Ephesians 2:4-7

Sunday Morning Bible Study

February 12, 2006


Last week we dug into Paul’s description of our completely hopeless condition:

(Eph 2:1-3 NKJV) And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, {2} 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, {3} among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

We were dead in our sins. We followed after this wicked world. We followed Satan. We lived after the lusts of our flesh. We were deserving of nothing but God’s wrath.

:4 But God,

God is not like us. He does not act like we would act.

If I was God, these verses in Ephesians would read, “and you who were dead in your trespasses and sins, and you who walked according to the course of this world, and you were led by Satan, and you did nothing but fulfill the lusts of your flesh, and you were by nature children of wrath … God squished you like a bug!”

But God is not like us.

Joseph had been sold by his brothers as a slave into Egypt. He went through tremendous difficulties because of what his brothers did to him, including being sent to prison for something he didn’t do.

(Gen 39:20-21 NKJV) Then Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison. {21} But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
The circumstances looked bad, BUT the Lord hadn’t lost control. God was still with Joseph.

Eventually Joseph rose to become the number two man in Egypt. And one day he found his brothers coming to him for help. And in the end, God worked it out that all of Joseph’s family was spared from a horrendous famine because of Joseph having been in Egypt. Later, after their father Jacob had died, the brothers were begging Joseph to not wipe them out for what they had done …

(Gen 50:19-20 NKJV) Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? {20} "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
You see, God doesn’t work like we do.

My wife was reminding me of a verse yesterday,

(Psa 84:11-12 NKJV) For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.
We talked about what the “good thing” is that God will not withhold. I think that sometimes we think that the “good thing” means things like ice-cream cones and new cars. But in Joseph’s life, it meant spending time as a slave in Egypt and being put into prison unjustly. It was something that God meant for good.
{12} O LORD of hosts, Blessed is the man who trusts in You!
Are you willing to trust Him for those “good things”, even if they don’t make sense right now? That’s what faith is all about.  Things may not make sense now, BUT GOD …

We might squish people who are evil and rebellious, but God …

:4 who is rich in mercy,

richplousios – wealthy, abounding in resources; It’s having a lot of something. This “something” that God is rich in, is mercy.

mercyeleos – mercy: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, undeserved kindness

The mercy of God is not a concept that is unique to the New Testament. God has always been merciful.

When God gave Moses a glimpse of His glory, God declared to Moses:

(Exo 34:6-7a NKJV) And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, {7} "keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…

In the Psalms we read:

(Psa 86:5 NKJV) For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
(Psa 103:9-11 NKJV) He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. {10} He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. {11} For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;

The prophet Jonah had been asked by God to go and preach to the people of Nineveh, but instead Jonah tried to run away from God. After being swallowed and then regurgitated by the big fish, Jonah finally went to Nineveh and preached. And there was a HUGE revival. The people turned from their sins and turned to God. But Jonah wasn’t glad about this. He hated the people of Nineveh. He had been hoping that God would actually wipe them out!

(Jonah 4:1-2 NKJV) But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. {2} So he prayed to the LORD, and said, "Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.

It may upset us to think that God could be merciful to someone we don’t like.  But in reality, aren’t we glad that God is rich in mercy towards us?

:4 because of His great love with which He loved us,

With some people, it’s hard to tell how much they really love you.


Valentine’s Day is upon us …

73% of people who buy flowers for Valentine's Day are men, while only 27 percent are women.

15% of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine's Day (are they that same 27% mentioned above?)

In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. To wear your heart on your sleeve now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling.

In the United States, 64 percent of men do not make plans in advance for a romantic Valentine's Day with their sweethearts.


After she woke up, a woman told her husband, “I just dreamed that you gave me a pearl necklace for Valentine’s day. What do you think it means?” “You’ll know tonight.” he said. That evening, the man came home with a small package and gave it to his wife. Delighted, she opened it - to find …a book entitled “The meaning of dreams”.

We may not really understand how much some people love us, but we actually know how much God loves us.

(John 3:16 NKJV) "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

(1 John 4:9 NKJV) In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

(Rom 5:8 NKJV) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

If you could ask Jesus how much He loves you, He’d stretch out His hands, showing the nail prints in His hands, and say, “This much”.

:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ

deadnekros – properly one that has breathed his last, deceased, departed, kaput!

What kinds of things do you do for a dead person? Nothing other than bury them. It’s too late to do anything for them. They’re dead. Yet death didn’t stop God and His work towards us.


