We move on to Ephesian Chapter 2 - where Paul spells it out - and no matter where we read his writing, he spells it out - clearly and positive and challengingly.
You were dead - in your transgressions and sins - the ruler of the kingdom of the air - this enemy who attacks us at times pervades the very atmosphere - and he is still at work in those who are disobedient.
We were dead – not just weak or sick – but dead – and to change that situation, someone had to come from outside us – and that person was Jesus Christ. This is ‘good news’ – this is the Gospel!
I was reading about a man who said - "But I don't believe in the devil" - to which the reply was - "He'll be glad to hear that".
These opening words of Chapter 2 are written to those who are disciples of Jesus Christ. Well, that is straight - blunt - and to the point!
That type of language could make certain people walk out of services in certain places! "I'm not listening to that - even though it might be coming from the very throne of God!" But it just happens to be true - because when man fell in Eden - in that perfect parkland - he was cut off from the life of God.
Paul goes on to enlighten the eyes of their heart - and the eyes of the mind too. You used to live - and you used to follow the ways of the world - and the ruler of the kingdom of the air - the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
Verse 3 – All of us used to live like that. We hear some things said so often - What is the world coming to? What is wrong with the world - and the people in it? But much more infrequently do we hear - And what is wrong with me?
Know your disease - and know the cure. That is what is saying to us in these verses.
This is what WE WERE before we came to know Jesus Christ.
It is quite medical - Diagnosis - Prognosis - and Prescription. And when we come to a diagnosis - we realise the prognosis is quite serious - but how are we to deal with it? Medicine or Surgery?
The Bible says - Your disease is SIN. The Bible does not use nice soft compromising words. It doesn't use words like vice - crime - our weaknesses - and seldom does it speak about our faults. It does use the word SIN. Trespass - to go where you should not go - to break God's law - to pay little heed or no attention at all to your conscience - or even to ignore or disobey your conscience - or - to fall short of the life you intended to live. All this is in these opening words.
The diagnosis and the prognosis - Paul goes into all this - How do you know you have this disease called sin? What is its chief character? What is its chief symptom? DEATH!
A man may be living it up - but that man is dead - a corpse spiritually speaking.
Try and talk to someone about God and Jesus and you find they are not interested. There is a deadness there - no spark of response.
Sin produces corpses - and they are COLD. There is no warmth about them.
A corpse is hard and cold - not soft and tender and sensitive and living and loving - and a corpse is prone. It cannot stand - it lies down - it has corruption and decay in it.
That son who ran away to the far country - and spent and squandered his father's money - was spiritually dead. But when he came to his senses and returned home repenting - father said - "This my son was dead and is alive again!"
The prodigal son - even when he was living it up in the night clubs - was dead. He thought all that was the good life - but he was spiritually dead.
People who do not respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ are spiritually dead. That is why they do not respond - and that is why we pray for people - so that the Holy Spirit would give them LIFE!
Where do we get the disease - from the world - from the devil - and from the flesh.
We are born into a world that was already infected - and we caught it. Sin is highly contagious. So - we conform to this world - and it can be hard to resist - and when we do resist it can be very costly.
We get an insight here as to how evil is so well organised - internationally - "The ruler of the kingdom of the air". His domain is in the very atmosphere. Jesus called him the prince of this world. Paul had trouble in all the various nations he visited.
Make no mistake about who is behind all the evil that is in this world - and his aim is to make you SIN! He attacks the flesh and the brain - the mind as well as the body.
Flesh means - everything you inherited when you were born. The body and the brain we were born with, is part of this fallen world - and we all have this struggle.
So - if that is the diagnosis - what is the prognosis - or - how serious is our condition? Will it clear up? Will it just go away? Will we grow out of it? Will all our problems just vanish and disappear? NO!
NO - the prognosis is - you have a killer disease. You are a dead man - and without the cure you are dead for ever. You are children of wrath. Because you are, you stand up under the anger of God. There are times when HE takes off the brakes - and man hurtles down the hill faster and faster.
Is this not what we are seeing just now – in a new way and at a faster pace - with everything being shaken - so that that which cannot be shaken may remain?
“Loving Father – to be in Christ is to be alive – for that I give You thanks and praise. Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for going to the cross and shedding your blood that I may have my sin and sins forgiven – and be raised to life – real life – eternal life. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – I give thanks – we praise and worship.” Amen.
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