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Once Dead, Now Alive! - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
April 25, 2022 6:00 am

Once Dead, Now Alive! - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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April 25, 2022 6:00 am

Do you remember when Jesus became real to you and you realized your need for Him to save you? In the message "Once Dead, Now Alive!" Skip explores how conversion changes your contentment.

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We're not literally right now in heavenly places. We're here on earth. We're in church this week.

Here we are. Jesus indeed ascended into heaven, but we are there positionally with him. One day we will be there literally with him so he speaks as though it has already taken place. There are many benefits and rewards that come with surrendering your life to the Lord. Today on Connect with Skip Hyten, Skip shares about the future eternal destination Jesus gives you.

Now, here's a resource that will help you pursue a life of faith and purpose even in uncertain times. The desire to fit in, to be thought of as normal, is a basic human instinct. But would you believe that children as young as three years old already want to follow the crowd and fit in with the group? That's what researchers found in a Duke University study. Yet in the Bible, we learn that some of the people who've made the most impact have done so by defying normal.

Here's Skip Heitzig. I think the Bible calls us to a holy defiance of the status quo. Paul the apostle said, do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

So what does it take to go from conformed to transformed? Find out in Pastor Skip's book, Defying Normal. Our thanks to you when you give $35 or more to help expand this Bible teaching ministry. And when you give today, we'll also include the booklet, What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren.

Get your copies of these two bold resources when you call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. Okay, let's dive into today's teaching. We'll be in Ephesians chapter two as Skip Heitzig begins the study.

Stage two. Not only that, we were drifting, verse two, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. Now this is a bit of a conundrum because on one hand, Paul says, these people are dead and you were dead, but while you were dead, you were walking.

So how does that work? The walking dead, right? You're looking at an unbeliever. They seem very much alive, very vivacious, very vibrant, intellectually stimulated, very well accomplished. Can we rightly say that those unbelievers are dead?

Absolutely. In the sphere that matters supremely, which is not the body, which is not the mind, but is the soul, the spirit, they have no life. They are dead and they are drifting. And that takes us to the word in verse two, walked.

I want you to notice that. In which you once walked. Now the word walked, peripeteo, is a Greek word that means to order one's behavior or to move about or to walk about.

But one commentator suggests the best translation. In fact, one translation uses the word wandering or meandering. That the word means to browse or wander about loosely with no goal or purpose.

You know the difference if somebody is walking, you see him walking on the street, they have a gate, you look at him, you go, that person's going somewhere, he knows right where he's going. But then you have people who kind of saunter and they just kind of walk around and they're meandering, they're browsing. Have you ever gone into a store with the intention of not buying anything and you walk out with two or three bags of something? You know what happened? You browsed.

You browsed your way into buying something. Now listen to how Isaiah describes our life before Christ. All we like sheep have gone astray. We have all wandered and gone our own way.

So not only were we dead, we were drifting. And we were drifting according to a pattern, a path, a course, Paul calls it, according to the course of this world. Now just a note about that word world. The word world here is cosmos and it means ordered system, something that is ordered. The unbelieving world is very organized and ordered. Mankind is an organized creature. So cosmos world ordered is the opposite of chaos, unordered. So the idea of the world is a world system, an organized world system, a world order, a value system led by a common leader called here the prince of the power of the air.

Anybody know who that is? It is Satan. It is another description of Paul for Satan. So to walk according to the course of this world is to think and to live and to act according to the ideologies and standards dominated by Satan and demons.

That is to drift, meander, browse in this world. So dead, drifting. Now it gets worse. He takes us down to a third stage, doomed. Doomed, verse three, among whom we also once conducted ourselves in the lusts or desires or pleasures of our flesh, fallen nature, fulfilling the desires of the fallen nature, the flesh, and of the mind, and were by nature, here it is, children of wrath just as others.

Boy, Paul has gone from bad to worse. Dead and then drifting and then doomed. Children of wrath or objects of wrath or sitting under the judgment of God. Sitting under the judgment of God.

John R.W. Stott, a commentator on this book, said, I doubt if there is an expression in Ephesians that has provoked more hostility than this. People do not like to believe that they are under the judgment of God. That is a reprehensible thought to them. But all human beings are either under God's judgment or under God's grace. You're under God's judgment because of trespasses and sins, because you were born into it, or you're under God's grace because you were born again to it.

There is no middle ground. In fact, Jesus said, you're already condemned. John chapter three, verse 18, he who believes in him, that is in Christ, is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Now, all this does is serve to show how helpless we are without God's intervention.

How lost we are and cannot save ourselves. That we are under a death sentence as long as we reject God's solution. G.K. Chesterton once said, hell is God's great complement to the reality of human freedom and the dignity of human choice. When it comes to heaven and hell, God is pro-choice. God will let a person determine their destiny based on what they do with Christ to receive him or reject him. And God will honor that person's choice throughout all of eternity. If a person says, I want nothing to do with God.

