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From Death to Life

Week 142: Ephesians 2


The Battle is Real

Read Acts 19

If you want the background to the Ephesians church, look no further than Paul’s missionary trip to Ephesus in Acts 19.  


When he first visited Ephesus, he discovered that the Ephesian people worshipped idols, especially Artemis, who the Romans called Diana.  Ephesus had the Temple of Artemis.  It was a huge structure as big as a football field and five stories high and it was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. 


Artemis promised skilled hunting, fertility and the joy of music. On her flip side, she threatened disease, plague, and sudden death to women.  So, the god of the Ephesians was both desired and feared.


Paul taught and preached Jesus as the Christ first in the synagogue in Ephesus and then in a hall next door after he was scorned. Over the next two years, the hand of the Lord was with Paul as people came to the Lord. People were miraculously healed, and many demons were cast out. 


When some priests tried to cast out a stubborn demon using the “name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches”. The unclean spirit cried out:   


 “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”” (Acts 19:15, NKJV) 


The devils beat the men and the scurried off with the clothes barely upon their backs.  This became known by more and more in Ephesus and the name of Jesus became held in high esteem.  In fact, many who practiced magic arts came and burned their books and sorcery tools publicly to the tune of fifty thousand pieces of silver. 


Revival swept through this great pagan city.  True revival isn’t when an evangelist comes to town and preaches for three days and nights. Revival is when God-consciousness comes to a region and people are swept into the kingdom leaving their old lives behind.  


This is the story of Ephesus.  The Holy Spirit came to town.  There were no publicity agents. God was his only publicity agent.   


So great was the movement, that the enemy rose up violently to oppose it.  In the wake of violent spiritual upheaval, many believers left Artemis/Diana in droves. The Silversmiths Local Union, who made great profit from the idol business, were livid and stirred up a riot on Paul and his companions.  


Spiritual battle is real.  


Are coming the Lord? Are you going on with the Lord into a deeper walk? Have you stepped into a ministry?  The joy is unspeakable. But expect blowback from your ancient enemy.  


But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” (1 Corinthians 16:8–9, NKJV) 

Tuesday:  Dead Men Walking

Read Ephesians 1:1-3


And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 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, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” (Ephesians 2:1–3, NKJV) 


It was to this radically turned around group of idol worshippers that Paul celebrates their salvation.  He rehearses their history to magnify their new life. 


“And you He made alive.” 


You were dead. The dead cannot raise himself.  It was a miracle of life that allowed Lazarus to hear his name being called.  When Ezekiel saw the great valley of bones, he was queried of the Lord, “Son of Man, can these dry bones live?”  Ezekiel saw the impossibility but considered that if it could be done, only God could do it.  “O Lord God, You know.” 


If you think dry bones are dead. Think of your death.  


Dead in trespasses. Trespassing is crossing the line of God’s commands.  When Adam and Eve, ate of the tree, they went beyond the boundary and death became the end for Adam’s race.  Trespassers are too far gone. 


Dead in sins. Sin is different from trespasses. It is the power of sin that makes you want to do the wrong thing. No matter how hard you may want to try. You will miss the target, like a weakly shot arrow. 


If trespassing is going too far, then sin is falling too short.

“Dead man walking!” is the cry of death row when a man walks his last fifty feet to the death chamber. We are dead men walking when we walk according to the course of this world.  The majority is the world. If you are in the majority, you are on the wide road and that isn’t a good thing.   


Wednesday:  ThE Majority

Read Ephesians 1:3

"...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.” Ephesians 1:3

We were included with everyone else when we were in sin. The majority is the world. If you are in the majority, you are on the wide road and that isn’t a good thing.   

  • The majority didn’t want to enter the Promises Land,
  • The majority wanted to make a golden calf when Moses was gone too long on the mountain. 
  • The majority chose Barabbas over Jesus for release on the day of crucifixion.
  • The majority burned Christians at the stake. 
  • The majority jeered when Columbus said the earth was round.
  • The majority established slavery.
  • A majority Supreme Court legalized the infanticide called abortion.
  • The majority find cohabitation with a romantic partner, without marriage acceptable.
  • The majority believes that morality, right and wrong, are defined by the individual. 
  • The majority supports same sex marriage. 

