

The lost are fed through the lusts of their flesh. They hunger for things outside of God and find Satan all too willing to put those things within easy reach. This has led to the spiritual ingesting of a poison called sin. It renders all who partake of it dead!

In John 3:36 we read, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” This speaks of a present condemnation of all those outside Christ. This is not some condemnation that will come at the judgment, but a condemnation that is already upon those outside Christ. At this very moment, every person outside of the shelter of the blood of Jesus is under the wrath of God. The only thing that keeps you from dropping off into Hell at this very moment is the grace and mercy of Almighty God. At this very moment, you stand at the edge of a great precipice with nothing between you and hell but God’s grace. God doesn’t hate you, but He does hate your sin. His holiness demands that the sentence on sin be carried out, and it shall be, in His time and in His way! God loves you. He warns you because He loves you.

Just think of how you warn your children about danger. You tell them the terrible things that can happen to them if they wander away from you. You tell them the awful tragedy that can occur if they play in the street, run with scissors or take candy from a stranger. You don’t do that because you hate them; you do that because you love them. God is doing the same with you. He loves you, so He warns you!

But in this passage today, Paul is writing to the saved. He is pointing out that we were once dead in our sins. We are not here in God’s House today because we are better than everyone else, but we are here because of His mercy toward us! He is moving on toward the second great statement in this passage. This passage reminds us of who we are now in Christ.

II. The Grace in our Present

Those of us who are saved have been delivered from death but not through any effort of our own. How is it that one is brought from death to life? How did we who were dead come to life in Christ?

In essence, our Lord

Sought us,
Bought us, and
Brought us ...

to new life in Himself. Look at how He describes it. All of this He accomplished through His marvelous grace.

A. He Gave Us Love

Note that Paul speaks of God’s love toward us. God loves the sinner with an everlasting, undying, never ceasing love, a love so great that nothing can separate us from that love once you have embraced it (Romans 8:38-39). It was His love that sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins on the cross. It was His love that sought us even when we were dead in our sins. It is His love that keeps us saved and redeemed though we are still not what we should be or could be.

God’s love is Great.
God’s love is a Gift.

Years ago a drunken man in Chicago headed toward Lake Michigan to drown himself. As he stumbled past the Pacific Garden Mission, someone helped him through the open door. He collapsed in front of the preacher and fell asleep. The superintendent cared for him, gave him a bed, and explained the Gospel to him the next morning. That day Harry Monroe was transformed by the grace of God. Later he was to preach the Gospel from that same platform where once he had slept in a drunken stupor. Mr. Monroe became superintendent of the mission, and when he died, it took all day for people to pay their respects. A newspaper editorial described him as one of the most useful men in Chicago. Mr. Campbell then raised this penetrating question: "What made the difference? The world would not have missed the penniless derelict if he had jumped into the lake, but God saw great value in him!"

The world may not care if you live or die, but Jesus cares for you! He died to save you from sin and He lives to make you free!

B. He Gave Us Life

When we received Jesus, He made us alive in Him! He actually gave us His life. The life we now have is His life and not our own. That is why we can never lose it. It is His life in us. Look at Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” You see, the life I now live is a life of faith and a life given to me in Christ.

When this new life begins, a person loves the things he once hated and hates the things he once loved. Once we were saved and alive in Jesus, we changed in our attitudes and interests. We stopped doing the things we once did and started doing things like attending church, reading our Bible, praying, bringing our tithes to God, and sharing our witness with others. We were made alive in Christ!

There was a man whose name was printed in the obituary column of a daily paper by mistake. Greatly disturbed, he went to the newspaper office and exclaimed, “You have made a great mistake. This error will cause me great embarrassment and could hurt my business. How could you have made such a mistake.” The editor said, “Don’t be so worried, sir. I’ll put your name in the birth column tomorrow and give you a brand new start.”

That is what Christ did for us. He put our name in the birth department and gave us a brand new start - a new life in Christ. In essence, when Jesus died, we died with Him. When Jesus rose from the dead, we rose with Him.

“What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought,

Since Jesus came into my heart!”

