You Were

Ephesians 2:1-10
December 2, 2018
Abraham Hong

 

These words that we have just read from Ephesians 2:1-10 are very sobering and serious words. For it is here that God in his wisdom reminds us of our dark past. And it is here that God in his love reminds us of our bright present and even brighter future.

Dear brother, dear sister, there is something you need to know about yourself. You were once dead. You were once dead in your trespasses and sins against God. I am not talking about a physical death. I am talking about a spiritual death. A death in your heart and soul and strength and mind. Dear brother, dear sister, you had no ability to be righteous. You had no ability to love God. You had no ability for any of these things because you were dead.

But this spiritual death did not mean that you did nothing meaningful. You did plenty of meaningful things. You followed the course of this world and you loved all that it had to offer. You followed the enemy that is Satan who powerfully works disobedience in human beings. You followed the passions of your flesh and did whatever you desired without any care for God.

This was you. You were once all about the world, the enemy, and the person in the mirror. You were once by nature a child of wrath, a sinner who deserved the holy justice and punishment of God. You were once dead in your sin.

It might be shocking or unbelievable or offensive to hear all of this, to hear that you actually had a dark past. I can only imagine how you might feel right now as you hear all of this. But it is all true. It is true of you. It is true of the brother or sister in Christ next to you. It is true of me. It is true of all the saints - past, present and future. It is true of both the woman at the well who had five husbands and Ruth’s husband Boaz who on paper was perfect. It is true of every single member in our church who belongs to Christ. Please believe the word of the Lord here in Ephesians 2:1-10. He knows your dark past. He knows who you once were.

But he did not leave you in your death. You were dead in the trespasses and sins. But God made you alive.

He created for you a new heart, a new soul, a new strength, and a new mind. He made you a new creation. This is God’s salvation. This is your salvation. And your salvation is nothing short of resurrection from death.

And he did this by uniting you to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is so heartwarming. You were made alive together with Jesus. You were raised up with him and seated with him. The Father bound you to his Son. He attached you to Jesus. He grafted you into him. Our lives are hidden in him. We are clothed with him. We are covered by his righteousness. We are, metaphorically speaking, one flesh with the King. And when we take the bread and the cup of the Lord’s Supper, it is a participation in the body and the blood of the Lord. We are united with Christ. And here is the massive payoff of our union with Christ: you are alive because Jesus is alive.

Now everything is different. Now you are different. In your dark past, you had no ability to love God. But now you do. In your dark past, you loved the world. But now you love the world that is to come. In your dark past, you followed the passions of your flesh and lived our whatever you desired without any care for God. But not anymore. Now you are putting the passions of your flesh to death and you are living for the glory of God. In your dark past, you were a sinner who deserved the holy justice and punishment of God. But not anymore. Now you are a saint and a child of God. This is spectacular. This is such a spectacular difference. Imagine that you climbed up a very high mountain. There you are at the very top of that high mountain. And imagine that you looked down, all the way down to the bottom, to where you first started your climb. What a spectacular view. And what a spectacular difference. Here in Ephesians 2, we have this kind of difference in who we were back then and who we are right now. In your dark past, you were dead. But now you are alive. Everything is different now. You are different now. This is what you need to know about yourself. You had a dark past. But you have a bright present and an even brighter future.

Brothers and sisters, some of you may not be happy with things in your life. But I challenge you to realize that being made alive in Christ is the best thing ever. I hope that this truth can put everything else in your life that you are not happy about in proper perspective. Stop forgetting the big picture and start being more thankful for the good news in your life. You were once dead in sins. But now you are alive in Christ. There is nothing greater and more important than this.

Brothers and sisters, some of you may not be humble or loving toward others. But I challenge you to realize that all of us had a dark past. We were all once dead. I hope that this truth changes the way that you treat other saints in Christ. There is nothing to compare. Nobody is better or worse than another. We were all once equally dead in our sins. And we are all now equally alive in Christ. Stop fighting others. Instead, let us marvel together at the grace of God in all of our lives.

Brothers and sisters, some of you may not be moving on from your dark past. But I challenge you to realize that everything is different now. You cannot go back to your past ways. You should not. And the reason is because you are a new creation. Everything is different now. Therefore, do not be who you once were. Be who you are now in Christ.

You were dead in sin. But now you are alive in Christ. You once had a dark past. But now you have a bright present and an even brighter future. May you believe this, as we all wait for the return of Christ our King.

End


Summary of Sermon

God in his wisdom reminds us of our dark past. And God in his love reminds us of our bright present and even brighter future.

We were once spiritually dead - dead in our trespasses and sins against God. We were once all about the world, the enemy, and ourselves. We were once by nature children of wrath, sinners who deserved the holy justice and punishment of God. This was who we once were. This was our dark past.

But God did not leave you in your death. He made you alive in Christ.

He created for you a new heart, a new soul, a new strength and a new mind. This is your salvation. It is nothing short of recreation and resurrection.

Our salvation is centered on our union with Christ. We were made alive together with the Lord. We were raised up with him and seated with him. In other words, we are alive because Jesus is alive.

And now everything is different. There is a spectacular difference between who we once were and who we are now. Praise the Lord!

When we are not happy about things in our lives, let us remember that being made alive with Christ is the best thing ever. When we fail to be humble before others, let us remember that all of us in Christ ultimately had a dark past and that all of us in Christ have a bright present and glorious future. And when we struggle to move on from our dark past, let us remember that we cannot and should not go back to our old ways.

Questions for Discussion & Sharing

God in his wisdom reminds us of our dark past. What value is there in considering how we were once dead in our trespasses and sins against God? How can the truth of who we once were affect who we are now and help us live for God today?

How might the truth of our dark past change the way that we handle conflict and relate with other brothers and sisters in Christ? How might the truth of our recreation, resurrection and union with Christ also change such things?

Take time to encourage and remind one another that being alive with Christ is the best thing ever.