Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ephesians 2 Sermon Notes

Ephesians 2- Sermon Notes

Eph. 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 
Dead is dead. Dead is not sick. Dead is not diseased. Dead is not unreasonable. Dead is not thinking about it. Dead is dead.
Lazarus was dead. Jesus unilaterally, monergistically brought him back to life.
Regeneration- brought from death to life. We might call this born again.

Monergism- God acts unilaterally.

Four States of Mankind- From Saint Augustine

1. Able to Sin, Able Not Sin- Adam’s created state. He was able to not sin but chose to fall into sin. Incidentally, this creation state included his ability to act as a covenant head. He could have nullified the affect of Eve’s sin. Mankind fell when Adam fell into sin, not when Eve first sinned.
Adam was free to sin. Although Adam could have chosen to not sin, he also had the freedom to sin. He had not yet been given a permanently Resurrected body wherein he was fully free from sin.

2. Not Able Not to Sin- This is fallen man outside of God’s grace. He has a free will but his will has been enslaved by death.
After the fall, Adam was not able not to sin. His fall made him incapable of refraining from sin. He and his progeny were now all fallen and sin necessarily flows from fallen man.
Even in Christ, we are in this condition until we pass from this life. There are those who teach that we can attain a state of sinless perfection in this life. This is not biblical teaching and denies the need for the reality of the Resurrection. It is true that God gives life to our mortal bodies and that we can live by and walk by the Spirit. However, we do this is a state of grace where Jesus covers all of our sins, past, present and future. However much sin abounds, grace abounds more.

3. Able not to Sin
But there are some things that ought not to be even named among the faithful. 1 Cor. 5:1, Paul includes fornication with a father’s wife. This was presumably a step-mother. He states that this kind of fornication is not even to be found among the pagans.
He gives us another list in Ephesians 5 of things that Christians can be and should be done with. That is, we are morally free in Christ to not sin that sort of sin. Our will can no line up with our actions. I do not say that this moral freedom is absolute.
Galatians five talks about the moral struggle we still face even in redeemed and Holy Spirit filled bodies. There is real sanctification but there is not bodily, pre-Resurrection perfection.

Ephesian 5:3   But fornication- porneia- and keep that root word, porneia, as context. Here we translate fornication but he is referring below to the broader sexual sins related to porneia. We now have a pornography epidemic so we should understand Paul’s words in that context. Christians once lived in a rampant pornographic culture. They were expected to not participate in it. Paul expected that Christians could be done with such sins. Let them not even be named among you. Folks we have to set the bar a little higher.
and all uncleanness- uncleanness sexually
or covetousness- greed, fraud, extortion
let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 
4 Neither filthiness- shameful acts, exposing oneself, sexting,
nor foolish talking- morologia, talking like a moron, sex jokes, crass speech
nor jesting- this seems to mean foolish jesting, vulgar witticisms, given to double entendre.
which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 
5 For this ye know,
that no whoremonger- fornicator, refers back to porneas in verse 3
nor unclean person- unclean, filthy, foolish talker, course jester
nor covetous man- coveting that which is not your own, keep your own wife, your own husband in you mind. not coveting other women or men.
who is an idolater- this is the worship of sex and pleasure. Sexolatry
hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.- Those who practice such things go to Hell. Christians go to heaven. So, no Christian, who is a Christian, indeed, can practice such things. Sure, some Christians fall into sin and even grievous sins. But, Spirit-filled and led Christians do not practice such things with impunity.

4. Unable to Sin- The Resurrected state. We will be perfected and protected from falling into sin.

2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Your times past- This spirit still alive in the sons of disobedience. But we should not be drawn to it as in times past because we are ‘in Christ.’
The world- course of this world
The flesh- lusts of the flesh
The devil- prince of the power of the air

Lusts- desire for the forbidden. This is part of the transformation of the Christian mind to change us from desiring that which is forbidden to desiring that which is given.
By nature- ordinary generation, born into sin and God’s wrath.