Don’t hide behind, “Everybody does it.” If you are on the same road everybody is on, you are on the wrong road. 


“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13–14, NKJV) 


The man who is spiritually dead is under slavery to the Prince of the power of the air, that is Satan.  Jesus is rightfully called the Prince of Life. Every sinner is under the Prince of Death and are sons of disobedience.  Acts 3:15


We were among them.  

For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.” (1 Peter 4:3) 


We had gone too far. We had fallen too short.  We were on a certain road for death and are slaves to the Prince of Death. We were spiritually dead, soon to be physically dead and finally suffering eternal death. We were, along with the crowd, “dead, dead, dead.”  

Thursday: ...But God

Read Ephesians 2:4-6


But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:4–6, NKJV) 


What power there is the conjunction and the personal pronoun, “but God…”  


We swell with emotion at the moment in a movie where all is lost, and in the final gasp, redemption!  

Watch for it in almost every movie, from gritty films for adults like Shawshank Redemption all the way to movies made for kids, like the Toy Story franchise.    


It resonates with us that Buzz, Woody and friends are slowly being dragged to a certain furnace of death at the trash dump.  There are no words, and no recourse as they look into each other’s eyes with certain resignation that it is all over.  The music swells, the flames grow hotter, the sea of debris inches them closer to their demise. They hold hands and steel their resolve, as they descend further and further from our view… 

“But, the claw!” It snatches them from death and returns them to life. 


We were all inching toward death, and some were running toward it.  “But God…” He made us alive!


What benefits we now have.  If Ephesians one is about our possession in Christ, Ephesians two is about our position in Christ.  He raised us up together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  We once rolled in the trash of this world with only one certain end, but now we are well above it.  


Christ is seated on high at the right hand of the heavenly father, with the authority of position and possession--and we are seated with Him.  We are no longer of this world. 


The politics of this world, the principles of this world, and the fake promises of this world, no longer hold us.   


He is our King, so no earthly president or prime minister holds our hope or keeps us from it.

He is the Truth that exposes the worthless principles and philosophies of this world. 

He is the Rewarder of those who seek him.  This world may promise love and beauty, but it lied to me. 

Since we have been raised and seated with Christ, why should we be caught up with life down here? 

Friday: It is By Grace you have been saved

Read Ephesians 2:8-10

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8–10, NKJV) 


Christian, have you ever looked at your life and considered, “Where would you be if God hadn’t saved you?”  Sitting before the Lord the other night, I thought about His goodness to me and mine.  I had almost forgotten what it was like when I was living without Him.  

In the beginning of my backslidings, it felt good to do what I wanted.  I had cast him off, and He obliged to let me go.  


Everything was fun and games, for a season. 


But as time went by, I became deader and deader in my soul. I lost all sense of right and wrong.  I looked for luck, but fortune escaped me. Peace of mind eluded me.  One by one, everything that had given me pleasure, now brought me pain.  


I thank God, those things happened to me.  He was bringing me back to Himself.  More than that, He was quickening me from the dead. 

What a curse from God if I had, like so many, been well-employed, moderately happy and prosperous in a life without God. 

Psalm 73 gives us the chilling description of a man such as this before he dies and goes to Hell.  


For there are no pangs in their death, But their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like other men. Therefore, pride serves as their necklace; Violence covers them like a garment. Their eyes bulge with abundance; They have more than heart could wish.” (Psalm 73:4–7, NKJV) 


Did you hear that? There are no pangs in their death.  That is, they die peacefully. But when they open their eyes, Psalm 73 gives us a peek into what happens two seconds after the man who has hardened himself against God.  


Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awakes, So, Lord, when You awake, You shall despise their image.” (Psalm 73:18–20, NKJV) 


I thank God for His grace, don’t you?  He changed the trajectory of my life and my future family.  This is His doing. 


For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8–10, NKJV) 


We were once objects of wrath, but by His grace, we are not the product of His workmanship.  This is all His doing, and none of ours.


“To the praise of the glory of His grace.” Amen.