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February 10, 2020 9:00 am
Today on with Janie Greer believing the gospel is massively inconvenienced all kinds of demands on you to do things of the money you would want to do to reach out to people sometimes in ways that make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
If you don't understand the absolute necessity of the gospel will be nothing but a burden and it will be cumbersome in your life and resent we are so glad you're back with us today is kind of inconvenient. We don't understand how necessary it is in our lives demands it makes on us like giving generously and reaching out to people who are different.
Can seem bothersome that a pastor Janie helps to see that until we fully understand the problem of sin. We can never fully cherish the gift of grace our message is titled saying the passage that we are going to die deeply today is regarded by many theologians to be the single most important passage in the Bible. I would say, in many ways this passage serves as kind of a litmus test for whether or not you understand what the Christian gospel, the good news actually is. The passage is Ephesians chapter 2 verses 1 to 10 features you want to 10 if you got a Bible you begin to make your way there. In this passage or to see Paul introduce a word that a lot of Christians today use as a kind of shorthand for how they summarize their relationship with Jesus but it's a word that really confuses outsiders sometimes even scares people on the outside, and that word is saved saved, I have admitted to you that I sometimes cringe when I hear that word because I get this image about pudgy Southern Baptist preacher where in a too small cottage style suit yellow and the word of the top of his lungs with his eyes, got a bulge around babies and is not popping out because the wording for syllables you know you dislike. I decide that makes me cringe right think of awkwardly placed billboards along interstate throughout the southeast or confrontational tracks left in public bathrooms, posing the question.
You know, are you saved what I hope you will see from this passage is that while it is a word that might make you and me cringe. There really is probably no better word that summarizes what happens to us when we meet Jesus invite one of the reasons it makes us cringe.
I think, is because it encapsulates the helpless state that Jesus had to rescue us from its where Paul starts his explanation of the gospel.
What is true about us that made Jesus's rescue operation necessary in Ephesians 212 10. The apostle Paul is going to dispel to very deeply ingrained myth in our culture that nobody really even questions about evil, the first of those myths is that the main problem in the world is other people, everybody recognizes of the world we live in has evil in it, but we always assume that other people are the primary problem, so we put locks on our doors and filters on our Internet to keep people out or we think it's people unlike us that are the main problem so conservatives of course think that liberals are the problem liberals are destroying family values that are undercutting the backbone of society there. Try to remove gluten from everything that we can't bear the problem. Liberals repay the favor by thinking conservatives are the problem because conservatives they say are prideful and bigoted. They don't recycle. So they're the ones who are the problem was the all that goes hand-in-hand with the second myth in the second myth is that deep down were not really that bad when I really that bad were basically good people who just get confused.
Are we in the wrong political philosophy or we lose our way or were just weak. The famous psychologist Carl Rogers expressed the predominant thinking that has shaped our culture's view of man pretty much throughout the last century. Carl Rogers said that man was basically good in his heart and that our main problem is that we've lost touch with our inner goodness it's oppressive and distorting societal structures that have skewered our access to our inner goodness.
Of course, Rogers never really stopped to consider where their societal structures came from or you know who invented them, but that's what we think we managed basically good. He just is a little confusing. Need some external change in policy, and a blowup. Both of those myths, both of them in the first sentence and back the first part of the first senators Ephesians 2 begins and you were dead in trespasses and sins. First thing you should notice right there staring you in the face of the word you you were dead in trespasses and sins, not other people, but you there's only one category of people centered sin is a fatal disease that exists in the heart of every single person and that is the second word that challenges how our culture thinks about itself. The word dead, you were dead in our problem is not there were good people who occasionally lose our way. The problem is not that we sometimes do bad things because we are promised not our environment or our parents or our privilege or our lack of privilege our problems on our politics. Our problem is were spiritually dead. Many people think of sin as bad actions that we do nicely talk about sin there. Think about the act of stealing or lying or adultery or something like that. But the word dead shows you that sin is not so much an action as it is a condition in fact our bad actions are simply symptoms of our dead condition right you get that you don't have the flu because you cough and sneeze and run a fever you cough and sneeze and run a fever because you have the flu one the same way were not sinners because we sin, we sin because were sinners now explain to you that every parent of course sees this and their kids have explained to you that nobody had to teach my kids how to be jerks to each other.
I never send my kids off the sin can't. I didn't have to teach rebellious or selfishness to death. They didn't get that from their environment.
When my youngest daughter was two years old when she didn't like what we put down there for her to eat. She would take a bowl of whatever it was, she would look us right in the eyes and just dump it on the floor. She did not learn that from her environment.
