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Ephesians 2:1-3


Intro: Have you ever picked up an apple that appeared to be beautiful, red and sweet, only to turn it over and see that it had a worm in it? Have you ever wondered how that worm got into that apple? Perhaps you think the worm burrowed in from the outside. Scientists have discovered that the worm comes from inside.


How does that worm get in there? Simple! An insect lays an egg in the apple blossom. Sometime later, the worm hatches in the heart of the apple, then eats his way out.


The passage that we have been dealing with for the last few weeks teaches us the same truth about sin. Sin, like the worm, begins in the heart and works out through a person's thoughts, words, and actions. Paul is trying to teach his readers that people are not sinners because they sin. People sin because they are sinners.


In verse 1 of this text, Paul taught us that Sinners Are Dead in their “trespasses and sins.” This means, spiritually speaking, that they are dead. They are dead to the things of God. They have no desire for the things of God. Since the word “dead” refers to a “corpse”, it means that the lost sinner is incapable of coming to the Lord on his own. Not only can he not come to God on his own, but also there is absolutely no desire within the sinner’s heart to come to God for salvation. In that state of spiritual death, God must make the first move, John 6:44.


Not only are Sinners Dead, verse 2 tells us that Sinners Are Deceived as well. In that verse Paul tells us that lost sinners simply take their place in the parade of perversion in which the lost have marched since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. Sinners are deceived into thinking that the way they live is the right way. In truth, their father Satan is merely leading them about. They do as he does, and they do as all those deceived by him do.


One generation mimics the last, walking in their sins and wickedness, adding to it new sins and perversions they pass down to the next generation. Thus, fallen humanity grows more and more wicked as each generation passes.


Verse 3 of this text tells us where all this deadness and deception originates. It arises out of our fallen natures. I want to examine the powerful message of this passage today as I continue to preach on the subject: I See Dead People. As we look at the message of verse 3 today, I want to point out the truths that this verse has to teach us. Not only are sinners Dead and Deceived, this verse teaches us that they are also Depraved and Doomed. Let’s examine these truths together today.


As we do, let the Lord speak to you today. If you are lost, let these verses be a warning to you. Lost friend, you need to repent of your sins and turn to Jesus for salvation.


If you are saved, let these truths be a reminder that we are living as “ambassadors” of Heaven, surrounded by people who need to hear the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. May these truths challenge us to go tell the lost about Jesus Christ.



(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.


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 don’t get better until they get saved!


When we speak of human 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.


Depravity does not suggest that people are as wicked or sinful as they could be. It does not mean that man is without a conscience or any sense of right or wrong. It does not mean that man does not or cannot do things that seem to be good when viewed from a human perspective or measured against a human standard. It does not even mean that man cannot do things that seem to conform outwardly to the Law of God.


What the Bible does teach and what total depravity does recognize is that even the “good” things man does are tainted by sin because they are not done for the glory of God and out of faith in Him, Rom. 14:23; Heb. 11:6. While man looks upon the outward acts and judges them to be good, God looks upon not only the outward acts but also the inward motives that lay behind them, and because they proceed from a heart that is in rebellion against Him and they are not done for His Glory even these good deeds are like “filthy rags” in His sight, Isa. 64:6.


In other words, fallen man’s good deeds are motivated not by a desire to please God but by our own self interest and are thus corrupted to the point where God declares that there is “none that doeth good, no not one!”[i]


These verses teach the clear, unassailable truth that all lost sinners are dead. They are slaves to their sins and to their master Satan, ***Rom. 3:9-18***. In that condition, while sinners may not be as bad as they could be, they are capable of even the vilest of evil acts. Let’s 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 natural, sinful 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 “one’s 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 Russia’s Joseph Stalin to murder 50 million people in order to consolidate his power. It was his depravity that caused Germany’s Adolph Hitler to attempt to exterminate the Jewish people, killing some 6 million in his effort. It was his depravity that caused Ethiopia’s 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 the grace of God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Sinners are depraved and need to be delivered from that condition by the grace of God!)


Ill. Many people rebel against, or openly reject the doctrine of total depravity, but that fact should not surprise us since the world generally thinks of man as being basically good. Therefore the idea that man by nature is a depraved sinner runs contrary to most modern religious, psychological and philosophical views of the basic nature of man.


Nonetheless, the Bible does teach the absolute depravity of the human heart, Jer. 17:9. The root cause of man’s problem is not the environment in which he is raised, but that by nature man has a wicked and selfish heart.


Properly understood, the doctrine of total depravity will destroy the hopes of those who place their faith in any type of works-based system of salvation and will cause them to recognize that God’s sovereign grace is man’s only hope. While the doctrine of total depravity destroys man’s self righteousness and any misconceptions about man’s ability to be saved through his own free will, it leaves one asking the same question the disciples asked of Jesus in Matt. 19:26: “When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?” The Lord’s answer remains the same today: “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible,” Matt. 19:26.[ii]


  I.  Sinners Are Deceived

 II.  Sinners Are Depraved



(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 God’s 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 against God’s 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? Wouldn’t you like to bow before Him in humble thanks and worship today?

·      Does it find you burdened about the unsaved around you? Wouldn’t this be a good time to come to the Lord with those names? Wouldn’t 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.


[i] Adapted from http://www.gotquestions.org/total-depravity.html


[ii] IBID.

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