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Ephesians– overview of 2:1-6; From death to life, our salvation by grace.

EPHESIANS-1-1905023
length: 63:19 - taught on May, 23 2019
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Class Outline:

Thursday May 23, 2019

 

We have completed chapter one in six classes. Not bad. 1:3-14 explained the grace gifts of the Father to us, through Christ, in the past, present, and future. 1:15-19 was Paul’s prayer that these gifts would be known and exploited to the maximum by us. 1:19-23 was the vehicle by which these gifts could be given to men, the resurrection, ascension, and session of our Lord. We now begin the doctrines of the church, starting at our new birth, our salvation from death to life.

 

EPH 2:1-6 From death to life - the doctrines of salvation (soteriology).

 

EPH 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

 

Our death was the result of:

 

“trespasses” - paraptoma = a false step or a blunder.

“sins” - hamartia = to miss the mark.

 

EPH 2:2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

 

EPH 2:3 Among them we too [Jews] all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

 

EPH 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

 

EPH 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

 

EPH 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,

 

The same almighty hand that was laid upon the body of the dead Christ and lifted Him from Joseph’s grave to the highest seat in heaven, is now laid upon your soul. It has raised you from the grave of death and sin to share by faith His celestial life.

 

Vs. 3, Paul acknowledges himself and all Jews as born as sons of disobedience. Jews thought that being from Abraham made them children of favor.

 

In verse 3, Paul acknowledges that himself and his fellow Jews were also sons of disobedience who went through the motions of the Mosaic Law and who thought that just by birth they were children of favor, as Jews presumed, but they were children of wrath just like the rest, born in sin.

 

JOH 8:38 "I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father."

 

JOH 8:39 They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you are Abraham's children, do the deeds of Abraham.

 

JOH 8:40 "But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do.

 

JOH 8:41 "You are doing the deeds of your father." They said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God."

 

For a person to conclude that he is anything due to his physical birth, to his ancestry, is to be deceived, stupid, and proud.

 

With the opening of the doctrine of the letter, 1:20-23, this section associates our change from death to life with the stupendous miracle that took place in our Savior.

 

The one act; our salvation; is a continuation of the other; the death, resurrection, ascension, and session of Christ.

 

Christ told us that life is knowing God. He said that He didn’t live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded from the mouth of God. But what world did He enter into when He was born? Did paganism know God? Did Judaism know God? None of them knew God. He was the only One who did.

 

He entered a world rotting in its corruption, moldering in its decay, and dead.

 

Was He sinlessly distressed or disgusted with the world that He saw? Did the twelve-year-old Jesus come to know the world around Him and through the only sinless eyes in existence, feel disgust or sorrow for that world?

 

The only truly alive Man lived in a world of the dead. We cannot imagine His loneliness. Prayer would have been His only candid and fulfilling interaction.

 

But then, upon the beginning of His ministry, God gave to Jesus His disciples, the twelve. He said, “I come that they might have life.” The first believers, the first to hear Him and believe in Him, drew near to Him in companionship. Jesus could now see gleams of His life in other men, and they were receptive to His instruction and sympathized with His purpose.

 

We cannot conclude that as God He was immune to loneliness, or disappointment, and the subsequent joy that companionship might bring. Either He is human or not, and these things are not sin. They can lead to sin, and they often do in sinners, but not in Him. The humanity of Jesus emptied Himself of the expression of His deity. He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.

 

Paul says, “And you were dead.” He doesn’t mean this figuratively. He means dead men; a real and present death.

 

Remember, we have an immaterial and a material side. We are duplicitous. On one side of our being, we are alive and flourishing, but on the other side we are paralyzed and lifeless. We could witness a man showing great energy of mind and body at some temporal or secular task while within his spirit, he is “full of dead man’s bones.”

 

All of us were born physically alive and spiritually dead. Yet, the inner man was designed by God for truth, righteousness, divine joy and love, but for all who enter this world, it is dead to those things.

 

When you ask an unregenerate man about Christ and God, you have struck the dead part of him.  

 

Ask the fallen man about some worldly thing with which he is familiar or enjoys and he will come alive in mind and conversation. Ask the same man about Christ and God and the Bible and you have struck a part of him that is dead. No wonder he so often reacts with horror, fear, agitation, and bitterness. You have shown a beautiful landscape to a blind man and asked him what he sees; heavenly music to a deaf man and asked him what he hears.

 

We would conclude that the man has no hope, and he wouldn’t if it weren’t for God the Holy Spirit who convicts the world. God supernaturally expresses the gospel to the man through you. You are God’s instrument.

 

Yet God has placed the desire for eternity within him. No man can fully crush or root out his craving for God in his breast.

 

All the world desires justice, peace, love, and happiness. It is their craving for God that God has placed within them. Why so many of them balk when God is offered to them without cost through the Person of Christ is a mystery.

 

EPH 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

 

EPH 2:2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

 

EPH 2:3 Among them we too [Jews] all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

 

EPH 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

 

EPH 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

 

EPH 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,

 

And to every man the word of life comes, the gospel of their salvation if they will believe in Him, vv. 8-9.