Okay, you don't have to have anything to do with God forever. So three dire stages, dead, drifting, doomed. But now it gets good.

Now it's, think of it this way. When a jeweler wants to display a particularly brilliant, bright diamond, he will often or she will often come out of the back with a little black velvet cloth and spread it out on the table and against that very dark background. And you put that little diamond or that big diamond on it, all the brilliance in contrast is stunning.

So Paul paints the worst background, darkest background possible. And then he drops in the diamond. And verse four is the diamond. Verse four is the next stage, which is delivered. Verse four, but God.

We did a whole series on those two words. 45 times in the Bible, we find the words, but God, and whenever you find them, there's good things afterwards. We were going this direction, but God. We were this way, but God.

They did that, but God. Everything good comes after that. Now the sun begins to shine, but God, who is rich in mercy because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. By grace, you have been saved. Those two little words, but God, contain the whole gospel.

It is one of the most eloquent, inspiring transitions in all of biblical literature. Call it a holy conjunction, but God. I even saw it on a license plate.

I think it was a New Hampshire license plate they had on it, but God. They understood the meaning. You understand these words, it changes everything. Now what we have here, beginning in verse four, is conversion. Conversion. We go from dead, drifting, and doomed to delivered, and this is conversion. By conversion, I mean our willing response to the gospel call that includes repentance and faith. Our willing response to the gospel call that includes repentance and faith.

Now, I want to drill down a little bit on this. There are a few components to this being rescued. First component, please notice, God initiates it. It says he made us alive. He made us alive. You can't make you alive. A dead person can't crawl out of the casket. A dead person can't crawl out of the casket. A dead person can't improve his or her condition. He made you alive. This is regeneration. This is where God animates you, gives you spiritual life.

He made us alive. It's not like, yeah man, I had like my own epiphany. I reasoned my way through it.

I figured this out. No, you were dead. You were helpless.

You couldn't crawl out of the casket. You had to be made alive. So God initiates it. A second component, not only does God initiate it, God's character enables it. God's character enables it.

He made us alive based on what? Based on mercy. But God, who is rich in mercy.

Boy, this is a good match. Because we are rich in sin, but God is rich in mercy. Or you could say we are poor because of sin, therefore God is rich in mercy. So mercy is the idea of not giving you what you deserve. Now you've heard this before, grace is giving you what you don't deserve. Mercy is about not so much as getting something as not getting something.

You deserve judgment, punishment. Mercy is God withholding that. That's mercy. And God's rich in it. It's not like God runs out of it. God, how much mercy you got? I got a lot of it.

I'm rich in it. Lamentations chapter three, through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed. His compassion's fail not.

They are new every morning. It's also tied to God's love. Notice it says, God who is rich in mercy because of his great love with which he loved us. You know, if there's one thing I hope you never forget is that God really does love you. And I'm saying that because for a long time I just thought God tolerated me.

I wasn't even sure if he liked me. I knew he put up with me but loved me. But you know, when you discover God loves me, I'm the object of God's love. And it's a great love. It says wherewith he loved us.

It's amazing. He doesn't want to destroy you. He's not out to get you. He wants to save you. That's God's love. So God initiates it. God's character enables it. Let me give you a third component about this, rescuing this deliverance. Only God can do it. Only God can do it. It says even when we were dead, he made us alive. Listen, if a dead person can't fix himself and somebody on the outside has to resurrect him, only God can do it. It wasn't when I was good. It wasn't when I was lovable.

It's when I was dead. So only God can do it. So God initiates it. God's character enables it.

Only God can do it. Let me give you a fourth component of this conversion, this deliverance. We must cooperate with it.

We must cooperate with it. That takes us to verse 8. By grace you have been saved through, what's the next word? Faith.

Then now that's our part. That's where we latch on to his provision by believing. We have been saved by grace. You have been saved through faith and that, even that faith is not of yourselves. It is a gift of God. So we believe.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life. This is conversion. This is conversion. And the word conversion means a turning. It is a spiritual turn. It is a complete turn.

Think of it like this. I'm turning from my sin and I'm turning to Jesus Christ in one fell swoop. One movement. Repentance and faith are two aspects of the one act of coming to Christ. And both occur at the same time. It's not like, yeah, I gave my life to Jesus Christ, then 20 years later I repented. No, it's a turning.

It's a complete turning. Repentance and faith, two aspects of one single act. Both occur at the same time.

Now listen to this further. It is an instantaneous event. It's an instantaneous event, meaning one moment you are spiritually dead, having no life of God. The next moment you have spiritual life from God. You may not exactly know when that instantaneous change occurs, especially kids who are raised in Christian homes, those who attend church, those who attend Bible study for years and gradually grow in their understanding of the gospel, but at some point it registers and it's like, okay, now it's real.