Wrath- can mean desire. The context seems to encourage the thought that we were born into lustful desires. That is we were born wanting what is prohibited and thus an object of God’s wrath, like fallen Adam.

Wherefore Remember

One of our greatest failures, as Christians, is forgetting. We ought to have good memories and not be forgetful. Ephesians calls upon us to remember that we are brought near to God by the blood of Christ. Remember this and do not forget it.

       In the Assurance of Pardon, I reminded you that you are raised up in Christ. In this Eucharistic meditation, I remind you that you are seated with Christ. Remember this, Jesus is seated and you are seated with Him. This is the place of triumph, the place of authority, the place of rest, the place of Communion with God, the Father, Communion with the Lord Jesus and Communion with the Holy Spirit. Wherefore, remember this and do not forget it.

Raised Up

Dear Saints, the Scriptures tell us that you, who were dead in your sins, God has, in Christ, quickened us together, raised us together and seated us together with Christ. This means that you are now alive, forgiven, raised to the place of blessing and seated at the place of rest.
         The Apostle tells us that by grace are you saved, made alive, raised and seated. This is all grace, all gift.

         Incidentally, this raising is why we kneel down during confession of sin and are raised up for the declaration of forgiveness and the assurance of pardon. You are raised in Christ so you are encouraged to stand up before Him in full assurance.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dead Men Walking- Ephesians 2:1-13

Ephesians 2 Sermon Notes
Dead Men Walking

My mom had few jokes but one of them was whenever we drove past a cemetery. She would say how many dead people in that cemetery? And the answer was, “All of them.”
         I ask you, "How many dead men do we have in this room?"
         Now, we can take the title of this sermon, Dead Men Walking, in two ways. And by Dead Men Walking, I mead dead men, women, boys and girls. All of you are dead men walking. So, the answer to my question, How many dead men do we have in this room is, “All of them.”
         But you might protest, “I am not dead. I can breathe. My heart is beating.”
         True, but you need to understand that your heart beating is not what makes you alive. What makes you alive is Jesus Christ’s heart beating.
         Well, you might say, then Christ’s heart is beating in me. And if that is true then it is true that you who were dead in your sins has He quickened, that is, made alive.
         But maybe there are those in whom only a sinful heart beats. That is not life but death. We need Christ for life.
         So, we have two types of dead men walking.
         One is the kind who was dead. He is like Lazarus come out of the tomb. Look, a dead man walks. But he really is no longer dead. He might be known as one who was dead and is now come to life but he is really alive.
         The other is the one who is dead in his trespasses and sins. He walks about but there is no life of Christ in him. Though he is alive, he yet remains in his trespasses and sins. He needs life. He needs a new heart.
         What we have to deal with is that all of us have been that second man, the one who is dead though he seems alive. Every human being that is alive must have been quickened by the Holy Spirit of God to be in Christ and thus made alive.
         Now, it is not necessary that we fully understand this, how or when, exactly it happened. But we do need to grasp that it happened. The reason is twofold and given in our text.
         First, we need to know this happened so that we give God the glory. We cannot bring ourselves from death to life, so it takes away our boasting for having done so.
         Two, particularly as our children grow up in this church, they need to be taught not to boast of their upbringing, God’s favor on them, the gifts of salvation and godly living. These are all good things but not things to boast of. They are all gifts. If our children understand that they are gifts and render thanksgiving for them, then this reveals their heart, a heart of gratitude, a heart transformed by Jesus.

         But if they stubbornly cling to their advantages as either earned or deserved, then they are not revealing a heart of gratitude. This more likely reveals the heart of a dead man walking. And if they think this way, one response of theirs might be that, "I was never dead." It is okay if you do not remember being dead. But you were once dead and are now made alive by Jesus, if, in fact, you are really alive. If you are live, this is a fact. If this is not a fact for you, then you are not alive.
         So, the Scriptures and Jesus and the preacher, call you to life. Like Lazarus from the tomb, come forth into the light, the light of Jesus and be not dead, but living.