I don't get homesick peas again Veronica and dump it on the floor.
My wife and I don't run around the house and the clutch in the remote scream in mind at each other and be needs over the head with it. Selfishness is not something she picked up just from her environment was inherent in my little girls nature.
She was cute but she was born the center and that's because all of us. Paul says are spiritually dead. Now I know what you're saying are spiritually dead when I make a salad or a bunch of moral monsters and were not really capable of doing anything good and I know that's not true, but that's not what being spiritually dead meat jersey. That doesn't mean all as bad as we could be. It doesn't mean that we all sin in the same ways that you like this if you want on the battlefield in the 20 dead corpses all around the battlefield on some may look worse than others. Some of them may be severely damaged, barely recognizable anymore. Others may show little or no signs of damage at all. Some of them may be advanced in the decay process. Some of them may look like they could still be alive, but in the end it doesn't matter if they look okay. The important detail is there all dead. I read a groundbreaking study recently became a UNC new recent brain research shows that 100% of people.100% of people die, our debt, not partially dead. Not sorry, dad not theoretically dead to dead on the resume to dead people totally, completely and entirely dead sea because were dead in our sins. No nonreligious behavioral change can fix us because behavior change only affects the behavior on the outside of that deal with the condition on the inside that Tupperware container. The very back of your refrigerator like I don't how long is that been there and you poured out there's a piece of chicken and and and so you, slowly opened it up and you smell and then like four hours later you wake up and you know like you just the right so how many of you in that moment when you have obviously a piece of Rodney. I'm thinking what that means it needs some wildly seasoned salt and some Frank's red hot sauce and nothing will be good to go to.
Then you can cover-up the taste of the rotten meat no, the problem is is that it's dead and it's dictating it was dead. When you put in the refrigerator. You can preserve it for a little while, but because it is dead. It is already started the decay process, we are the apostle Paul says in our nature already spiritually dead and we are dictating. We may smell okay for a while. We might even learn to cover up the areas of stench in our lives with religion or manners, or culture, but at the core. We are dead disable. The sermon is started awesome just waiting to get worse.
Verse two and three. Paul begins to unpack for us.
What spiritual deadness actually looks like, so to go back here which also once walked, following the course of the world. What's this, following the prince of the power the air that's referenced by the way to Satan, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience only translate that for you. Not only are you dead in sins.
You were followers of Satan, the core of Satan's rebellion is I'm gonna do what I want to do instead of what God wants me to. Isaiah 14 records of all Satan from heaven, and what records that Satan said is five different phrases all start with two words. I will I will be like the most time I will send them out of the assembly. I will be above all the stars of heaven sins core of explain this to you/went to my kids since core that I want to be in the middle instead of God. You see, in the very word sin as I in it that I want to do what I wanted. It was that what God wants me to do. I want to be a point I want to call the shots I want to do things my way. I want this whole thing to be about me and not him. And when you and I join Satan in that rebellion. Look when you see it you became his son or daughter, you became a senator and an even more. His spirit went to work within you is spirit. When you were a follower of his went to work in the sons and daughters of disobedience.
You may not be demon possessed, but his spirit was working in you and shaping you from there. Paul says we begin to live in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and of the mind. What that means is that something besides God became our master.
We were created so that we can carry out the desires of the will of God and what happened as we begin to let other things hold ultimate sway in our life.
So our body, the desires of the body, said have sex with that okay about. He says either body says be the best. Our body says get angry and we obey. Our mind says do things your way. You should call the shots you should be the best and we obey and because of this, Paul says, because of this we were by nature children of wrath, just like the rest of mankind, when you say city. Wait a minute Shirley Shirley, you and I guess Paul the apostle here. Surely you guys over speak not make the mistakes I I get that the kids make mistakes but dead spiritually dead followers of Satan's sons and daughters. His spirit at work in us children of wrath, I mean come on I know people who don't even believe in God, and they still do a bunch of good things. What about the guy who throws himself on the grenade in the foxhole to save the life of his body that even if you believe in God, that's a good thing right about the mom who is not a Christian single mom, but she but she sacrifices everything to give her kids a shot out of poverty and she's not a Christian art does good things will sure they are to the point is, in light of our biggest sin in light of our biggest sin and that is replacing God's authority in our lives with our own and live in for our glory instead of his because our course and is following the satanic rebellion of I will instead a God wills are good things, even a good things don't really seem that good thing like this. Imagine that you were able to have a birds eye view and Isis camp where you were watching on some ices fighters were plotting to commit an act of terrorism would blow up a school bus and killed a bunch of innocent children is an act of horrific evil but you noticed that as they were playing this thing. They took a break for lunch and one of the ices fighters notices that his friend doesn't have anything for lunch, so he has takes his sandwich any divide in half and gives half of it to his friend a genuinely generous thing to do right is a genuinely good deed.