C.S. Lewis, who was a very well-known unbeliever, became a believer, wrote these words. He said, I know very well when, but hardly how, the final step was taken. I was driven to Whipsnade, it's a little town in England, one sunny morning. When we set out, I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo, I did.

And yet I had not exactly spent the journey in thought nor in great emotion. Now other people have a real dramatic experience that is far more punctuated and far more marked than that. That is, they realize they're a sinner, they know they're separated from God, they give their life to Christ, they see immediate results, there's assurance of forgiveness, a desire to read the Bible, a desire to pray, a delight in worship, a longing for fellowship, a desire to tell others about Jesus, a desire to tell others about Jesus, whether you have a dramatic crisis or not. The change is both instantaneous and eventual. Instantaneous because it's simple, authentic faith, and that's all that is required, but then eventual because fruit will be shown.

If you have been changed by Jesus Christ, if you truly believe others are going to see it eventually in your life, that's the process of sanctification. We seed the fruit. So we have four distinct stages, dead, drifting, doomed, followed then by delivered, that's conversion. I'll give you a fifth, we could probably keep going but we don't have time, but I'll give you this one, destined.

Destined. Verse 6, and He raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly realms, literally, heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Now what Paul does is turns from the past through the present now all the way to the future, showing that the present reality has a future destiny. And notice the phrase, I don't want to Skip it over too quickly because it happens to be one of Paul's favorite descriptions of believers. He says, you are in Christ Jesus. It's one of his favorite phrases to describe us. We are in Christ Jesus. He uses it 85 times in the New Testament and that is associated with verse 6, He made us sit together in the heavenly places.

Now when he says that he's talking positionally, not literally. We're not literally right now in heavenly places. We're here on earth. We're in church this week.

Here we are. Jesus indeed ascended into heaven but we are there positionally with Him. One day we will be there literally with Him so He speaks as though it has already taken place. What is true positionally will one day be true eventually. Look at verse 7, that in the ages to come, that's future, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

You know, at some point after we come to Christ and we're truly saved, it's like, wow man, I'm saved. I'm forgiven. I have hope. I have purpose.

I have meaning. It dawns on us that that's not the end of game. It's just the beginning. Now there's even something beyond this that extends into the next realm and that is hope forevermore in heaven in glory with Him. That's why Christians get excited talking about signs of the times or is Jesus coming because Jesus promised He would come back and we should look for Him. And so that's why Christians get excited about the future. Titus chapter 2, looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. First Thessalonians chapter 1, you turn to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for His Son from heaven.

Philippians chapter 3, for our citizenship is in heaven from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. How are we to wait for Jesus? Eagerly, not passively, not like, yeah, Jesus is coming.

Cool. Hope this virus gets over quick. You know, I mean, yeah, that's true, but Jesus is coming. He's coming. We're living in these days and we look forward to His coming and we wait eagerly. Why are we so eager? Verse 7 again, please notice that in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace and His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Let me rephrase that for you. It's going to take God all of eternity to show you, to reveal to you, to disclose how much He loves you. That is, as much as you know now and experience now and will be rewarded in heaven, it's still going to take God into the future eons to fully display how much He loves you. All of eternity will be a continual revelation of God's love to you. No wonder we look forward to what's coming.

And yes, unbelievers accuse believers all the time, you guys are, you got your pie in the sky, you're so heavenly minded, you're no earthly good. Listen, our hope goes beyond our economy, our election, a virus cure, a vaccine. Our hope is fixed and we have a destiny. That is, Jesus saves us all the way to heaven. And this is what marks the difference between somebody dead and somebody who has been made alive by Christ. Every single human being has experienced the first three conditions of dead, drifting, and doomed.

Only those who have been born again, redeemed people, have experienced the delivered and destined. You either are dead or were dead. And this isn't like Princess Bride, He's only mostly dead. No, He's all dead. And you can be all alive, all alive. That wraps up Skip Heitzig's message from the series 2020. Now, here's Skip to tell you about how you can keep encouraging messages like this one coming your way as you help connect others to the gospel.

Here's an important truth. God doesn't need us to accomplish His work in the world, but He desires to use us and bring us into His plan. That's why we share these Bible teachings on this broadcast so friends like you can be equipped in your faith as the Lord works through you.

And right now, you're invited to help strengthen others' faith by connecting them to God's Word. Here's how. You can give online at connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you. Tomorrow, Skip Heitzig shares about the new family you're a part of when you give your life to Jesus. You and I were at enmity with God, the Bible says. Or in the words of last week's text, we were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But now things have changed. Now we said yes to Jesus Christ and we are saved. The relationship has changed. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-27 17:51:34 / 2023-04-27 18:00:15 / 9

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