 

Christ’s sentence upon unbelief was, “Light is come into the world; and men loved darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil.”

 

JOH 3:18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 

JOH 3:19 "And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.

 

JOH 3:20 "For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

 

JOH 3:21 "But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."

 

EPH 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

 

EPH 2:2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

 

The course of the world is according to the prince of the power of the air (Satan), and that air (spirit = breath) is filling and inspiring the lives of the sons of disobedience (unbelievers).

 

“The Power of the air is a fitting designation for the prevailing spirit of the times, whose influence spreads itself like a miasma through the whole atmosphere of the world. It manifests itself as a contagious nature-power; and a spiritus rector (ruling spirit) works within it, which takes possession of the world of men, alike in individuals and in society, and assumes the direction of it.” [Beck]

 

This sin and evil that pervades the porous atmosphere is not forced upon man. God’s anger and judgement threatens above it, for the offenses that provoke God lie in our very nature.

 

Sin is a constitutional malady in man. He is a born sinner, Jew or Gentile. Yet, by grace, the believer has been made alive and raised up to sit with Christ.

 

How strange that men should argue that God’s love forbids His wrath. It is, in truth, the cause of it. We could neither love nor fear a God who did not care enough about us to be angry or grieved when we broke His perfect law and fell away from Him. If your own child went the way of perdition, down a road of pain and ruin to themselves and others, destroying peace in others’ homes, and you were not angry or grieved, would you be a parent that loved him? How much more our God of heaven?

 

As God’s children, at its simplest, it is in obeying His commands that sunshine will be within our inner man, and it is in disobeying His commands that gloom will reside there. In this passage, we were dead and unable to obey Him, but, being rich in mercy, because of His great love towards us, He has made us alive, and now we can obey.

 

And if that were the end of the story, well, we would be here reading about it.

 

“He pities evil men, and to save them spared not His Son from death; but Almighty God, the Father of glory, hates and loathes the evil that is in them, and has determined that if they will not let it go [by faith in Christ], they shall perish with it.” [Dods]

 

EPH 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

 

EPH 2:2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

 

EPH 2:3 Among them we too [Jews] all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

 

EPH 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

 

EPH 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

 

EPH 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,

 

The death of both Paul and ourselves was the death of trespasses and sins. Now imagine you were the witness of a resurrection or resuscitation. How wonderful it would have been to witness it: to see the pale cheek of the little maid, Jairus’ daughter, flush again with the tints of life, and the still frame begin to stir, and the eyes softly open to look upon the face of Jesus. Imagine watching Mary and Martha hug their beloved brother Lazarus after grieving his premature death for four long days. Imagine being Mary Magdalene, assuming the Man to be the gardener and then suddenly realizing, amazement collapsing her, that she beheld the resurrected Jesus, whom she thought lost forever.

 

No less divine miracles occur on the earth every day when a person accepts Jesus Christ as their own Savior. They are made alive!

 

A human soul awakes from its trespasses and sins, the love of God is poured in a heart that was hard and cold and empty, the Spirit of God breathes into a human spirit lying powerless and buried in the flesh, and there is a true rising from the dead as when Jesus our Lord came out from His sepulcher.

 

JOH 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

 

JOH 5:25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.

 

JOH 5:26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;

 

This has occurred in this age. Dead does not always mean physically dead.

 

JOH 5:27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.

 

JOH 5:28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice,

 

JOH 5:29 and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.”

 

As the Lord continues, He may mean the tomb as He does the dead in vs. 25, since being dead in trespasses and sins and remaining that way without faith in Christ will mean judgment at the end. Becoming alive through faith and regeneration means a resurrection life now and in eternity.

 

By grace we are literally delivered from a state of death to a state of life. Not just by mere declaration of it being so, but by an act of divine power.

 

The understanding of this divine grace upon believing men takes place by a constant and constantly deepening union of the soul with Christ (study, pray, walk; study, pray, walk … )

 

Finally:

 

EPH 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

 

EPH 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

 

EPH 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,

 

“made us alive together” = sunzopoieo.

“raised us up together” = sunegeiro.

“made us sit together” = sunkathizo.

 

We are alive, in heaven, and siting “together” in Christ Jesus.

 

Summary of where we have been so far. EPH 1:3-14 is a summary of the grace gifts of God from past, present, and future. EPH 1:15-20 is Paul’s prayer that those gifts would be a conscious reality in our lives, lived in and enjoyed. EPH 1:20-23 begins the doctrine of the letter with the resurrection of Christ, making a new humanity, which brought about the gifts of God and the life of Christ. The doctrine actually begins, beginning with soteriology, the doctrine of the work of Christ, in bring dead ones to life.

 

Now, this salvation to life has an end in mind.

 

EPH 2:7-10 - Saved with an end in mind.

 

EPH 2:7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

 

Paul sees every age after his own as marveling at the surpassing riches of the grace of God. We assume by age he means the next dispensation and those following, but that is not a concrete interpretation. After coming to understand the grace of God

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