The problem is it's in the context of something so horrifically evil. It's hard for you to even see that is good. Does that make sense. What if our cosmic treason against God was like that, but billion times worse.
What if our rebellion against God was so evil that it's even hard to call our goodness. Good and by the way, just because you have experienced the full outworking of your depravity doesn't mean the seeds of that depravity are present and you the capacity to do evil is in all of us and a lot of times conditions outside of our control, like your family situation or the things you've experienced.
Keep that depravity from growing out of the full fruition TV shows on right now that I think have some actual great insight into human nature. My wife and I were watching when the other night was a documentary on Lance Armstrong not you you you know Lance Armstrong store. We did I know how his life and all his things turns out, and you got a look at the end of his is denied public life, you like how you but how does that happen and who would do that to their friends and who would live a lie like that and become a fraud in the face of a disease and that he's trying to let you know I does that get to that level of deception and depravity and and wickedness and then you watch the documentary and we submit something a lot more sense you get this drive to succeed that causes you to Muskoka little corner here while I can see myself doing that and then you know what you want to start doing it. You gotta start lying to cover it up if you want to be exposing I can see myself doing that and then all of a sudden the money gets bigger and the reputation and all that's it gets bigger. Now you gotta lie in bigger ways to cover up this path and then you go from one step to another.
And now you got a smear even your friends who are threatening to expose a lot. You gotta isolate everybody and every point away is that I could see muscle doing that and that and that and that and that all I said it feels like were watching like a live episode of Breaking Bad. We watched another one on Allen Iverson reviewed knowing they might have a professional athlete who ended up in a really bad place. My philosopher wife said she said you know if I grown up in a situation like that and I face temptations like he did say I would become exactly like that we shake our heads of these people.
But honestly, though, am I to judge in those circumstances I might very well turn out the same point is will the old Puritan John Owen used to say, the seed of every sin is in every heart. This is conditions that cause the it's there in you recently had somebody in our church. Tell me about a trip she took to Rwanda know anything about recent history.
Rwanda was a place of unspeakable genocide cannot carried out by the Hutus against the Tutsis and honor trip.
This mission trip. She said we drove into the mountains of the Tucci village that had been wiped out during the 1994 genocide. Our Rwandan ministry leader stood at the very spot the very spot where his family, his children in the hundreds of people, his friends and neighbors have been slaughtered in front of him through a translator, she said.
He described the horror of what he had experienced that day. She said I literally felt sick afterwards.
We held hands on that spot and we pray I never forget when our ministry team leader but open the prayer this way God was of this give me the wickedness that drove these men. The commit these crimes is the same sin in my heart I am the better. I am no closer to salvation but for your grace our church member went on to say she had always thought that I had a pretty boring testimony, but stand then they are on that scene of that massacre, I realized that I have been saved from the same depths of depravity as a mass murderer before we go on diverse for us when what you let that sink in for a minute.
You and I deserve the wrath of God. We really are dead in our sins are blasphemy against God deserves the eternal punishment of hell. Hell is a terrible place and educated people don't even like to talk about it.
But Jesus believed in it and he talked about it all the time even more than he did have an Paul starts his explanation of the gospel here because in order to really understand the gospel in order to place any value on the gospel. You have to understand what you were safe from see a lot of times I think we try to jump right to the good news of the gospel without really grappling with the bad news thanks to the part about Jesus at the bar about the among the lie to the bar, about whom I my family awesome part about having just get through all this stop dwelling on this. I don't like his negativity.
But every physician knows that if you misdiagnose the disease are also to miss prescribed a cure and if you don't really understand the problem is the patient you're never going to embrace the cure red hamburgers over over counseling here says he sees this all the time in marital counseling is as people come into marriage problems, and they want the solutions fix it or they really don't want to talk about is the problems because, well, that's uncomfortable to just fix it postponing. Ephesians 2 is that this is what we do with God.
We want the answer, but we really don't want to hear about the problem. But if you don't wrestle with the extent of the problem, but readily not just your problem but because the rest of mankind's problem if you don't wrestle with that.
You're never going to love the gospel you're never gonna be committed to the gospel. You're certainly not to be committed to spreading the gospel. It was not as going to a this past moment of pastoral honesty here, believing the gospel is massively inconvenient and makes all kinds of demands on you and make you do things in the money you would want to do makes you reach out to people sometimes in ways that make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. If you don't understand the absolute necessity of the gospel.