There was an old man who lived in a broken-down shack on a corner lot that was very valuable. He had secured this property before the area was developed, and now it was the section of the city where millionaires built their homes. While dozing off one afternoon on his porch, he was roused by a man who wanted to purchase his land. “What's your price?” he inquired. The man replied, “A hundred thousand dollars.” The buyer said, “Fine, I'll buy it.” Before leaving, he handed the owner a check for $10,000 to bind the contract. In the weeks that followed, the old gentleman felt guilty about asking so much for his worthless shack. Thinking he could make it more presentable, he began fixing it up. On the day of the closing, the buyer came to complete the transaction. After the final payment had been made, the old fellow turned to the rich man and said, “Don't you think you've got a nice little place here? See, I've painted it, patched the roof, and put new boards on the floor. You can sure be proud of it.” The new owner responded, “I can't use it. It must come down, for I'm going to build a brand new house!”

God doesn’t want you fixing up your old house, He wants to tear you down and rebuild you in His image! He wants to start over! That is what He does for everyone who puts their faith in Him.

C. He Gave Us A Lift

In addition to being loved and being given life, we have been lifted up to sit in the heavenlies with Jesus. What does this mean? Those who are saved are as good as in heaven right now, even though we are still here! Every time God looks to His right and sees the Son, He also sees you and me. He sees all those He has redeemed with Him already. It is done - it is a settled matter - in the heart of God.

III. The Glory in our Position

We have been elevated to a new and marvelous position in Christ.

A. Look at our Family

See verses 12-19. We are citizens of the kingdom. Every Christian is my brother and sister. He gave me a new life and a new family. I am in the family of God. As part of His family, I am an heir of all that God has. This is beyond comprehension, but it is true. Look at 1 Corinthians 2:9:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,

Nor have entered into the heart of man

The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

You see, we cannot imagine all that is ours as participants in the family of God.

B. Look at our Foundation

Note verse 20. We are built upon Christ, the Chief Cornerstone and upon the Apostles. Jesus is the foundation of the Church – the foundation of every believer. I can’t ultimately fall from the grace God has given me in Jesus because I am resting on a rock that will not roll!

C. Look at our Future

Look at verse 7. God is going to show the exceeding riches of His grace toward us. Think of that. All that we have discussed so far is but a foretaste of that which He is going to give us one day. This verse reminds us that one of these days, we are going to finally be home in glory! When we arrive there, we will have eternity to enjoy the blessings of the Lord. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to Heaven! A land of splendor, glory and Jesus! Just think of the glories of that city which we will one day occupy. There is no death there, no disease there, no sorrow there, no separation there, no tears there, and never any distance between us and our Savior.


Are you saved? If so, you owe it all to Jesus. If you are not saved, you can be. I read a story some time ago of a wife and husband sitting in the office of the doctor who was to deliver the baby she was carrying. The wife looked over at a lamp, admired it for some time, and then told her husband just how lovely it was. He said, “Don’t tell me you’re beginning to crave furniture!”

Well, I beginning to crave being with our Lord in eternity. The longer I live, the more lovely heaven looks. No, I don’t want to die. I sometimes feel like Woody Allen, who said, “I don’t mind dying; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

Well, I was dead once in my sin. Now I am live in Christ. Though I may die physically one day, I will never die again toward God. I have no fear of separation from God. Listen to what the scripture says about this in Romans 8:38-39:

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.“

Halloween is a time when fear and death are in the headlights of the world. But the Christian knows that death has lost its sting and its victory. We who know Christ have gained victory over death through Christ. Some who are alive today are actually dead - dead in trespasses and sins. It is a great mystery - the living dead (those who appear to be alive but are actually separated from God and dead toward Him) and some whom the world considers dead but who are alive (Christians who have accepted Christ and have a new life that the world cannot see or understand).

If you are not saved, come to Jesus today. You can have a life that know one can take from you. Even physical death cannot remove it. You will live an abundant life now and life forever with the Lord in heaven. And, Christians, rejoice in the life you have and make a fresh commit to honor the Lord in the life He has given you!