Learning grace

As we mentioned at the beginning of our study in Ephesians, there is a method to Paul’s madness in writing this book. He starts off telling us all about the things that God has done for us and how we are to take a seat and learn these things. Then he tells us of how we are to walk with Christ. Then he tells us how we are to stand against the devil. We called this three point outline – “Sit, Walk, Stand”.
Paul will say later in the “Walk” section:
(Eph 4:32 NKJV) And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

The Greek word translated “forgiving” is the word often translated “grace” (charis). You could translate it, “grace one another …”, or, “be gracious to one another …”

Our way of showing grace, or forgiving, should look a little bit like the grace that Jesus has shown to us.

And the grace He’s shown to us was grace shown to a bunch of dead people.

There was an article in this week’s Newsweek about a comedy/news show on TV where the actor, Stephen Colbert, plays an anchorman who has a phrase he uses a lot, “You are dead to me!” He throws the phrase at people or things he doesn’t like. I believe the phrase probably came from one of the Godfather movies.
Well we were “dead” to God. But instead of getting rid of us, He saved us.
Are there people in your life that you treat like they’re dead to you?
This week I heard Jon Courson tell a story about an old, godly man who had a conversation with God. God asked the man if he had anything he’d like God to do. The man replied that he’d like God to change him so that he would never do anything that would offend God. God replied, “That’s what everyone asks for. But if I granted that request, then I’d have nothing to forgive!”

The idea behind the story is that God loves to forgive. This doesn’t give us the liberty to go out and do lots of bad stuff so that God can forgive more. But those of you who are struggling with guilt, the truth is that God loves to forgive.

And that’s how we ought to be treating people who are “dead to us”. Make them alive.  Forgive.

:5 (by grace you have been saved),


A man dies. Of course, St. Peter meets him at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter says, “Here’s how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you’ve done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in.” “Okay,” the man says, “I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart.” “That’s wonderful,” says St. Peter, “that’s worth three points!” “Three points?” he says. “Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service.” “Terrific!” says St. Peter. “That’s certainly worth a point.” “One point!?!! I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans.” “Fantastic, that’s good for two more points,” he says. “Two points!?!!” Exasperated, the man cries, “At this rate it’ll just be by the grace of God that I ever get into heaven.” “Bingo, 100 points! Come on in!”

We aren’t saved because of what we do.  We’d never make it.  We are saved because of what Jesus did on the cross in paying for our sins.  That’s God’s grace.

We will talk more about this concept next week…

:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places  in Christ Jesus,

Part of the promises made in the Old Testament concerning the Messiah was where He would sit. David wrote,

(Psa 110:1 NKJV) The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."

The idea is that God would one day say to David’s Lord (who is the Messiah), “You can sit at my right hand”. That meant that the Messiah would have THE place of honor in heaven.

When Jesus was on trial, He said,

(Luke 22:69 NKJV) "Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God."
The High Priest screamed when Jesus said this because it meant that Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah. Which He was. And still is.

Jesus wrote to the church in Laodicea,

(Rev 3:21 NKJV) "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

When God saves us, He doesn’t just forgive our sins and then send us off to live in the slums of heaven. He has reserved a place at God’s table for us. We have a seat with Jesus.  And Jesus sits at the head table.

:7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

This is one of the reasons God has saved us.

in the ages to come – this is speaking about heaven, about eternity. This is one of the things that God will be doing in heaven…

He might showendeiknumi – to point out; to show, demonstrate, prove, whether by arguments or by acts; to manifest, display, put forth

the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness – these are all the wonderful things that God has done for us.


The Saint Show

A car show is where a group of car owners bring their “show cars” together and they show them off to each other. Often, the cars have been rebuilt. A piece of junk was bought and then lovingly restored. The owner puts it in a show to let everyone see what he’s done to the car.
The other day I saw a news story about a collector who maintains a museum of all sorts of things, including something like 180 cars of various types and ages. And the unique thing about his museum is that everything works. The ancient telephones work. The ancient typewriters work. All the cars are drivable. That’s more like the kind of “car show” that God will have. We won’t be gutted old shells that can’t function. We will be living, functioning, show-pieces of God’s grace.
God won’t have a “car show” in heaven.  He’ll have a “saint show”.  He’ll be showing you and I off to the angels.  They’ll be absolutely amazed at how God has restored us.