It will be nothing but a burden and it will be cumbersome in your life in your present anything like this. Imagine you were. You did not a Delta flight and you had to sit in economy but you know to get about for having to select one back there your due, crammed in there and the other things you gotta do in your see is you had a way to go where parachute you that you want.
I had a parachute on the bow before the regular night. Okay, so do not little tiny backpacks are like huge there there very cumbersome to you. Gotta sit in economy with a parachute you're annoyed you're complaining, but let's just say that you knew that 30 minutes of the flight. That flight was going down all the sudden appearance evincing nearly that annoying doesn't it becomes your favorite possession. You begin to brag about it. You begin to try to persuade people around you. If they have a parachute that they need to put theirs on also.
You see, if you understand really what you're safe from then suddenly being devoted to the gospel starts to make a lot more sense.
Many of you don't love the gospel and you don't spread the gospel because you have never really wrestled with the extent of the problem that you and I were under when Jesus came and rescued us until you understand the problem. You will never cherish grace until you understand the problem.
You never really love Jesus I love what Charles Spurgeon used to say said, you know, those who think too lightly of the Savior do so because they think too lightly of sin, you show me a man who is felt the noose of God's judgment around his neck and didn't been delivered from it. That's the man who will weep for joy at the pardon. He has received and then will hate the evil that he is been forgiven of so my friend here it right there. This you are dead in sin. The problem is not your environment.
The problem is not your parents. The problem is not your poor self-image. The problem is not confusion. The promise, not temptations.
You didn't get around a group of bad friends you are dead in sin or by nature a child of wrath, your son or daughter of disobedience you're a follower under the influence of Satan.
And yes, I know that you're not to hear that verdict on humanity from Oprah or Dr. Phil or Dr. Oz. But Paul says is what's true and it's why you needed to be safe.
See, by the way, that's what I can get away from the word Savior understand what's a better equivalent. I did need to be improved, edited, updated, rebooted or enhanced. I needed to be forgiven, restored, redeemed and resurrected. I needed to be safe because sin did not me down on the gods JV team it and put me on probation. Put me on a slower track to get up to my mansion in heaven.
Send wiped me out. It killed me slide needed that he needed Jesus who would come as a life coach who would help me turn over a new leaf. I needed a resurrected Savior who would give me new life verses 1 to 3 is a lot of bad news and a lot of bad news and it could to stop right there but. The end of the sentence and Dr. Walter Wade even fully righteous in doing so. Verse four contains probably the largest conjunction ever uttered in human history but God but God. That's it. John stockholders. The two most significant words ever uttered in the English language like colleges with the force of that hate you for a minute you were helpless you were dead you were helpless but not hopeless because Hoag wouldn't gonna come from inside of you by your ability to help yourself.
Hope was going to come from outside view when God in mercy, look at you and bared his mighty arm and began the process of salvation. When you were dead in sin, but God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us talk about those fermenting great love some theologians and Christians talk about salvation so coldly and mechanically like this is his doctoral thing was being worked out, but our salvation was birthed in the love of Jesus Christ for centers that he didn't want to seek thy greatest words in the school Bible you're listening to Pastor JD Greer on Senate life.
We've only just begun your Series III Ephesians: land incorruptible is a little bit about the big picture at this letter from home there different series that I do in some a church that surprised me and how much I enjoyed them and how much people respond to them in the seriously Ephesians was definitely one of those Paul wrote several great letters but this one is going to take the gospel and he's gonna show the practicality and how it really transforms your life in various relationships that you show us how God's eternal plans, the things that have been true about God forever the things that have been true but is working history forever.
How they can shape what what you think about in your dark moments in your darkest hours the string that we need to overcome opposition and overcome obstacles spiritual oppression praying for you to be found in the incorruptible love of God toward us and the unchangeable purposes of God for us. So our new bookstore offering with this series is is really strong testament to his love and purpose. We did is we took stories of God's grace that have played out here in the summa church is called hidden graces eight surprising stories that led to a dying church's revitalization in a most of us have known what it's like and maybe this is where you are right now you're part of a church that is just unit struggling and then you're wondering like are the best days of this church behind the stories in this book I'm hidden graces will will show you why you can have church and what how how does God bring renewal and revitalization is exclusively offered to Summit life. It's not a book to be published elsewhere, something we want to make available a copy of this brand-new Senate life explicit called hidden graces today as a way of saying thanks and you don't copy when you get $25 or more.
Give us a call at 335-5220 just released a great present stories that led dying church is never again is 335 24 you think enter the resource firstname.lastname@example.org I'm sure to listen again Senate life, gaining