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From Helplessness to Holiness Ephesians 2:1-10. “ God helps those who help themselves?” Barna Poll : Q. Is this a principle from the Bible? 53% strongly agree; 22% somewhat agree The Bible teaches us a completely opposite truth: God helps those who, by nature, are completely helpless .

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from helplessness to holiness ephesians 2 1 10
From Helplessness to HolinessEphesians 2:1-10
  • “God helps those who help themselves?”
  • Barna Poll:
  • Q. Is this a principle from the Bible?
  • 53% strongly agree; 22% somewhat agree
  • The Bible teaches us a completely opposite truth:
  • God helps those who, by nature, are completely helpless.

Review: Ephesians 1:

  • The wonderful possessions we have in Christ:
  • adoption as children of God
  • redemption through the blood of Christ
  • sealed by the Holy Spirit
  • Paul prays that believers would know God more intimately:
  • know the hope we have because God called us to be His children
  • know the rich inheritance we ARE as God’s treasured possessions
  • know the power we have available to us through Christ.

God’s incredible power:

  • Raised Christ from the dead
  • Exalted Him in the heavenly places
  • Set Him above all rulers and authorities
  • Set everything under His feet
  • Made Him the head over all things for the church
  • Why do we need to know this power?
  • All of humanity – every person is born spiritually DEAD and needs to experience new life  to move from helplessness to holiness
  • Only possible through the saving power of Jesus Christ.

Dead people cannot save themselves;

  • Dead people can do nothing!
  • Jeremy Bentham:
  • philosopher;
  • the father of utilitarianism

Dead people can’t do anything

  • Ephesians 2: Without Christ every person is DEAD
  • God has provided a way to take us from DEATH to LIFE!
  • From Helplessness to Holiness.
  • Paul’s message:
    • Life Without Christ - Helplessness
    • Life With Christ - Holiness

1. Life Without Christ – Helplessness (v.1-3)

  • A vivid description of the condition of a person without Christ:
  • a. Dead
  • Ephesians 2:1,2a [ESV] – “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked”
  • God has created us in His image - we are spiritual beings
  • Without Christ – everyone is spiritually dead!
  • The state of spiritual death is UNIVERSAL.
  • No one is exempt!

Romans 3:23 [ESV] – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

  • What put us in that state of spiritual death?
  • Ephesians 2:1 [ESV] - “we were dead in our transgressions and sins”
  • Bible  death speaks about separation:
  • physical death – the soul and spirit are separated from the body
  • spiritual death – the soul and spirit are separated from God.
  • Romans 6:23 [ESV] – “For the wages of sin is death”

b. Disobedient

  • Ephesians 2:2,3a [ESV] – “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”
  • Spiritual death is characterized by disobedience toward God:
  • i) “following the course of this world”
    • following the distorted value systems of our modern culture

ii) “following the prince of the power of the air”

    • prince of the power of the air =Satan
    • he is at work in the “sons of disobedience”
    • Satan has the power to control those who are spiritually dead
  • iii) “living in the passions of our flesh”
    • the sinful nature tries to take control of the body, mind, emotions to lead us to disobey God and do our own thing.

c. Depraved

  • Ephesians 2:3b [ESV] – “carrying out the desires of the body and the mind”
  • To be depraved is a description of the natural human condition without Christ.
  • Without Christ, a person is incapable of doing anything to earn his or her salvation or meet God’s standard of holiness.
  • Isaiah 64:6-7 [NIV] – “…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…and like the wind our sins sweep us away. No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins.”

d. Doomed

  • Ephesians 2:3b [ESV] – “by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
  • Without Christ, a person is subject to God’s wrath.
  • Romans 1:18 [ESV] – “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”

People who want nothing to do with God suppress the truth.

  • Romans 2:5 [NIV] – “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
  • Life without Christ:
                  • Dead
                  • Disobedient
                  • Depraved
                  • Doomed

Ephesians 2:4 [ESV] – “But God…”

  • Without Christ you are helpless because you are spiritually DEAD
  • But GOD can and did do something about the helpless, hopeless predicament
  • He provided a way to bring us from
  • Death  Life!

2. Life With Christ – Holiness (v.4-7)

  • a. God Loved Us
  • Ephesians 2:4b [ESV] – “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us…”
  • Love is an attribute of God Himself.
  • 1 John 4:8 [ESV] – “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
  • The relational side of God’s love is demonstrated in His mercy and grace.
  • 1 John 4:9 [ESV] – “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”

b. God Raised Us

  • Ephesians 2:5 [ESV] – “even when we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ.”
  • God raises those who are spiritually dead to new spiritual life.
  • A new life that is united with Christ in his death and resurrectionempowering us to “walk in newness of life”(Romans 6:4)
  • Galatians 2:20 [NIV] – “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

c. God Exalted Us

  • Ephesians 2:6,7 [ESV] – “and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
  • God seats us with Christ in the heavenly places.
  • We have position in heaven with Christ  We have a new citizenship – a citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20)
  • Christ is exalted by God; we are his exalted sons and daughters.

Paul provides a vivid picture of two distinct realities:

  • Without Christ you are dead, disobedient, depraved, and doomed to an eternity without God.
  • But God loves you and because of His mercy, He has provided a way for you to be given New Life.
  • Receive God’s gift of new life in Christ today!

A message for believers:

  • We are reminded of the condition of DESPAIR we came from and the GLORIOUS position we now have because of our relationship with Christ.
  • God has taken us from helplessness to holiness.
  • Are we living in that new life?
  • The essence of God’s message today: