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I SEE DEAD PEOPLE
Intro: In verse 1, Paul lays out the desperate condition of those who have never been born again. He tells us that they are dead in trespasses and sins. This does not mean that they are merely crippled in their spiritual life. The word dead refers to a corpse. It refers to the fact that sinners are dead as far as their relationship with God is concerned. Sinners are spiritually dead!
They do not care about Him. They have no desire for Him. They do not appreciate anything that has to do with Him. They cannot come to Him on their own for salvation. For all intents and purposes, sinners are spiritual corpses, who need to be born again. They have bodies which live, breath, love and die, but they are dead even while they live.
Most of us who are saved understand this truth, because we have been there. We know how we were before Jesus redeemed us, and we know the great changes He brought about in our lives after salvation. In fact, while this passage reveals the terrible condition of the lost, it is a passage written to the saints of God.
In verse one, Paul says and you hath He quickened. Paul writes to remind the Ephesian believers, and all other believers who take the time to read this book, that their lives have changed. He wants us to know that because we are in Jesus, everything has changed.
I began a message last Sunday I entitled I See Dead People. In that message, I dealt with verse 1 of this chapter, and reminded you that we are surrounded by the spiritually dead. We are surrounded by people who are hostile to God and the Gospel. We are surrounded by people who are hostile to the church and the Word of God. We are surrounded by people who have no desire for salvation or for the things of God. We were also reminded that at one time, we were also in that deplorable state, but praise the name of Jesus, He came to us and called us to Himself and saved us by His grace!
Today, I want to continue to preach on the thought, I See Dead People. Verse 1 tells us that Sinners Are Dead. Verses 2-3 reveal a few more characteristics of those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Lets notice these characteristics together today.
I. v. 2 SINNERS ARE DECEIVED
(Ill. In this verse, Paul is addressing the Gentile believers in Ephesus. Notice the word ye. This word refers specifically to his readers, which were Gentiles. In verse 3, you will notice that he uses the word we. In that verse, he turns to his own people, the Jews. The language of these two verses tell us that what we will learn about sinners is true of all humans, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. Paul wants us to know that the whole world is trapped in darkness, Col. 1:13. This spiritual darkness causes those who are trapped in its power to be deceived by the allure of sin. Notice what has the world deceived.)
A. By The Progression Of This World – ye walked according to the course of this world – Several words in that phrase need to be examined if we are going to understand what Paul is trying to teach us.
· Walked – To make ones way; to conduct ones life; to regulate ones life; to pass ones life – It refers to the way a person lives their life.
· Course – perpetuity of time; period of time; age – This the same word that is translated ages and forever, in many other passages. It refers to an enormous amount of time.
· World – This word translates the word kosmos. That word gives us our English words cosmetic and cosmopolitan. It does not speak of the earth, but of this worlds system, or the way the world operates. The word actually means adornment; harmony; order; or orderly arrangement. In the beginning, it was used to refer to the orderly arrangement of the universe. It came to mean, the order of things of which man is the center; the order of things which is alienated from God, as manifested in and by the human race. In other words, it refers to the way people who do not know God live their lives.
These words teach us the truth that sinners march to the drumbeat of the world. What Paul is telling us is that the lost sinners in our world march in a long parade of sin that stretches all the way back to Adam. When sinners are born into the world, they assume their place in line and simply mimic their culture. We mimic our parents, just as they mimicked theirs. We are all participants in this pathetic parade of perversion, Titus 3:3; Rom. 3:23.
Sin is a way of life; sinners are born into it and adopt its ways with no problem. That is why we see people adopt the fashions, fads and pleasures of the world. That is why we see sins that once repulsed us become tolerated more and more by the world. Homosexuality, pre-marital sex, adultery, pornography, drunkenness, drug abuse, etc. are all becoming mainstream. Most people barely bat an eye anymore in the presence of sin.
Why? It is the course of this world. That phrase could be translated, the age of the world. This has the idea that things have always been this way in our world. Sin and the sinners who sin have always been here, and they will be until the Lord judges this world. Things will not get better, they will only get worse, because sinners are deceived into believing that their way of life is the right way to live. They are deceived by the steady, progressive march of the world and they have no desire to embrace righteousness and walk in the ways of the Lord. The lost are deceived by the progression of the world.
B. By The Prince Of This World – The course of this world is directed and dictated by Satan himself. He literally choreographs the thinking, the desires, and the lifestyles of the lost. He is the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. He is called the god of this world, 2 Cor. 4:4. He is called the prince of the power of the air. The sinners around us act like they do because Satan energizes them. They walk the way the world dictates because Satan blinds them to the way of God, 2 Cor. 4:4.
The word worketh has the idea of an ongoing work. Satan never lets up in his efforts to keep sinners committed to their sins. Sinners think that they are living life on their own terms. They like to think they are doing what they want do. They think that are living to please themselves. There is some truth to that, because all of our sins arise out of our own sinful desires, James 1:14. James 1:15 says, Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. The word conveived in that verse means, to seized; to take one as a prisoner. When the lust that dwells within us by nature is energized by Satan and focused on sin, the result is slavery and bondage. The end of that slavery and bondage is judgment and Hell!
So, sinners are not merely doing as they please. They are mere puppets manipulated by their father the devil, John 8:44. The result of Satans influence in their lives is disobedience. That word has the idea of stubbornness; of obstinate opposition to Gods will. In other words, the sin that works in the heart of the sinner causes them to be a rebel against everything that has to do with God. Lost people are deceived!
I. Sinners Are Deceived
II. v. 3a SINNERS ARE DEPRAVED
(Ill. In this verse, Paul speaks about His people, the Jews. In these words, he talks about human depravity. Some people recoil at the phrase total depravity. That statement simply means that people are in a depraved state. The word depraved means corrupt, wicked, or perverted. There can be no question that the word correctly describes the human condition.
It does not imply that all men are as bad as they could be. It does imply that all people are sinners, and as such, are capable of committing the vilest of sins.
It does not mean that lost people cannot do good deeds, because we know they do. It does mean that they can never merit salvation on their own. It does mean that they can never do anything, in that sinful sate, that is pleasing to God.
It does mean that they are incapable of making the first move toward God, John 6:44; 6:65. So, the phrase absolute inability might be preferable.
Phil. 2:15 calls this world a crooked and perverse nation. Ray Steadman says that this verse means we are surrounded by crooks and perverts. That is a very apt description of our world. The fact is, people are not getting better; they are getting worse, Eph. 4:22. The word corrupt in that verse refers to a corpse rotting and putrefying in the sun. It is a picture of ongoing, ever worsening corruption. People dont get better until they get saved!
When we speak of depravity, we are not talking about something people become because they commit sin. We are talking about what they are by nature of their human birth, Rom. 5:12; Psa. 51:5; John 3:6.
These verses teach the clear, unassailable truth that all lost sinners are dead. They are slaves to their sins and to their master Satan. In that condition, they have no desire for God and they lack the ability to seek God, ***Rom. 3:9-18***. Lets consider what this depraved state involves.)
A. They Are Depraved In Their Appetites – The words and phrases Paul uses to describe the wretched condition of sinners is important.
· The lusts of the flesh refers to the natural desires that drive the body and the mind.
· The desires of the flesh and of the mind speak of those natural appetites that characterize humanity.
· Lusts refers to strong desires and inclinations of every kind, not just sex, but every pull of the flesh in in view here.
· Desires refers to strong willfulness; wanting and seeking something with diligence.
These words picture sinners as they are driven about by their minds and their flesh, seeking to gratify the wicked appetites of the natural man. What are some of those things sinners seek? Paul mentions some of these things in Gal. 5:19-21. Of course there are many other evil desires that consume the minds of sinners and drive them to sin.
The bottom line is this: sinners are selfish. Life is about gratifying their lusts and selfish desires. Simply stated, sinners love sin and hate righteousness!
B. They Are Depraved In Their Actions – Paul says that sinners have their conversation in the lusts of our flesh.
· The word conversation refers to ones walk; or the common manner of life.
· Sinners live like they do because of the desires of the flesh and the mind.
· The flesh refers to the fallen nature that is selfish and self-centered.
· The mind refers to an the evil, selfish mindset.
The natural pull of sin within the human heart leads the lost sinner to live a sinful life. They have no defenses against the sin that operates within them, and they have no desire to resist the sins that entice them.
As a result, they live life for themselves, for sin, and for Satan. They live to satisfy the course, base desires of their fallen sinful natures. The things that leave us scratching our heads in amazement, wondering how people could do such evil things and live such wicked lives, are merely natural to the sinner. Sinners are depraved, and nothing they do should surprise us in the least!
(Ill. It was his depravity that caused Russias Joseph Stalin to murder 50 million people in order to consolidate his power. It was his depravity that caused Germanys Adolph Hitler to attempt to exterminate the Jewish people, killing some 6 million in his effort. It was his depravity that caused Ethiopias Edi Amin to murder his enemies and eat their hearts. Those are extreme examples, but they illustrate the depths of human depravity.
Of course, it is his depravity that causes a little boy to steal a pack of gum at the corner store. It is depravity that causes young people to barter their purity for fleeting puppy love. It is depravity that causes us to hate, fight, gossip, envy, be filled with jealousy, etc.
Ill. Human depravity is illustrated by this little tale. A mother put her son in the closet to punish him for some wrong he had done. After some time she opened the door.
He was not penitent at all and looked out at her defiantly.
She said, Son, what are you doing?
He angrily replied, I 'pit on your shoes, and I 'pit on your dress, and I 'pit on your coat, and I am just standing here waiting for more 'pit, and I will 'pit on something else.
Humanity is terribly sinful, sold under sin, totally depraved, and the only remedy for our condition is salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Sinners are depraved and need to be delivered from that condition by the grace of God!)
I. Sinners Are Deceived
II. Sinners Are Depraved
III. v. 3b SINNERS ARE DOOMED
(Ill. Paul closes this dismal section of scripture by reminding us that sinners stand condemned before a holy God. God is not in Heaven merely winking at the sins of the sinner; there will come a day when He will judge them. My unsaved friend, if you never come to Jesus for salvation, here is your future; you are doomed!)
A. Doomed Because Of A Sinful Disposition – The phrase were by nature calls to mind what Paul has just told us. The unsaved are sinners by nature, and because they live out that nature through sinful deeds, they stand condemned before a holy God. We are all morally inclined to do evil. Humans are born in a morally depraved state. In that state, they are naturally drawn to evil. Our sinfulness means that we are destined to face Gods wrath and judgment over sin. (Ill. Isa. 59:2; Eze. 18:20) There may be pleasure in sin for a season, but the day will come when the pleasure will cease, and you will face the wrath of a holy God. That is a warning you need to take to heart today, 2 Cor. 6:2.
B. Doomed Because Of A Sovereign Decree – In the dawn of time, Adam was warned that sin would bring terrible consequences into the world, Gen. 2:16-17. (Ill. Gen. 3:1-19; 4:1-11) Sin came, and death followed hard on its heels, Rom. 5:12; Heb. 9:27; Ill. Gen. 5, and he died. God has decreed that all those who die in their sins will face His wrath. The word wrath comes from a word that means to be red-faced. It is the image of someone who had held His anger in check for a very long time, but has finally reached the end of His patience. God has been very patient with humanity. He has given mankind thousands of years to repent and to turn to Him, yet the world stands in stubborn rebellion to Gods command to repent.
God has proven His love for fallen men by sending His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for sin and for sinners, Rom. 5:8. Yet, men turn a deaf ear to the Gospel. They steadfastly refuse to come to Jesus so they can be forgiven, changed and saved.
Sinners are condemned already, John 3:18, 36. Those who continue to refuse will eventually die in their sins. Those people will face the all-consuming wrath of a holy, righteous, all-powerful, and offended God, Ill. 2 Thes. 1:8-9; Psa. 9:17; Rev. 20:10-15. Ladies and gentlemen, the wages of sin is still death, Rom. 6:23. This does not mean death is the end of all things. That word refers to the second death. It refers to eternal separation from God in the fires of Hell. The only way to miss Hell is to come to Jesus by faith so you can be saved.
Conc: Where does this message find you?
· Does it find you lost and trapped in your sins? Has the Lord revealed your condition to you? Is he calling you to come out of your darkness into His marvelous light? Is he drawing you to Himself so you can be saved? Why do you delay? What are you waiting for? Life is fleeting and time is swiftly passing you by. Come to Jesus now, and He will save you!
· Does it find you redeemed and headed to Heaven? Does it fill your heart with praise to know that the Lord came to you in your dead condition, breathed life into your spirit, and changed your life? Wouldnt you like to bow before Him in humble thanks and worship today?
· Does it find you burdened about the unsaved around you? Wouldnt this be a good time to come to the Lord with those names? Wouldnt it be a good time to bring them to the Lord once again, and ask Him to touch them and save them?
· This message is a warning to the lost. It says, Come to Jesus while there is time!
· This message is a reminder to the redeemed. It says. You are not what you used to be. Praise Him for it!
· This message is a call to prayer. It says, Your children, your grandchildren, your family and your friends are perishing. Bring them Jesus and ask Him to save them.
Where does this message find us? It should find us on our knees before a just, righteous, holy God.