Can the Resurrection of Christ Affect and Change You?

Bible Book: Ephesians  2 : 4-5
Subject: Resurrection; Easter; Change, Christ Causing
Introduction

The book of Ephesians magnifies the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and how His resurrection benefits those who trust Him.

Ephesians 1:18-19 - “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power”

The subject of today’s text, Ephesians 2:4-5, is “God,” verse 4, and the main verb is “made alive” verse 5. By the mercy, love, grace and kindness of God our spiritually dead hearts can be made alive. In the first 3 verses of Ephesians 2 a major contrast begins; verse 1, “and you” contrasted with verse 4 “But God.” In these first 3 verses, Paul gives a biblical diagnosis of our sinful nature. He shows us who we were or who we were before Christ makes us alive. 3 words describe who we were.

1. Dead

Ephesians 4:18 defines us as “excluded from the life of God.” We were cut off from true eternal spiritual life given and sustained by God. We were totally dead and we needed a miracle that only God could perform.

2. Disobedient

Instead of following God we followed 3 other forces.

A. World

“in which you once walked according to the course (way) of this world” - Controlled by the world’s influences, by the values of the age, which are contrary to God’s values. The unsaved assume the attitudes, habits, and lifestyles of the culture.

The Apostle John in his 90’s said it this way:

1 John 2:15-17

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

B. Devil

“according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” - Here it refers to the place of the Devil’s activity. He works in the unsaved. He lays out the bait, and sinful people take it, disobeying God.

C. Flesh

Ephesians 2:3

“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.”

Refers to sinful (fleshly) desires, the inclination of our flesh and thoughts.

Jeremiah 17:9

"’The heart is deceitful above all things,

And desperately wicked;

Who can know it?’”

According to Galatians 5:16-21 these sins are anger, sexual immorality, idolatry, sorcery, jealousy, strife, dissensions, and drunkenness. As a result of our condition we are unable to come to God apart from the truth of the Gospel. Paul is describing our total inability to change ourselves; morally we are not capable of responding to God apart from grace. The fact is we do not want to respond to God.

3. Doomed

“were by nature children of wrath just as others.”

Our spiritual status could not be more tragic or hopeless.

Ephesians 5:6 - “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”

God is holy and He will not sweep sin under the rug.

There is good news (gospel) for the one who believes and that is that God’s wrath has been poured out not on us, but on the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Ephesians 2:1-3 Paul draws our attention to the depth of our depravity in order to magnify the mercy, love, grace, and kindness of God in saving us.

It’s like the black cloth of the jeweler on which the beautiful diamonds sit.

Note the contrast begins in Ephesians 2:4 with two simple words “BUT GOD.”

I. EASTER SPEAKS OF GOD’S MERCY 4

“But God, who is rich in mercy” - over-abounding; without measure, unlimited. “But God” shows where the initiative was in providing for our salvation (God rescuing us from sin). The rebellion and rejection is on our side!

“mercy” – God not giving us what we deserve.

John 3:36 - “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."

Jesus, on the cross, paid a debt He did not owe. The Hebrew word for “mercy” speaks of God’s loyal, merciful love.

The song:

When He Was On The Cross

“He knew me, yet He loved me”

Jesus, on the cross, paid my sin debt.

1 John 2:2 - “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

Means He covered my debt!

Mercy is God’s compassion for the helpless, issuing in action for their relief.

II. EASTER SPEAKS OF GOD’S LOVE 4

“because of His great love with which He loved us”

Romans 5:8 - “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

"Jesus, loves me, this I know,

For the Bible, tells me so."

Unconditional love! Again, the Apostle John in his 90’s said,

1 John 3:1 - “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”

Speaks of a foreign love, not of this world. It is a love that does not seek something in us that causes us to be commendable to Him. God loves before Jesus is commendable to Him.

Our thoughts are often, “how could God forgive me for what I’ve done?” He forgives us for Christ’s sake!

III. EASTER SPEAKS OF GOD’S GRACE 5

Ephesians 2:5 - “even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)”

“Grace” – God giving us what we do not deserve. Grace is a gift. We were dead but have been made alive only by a work of grace. This is the undeserved favor of God.

Often when someone receives a gift, someone may say, “if anyone deserves the gift, he or she did.” However, no one deserves God’s grace (gift). You can’t earn it, don’t deserve it, can’t purchase it. It’s all grace.

Ephesians 1:6 - “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”

Contrast: In verse 3- “by nature” - In verse 5 – “by grace”

If I prefer to stand on my own and refuse to accept what God has done for me in Christ, I am self-condemned. I choose to repent and surrender to Jesus and receive His mercy, His love, and His grace.

IV. EASTER SPEAKS OF GOD’S KINDNESS 7, 5

Ephesians 2:7 - “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

You can become a recipient of God’s grace now and for all eternity. We display His infinite riches as a result of His kindness toward us.

Romans 2:4 - “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”

God’s Mercy, Love, Grace, and Kindness can affect and change you.

Ephesians 2:5, “even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”

“made us alive”

My friend Tony Merida called my attention to what scholars call “an outer call.” This goes out to everyone through the preaching of the gospel. There is also the “inner call,” which the Holy Spirit does in hearts. John 16:8 - “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”

Sin separates us from God.

Righteousness is given to me as I repent and surrender to God: a right standing with God.

Judgement – I’m doomed without Jesus.